Consultation Booking

Study in Germany Overview

In recent years, Germany has become one of the most notable destinations for overseas students worldwide. From 2018 - 2019, Germany has attracted nearly 395,000 international students from all over the Earth. So what makes this country so attractive?


Germany - The world’s leading education system

The top 10 German schools have been listed in the Top 175 schools in the world. Based on official reports in 2018, there are 429 public post-secondary institutions in Germany (106 are universities). Some of them have been consistently featured in the rankings of the world's best universities. Some schools could be mentioned such as: Bielefeld University, Freie Berlin University, Friedrich Schiller Jena University, Goethe Frankfurt University, and so on.

Since Germany has very strict standards for accrediting its education providers, most international students who come to study in Germany often appreciate these universities for the quality of their education, practical experience during the learning process, opportunities for academic improvement during and after graduation, and most importantly, a safe and welcoming environment. Moreover, a degree from a German university will be respected worldwide and open doors to your career choices.

Affordable tuition fees

Despite the fact that Germany has an excellent educational system, which is recognized worldwide, about 35.3% of international students pay attention to Germany because of its reasonable tuition fees according to a survey by Study in Germany. The cost of living in this country is also quite affordable, only about 861 EUR per month. There may be different policies applicable to undergraduate courses, second degree, and graduate courses, depending on the State, the University, or each specific course. Furthermore, there are many scholarships in Germany to support international students financially.

Diverse jobs for international students

As an international student in Germany, you are allowed to work up to 120 days a year. International students will be allowed to work up to 120 days, or half a day for 240 days per year. Common part-time jobs are teaching or research assistants at universities, English language teaching assistants, sales staff or waiter/waitress at cafes or bars, etc. While working part-time, students can earn a little extra pocket money, and have the opportunity to learn more about the local culture and lifestyle; however, they often find it a bit “oppressive.”, especially when the curriculum of the semesters gradually becomes more difficult. By working part-time, students can earn about 450 EUR per month, with a salary of 5 to 15 EUR per hour.

Stable economic development

The German economy is one of the largest in the world, due to a developed labor market and stable conditions. In 2020, despite being affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, Germany's GDP is still ranked fourth in the world. This is also one of the reasons for the strong development of education in Germany.

Beautiful landscapes

With a long-lasting history and culture, Germany is famous for its beautiful landscapes, castles and interesting architecture that play an important role in attracting foreigners. Students who come here to study abroad not only have the opportunity to explore tourist attractions, but also spend time learning and experiencing the traditional culture of Germany in general and of local residents in particular.

Pleasant mild climate

Germany is located in Central Europe, bordering the Baltic and North Seas, between the Netherlands and Poland, bordering Denmark to the south, stretching 853 km from the northern border with Denmark to the Alps in the south. In general, the climate of Germany is temperate marine. Under the influence of the sea, the climate here is mild, with four seasons of the year, neither too hot nor too cold. However, the climate will still vary, although not too large, depending on the area. Therefore, the climate of Germany is one of the favorable conditions for international students to live and study here.

Multicultural learning and living environment

Germany attracts people from all over the world due to its innumerable advantages, from its quality of life, job opportunities, to its interesting culture and traditions. Studying abroad in Germany means you have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, learn about different cultures and make friends, especially when students all over the world have started showing attention to Germany.


To understand German education well, we first need to know that Germany is a country with a federal government system. That means member states have autonomy in their education policy — a structure not much different from the US federal system.

The Federal Ministry for Education & Research in Berlin (BMBF) plays an important role in many aspects, such as fundraising, financial support, setting regulations on vocational training as well as the entry requirements of the professions. But most of the remaining aspects of education fall under the jurisdiction of each state's department of education. As a result, there can be significant differences in education between states in terms of study time, curriculum, types of schools, etc. Hence, the Permanent Conference of the Ministers of Education and Culture as a coordinating party has partly harmonized education policy among the states.

How is the German education system structured?

Generally, the structure of the education system in Germany is quite simple. However, at the high school level, there is a division into many types of schools with different training characteristics and many confusing corresponding degrees.

Structure of the education system in Germany

Specifically include:


Although children in Germany are not required to go to school until the age of 6, most children (3–5 years old) are sent to kindergarten. This is considered an important preparation step for children to be ready to enter primary school.

Primary school  - Grundschule (Grade 1 - Grade 4 or Grade 1 - Grade 6 in Berlin and Brandenburg)

Children receive primary education at the Grundschule (primary school) from the age of 6, which usually lasts for 4 years, or 6 years in Berlin and Brandenburg. Most of the children study the same subjects, but there are some differences between the state curricula, which will usually include German, mathematics, social studies, physical education, technology, music, and religion/ethics. All students in 3rd grade will also begin learning a foreign language (usually English, French), although in some states they have already started learning since 1st grade.

When entering high school, students will be divided into three different branches, attending schools with different characteristics and teaching methods suitable for them to study further (both university and vocational training). . Therefore, up to the 4th grade (or 6th grade), they will be consulted and choose a school depending on the capacity and wishes of the family. However, students can still transfer to another branch later on.

Secondary school

The public high school system in Germany is very complicated. There are four main programs, taught at different types of schools: Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium, and Gesamtschule.

  • Hauptschule: teaches only basic secondary school programs, usually five years (grades 5-9). Students after studying Hauptschule can transfer directly to study and complete the Realschule program after one year. If you want to study further, you need to take an entrance exam.
  • Hauptschule - Secondary General School (Grade 5 - Grade 9) or (Grade 5 - Grade 10): students will study the same subjects as at Realschule or Gymnasium but at a slower pace and combined with apprenticeship-oriented learning, most students will participate in part-time work in an apprentice position. Hauptschule is the least popular choice in Germany. After completing the final exam (at the end of 9th or 10th grade), most students either transfer to a Berufsschule - a kind of 2-year vocational school or enroll in Fachhochschule Vocational Colleges, and then transferred to the University of Applied Sciences, also called Fachhochschule.
  • Realschule: more academically demanding and takes an extra year to complete (grade 10).
  • Realschule - Secondary School (Grades 5 - 10): more academically demanding. After graduation, students can choose to study under the Berufsschule vocational training program or enroll in the Fachhochschule Vocational Colleges, and then transfer to the Universities of Applied Sciences, also known as Fachhochschule.
  • Gymnasium: lasting from grades 5 to 12 (or 13 in some states), Gymnasium teaches advanced secondary education in Germany. At the age of 18 or 19, students must take an exam in order to go to college. In addition, there are many other types of vocational schools for students in grades 10-13 with many different types of education. No matter which school a student attends, they must complete 9 years of high school. If you study in Germany, you must also comply with this regulation. Besides, students are also required to learn at least one foreign language within 5 years. Knowing a foreign language is a must when learning Gymnasium.
  • Gymnasium - Academic Secondary School (Grades 5 - 12 or Grade 13): specialized advanced theory program, suitable for students wishing to enter Universität Universities. The Gymnasium program also requires students to know at least one additional foreign language. After graduating from the Gymnasium, students will receive a Baccalaureate (Abitur) degree and can study at Universität or Fachhochschule University.
  • Gesamtschule - Comprehensive School (Grade 5 - Grade 12 or Grade 13): this is a comprehensive school, there are 3 types of Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium. Gesamtschule can organize pre-university programs for elite students, general programs for average students, and simple programs for students with less ability.

In addition, the system of private high schools in Germany is divided into two categories:

  • Alternative schools “Ersatzschulen”. Providing equal lessons and courses as public secondary schools.
  • Complementary schools “Ergänzungsschulen”. Teaching additional courses, despite those that are also offered in the public secondary schools.

No matter which school a student attends, they are required to complete 9 years of high school. If you study in Germany, you must also comply with this regulation.

Vocational schools (2-3 years): are not part of the public education system but are invested and sponsored by the federal government. It allows students participating in vocational training to study at a company as well as at a national trade school. This model is highly appreciated and simulated around the world, specifically: Some free vocational training companies have this program such as Nursing, Hospitality Industry. Some vocational schools also offer a pathway program, which helps students gain an additional certificate of “Zeugnis der Fachhoch Hochschulreife” (University of Applied Sciences Maturity Certificate) to apply to the University of Applied Sciences or a small General University in the state.

There are two common types of vocational schools: Dual System Vocational Schools - Berufsschule and Vocational Schools - Berufsfachschule and Fachoberschulen. The most obvious difference between these two programs is that Berufsschule's entry into the program receives diplomas from the Realschule and Gymnasium programs; while Berufsfachschule and Fachoberschulen receive diplomas from the Realschule and Hauptschule programs.

College and graduate school

Universities (3-4 years): Germany has 2 types of universities: Universities (Universität) and Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule - FHs), in which:

Universities (Universität): most are institutions that teach a full range of subjects, from bachelor's degrees to doctoral degrees.

Fachhochschule (FHs): A type of university that teaches more practical and application-oriented knowledge than normal universities, such as engineering, business or computer science, etc.

In addition, in Germany, students can choose between English or German language programs.

  • Curriculum in German: The general condition for the undergraduate level is the Abitur exam (similar to the high school graduation exam in Vietnam) consisting of two parts, speaking, and writing. After passing the exam the student will receive the “Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife” (certificate of general university maturity) to be considered for the University but the student has to decide quickly about submitting the graduation transcript in the University they want because the number is limited. An outstanding advantage of the German language program is that international students can study for free or pay very reasonable tuition fees.
  • Curriculum in English: In Germany, many universities organize international programs taught in English. These Programs are chosen not only by the vast majority of international students but also by German students who wish to become fluent in English and improve and improve their international communication skills. Schools training this type of program have direct authority and responsibility for admissions. Candidates are selected based on academic performance criteria. The foreign language prerequisite for most programs of this type is English with a TOEFL 550 or IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

Master (1-2 years)

Ph.D.: there is usually no standard time to get a Ph.D. degree (Doktorgrad). The doctoral program includes:

  • Independent Research
  • Ph.D. thesis defense


In order to create conditions for people from all over the world to live and study in Germany, besides applying the policy of free education, the German government and a number of organizations also support many attractive scholarship programs for international students.

Government Scholarship

DAAD Scholarship (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst):

Founded in Heidelberg in 1925, DAAD has become one of the leading organizations supporting student and scientist exchange programs. So far, DAAD has created opportunities for more than 1.9 million domestic and foreign scholars to study and research abroad. 

Support fees

As of August 1, 2020, the DAAD scholarship programs supporting Master's students are 861 EUR/month and 1.200 EUR/month for PhD students. In addition, students are also paid medical insurance, accident insurance, and personal liability insurance, travel allowance, unless these costs are covered by other funding sources.

Depending on the scholarship program, students may also receive a one-time research grant, a family allowance, funds for language courses, or a monthly rent allowance.

Subjects & support period

The scholarships apply to a variety of ologies, such as Economic Sciences, Law, Agro-Forestry Sciences, Arts, Music, Design, Engineering Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, Language and Culture Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Health Sciences, etc. will usually last from 12 to 36 months depending on the length of the chosen program of study.

Requirements for applicants

To win a DAAD scholarship, at the time of application, candidates must have graduated with a Bachelor's degree no more than 6 years old and must have at least two years of professional work experience.

On the other hand, the language used for instruction in a German study program is usually German or English. Therefore, to apply for a scholarship, you usually have to submit an appropriate language certificate. For example, if the language of instruction is German, you must submit a DSH or TestDaF certificate, and an IELTS certificate if the language of instruction is English.

Procedures & documents required for registration

The application process may vary depending on the scholarship program, but for most scholarships funded by DAAD, simply submit your online application through the DAAD portal. However, in some programs, the scholarship application (brief summary) must be printed and mailed. 

Moreover, you also need to prepare the following documents:

  • A signed letter of interest relevant to your current occupation, up to 2 A4 pages, outlining your education, skills and knowledge and why you are applying for the scholarship.
  • A handwritten CV in Europass' format can be found at the following website for details:
  • Letter of recommendation/offer from your employer must have letterhead, signature and office stamp and must be recent.
  • Certified copy of academic transcript (certified translation if required)
  • Notarized copy of the academic degree (certified translation if required)
  • Language certificate: English - IELTS/ German - if the course is taught in German

Depending on the requirements of the university you are applying to, you may need to submit additional documents. The application deadline also depends on the scholarship program you are applying for.

DeutschlandStipendium National Scholarship Program

In 2019, thanks to government donations and more than 7,000 donors, Deutschlandstipendium supported scholarships to approximately 28,200 students from all over the world. 

 Requirements for applicants

This scholarship will be awarded by universities, which means that applicants must meet the requirements of the universities, and of course, each school will have different requirements.

Support cost & time

The amount that this scholarship gives students is 300 EUR/month for two semesters. In addition, the scholarship is renewable each year, meaning that if you still meet the requirements set out, you can still renew the scholarship. In addition to financial support, students also participate in mentoring programs, meet with sponsors to find more job and internship opportunities.

Procedures & documents required for registration

Normally, the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship will start accepting applications once a year in June. The scholarship application that you need to prepare is not too complicated, it usually includes: CV (written according to Europas format), student card, transcript, letter of intent, certificate of community activities (if so). Then, you can fill out the application form provided, scan the documents you have prepared and email it to the universities of your choice.

Non-Government Scholarship

Heinrich Boll Scholarship

Overview, subjects & supporting ologies, application time

The Heinrich Böll Foundation has supported scholarships for 1,000 undergraduate, master, and doctoral students from all over the world. However, until now, this organization only accepts online applications, the application portal will open about 6 weeks before March 1 and September 1 every year.

Support costs

Non-EU students studying for a Master's degree will receive  850 EUR/month, in addition to personal allowances (which may include tuition fees), while EU students will receive 649 EUR plus Book fee 300 EUR/month.

On the other hand, PhD students from non-EU countries will receive 1.200 EUR/month, in addition to 100 EUR/month travel allowance and other personal allowances (not including tuition fees). Doctoral students from the EU will receive 1.350 EUR/month, plus 100 EUR/month research stipend (not including tuition fees). The scholarship is for a period of two years, renewable twice a year by students.

Requirements for applicants, procedures and documents required for registration

To win a Heinrich Böll scholarship, applicants must be responsible, trustworthy and willing to make an active contribution to the foundation's activities. In addition, applicants must also have excellent academic records, obtain a German language certificate of at least B2 or DSH 2. The Heinrich Böll scholarship also gives preference to candidates who participate in many social activities and are interested in political issues.

Application documents include an application form, list of certificates you have obtained during your studies (if so), certificate of social activities (if so), German language certificate (B2 or DSH 2 ), university or university lecturer's recommendation letter, notarized copy of high school diploma/university pass or equivalent document, notarized copy of bachelor's/master's degree (for Master/Ph.D. system).

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Scholarship (KAS)

Overview, subjects & supporting ologies, application time

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Scholarship is for students wishing to pursue a Master's, Doctoral, or PhD degree program or as a doctoral student in many disciplines from law, science, music to medicine, etc. at least three semesters in Germany. 

Support costs

As of August 1, 2020, Master's students will receive a support of 861 EUR/month for two years. As for PhD students, the support level will be 1.200 EUR/month for three years. Besides, students have also subsidized health care insurance up to 120 EUR/month and many other allowances. 

Unlike Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees in Germany have to pay tuition fees, so the program will refund 1.500 EUR/semester (applicable only to courses related to research/doctoral projects). Preference will be given to applicants with an interest in politics, human rights and social issues in general.

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Scholarship contributes to the promotion of cross-cultural communication and at the same time promotes the development of relations between your countries and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Procedures and applications for scholarships

Every year, only the focus countries or regions are allowed to go through the scholarship application procedures. In 2020, the focus regions will be Central Europe, Southeast Asia, the Near East and West Africa. Interviews will be conducted in Budapest, Seoul, Amman and the capital in West Africa (unspecified). If you are living near these cities, you can check the website for the procedure and submit your application directly to the KAS office.

In case you are living or studying in Germany, you can fill out the online scholarship application with the required documents.

Only applicants under the age of 30 have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship. Applications for the scholarship should include a university degree, an above-average personal transcript, a German language certificate (B2 level), a letter of interest, a letter of recommendation from a university professor or lecturer with a PhD, etc. Besides, candidates need to actively participate in volunteer work, be interested in political issues, and have a positive attitude towards democracy and human rights. The application deadline is at 12 P.M on July 15 every year.

Erasmus Scholarship Programs

As an EU-wide grant funded by the member states of the European Union, Erasmus will provide financial support to international students for one year at universities in Germany. To receive a scholarship to Germany, you must be enrolled in a higher education institution and both your home university and the German university must sign the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education.

Most major universities in the EU participate in the Erasmus program, with German universities participating in many research programs funded by Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus+ scholarships. The allowances will cover the cost of enrollment, travel, as well as basic living expenses. You can find a complete list of Erasmus Mundus masters courses on the Erasmus directory. You can search for courses taken in Germany.


To reduce the cost burden for the family, find more sources for their own interests and needs as well as find opportunities to experience more reality, working part-time has become a familiar story for students both at home and abroad. And of course, in Germany too. Although the cost of living in Germany is relatively affordable compared to other countries in the EU, two-thirds of students in Germany still spend time working part-time while studying and researching, including international students.


Are there any regulations on part-time work for international students in Germany?  

Although Germany still allows international students to study and work part-time, there are still regulations you need to be aware of. If you are a student from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, that means you have the same rights as a German student when it comes to part-time work.

And if you come from other countries, you are only allowed to work up to 120 days a year, if you want to work more than the allowed hours, you should get permission from the local employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) and the foreigner registration office (Ausländerbehörde). However, the 120-day rule does not apply to student assistants, whose work is not restricted at the university. In addition, international students enrolled in a language or preparatory course are only allowed to work during breaks with permission from the Federal Employment Agency and the Immigration Office. Also, you are not allowed to be self-employed or freelance.

What jobs can international students do to earn extra income?

Some of the most popular part-time jobs for international students in Germany are study assistant, library supervisor, literature researcher, assistant guide, waiter, courier, babysitter, bartender, cashier, and so on. 

Where can international students find part-time jobs?

Job recruiters can post jobs anywhere, as long as you know how to observe and take the time to learn, finding a part-time job in Germany is not difficult at all! Some places where you can find part-time jobs include university bulletin boards, Career centers at universities, online job portals or friends and people around.

How much do students earn in a part-time job while studying abroad?

Students' part-time jobs in Germany is enough for them to earn extra income or pocket money but not enough to cover all living expenses. In general, the current minimum wage in Germany (as of 2019) is 9.19 EUR/hour. In addition, the salary depends on the skills of the student, the industry in which they are working, as well as depending on the regional labor market. 

Do international students who work part-time have to pay taxes?

Students who work part-time can earn up to 450 EUR/month without paying taxes. If you normally earn more than that, you will be asked to get a tax number. It also means that your monthly salary will be deducted a certain amount, but you will be able to get that amount back at the end of the year if you file a tax return.

Do students have to make social security contributions in Germany?

If you work permanently in Germany, you can already contribute to social security in Germany, including payments for health insurance, nursing care insurance, pensions and unemployment insurance. If you work less than two months, you will not have to pay social security contributions.