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Public vs Private Universities in Germany


 When it comes to higher education for international students, Germany takes one of the top spots. Several factors contribute to it becoming the preferred choice. Public and private universities in Germany are widely known for the high academic standards and excellence of their programmes. They have an extensive track record of academic excellence and research, for which they are well-known on a global scale. They provide a wide variety of top-notch courses and programmes in many different academic disciplines, including but not limited to business, social sciences, engineering, and science. Consequently, international students can choose from various options based on their interests and goals.

What is the difference Between Public vs Private Universities in Germany?

Germany is a highly sought-after location for international students, and public and private universities offer diverse programs and courses across various fields of study. Public universities in Germany, also called state or federal universities, are generally larger and offer various programs and courses across diverse fields of study. They receive funding from the government and do not charge tuition fees. Additional fees may be charged in some exceptional cases, such as courses with specialised study programs that require laboratory components or specialised technology as equipment. However, these fees apply to all students, including domestic students, and are not exclusive to international students. Additionally, double degree or joint master's programs may require collaboration with universities outside of Germany and may incur additional costs for all students involved.

In contrast, the state does not provide financial aid to private universities in Germany; instead, these institutions are supported by students' tuition fees. They typically are smaller in size and specialise in particular academic disciplines. In Germany, private institutions are often more expensive than public universities, and they tend to offer students more individualised support as well as academic programmes and schedules that are more flexible.

Public universities in Germany typically have more difficult admissions processes and higher academic standards regarding entrance criteria because they receive more applications from students. Although private universities may have more lenient admission standards, they frequently demand higher academic standing and test results than public universities.

In Germany, public universities often feature more traditional academic curricula and instructional techniques, whereas private institutions frequently provide more cutting-edge and contemporary methods of instruction. In Germany, public institutions are often more focused on conducting research than private universities, with more funding and resources available for such projects.

Germany's public and private colleges provide top-notch education, and a student's decision will be based on their tastes and circumstances. Private universities in Germany tend to provide more specialised programmes. They may be more accessible to students from various academic backgrounds, whereas public universities in Germany are typically more prestigious and competitive.

Global Ranking of Public vs Private Universities in Germany

Both public and private institutions in Germany perform well regarding international university rankings. On lists of the top universities, public universities in Germany typically have a higher representation.

17 of the top 20 universities in Germany are public universities, according to the QS World University Rankings 2022. Public universities like the Technical University of Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg are among the best in Germany. Private universities like the University of Mannheim and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management have also obtained excellent rankings in other disciplines, like business and economics.

Here is a list of the top 10 universities in Germany according to the QS World Ranking.

  1. Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  2. University of Europe for Applied Sciences
  3. Berlin School of Business and Innovation
  4. Macromedia University of Applied Sciences
  5. IU University of Applied Sciences
  6. GISMA Business School - GUS
  7. Berlin International College
  8. ISM International School of Management GmbH
  9. MediaDesign Hochschule (mdh University of Applied Sciences)
  10. Steinbeis University – Schools of Next Practices (Steinbeis SMI)

Similarly, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, public universities in Germany account for most of the top-ranked institutions in the country, with the Technical University of Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg leading the rankings.

Several private universities have received high rankings in particular fields, although public universities in Germany typically dominate the top rankings. Some of Germany's best-performing private universities include:

Mannheim College: The University of Mannheim consistently rates highly globally and is particularly well-known for its business and economics departments. Interdisciplinary education and research are valued at Jacobs University Bremen. It is well-known for its engineering and natural sciences programmes.

Top Public & Private Universities in Germany

Before choosing an institution, students should carefully evaluate other variables, such as programme options, geography, and personal preferences. Institution rankings can vary based on the methodology employed. Public universities in Germany are known for their quality education and research, and many of them rank highly in international university rankings. Private universities, while less common, offer high-quality education and often specialise in certain fields of study. Here are some of the top public and private universities in Germany based on the QS World Ranking:


University Name

General Courses Offered

QS Ranking


Berlin International College

University preparation courses



GISMA Business School - GUS

Business, Management

QS Global MBA ranking 2022- 42


ISM International School of Management GmbH

Business, Tourism, Finance



Macromedia University of Applied Sciences

Media, Design, Management



MediaDesign Hochschule (mdh University of Applied Sciences)

Media Design, Graphic Design



Berlin School of Business and Innovation

Business, Entrepreneurship



Northern Institute of Technology Management gGmbH

Technology Management



SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences

Applied Sciences



EU Business School, Munich


141-150 (2023)


GISMA University of Applied Sciences - GUS

Applied Sciences



Steinbeis University – Schools of Next Practices (Steinbeis SMI)

Business, IT, Engineering


Admission Process for Public & Private Universities in Germany

The admission process for public and private universities in Germany can vary slightly, but there are some general steps that most applicants will need to follow. Before applying to any university, it is important to research the programs and courses offered by the university to determine if they align with your academic and career goals.

Language proficiency: In most cases, non-native speakers of German will need to demonstrate proficiency in the German language through a language proficiency test such as the TestDaF or DSH. Though universities in Germany offer courses in both German and English languages, check if you satisfy the language proficiency requirements of the course of your choice before applying.

Application: Applicants must apply for admission to the university along with all required documents such as photo, academic transcripts, language proficiency test scores, statement of purpose and letters of recommendation. Each university has admission requirements, including a minimum GPA, courses, or specific program prerequisites.

Universities will analyse applications, conduct interviews, and determine whether to accept or reject the candidate. If approved, applicants must enrol in the university and complete any additional stages, such as paying tuition, acquiring a student visa (if necessary), and locating housing.

It is crucial to remember that the admission procedure for some private institutions may differ from that of public universities and may involve different processes, such as interviews or entrance exams. Furthermore, different programmes may have varying admission deadlines. As a result, it is vital to carefully analyse each program's entrance standards and deadlines.

Application Deadlines for Public & Private Universities in Germany

Applications for both public and private universities in Germany typically commence in early May and close in mid-July for the Winter Semester. Except for a few universities, most universities only offer programmes during the winter semester. Applications for the final round open in early December and close in mid-January. Because the majority begin only in the winter semester, most international students arrive during that time. However, it is crucial to remember that these rules may differ depending on the university and programme. Confirming the application dates with the relevant university and programme is usually better. Furthermore, overseas students should apply as soon as possible to enable enough time for visa processing and other procedures.

Tuition Fees at Public & Private Universities in Germany

As indicated before in this blog post, tuition for most courses at public colleges is free for all students, including overseas students. However, some colleges may levy a nominal administrative fee between 150 and 350 euros per semester.

Private universities charge tuition fees depending on the course of study and institution. Fees can range between 5,000 euros to 30,000 euros or more per year. Scholarships or financial aid are offered to help offset the cost of tuition. Even though some public universities levy a fee for certain courses, it is much lower than private universities and other universities worldwide.

In addition to tuition and administrative fees, students may have to take care of other expenses such as textbooks, housing and transportation. They should also be aware of the visa requirements and associated fees if not from EU countries.


Average Tuition Fee


Ludwig Maximilian University

25k/per year


Technical University of Munich

15k/per year


University of Heidelberg

33k/per year


Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

150k/per year


Free University of Berlin

32k/per year


RWTH Aachen University

No Tuition Fees for International Students


Bard College Berlin

26 lakh INR per year


Munich Business School

22 Lakh INR per year


EBC Hochschule 

9 Lakh INR per year


GISMA Business School

18 Lakh INR per year


SRH Hochschule Berlin

9 Lakh INR per year


University of Applied Sciences Europe

1,25,000 INR per year


WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

13,50,000 INR per year


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