Higher education institutions in Germany

Germany has state and state-accredited institutions of higher education which are mainly divided into universities, universities of applied sciences, and colleges of art and music. The majority of higher education institutions are financed by the state and therefore fall under its regulatory control. However, there are also higher education institutions run by the Protestant and Catholic Churches, and by private institutions that are officially recognised by the state. Most private higher education institutions are universities of applied sciences.

Universities in Germany

Universities and institutions of equivalent status to universities are the only higher education institutions in Germany with the right to confer doctorates. Universities are normally strongly research-oriented and typically offer a wide range of subjects. Some universities specialise in particular fields (e.g. technology, art, or medicine). Universities in Germany also include a number of religious and philosophical-theological institutions, as well as universities of education in Baden-Württemberg that provide teacher training programmes.


Universities of applied sciences / HAW in Germany

The distinguishing feature of universities of applied sciences is their strong emphasis on practical work and application. Universities of applied sciences usually offer a narrower range of subjects than universities and are focused primarily on the fields of engineering, business, and social sciences.

In Germany, there are also around 30 universities of applied sciences for national and regional public authorities. These institutions provide training for careers in senior levels of civil service and can only be attended by officials working in the public services.

Universities of applied sciences / HAW

Colleges of art and Colleges of music in Germany

Colleges of art and music are higher education institutions of equivalent status to universities. They provide an education in the visual arts, creative arts, performing arts, and musical subjects. In some cases, programmes in these subjects are also offered by the corresponding departments or faculties of universities.

Colleges of art and music

The Higher Education Compass also provides a summary of all the German higher education institutions that have signed up to the National Code of Conduct on Foreign Students at German Higher Education Institutions for dealing with international students.