The German higher education system is well-established as one of the best in Europe, but did you know that it’s also one of the most affordable?
The self-proclaimed ‘land of ideas’ made headlines in 2014 when it completely abolished tuition fees for all of its undergraduate programmes. Fees still apply to postgraduate programmes, but the typical cost of a German Masters degree is far less than you might think.
There’s also plenty of financial support available for both domestic and international students. In fact, the body responsible for promoting German higher education and supporting students (the Deautscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, or DAAD) is one of the largest in the world.
On this page you can find out everything you need to know about fees and funding for Masters programmes in Germany. This includes a guide to the cost of German postgraduate programmes for both domestic and international students, as well as a breakdown of some of the most important sources of funding for Masters degrees at Germany universities.
For more general information on studying a Masters in Germany, check out our comprehensive guide. Or, if you’ve already decided that Germany is the international study destination for you, why not get started searching for your ideal German Masters degree?
The German university system is underpinned by a philosophy of affordable and accessible higher education. Undergraduate courses at public universities in Germany are completely free and many German Masters degrees are also exempt from fees.
Instead of being determined by nationality, the cost of your Masters degree in Germany will mainly depend on whether it is regarded as a ‘consecutive’ or ‘non-consecutive’ programme:
The best way to find out what fees or are charged for a particular course is to check the programme details provided by universities.
Why not start by looking at the hundreds of German Masters programmes in our course listings? There you can find information on specific fees, as well as contact details for inquiries.
Fees for international students in Germany are normally the same as those for domestic students. This applies to EU and EEA nationals as well as citizens of other countries.
The full cost of postgraduate study in Germany includes some supplementary costs in addition to tuition fees. Of course, if you do not pay fees for your Masters in Germany, these supplementary charges will actually be the only ones you pay:
The cost of a Masters from a private university in Germany will usually be higher than at a public institution. Private universities are not obliged to waive fees and their degree pricing may not distinguish between consecutive and non-consecutive courses.
Living costs for students in Germany are comparable to those in other European countries. Official estimates recommend that you budget around €670 a month to cover accommodation, food and other routine expenses.
The exact amount you’ll need will vary depending on the location of your university and your own lifestyle. As a rule, the cost of living in larger German cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich will be higher than elsewhere.
You can find more information in our guide to living as a postgraduate student in Germany.
Various forms of financial support are available to help with the cost of postgraduate study in Germany. These are not necessarily intended to cover tuition fees (which are usually low, if charged at all) but can help you with living costs and other expenses.
The German government provides a combination of need-based grants and loans to students at public universities. These are provided under the Federal Training Assistance Act, or Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, commonly abbreviated as BAföG.
The amount of BAföG support you can receive will vary based on your economic circumstances, up to a maximum of €670 per month. Of this, 50% will be given to you as a grant and the remaining 50% will be provided as an interest-free loan (with the total repayable amount capped at€10,000).
You can qualify for BAföG assistance with a Masters in Germany if you:
More information on eligibility criteria and application processes is available from the official BAföG website.
In addition to need-based support via BAföG, German students can also access government support via the Germany Scholarship programme. This provides funding to exceptional students at German universities.
Grants are match-funded. This means they are usually made up of €150 of government funding and a further €150 from private donors (sometimes this can include the university at which you study). This funding can also be combined with need-based BAföG support, where appropriate.
Applications for Germany Scholarships are processed by the university at which you wish to study your Masters. More information is available on the Federal Ministry of Education and Research website.
StipendiumPlus is a network of twelve funding organisations, coordinated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. They offer a number of awards to gifted students at various levels of study.
Various individual organisations participate in the StipendiumPlus network. Some offer funding in specific fields or in support of specific social and political agendas. Others have a wider remit and will support students working in a variety of areas.
You can find out more about individual StipendiumPlus funders and access their contact details at the network’s website.
If you are an EU or EEA national with the right to reside in Germany you can normally be considered for the same funding as domestic students. This applies to all of the public funding opportunities described above, subject to their own need-based or merit-based eligibility criteria.
The Deautscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (or, German Academic Exchange Service) is one of the world’s largest international study agencies. It promotes German higher education and study opportunities around the world, with offices in numerous countries.
This breadth of coverage means that the DAAD should usually be your first port of call for international Masters funding in Germany. Various DAAD scholarships are offered to fund study in Germany by students from specific countries.
DAAD’s London office administers a scholarship for current students of British or Irish universities to study a Masters in Germany. This funding provides up to €750 per month, as well as coverage for travel expenses.
You can apply regardless of nationality, provided you are studying (or have studied) your first degree in the UK or Ireland. All subject areas are eligible, but some have specific application criteria.
Further information is available from DAAD London.
DAAD’s North American office organises exchanges between Germany and the USA or Canada. This includes support for American and Canadian students seeking to fund a Masters in Germany.
Funding is usually available for either a full Masters degree programme, or for a year of postgraduate study abroad in Germany (including the second year of a Masters degree in progress).
The scholarship provides a stipend of €750 per month, plus travel expenses. In addition, the DAAD will usually provide healthcare coverage and may also assist with accommodation in some cases.
More information about these scholarships for postgraduate study in Germany is available from DAAD North America.
In total there are 15 DAAD offices around the world, as well as numerous other administrative centres. This means that DAAD funding for Masters study in Germany is probably available to you, wherever you live.
To find out about funding for students in your country, take a look at the country index on the DAAD website.
If you’re an international student looking to complete all or part of a Masters degree in Germany, you may be able to receive funding from the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme.
Erasmus+ funding provides support for Joint Masters Degrees (offered by partnerships of institution in various countries) or for shorter periods of international study. From 2015 the Erasmus+ programme will even begin administering loans for students studying a Masters abroad in participating countries (including Germany).
You can find out more in our detailed guide to Erasmus+ Masters funding.
Of course, there are many more opportunities for Masters funding in Germany, including a wide range of charities and learned societies as well as individual German universities (many of whom are keen to attract more international postgraduates – like you!).
We could try listing them all here, but that would take a while (and even longer for you to sift through them all!). So, instead, we’ve put hundreds of awards for Masters funding in Germany (and elsewhere) into a dedicated postgraduate funding website called. . . PostgraduateFunding.com!
There's one more provider of Masters funding in Germany we haven't mentioned yet - us! Every year our FindAMasters scholarship scheme helps fund postgraduate study at any of the universities listed here on FindAMasters.com. This year we've got one £5,000 scholarship and four £500 scholarships available.