Finding Master’s Programs in Germany
Costs of Studying in Germany
Let’s at least mention the elephant in the room. Yes, it really costs very, very little for Americans (or anyone) to attend university in Germany, generally. Most universities in Germany are public and offer the same costs to most everyone. The usual costs are anywhere from 150€ to 300€ per semester, depending on the local situation.
This covers administrative fees and union (yes, literally a union of students) costs, which allow access to low cost cafeterias, gyms, public transport, and more.
Some universities charge for master’s degree programs, but they have to either be private universities or offer programs which aren’t considered “consecutive”. “Consecutive” means programs which follow a specific bachelor’s degree program(s) and build on it. I’ll cover this somewhat complicated subject more in-depth in a later post.
Finding “Your” Program
It’s going to be an iterative process, there are no set steps to the process, just like choosing your bachelor’s. Although I will show you the steps of my process for weeding through all the long lists of master’s programs below.
As opposed to what you probably experienced when choosing your bachelor’s, your choices will be limited by those programs which are taught in English. Obviously, if you speak German fluently, your options increase exponentially. Fortunately for us, however, there are quite a few English programs in Germany across the country. This number grows every year as schools focus on preparing their students for the realities of the job market today and attempt to attract more international attention.
Below are 4 links to different websites with search engines of the various master’s programs in Germany. There will be a lot of overlap between these sites and, depending on your search, you will see similar results. However, the categories and other filters that each site uses vary among them.
I believe that I based most of my research off the DAAD website, but that doesn’t mean you should. I’ve provided the other links here as you may have better luck with, or simply prefer, one of the other websites.
Filtering through the results
To organize my search, I simply went through Master’s Portal EU’s list of all English-taught master’s programs in Germany, and some other countries. My process of weeding through this long list was simple but effective, so I’ll relay it to you to help you filter through all the different master’s programs.
1. Make a home base
Pick one of the websites listed above, and use it as a base of operations for your research. Apply some very basic filters onto the results, such as the language of instruction, the start semester, or the general field of study. You should still have a big list of programs in front of you, but don’t worry, this is a good thing! You don’t want to miss any opportunities that don’t exactly fit some more specific criteria. Here’s an example of a search with only some basic filters applied.
2. Curate a set of all programs that interest you
Scroll through the pages and pages of master’s programs, and open up a new tab for each one which piques your interest. The easiest way to do this quickly is to right click on the result you’re interested in and select “Open link in new tab”. The website’s page of details about that specific program (example) will open up in a new tab without losing your place in the search. Unfortunately, this way leads us to the next major step of separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
3. Thin the herd
After opening up enough tabs, mark your place in the search and then begin to comb through each page of program details you opened up. I usually stopped at the point when the title of each tab had almost disappeared because so many had been opened. Like I said, there’s a lot to comb through. At this point, make a cursory check of each of the main aspects of the programs you’ve opened.
These “main aspects” should be mentioned on these program details pages no matter which of the websites you’re using. Check to see which programs match your situation, wants, or needs with respect to things like:
- The application date (has it already passed?…)
- The specific topics of the program
- Many programs that I opened up in a new tab would have titles which interested me, but on closer inspection weren’t really what I was looking for. You may have to go to the university’s website for this information.
- Costs of the program
- Some of the programs are at private universities or meet the criteria the German government requires to charge tuition.
- The location of the university
- Various program prerequisites (specific bachelor’s degree requirements or other prerequisites I didn’t meet)
As you investigate each individual master’s program, either bookmark it and place it in a special folder if it matches your requirements or simply close it if it doesn’t.
4. Dive deeper
Rinse and repeat steps 2 and 3 until you’ve exhausted the list of programs, or you’re exhausted. I found that the latter comes first. Once you feel you’ve bookmarked enough, go through the programs you’ve chosen in deeper detail. Look for information on the courses, both required and elective, of the program. Try to find information about the master’s theses that have come out of that program. Read up about the locations of each of the universities. Do as much as you reasonably can to help you narrow down your list.
At the end, you should have a folder of bookmarks to programs that are feasible and which you would actually apply to. The next step, of course, is applying! Click on that link if you want to know more about the application process to master’s programs in Germany. Of course, as usual, if you have any questions or comments about this post, please, leave them below! I’d be happy to continue to help you out.