M. DINESH VARMA

With a large contingent of foreign students, including Indians, touching base in Germany for professional courses every year, many German universities are doing their homework well for that perfect score as a higher education destination.

More than 2 lakh foreign students are enrolled in German universities, constituting 12.5 per cent of the country’s student constituency.

During the winter intake 2005-2006, 60,435 came from Asia and among these, more than 4,000 students were from India. Currently, there are approximately 4500 Indian students studying in Germany.

These facts were presented last week to a group of students at “Welcome to GermanY,’ organised by Goethe Institut in Max Mueller Bhavan and the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) Information Centre in Chennai.

Germany, with a hoary university tradition — with some institutions dating back to 15th and 16th centuries — offers most of its Master’s and Ph.D. programmes in English. Many public universities charge a nominal amount of 1000 Euros a year as tuition fees for most of the international Master’s programmes.

The average cost of living is about Rs. 4.5 lakh a year. Among the popular courses are Master’s programmes in engineering, IT, computer Science, biotechnology, natural sciences and business management, said Padmavathi Chandramouli of DAAD in Chennai.

A consistently good academic record and knowledge of English is mandatory while applying for the international degree programmes (A TOEFL or IELTS score is normally expected).

Some universities also require a GRE/GMAT score as part of admission criteria. In case of most of the MBA type programmes, the student is also required to have at least 2 years of work experience.

After completing a course, a student can stay in Germany for up to one year and search for a job. There are no campus placements at German universities; so, students must search for a job on their own.

Every university offering international programmes has an International Students Office/ International Office which coordinates all activities of the international students.

April (summer semester) and October (winter semester) see the two intakes. In general, to apply for any course, one must start preparations at least nine months before the course commencement time.

Among the institutions that launched new courses in 2008 is the Technical University (TU) Berlin which is offering a two-year Master’s degree in global production engineering for solar technology (GPE Solar).

The course will equip engineers already having a Bachelor’s degree with a comprehensive qualification in solar-thermal and photovoltaic technologies.

A new doctoral programme for the training of graduate students was also launched at the “International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Physics of Biological and Complex Systems,” in collaboration with the University of Göttingen.

The focus of this joint doctoral program is to quantitatively investigate biological and other complex systems. Information sessions on higher studies and research opportunities in Germany are conducted on the second and fourth Fridays of every month at the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan.