After World War II Germany was split into two countries which were informally known as East and West Germany. They were later reunified in 1994. The country’s capital is Berlin and the official currency is the Euro. Christianity is the largest religion in Germany.
Academic education in Germany emphasizes on basic knowledge, theoretical background and practical application. The first graduate degree obtained is called bachelor’s degree. One can continue with a master’s program. Both the bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs are generally divided into modules. Modules are academic units comprising of lectures, seminars and practical sessions. A module can take a maximum of two semesters to complete and consists of six-ten hours of academic work per week.
Some popular undergraduate courses are Bachelor in International Business, BSc in Management, Bachelor of Business Administration, BSc in Automation Technology, BSc Electronics and BA in Information Engineering. Post graduate courses like MBA, Masters in Computer Engineering, Masters in International Management and MSc Aerospace Engineering are given preference. The Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg is one of the most reputed universities in the world. Other popular institutes are: The Technical University of Munich, the University of Stuttgart, University of Dresden, Cologne Business School, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and Dusseldorf Institute of Applied Sciences. They attract quite a few students from all over the world.
To apply for a Bachelor’s degree, a school leaving certificate, (e.g. high school diploma, A-levels baccalaureate) is required. They are recognized as a higher education entrance qualification. Additionally some universities may ask for SAT scores as well. Applicants for a Master’s degree and PhD programs will require a university degree as well. While applying for Master’s degree programs, one should bear in mind that in some colleges it may be mandatory to take the GRE/GMAT exam prior to admission. Courses and programs taught in English are sometimes referred to as international programs.
Applicants wishing to pursue an international degree program do not necessarily have to take a German proficiency test. An English language certificate like TOEFL or IELTS is often required. Each university/college decides on the minimum score required to secure admission. A prospective international student also needs to provide a proof of financial resources. At present, foreign students must prove that they have at least 8000 per year at their disposal. This document will need to be submitted with the visa application or when one applies for a residence permit. Other documents that may be asked are resume, letters of recommendation, letter of motivation and a copy of the passport. Requirements are college/course specific and may vary accordingly. Germany has two intakes in a year — one during winter that begins in October and one during summer that starts in April. Generally, the deadline for the winter admissions is July 15 and for the summer admissions is January 15.These may vary from college to college. Although one need not know German for academic reasons, it is important to know the language for life outside college.
German public institutions of higher education normally waive tuition fees for many bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. However some institutes may charge approximately 500 per semester for tuition, between 150&250 as semester fee and about 50 per semester for registration. Certain Master’s degree programs charge higher fees which can be more than 10,000 per semester approximately. It’s best to check with each institute about their fee structure before applying.
Financial aid, grants and scholarships can be competitive and may be granted on the basis of study of subject/research, academic achievement and economic background. Funding can be in the form of financial scholarships which generally cover the applicant’s entire living expenses. Many institutions also offer non-monetary scholarships where recipients are invited to workshops, lectures and scientific conferences. However, grants for undergraduate students are limited. The aids and funding are mostly awarded to Master’s and doctoral students.
International student services offices and helpdesks in college assist students with accommodation, insurance, administrative procedures etc. There are programs to promote academic, organizational, social and cultural integration.
Source: This article was originally published in Mid-Day newspaper – PDF File: Studying in Germany