How To Study in Germany Without Knowing German?

Germany offers free education for local and international students, so why not take advantage of this? German Universities are ranked as the world’s leading higher education institutions. To study in a financial and educational European center, you don’t need to speak German; there are plenty of English degree programs.

You can study in Germany without speaking German. To enroll at university, you need to prove proficiency in English. TOEFL with a minimum score of 71 and IELTS with a score of 6.5 are accepted in Germany. However, English bachelor’s programs include high tuition fees, yet master’s often can be free.

A wide range of German cities has plenty of universities that taught courses in English. Nevertheless, finding English programs online isn’t easy since the choice is so large and university websites are challenging to navigate. This article will provide you with all the necessary information about studying in Germany without speaking german.

Can you study in Germany without knowing German?

It’s possible to study in Germany even without speaking German. There are plenty of programs in English.

Germany has become one of the most popular destinations to study abroad in recent years for both German and English speakers alike.

It happens because many of the largest universities in the country are shifting their degree programs from German to English and a combination of English and German languages. Currently, there are 370,000 international students enrolled at German universities.

Nowadays, it’s possible to complete a full degree in Germany without taking a single course taught in the German language.

You can check all existing courses in English on the www.daad.de; it’s the main platform for international students and academic exchange/research.

International students that have zero knowledge of the German language should opt for bigger cities in Germany like Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg. They have a larger availability of English-taught programs.

However, little knowledge of the German language would broaden your opportunities to interact with local people and non-English speaking students. It would also enrich your skills and provide better networking opportunities.

Keep in mind, if you don’t know German at all, you’d be limited to specific foreign language programs that some universities offer. What can be expensive, for example, the bachelor program at private Jacobs University in Bremen will cost you 20,000 EUR per year.

Opportunities with English in Germany

Germany is quite an international country, with so many global companies, Germans are more than aware of the importance of an understanding of English, especially in the business world.

Add to that the fact that Germany is home to some of the most innovative and exclusive academic programs in the world for studying the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

Germany is a fantastic choice for studying abroad. Whether your goal is to gain academic knowledge and learn about your field, make memories by traveling Europe, or make long-lasting friendships, this country is a great place, even if you have no ability or desire to learn how to speak German.

The opportunities available to English-speaking international students are almost endless, with most universities offering full semesters of courses taught entirely in English and all English-speaking student housing to boot.

Studying in Germany is an experience that will take you out of your comfort zone and will teach you more about yourself and some other valuable lessons. Germany also provides an opportunity to work after graduation, which is a fantastic start for your international professional life.

German universities with English-taught programs

While many German universities offer at least a combination of German and English-taught degrees, some have complete programs in English.

These universities have the best facilities for international students and are located in big cities or within a short train ride.

Best English-taught bachelor degrees

There are 116 bachelor’s programs in Germany entirely taught in English, among them 60 programs without tuition fees. Some of these are private universities that set their own rates, many of which are below 10,000 EUR per semester. 

Some majors will have fewer English options than others, for example, Business, English/American Studies, and Engineering are easy to find. Be ready to pay up to 20,000 EUR per year for Bachelor’s degree, Master will cost you much less. In fact, it’s mostly free (except for administrative costs).

Universities offering Bachelor’s degree in English

1. Bachelor in Business Administration and Economics

UniversityProgram in English
FH Aachen – University of Applied SciencesGlobal Business and Economics, B.Sc.
University of HeidelbergEconomics
University of Applied Sciences Europe, BerlinBusiness and Management Studies, B.Sc. 
Fulda University of Applied Sciences International Business and Management, B.Sc.
Berlin School of Economics and LawInternational Business Management B.Sc.
University Bonn-Rhein-SiegInternational Business B.Sc.
Cologne Business School International Business B.Sc.

2. Bachelor in Engineering

UniversityProgram in English
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences Information Engineering BSc.
University of Applied Sciences of MannheimElectrical Engineering with a focus on Automation and Industrial Internet of Things BSc.
Technical University of IngolstadtEngineering and Management BEng.
University of Applied Sciences of DarmstadtExpanded Realities
Institute of Technology of DeggendorfIndustrial Engineering / Maintenance and Operation BEng.
Rhine-Waal University of Applied SciencesMechanical Engineering BSc.

3. Bachelor in Social Sciences

UniversityProgram in English
Bard College Berlin, a Liberal Arts University Economics, Politics, and Social Thought BA.
Rhine-Waal University of Applied SciencesGender and Diversity BA. 
University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology HermannsburgIntercultural Theology, Migration and Global Cooperation BA.
Freie Universität BerlinNorth American Studies BA.

4. Bachelor in Mathematics and Natural Sciences

UniversityProgram in English
Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, RheinbachApplied Biology BSc.
Technical University of Applied Sciences of CologneDigital Games BA
Rhine-Waal University of Applied SciencesBioengineering BSc.
Rhine-Waal University of Applied SciencesMobility and Logistics BSc. 
The University of FreiburgLiberal Arts and Sciences BA/BSc.

Best English-taught Master’s programs

You will find a wide variety of English taught Master’s programs in Germany. For example, all universities mentioned above offer English Master’s. Additionally, you can check the daad.de database. You need to be careful in choosing a study program cause many of them are taught only partly in English.

You might face difficulties in finding an English degree program in these fields:

  • Language and Cultural Studies (except American and English Studies)
  • Art and Art Theory 
  • Sport 
  • Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Requirements to study in Germany in English

Germans sincerely want people from all over the world to visit their beautiful country and study at their universities. Consequently, they have made the whole process extremely simple and easy for non-German speakers.

Students who are applying for an international course in Germany can enroll without the compulsion of showing proficiency in the German language. In this case, they have to show their level of English, tests TOEFL and IELTS are accepted. Only non-native English speakers have to do so.

Exchange students who usually stay in Germany for one or two semesters are not required to show any language proficiency at most German universities.

It’s advisable to learn the basics of the German language to enable you to communicate more effectively with the locals.

Main requirements are:

  • Your Diploma or School Certificate must be recognized in Germany
  • Equivalence to German Education
  • English Skills Certificate
  • Financial Proof
  • Health Insurance

How to apply to universities in Germany?

Admissions processes vary between institutions, so make sure you check the information given by your chosen university beforehand.

If you’re unable to find the entry requirements of a program you want to apply for, or you aren’t sure how to apply, visit the university’s International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) and read the information provided online or contact the office directly.

Generally, you’ll be asked to provide the following documentation with your application:

  • A certified copy of your higher education entrance qualification (e.g. a high-school diploma) and any other relevant qualifications in the original language
  • A translated overview of the subjects and grades of your qualifications
  • A passport photo
  • A copy of your passport (personal information and photo ID)
  • Proof of language proficiency (a test certificate or online equivalent)

For most public German universities, the application period for winter enrolment is the end of May to the 15th of July and the beginning of December to the 15th of January for the summer semester.

You should expect to receive a formal acceptance or rejection approximately one to two months after the deadline has passed. This can be very disappointing since you will have only a short period of time to organize a visa, your accommodations, and many other things.

The winter semester starts on October 1 and ends on March 31. The summer semester begins on April 1 and ends on September 30. You must have free time to organize all these formalities; the visa process can take up to 3 months.

To ensure the best chances of acceptance, take care to provide all the documentation asked for, and make sure all your documentation is translated and certified. Copies of some documents must be notarized, and education certificates must have an apostille from awarding organizations.

Check with your university which exactly documents you need to provide and in which form. It depends on your nationality as well as on your university.

Don’t forget to sign up for health insurance before and after coming to Germany.

We made the selection of health insurance in Germany easier for students. As an international student, you have a wide range of insurance providers to pick from, but we compared the best of them here.

In this article, international students, exchange students, interns, trainees, or researchers will find the best coverages at affordable rates.

Is it necessary to learn German if you study in Germany? 

Enrolling in one of the few hundred English-taught Bachelors available in Germany will make your academic life easier. Plus, you will meet other international students like you to hang out with. However, knowing a little German really makes a difference when it comes to everyday life.

Daily life

Just like most other places in the world, German people in small cities, the older generation, business people prefer speaking their native language. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable speaking English because of their strong accent.

Most people will probably speak English with you at university, but outside maybe not always. A bank clerk, a lady in a bakery, a cashier at the supermarket, a policeman – they all might face some difficulties switching the conversation to English, or it will be very awkward.

So, if you want to make Germany your home, you should consider taking some German-language courses while studying abroad.

German for your future plans

If you plan to return home or move to an English-speaking country after finishing your studies in Germany, you don’t need to worry about learning german.

BUT if you would like to do an internship here, start your Master’s, or find a good job and have a future in Germany – consider starting to familiarize yourself with the german language already at the beginning.

Most likely, it will take some years before you will be fluent in it. Remember that most jobs in Germany are in the local language. You will do yourself a favor by starting the learning process as soon as possible. Even to take employment while you are studying with some level of german will be much easier.

Knowing the local language is always an added advantage if you live in a non-English-speaking county. It would be helpful to you in a part-time job and post-work. You can easily take german courses at your university, and it might even be free.

Learning German is not so bad as you will know the language of one of the most powerful countries in the world, and many job-related opportunities will open up for you if you plan to stay in Germany after your studies.

German for unforgettable experience

However, keep in mind that one of the ultimate goals of studying abroad is meeting and interacting with a new culture very different from your own. If you plan to simply attend classes taught in English and interact only with fellow English speakers, you limit your experience abroad.

Maybe better will be staying at home and save the effort needed to study abroad in Germany. Learning German will give you all the insides of the german way of life, local culture, and mentality. Only through learning their language will you deeply understand the country and people.

If you want more in-depth experience abroad, learning German is a must.

What’s the difference between a university and a fachhochschule?

The University of Applied Science is the official translation for Fachhochschule. The main characteristic of Fachhochschule, is that it represents a close relationship between higher education and the employment system.

These institutions focus on the practical side of higher education and so offer more concrete specializations relevant to the labor market.

Fachhochschule (FH) doesn’t offer a PhD degree, and they focus on practical education. Most FHs have established connections with companies in the region. Each student must complete at least 3 months-long internships and one semester abroad. Schedules and degree length are fixes.

Majors like philosophy, German studies, history, and other humanities are not available at FH, well as law and medicine.

I dedicated an entire post about the differences between University and a Fachhochschule, you can read it here.

Can you work in Germany during the studies?

Yes, you indeed can work while studying in Germany. This is a significant advantage of pursuing a high degree in Germany. It costs almost nothing, and you can earn some money at the same time! Here are regulations for working students:

1. If you are a full-time EU or EEA student (or from Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland), you can work for up to 20 hours per week.

2. If you are a full-time student from Non-EU/EEA countries, you will be limited to working up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year and max. 20 hours per week. You don’t need the approval of the German Employment Agency (Arbeitsamt) to take employment.

However, non-EU/EEA students cannot become self-employed or work as freelancers.

Keep in mind that an internship in Germany during the study period counts as a regular job – even if it is unpaid (for Non-EU/EEA).

Read more about working as a student in Germany.

Stay in Germany after studies

Graduates from German universities are allowed to extend their residence permit for 18 more months for the job search. It applies to all international students who complete English and German degrees, bachelor’s, and master’s.

It’s the beauty of studying in Germany that they give such opportunities to international students.

After finding a suitable job, you can apply either for EU Blue Card if the salary is high enough or a German residence permit for a work purpose.

EU Blue Card

EU Blue Card is issued for a maximum of 4 years, with a minimum annual salary of 56,400 EUR (2022) and 43,992 EUR for professions from the shortage category.

After 2 years of possessing the EU Blue Card, professionals can apply for a permanent residence permit. Read more about the EU Blue card in the separate post.

Germany Employment Residence Permit

This residence will be valid depending on the length of a work contract. In case of extension of the work agreement, it can be extended too. For the successful application annual salary must be at least 48,800 EUR.

It’s possible to continue your stay in Germany after graduation, and many people do so. The only obstacle you might face is finding a job with this salary level. Luckily, graduates could also start their own business if a job search wasn’t successful.

10 Best Universities in Europe for Bachelor Degree: A Guide

If you considering to study in Germany or in other European country, you want to know what universities are the best out there.

Here are top 10 universities in Europe for Bachelor degree:

  • The University of Oxford, England
  • Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany
  • University of Vienna, Austria
  • The University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • The University of Barcelona, Spain
  • Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), Netherlands
  • The University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain
  • Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
  • The Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

My overview includes places where I personally would consider studying and live from different perspectives such as the language of courses, country, city, living costs, tutorial fees, weather, economy, culture, nature, people, food, etc. First, you need to decide what are your main priorities and go from there

1. The University of Oxford, England

Probably most of us already have heard about this exceptional University with excellent teaching, research, learning opportunities, and about 23.000 students from around the globe.

Known as the oldest college in English-speaking counties, and world’s second-oldest after the University of Bologna. To study here you will need to prepare to invest a good amount of money, one semester will cost $11,700 for undergrads from the U.K. and European Union, and anywhere between $19,860 and $29,230 for students from the rest of the world

We all know that English Universities are at the top of the ranking and probably always will be. Let’s shift our focus and look at other public universities, which could be worth your attention.

2. Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany

LMU located in the historical center of the second south “capital” Munich. If you do speak German or would like to learn (for your future professional competences) its a great place to study! 

With about 51.000 students it is one of the biggest in Germany and Europe’s leading research universities.  Found in 1472 LMU attracts many Germans as well as international students from around the world.

Creative thinking, problem-solving and research are central to LMU’s academic programs. Best programs to take: Physics, Psychology, Management, and Business.

The great thing about studying in Germany is student fees, which do not exist, however, you need to pay administration costs around 250 EUR in the semester, which includes a monthly ticket for public transport.

From my experience, Munich has a vibrant student life and a relaxing city atmosphere, as I lived in Munich for several months and around a year in the city nearby. 

3. University of Vienna, Austria

O Vienna, charming city with a long history behind and very cultivated people. The University has about 91.000 students from approximately 130 countries. Founded in 1365 Vienna University one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe.

The student’s fees will be 750 EUR per semester, which makes Austria more expensive to study as Germany, but in general living costs are the same.

4. The University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Big advantage of study in Denmark that you can pretty easy to find almost any course of English. Copenhagen University with over 40,000 students and more than 9,000 employees,  is one of the largest in the Nordic countries. It is considered to be more research dominate institutions, so what are you looking for don’t miss a chance.

Life in Denmark could be pricey, however, after graduation, you will have the best opportunities to find a high salary job in Scandinavian countries. For all students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland study in Denmark is free. Unfortunately, students coming from outside the EU/EEA or Non-Nordic Countries must pay between EUR 10,000 to 17,000 per academic year.

5. The University of Barcelona, Spain

We could not forget one of the most vibrant and charming cities in the world with months of endless sunshine (that’s a solid point) – Barcelona. The University of the Catalonian capital has over 60.000 students.

Almost 15% of the students are from overseas and of over 122 different nationalities, which makes it a very foreigner’s friendly place! A degree like International Business and English Studies, Physiotherapy, Bioinformatics, Tourism are taught in English, but other programs only partly.

6. Utrecht University, Netherlands

The Netherlands is a multicultural country with most English spoken populations in the EU outside the UK. Established in 1636 the Utrecht University offers a wide variety of English courses for bachelor programs as well as master. Courses list ranges from science to languages.

You will be surrounded by many international students due each year thousands of newcomers come to Utrecht. That’s especially visible in the Netherlands, which famous for international connection and globalization. City Utrecht the fourth largest city in the Netherlands known for beautiful historical downtown with Medieval buildings.

7. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), Netherlands

The university offers over 170 English-taught programs at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level, nearly a quarter of all students come from all over the world. Vrije translates as “free” institution was founded in 1880 as an open organization, VU open its doors widely for foreigners.

International students usually don’t have communication problems in the whole Netherlands, thanks well English spoken locals.

Amsterdam unique energized and at the same time a relaxed city in Europe! If you haven’t been yet in this stunning place, you are missing out. However, be cautious with visiting time, winter is unpleasant there.

8. The University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain

Surprisingly, this public University in the capital of Spain offers a countless amount (more than half) of great English-taught courses for Bachelor! O got, why I did not know it, my choice would be different now! The University Carlos III of Madrid has about 19.000 Students and 15.000 of them are undergraduates.

The organization has a strong reputation in business subjects, which is regularly ranked amongst the top 50 institutions worldwide. And yeah don’t forget, a Bachelor’s Degree in Spain takes 4 years, compared with some other countries where you need to finish 3 years.

Shortly about Madrid: from my experience a very comfortable city, solid size (6,5 million inhabitants), traditionally stunning Spanish architecture, a great variety of bars and cafes, tasty tapas. And do not forget that in Madrid you will find the biggest Zara in the world!

9. Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

The University has three faculties with business administration, economics, and social sciences, which does make it quite simple to choose a program. The course language is various from Hungarian, English, French to German. University is located on the Danube River with a beautiful view over another part of the city –  Buda.

Budapest is a great city for budget lovers, tutorial fees quite low as well – between 2-3.000 USD a year. The Hungarian capital is living the life, with a big amount of young inhabitants, you feel energy and innovation flowing in.

Moreover, the location allows traveling easily to neighborhood countries like Austria, Slovakia, Czechia, Croatia while you have a semester break.

10. The Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

This is the oldest, largest and best-rated university in the Czech Republic, founded in 1348. Big institution with over 50.000 students offering 6 Bachelor’s Degree in different fields such as Business, Social science, Humanities.

Its widely known as a research university and frequent international projects. Overall students are satisfied with the general aspects of university.

One thing to note, studying in the Czech Republic is inexpensive but English programs required a 6.000 USD a year tutorial fees.

Yes, fees might make you tight in the budget, luckily the Czech Republic is not an expensive country and Prague too. You can still live a decent life there if you avoid touristy spots and not renting an apartment in the center.

Have you ever heard that Prague locals consume more beer than anyone in the world? That makes Prague the best place to grab a beer and pork knuckle in hundreds of traditional restaurants.

Despite a medieval city with beautiful 14-century architecture, the city is home to many clubs, bars, pubs and even the biggest club in Europe!

Anna

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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