Top German Universities for International Students [2024 Rankings]

Germany is a top choice for international students because it provides an excellent education at reasonable costs and is famous for research opportunities. The country has outstanding universities that draw students from across the globe, especially for graduate studies.

German universities consistently rank among the top 100 best universities in global ranking platforms.

Below, we list the eight best universities for international students, considering several metrics, including a Global HE Ranking Systems Score, cost of living, diversity percentage, and a few others, as shown below.

Here are the top German universities for international students for 2024:

Technical University of Munich

Score: 33.04

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and has received the prestigious “University of Excellence” title three times in a row in Germany. TUM’s success comes from its excellent research and education. They also promote innovative research through specialized research institutes.

TUM is changing how they teach engineering in response to the fast-changing world driven by technology and biology. Their approach now includes natural sciences, life sciences, medicine, business, humanities, and social sciences.

TUM wants to support a diverse group of students and professionals, improve education, create new knowledge, and encourage entrepreneurial endeavours. They are also committed to preparing graduates for jobs that align with societal values and environmental needs. TUM works with a global network of students, alumni, and partners to achieve these goals.

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Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Score: 31.41

LMU, founded in 1472, is a renowned European university known for its academics and research. Over the centuries, it has attracted talented scholars and students worldwide, making it a hub for groundbreaking ideas. As a top European research university, LMU covers many subjects, including humanities, law, economics, medicine, and natural sciences.

Students at LMU come from all over Germany and the world, benefiting from diverse study programs with a strong research focus. Many see their education as a stepping stone to successful careers, especially in technology and media-rich Munich.

LMU has 18 faculties and an excellent library system. They emphasize creative thinking, problem-solving, and research in their academic programs. Their university hospital is one of the most prestigious in Germany, second only to the Charité in Berlin.

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Heidelberg University

Score: 29.74

Heidelberg University is Germany’s oldest university and is among Europe’s leading research-focused institutions. It has consistently excelled in national excellence competitions and international rankings, showcasing its prominent role in the academic world.

Heidelberg University is dedicated to providing students with research-based education and robust support for doctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars. The university is deeply connected to a global network of research and educational partnerships, collaborating with approximately 480 universities worldwide.

It also maintains 27 institutional partnerships with universities globally and is part of prestigious networks like the 4EU+ European University Alliance, the League of European Research Universities, and the Coimbra Group.

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RWTH Aachen University

Score: 26.92

RWTH Aachen University, founded in 1870 thanks to a generous donation from Prince William of Prussia, initially aimed to establish an institute of technology in the Rhine Province. However, with the support of local banks and an insurance company, it found its home in Aachen. The university opened its doors during the Franco-Prussian War, focusing primarily on engineering and serving the local mining industry.

Situated at the crossroads of Europe, near the borders of the Netherlands and Belgium, RWTH Aachen benefits from a rich blend of cultures and languages. While it introduced faculties of philosophy and medicine in the 1960s, it remains best known for its expertise in natural sciences and engineering.

Due to its size, Aachen stands out as a significant center for university spin-off companies and engineering firms in Germany. RWTH Aachen has a history of remarkable innovations, including pioneering the world’s first wind tunnel and particle accelerator. It has also achieved notable milestones, such as creating an innovative all-metal aircraft and inventing a diesel soot filter.

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University of Gottingen

Score: 26.30

The University of Göttingen, often called Georgia Augusta, is one of Germany’s most prestigious universities. It is located in Göttingen, a historic town in the heart of Germany. It’s home to about 22.484 students, with 20% from various countries worldwide.

This university is known for its research excellence and has ties to over 40 Nobel Prize winners, including notable physicists. For international students, the University of Göttingen provides an opportunity to study in a globally respected institution.

Göttingen’s partnerships with local research organizations and institutes, including the Göttingen Academy of Sciences, the German Aerospace Centre, and five Max Planck Institutes, create opportunities for collaboration in research and teaching. This makes it an attractive destination for international students seeking a high-quality education in Germany.

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University of Hamburg

Score: 20.22

The University of Hamburg, founded in 1919, is located in the central district of Rotherbaum in Hamburg, Germany. It’s called the “city on the water,” with beautiful places like Alster Lake, the Elbe River, and the harbor.

The university originally had four faculties but now has 18 separate faculties offering various academic programs. It has strong partnerships with institutions nationally and internationally. Impressively, it has five Nobel Prize winners associated with it.

The University of Hamburg is committed to being family-friendly, making it easier for students with families to balance university and family life. They offer various sports classes, including fencing, soccer, tango, and yoga, available seven days a week.

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Humboldt University of Berlin

Score: 20.01

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is a public university in Germany founded in 1810. It has multiple campuses specializing in various fields. Campus Adlershof focuses on natural sciences, Campus Mitte covers arts, humanities, law, economics, business, and theology, and Campus Nord is the hub for life sciences.

Around half of the students pursue bachelor’s degrees, and the university doesn’t charge tuition fees; instead, there’s a reasonable semester fee, typical for public universities in Germany. Student housing options are available through Studentenwerk, an organization supporting university students in the area.

Humboldt-Universität offers various academic divisions, including arts, economics, law, life sciences, mathematics, medicine, social sciences, and theology. The primary language of instruction is German, and the academic calendar follows semesters.

Humboldt-Universität has extensive international partnerships with over 190 institutions, fostering teaching and research collaborations. It also hosts major interdisciplinary research centers, such as the August Boeckh Centre for Antiquity and the Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies.

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Free University of Berlin

Score: 13.31

Freie Universität Berlin was founded in 1948, established through the collective efforts of students, academics, and scientists, backed by the American allied forces and political figures in Berlin. It values truth, justice, and freedom, which are important principles. Today, it’s considered one of Germany’s top universities.

Located in a green area of Berlin, it has over 33,000 students and offers 150 degree programs. The university has research centers, many staff members, and partnerships with global universities. It also promotes gender diversity.

The Free University of Berlin has had influential visitors, including President John F. Kennedy, who gave a famous speech there in 1963.

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Tayyab Naseer: TUM is in Munich, which is ‘the’ international city of Germany for students as it hosts two big universities, LMU and TUM. The environment for an international student is quite friendly. It holds a number of working opportunities for students during their study for which you do not require high German language skills (always advantageous to be good at it, though). These opportunities are mostly found at the companies and the research centres of the university. []
Jana Stalevska: I started looking into foreign Masters courses in my third year of Bachelor’s and chose universities. In the end, RWTH Aachen was the only university I applied to, so I looked at the requirements and started preparing. []
Prince Fabio Krishna Ames: I loved studying at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Berlin is probably one of the best cities for being a student, and Humboldt, being in the center of Berlin, makes it easy to enjoy the city. As I believe is true of all universities in Berlin, your student ID also functions as your BVG pass (transport pass), as well as a way to get cheap seats to the opera and other arts performances. []

Methodology Behind Our Rankings of Top German Universities for International Students

To compile our list of leading German universities for international students, our team of dedicated education analysts applied a comprehensive methodology:

  • Global HE Ranking Systems Score: We analyzed universities’ positions in global ranking systems such as , , and . This metric aggregates rankings from these established platforms, offering a global perspective on each university’s academic standing.
  • Cost of Living: Understanding the financial considerations of studying abroad, we evaluated the cost of living in university cities using data from .
  • Diversity Percentage: We assessed the diversity of the student population at each university based on official data from university websites. This metric reflects the multicultural environment and inclusivity of the student body.
  • Financial Aid for International Students: Our analysis included a thorough review of financial aid options available for international students, as stated on official university websites.
  • Career Services: We examined the career support services provided by universities, considering seven key offerings: Personal Counseling, Job Search/Job Portal, CV Guidance, Application Counseling, Mentoring Programs, Events & Career Fairs, and Additional Career Services and Resources. This metric evaluates how well universities prepare students for their future careers.
  • Employability Score: Incorporating data from , this score measures how effectively universities equip students for the job market, focusing on graduates’ success in securing employment.
  • Safety Index: Recognizing the importance of a safe living and studying environment, we considered city safety ratings sourced from .
  • English-Taught Study Options: We analyzed the range of study programs offered in English, based on information available on official university websites.

Each university was evaluated across these diverse criteria to ensure a balanced and comprehensive approach, catering specifically to the needs and preferences of international students in Germany.

For more information or inquiries, please contact us at [email protected].

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