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Top 30 Universities in Germany for 2018 - Postgraduate Study

Germany is a popular destination for postgraduate study abroad, but which of its universities are the best?

We've compared the performance of German universities in all three global rankings global rankings. But that's not all we've done.

As a Masters student, it's also helpful to 'zoom in' on more specific factors. That's why we've listed the highest ranked German universities in specific subject-areas.

Finally, we've also taken a look at domestic rankings of German universities - giving you a chance to see how individual institutions compare within Germany itself.

Top Ranked German Universities

The following table gives the 30 best universities in Germany, overall, based on global rankings.

For more information on using international rankings as a postgraduate, see our guide.

Top German Universities 2018
University THE 2018 QS 2018 ARWU 2017
LMU Munich =34 66 57
Technical University of Munich 41 64 50
University of Heidelberg 45 30 201-300
Humboldt University of Berlin 62 120 -
RWTH Aachen University 79 141 201-300
University of Freiburg 82 171 101-150
Free University of Berlin 88 =125 -
Technical University of Berlin 92 144 401-500
University of Tübingen 94 =164 -
University of Bonn =100 239 101-150
University of Göttingen =113 181 95
University of Mannheim 125 =388 -
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin =126 - -
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 133 107 201-300
University of Cologne 145 =331 -
TU Dresden =155 =195 151-200
Ulm University =155 =357 201-300
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg =162 =287 151-200
University of Würzburg =165 481-490 151-200
University of Münster =173 =308 151-200
University of Duisburg-Essen 201-250 601-650 -
University of Hamburg 201-250 223 151-200
University of Kiel 201-250 431-440 151-200
University of Konstanz 201-250 385 401-500
University of Passau 201-250 - -
University of Potsdam 201-250 461-470 401-500
Ruhr University Bochum 201-250 401-410 -
University of Stuttgart 201-250 =259 301-400
Technical University of Darmstadt 201-250 =272 401-400
University of Bayreuth 201-250 551-600 401-400
Information in this table is based on the 2017-18 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

Do rankings matter for Masters degrees?

International rankings use all sorts of metrics to assess universities and they aren't all equally relevant to postgraduate study. That's why we've put together a guide to university rankings for Masters students.

So, how good are German universities for Masters study?

With ten universities in the 2018 Times Higher Education top 100 Germany is actually the best-ranked country outside the UK and USA.

This makes the country an excellent destination for postgraduate study. The fact that most Masters degrees in Germany charge no fees (and many are taught in English) makes things even better.

Of course, the best German university for your Masters degree won't necessarily be the one with the highest ranking. As a postgraduate the details of your specific degree programme will matter much more. You'll want to know that its course content covers your areas of interest and that you'll have access to subject-specific expertise.

One way to find this information is to look in our detailed course listings.

German University Rankings by Subject

Masters degrees are often highly specialised and benefit much more from dedicatedc facilities and expertise. How a university performs in your subject area can therefore be just as important as its overall ranking (if not more so).

The following table lists the top German universities in six broad subject areas. It's based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject. This lists the best 100 universities in different academic fields, around the world.

German University Subject Rankings 2018
Arts & Humanities Humboldt University of Berlin 18
LMU Munich 21
Free University of Berlin 24
University of Heidelberg 27
University of Tübingen 38
University of Freiburg 47
University of Cologne =91
University of Göttingen =91
Business & Economics University of Mannheim =23
LMU Munich 30
University of Bonn 47
Free University of Berlin 57
Clinical, Pre-Clinical & Health
University of Heidelberg 28
LMU Munich =32
Technical University of Munich 56
University of Tübingen 76
Computer Science Technical University of Munich 9
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 26
RWTH Aachen University 29
Technical University of Munich 36
University of Freiburg 50
University of Stuttgart 62
Technical University of Darmstadt 64
Humboldt University of Berlin 74
University of Bonn 79
Ulm University 83
TU Dresden =85
Engineering & Technology Technical University of Munich 28
RWTH Aachen University 29
Technical University of Berlin =40
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 60
University of Stuttgart =87
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg 90
Life Sciences University of Heidelberg 30
LMU Munich 36
Technical University of Berlin 44
University of Göttingen 51
Humboldt University of Berlin 52
University of Bonn 71
University of Tübingen 77
University of Freiburg 84
Physical Sciences LMU Munich 22
University of Heidelberg 30
Technical University of Munich 32
Humboldt University of Berlin 46
University of Bonn =47
RWTH Aachen University 49
Technical University of Berlin =54
University of Göttingen =65
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 68
Social Sciences Humboldt University of Berlin 33
Free University of Berlin 41
University of Mannheim 55
LMU Munich =71
University of Heidelberg =74
University of Konstanz 84
University of Freiburg 99
Information in this table is based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject. Visit their website for more information.

These subject-specific rankings reveal the strength and breadth of German university research.

Looking at each individual ranking can also be helpful. Identifying the best German universities in your subject area is obviously useful. But knowing that Germany is generally strong in a particular field is worthwhile even if you aren't studying at one of the highest-ranked universities.

It may be that the best German Masters degree for you is offered by an institution outside this top 100. But the performance of 'top' institutions can still reflect the country's overall expertise.

Search for a Masters in Germany

Our database includes plenty of German Masters degrees and our listings provide lots of helpful information about specific programs. Why not take a look?

The CHE Ranking of German universities

International rankings are great if you want a broad evaluation of universities - or if you want to compare universities across countries. But many countries also have domestic rankings systems, focussing on their own universities. These feature lots more institutions than global rankings and often include more detailed information about them.

The main league table of German universities is the CHE Ranking.

How useful is the CHE Ranking for Masters students in Germany?

Rather than producing an overall list of the 'best' German universities, the CHE Ranking looks at performance in 30 different subject areas.

This actually makes it much more useful as a tool for postgraduates. Looking at how a university performs in your specific subject is often more valuable than knowing how it sits in a broad league table.

After all, you aren't going to be studying a Masters in every subject a German university offers - so it's probably best to base your decision on one or two!

Learn more about postgraduate study in Germany

There's more to choosing a study abroad destination than league tables. Why not take a look at our full guide to Masters study in Germany? Or check out our overview of German Masters fees and funding?

Last updated - 22/09/2017

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