Legal framework

The Basic Law, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, guarantees the freedom of science, research and teaching and is thus the legal foundation of the German higher education system. Another important legal basis in the federal system of the Federal Republic of Germany is the laws and constitutions of the federal states, as the federal states are responsible for all matters of education (a principle known as the cultural sovereignty of the federal states). The relevant provisions for higher education institutions can be found in the higher education laws of the federal states.

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Higher education laws

The legal basis for higher education in Germany is formed by the Higher Education Laws. The Federal Higher Education Framework Act (HRG) in the version of 12 April 2007 is still applicable law, which can now be replaced by state law. Only in the area of higher education admissions and degrees has legislative competence remained with the federal government, although the latter has not made use of this so far.

The German higher education system is governed by the higher education legislation of individual states, which specifies and supplements the legal requirements of the federal government and the federal states. In some states there are additional state laws for universities of the arts, which of course must also be observed. Most state constitutions grant higher education institutions the right to regulate their legal affairs on a self-governing basis within the framework of higher education autonomy.

The higher education laws of the federal states describe the general objectives of higher education institutions as well as the general principles governing the organisation of higher education, studies, teaching and research, student admissions, membership and participation, and university staff. These regulations apply in principle to all higher education institutions, i.e. also to institutions that are not publicly funded.

Research Map

The HRK Research Map allows you to search for German higher education institutions by the key research areas the institution is best known for.

Research Map