Studying in Germany: Don’t Speak German? Don’t Worry!

by Jay Malone /
Jay Malone's picture
Nov 13, 2014 / 0 comments

In July, the Technical University of Munich announced that it was going to start instructing all of its graduate level programs in English. While this is probably the most extreme example of the movement in Germany towards English-taught academic instruction, German universities as a whole have recognized the importance of tailoring their course offerings and study programs to meet the needs of both domestic and international students.

Germany already offers over 1,000 English-taught study programs, but most of these are focused on a few specific subjects. Students who are interested in studying engineering have a wealth of opportunities to study in English, as do business students. Most universities in Germany have introduced programs in these areas, or have changed the language of instruction in extant programs. This has happening due to the widespread recognition of the importance for engineers and business leaders to be able to function effectively in the global marketplace. The German government has also encouraged the introduction of English-taught programs in order to encourage high-achieving students from abroad to move to Germany.


Studying Abroad in Germany


Students who are interested in studying in Germany but who have backgrounds in the humanities or social sciences also have a lot of opportunities to study in English at German universities. In the past 15 years, universities across the countries have encouraged professors to offer more classes in English, and this has greatly improved the quality of offerings for students studying subjects like history, sociology, political science, and economics. Most universities now have programs in the humanities or in the social sciences.

If you’re thinking about studying in English in a bachelor program, you should know that there very few available right now. Of the 1,000 plus English-taught programs, almost all of them are at the graduate and post-graduate levels. There are more than 150 English-taught Bachelors, but most of these are related to linguistics or cultural studies, and the rest are mostly at institutions that charge tuition fees. But this doesn’t mean you should give up on Germany as a study destination. Most undergraduate degrees are based on three-year study programs, requiring students to study for six total semester in order to receive a Bachelor’s degree. And, because German universities offer subsidized German courses for international students, you can receive a B.A. or B.S. from a German university in a German-taught program in approximately the same amount of time it would take to receive a degree in the United States or Canada.

Completing a full degree abroad can seem like a tall order for many students before they begin their studies, but the leaders of the German university system have worked hard over the last few decades to make it as easy as possible for students to find English-taught graduate programs that suit their interests, removing the hurdle of learning the German language for international students. Students also have the option to learn German intensively at highly discounted rates before they embark on their studies, which, when paired with the three year study-requirement for Bachelor’s degrees, makes Germany a very appealing destination for students the world around.



Jay Malone is an American graduate student and teacher living in Germany and the founder of Eight Hours and Change


Photo courtesy and copyright Jay Malone