The educational qualifications obtained from Germany are generally rated high across the globe. Knowledge of German is an asset, although there are many programmes that are offered in English.

Germans are known for their quality of work in any endeavour, and education is no exception. Degrees and other educational qualifications obtained from Germany are generally rated high across the globe. The fees are lower than those in many other countries.

In certain cases, you may not have to pay any tuition fee. One hurdle faced by Indian students desirous of pursuing higher education in certain universities in Germany is the need for gaining proficiency in the German language. Of course, there are many programmes that are offered through the English medium. Nevertheless, the knowledge of German would be an asset.

Planning well ahead is crucial. Start planning at least a year before the commencement of your studies in Germany. Though you can continue your studies in Germany after the higher secondary level in India, planning for programmes at the postgraduate or doctoral levels would be more convenient. Nearly 1,45,000 international students are now studying in Germany.

Higher education institutions

There are different kinds of higher education institutions in Germany.

Traditional universities (Universitäten)

Universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen)

Universities of technology (Technische Hochschulen or Universitäten)

Universities of education (Pädagogische Hochschulen)

Universities and colleges of art, music and film (Kunst-, Musik-, und Filmhochschulen und Universitäten der Künste)

Universities of applied administrative sciences (Verwaltungsfachhochschulen)

Universities of the armed forces (Universitäten der Bundeswehr)

Distance studies universities (Fernhochschulen)

Universities of cooperative education (Berufsakademien)

Private Universities (Private Hochschulen)

Church-maintained Colleges (Kirchliche Hochschulen)

There may be some overlap in this classification. Most of these are public institutions. Whatever be the type of higher education institution you choose, make sure it is state-recognised.

There is a basic difference in the approach of the first two kinds of institutions listed above. The traditional universities happily combine study and research. The students therefore develop in-depth knowledge in their subject. The universities of applied sciences on the other hand merge a basic level of academic knowledge with practical application relevant to the discipline.

The objectives centre around developing skills in students for meeting the challenges in specific careers. This is done with guidance from professionally experienced faculty. In the nearly 300 institutions of higher education in Germany, there are facilities for about 90 Bachelor’s programmes, 450 Master’s programmes, and 190 doctoral programmes.

You can search for these in the DAAD web site www.daad.de and find your best option. The online search can be based on level, subject, university, or location in Germany. If you have more than one university in your mind, you can try out the ‘University Comparison’ and directly compare their strengths and weaknesses.

The universities give different types of degrees like the Staatsprufung/Staatsexamen, Magister Artium and Diplom. The details pertaining to these may be studied before joining a programme of study.

Most degree programmes are covered in eight semesters spread over four years. The volume of work to be put in for different subjects may not be the same.

There is strict government control for ensuring quality standards in higher education, so that the reputation of German studies is maintained.

DAAD

DAAD stands for Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, which means German Academic Exchange Service. This is a joint organisation of German institutions of higher education and student bodies, working with an aim to promote academic co-operation world wide, especially through the exchange of students, scholars, academics, and scientists. Web site: www.daad.de

Address in Germany

DAAD, Kennedyallee 50, D-53175 Bonn,

P.O. Box 20 04 04, D-53134 Bonn

Ph.: (0228) 882-0

Fax: (0228) 882-444

e-mail: postmaster@daad.de

Contacts in India

DAAD Information Center, Max Mueller Bhavan, New No. 4, Rutland Gate, 5th Street, Chennai 600 006; Ph: 044-28331442; e-mail: chennai@daadindia.org;

Web site: http://ic.daad.de/chennai

DAAD, III Floor, 72 Lodi Estate, Lodi Road, New Delhi - 110 003;Ph: 011- 24615148; e-mail: info@daaddelhi.org; Web site: http://newdelhi.daad.de

For visa purposes, use the links from the site of Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, P.O. Box 613, New Delhi 110001; Ph: 011 44199 199; www.new-delhi.diplo.de

Where do you start?

If you contemplate studies in Germany after the higher secondary at home, you should have scored at least 50 per cent marks in the ‘Plus Two’ examination.With good scores in the IIT JEE, there are possibilities for ‘direct subject-restricted admission’ in the areas of technology and natural sciences.

Unless you are a graduate, you may have to seek the assistance of the International Office or the student registration office (Studierendensekretariat) at your chosen university to know whether your school education is adequate for admission. Your school-leaving certificate must be recognised as equivalent to the German higher education entrance qualification called Abitur. (This is an examination taken after 13 years of schooling in Germany.)

The equivalence can be confirmed in many ways. You may go to the DAAD Admission database or to the site www.anabin.de. You may note that anabin is the acronym for “Recognition and evaluation of foreign educational qualifications”.

The uni-assist will also check your eligibility for admission to studies in Germany. If your certificate is not adequate, you must take an assessment test called Feststellungsprüfung. Preparatory courses called Studienkollegs help you in preparing for this test.

Studienkollegs lasting for two semesters offer various core subjects such as technology or design. A pass entitles the student to study only the subject that corresponds to the core subject area taken in Studienkolleg. One or two years of successful studies at a university in India may also be considered sufficient for admission to higher education in Germany.

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