Types of higher education institutions in Germany

There are over 400 recognised institutions of higher education throughout Germany. In tota they offer almost 18,000 degree programmes :grinning: that’s LOADS of programmes for you to choose from!

The main types of higher education institutions in Germany are:

  • 108 Universities and Technical Universities (TU)
  • 216 Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen-FH)
  • 52 Colleges of Arts and Music
    Preparatory courses which are in some cases required for admission to higher education in Germany are offered in the Studienkolleg

German universities put strong emphasis on research and the combination of teaching and research. Full universities offer courses in basically all subject areas. Some universities, however, specialise in specific subject areas for instance the Technische Universitat (Technical University) or the Medizinische Hochschule (Medical School).

Only universities (and technical universities, medical schools, etc. ) can award doctoral degrees.

With their impressive research resources and facilities, their often long-standing tradition, and significant libraries and archives, universities provide excellent opportunities for specialisation and advanced research.


Universities of Applied Sciences

Universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) offer more practice-oriented studies and applied research. They are extremely popular with Malaysian students, the majority of which decide to embark on engineering courses at a Fachhochschule.

Research at these institutions is primarily directed towards practical requirements. In teaching and research, the Fachhochschulen often closely cooperate with local industries. Universities of applied sciences offer Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.


Before I forget, note that some universities of applied sciences require applicants to do internships before they can be admitted.

College of Art, Film and Music

Colleges of art, film and music prepare you for careers in art, music, design, media, and film. Students wishing to study these courses must demonstrate their particular artistic talent and are usually required to pass an aptitude test. In most cases, applicants have to submit a portfolio of their own art or design work. Applicants wishing to study music are usually required to pass an audition.


Diploma holders from a recognised university or polytechnic can be considered for admission into a one-year preparatory course at a Studienkolleg which is free of charge.

This is not a university course, take note, but a pre-university programme leading up to an examination which is considered proof that you have the knowledge and qualifications required for studies in a specific subject area.

As the Studienkolleg is conducted in German, applicants are expected to have acquired some command of German before they can be admitted.