Types of German Institutions of Higher Learning

Downtown Dresden

Downtown Dresden

The higher education landscape in a Germany is quite diverse. Once you know about the types of educational institutions that exist, you can start selecting universities and applying.

Post-secondary educational institutions in Germany can be classified as follows:


  • Technical University (Technische Universität)

  • University of Applied sciences (Fachhochschulen)

  • Scientific Work Universities (such as Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)

  • University of cooperative education (Duale Hochschule)

  • Academy

Technical University

TU is actually an engineering university in Germany. Only engineering and applied sciences subjects are offered in TU. With an undergrad TU degree in hand you could easily find a job in energy, aerospace, automotive, manufacturing and petroleum sectors. Post-graduate programs offered in these universities are usually taught in English.

University of Applied Sciences

UASs are institutions of higher learning entirely dedicated to industrial research in partnership with public and private enterprises.

Scientific Work Universities

These universities suit the students who are considering a career in research. Here you can get a possibility to do a doctorate after your masters degree where later on you can have a chance of becoming a university professor as well. The medium of instruction in these universities is English.

University of Cooperative Education

This kind of German university focuses on education with strong practical focus. It follows a dual system in which theoretical training is linked with the practical training within a company. The educational model followed by these universities includes three year contract training with a company where half of the training takes place in the company and the other half at the university.


Any institution that holds a training program can be called an Academy. Academies are private educational institutions. This does not necessarily mean that the quality of education  would not  be good but non-recognition of study programs by the state and higher tuition fees can sometimes be an issue.

For example there is a TUEV Academy Esslingen which is an academy for engineers. So if you wish to start your studies in Germany after your 12 years of education in your native country, this would be an interesting option for seeking an engineering degree.

Most international students choose programs offered in English. We’d advise you to start looking for a suitable program in TU or in Scientific Work Universities if you do not speak German and if you want to pursue your degree in English.

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