Studying in GERMANY – And after?
Your specialist knowledge is in keen demand – especially in areas where there is a shortage of qualified professionals. Here, we explain what regulations apply to you if you wish to stay in Germany, and present a few of the career prospects that are open to you – from working for a company to setting up your own business, right through to a career in research.
Documents Required to Apply
- Letter of Recommendation
- Letter of Motivation
- Passport – Front & Back page
- Birth Certificate
- IELTS / TOEFL Score
- German Proficiency if applicable
- University Entrance Qualifications if applicable
- Work Experience Letter if applicable
- All mark sheets and degree attested by notary
- Documents proving expertise in Specific subjects ( For select University)
- Telephonic Interview ( If applicable)
- International Reply coupon for select University to return the application if application is not successful
Universities & Fachhochschulen
Germany has more than 220 higher education institutions, including state universities (traditional and technological), private universities and a large number of specialised establishments (such as colleges of arts). Anyone who passes the Abitur is guaranteed entry to one of the institutions. The duration of a higher education course depends on the institution, the degree pursued and most importantly – on the students themselves. Theoretically most studies should take four to six years, but most students take longer than this and complete their higher education at the age of almost 28 (compared to 25.5 in the US and 22.8 in the UK). These very long study times are now perceived as a problem in Germany, as they prevent students from entering the job market early and gaining practical experience. Many German students start their first job at an age at which students in other countries already have several years’ experience – or reached management positions! There are various explanations for the long study times; a principle reason is the great degree of freedom most students in Germany enjoy. Unlike many other countries, there are almost no “preset” study schedules. Students have a large choice in the courses they take and the order in which they take them. The downside to all this freedom and flexibility is that you have to organise most of your studies yourself – which isn’t exactly easy given the complicated requirements and the bureaucratic setup of most universities. Many foreign students (and quite a few German ones) feel completely lost and disoriented during their first year at university. It is quite easy to waste a lot of time on unnecessary or ineffective studies. Another problem is that many state universities are overcrowded, lecture halls packed to the rafters and courses heavily oversubscribed. This situation has been worsened by budget cuts that any universities have been forced to make. Nevertheless, in international comparisons German universities still score well in terms of results. The length of studies means most German students leave higher education in a much more mature state than their international counterparts; but after surviving German university bureaucracy, this isn’t surprising!
Doctoral programmes, research training groups and graduate schools provide further possible ways of embarking upon a scientific career. When taking part in such doctoral programmes or research training groups, you are often a member of a research team and have numerous supervisors. Moreover, university events such as colloquia are often part and parcel of the programme. In this online database of the DAAD, besides around 300 of these “structured” doctoral programmes you will also find a list of the international bachelor and master programmes:www.daad.de/international-programmes.
Doctoral studies as a university employee
If you want to explore certain aspects of your studies in greater depth by doing a doctorate, the best thing to do is to contact the professors concerned. That way, you will get first-hand information about your chances of doing a doctorate in a given department – for example as a research assistant. You will also find openings for doctorate studentships on the Web sites of the different universities. On the “PhDGermany” platform of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), German universities and research institutes publish doctoral positions which specifically address foreign candidates. Prospective candidates can do targeted searches for suitable doctorates and apply directly via the DAAD portal.
Doctoral studies with a company
Some companies will let you work at the same time as you conduct your doctoral research. In that case, you will be an employee of the company. However, you will be supervised by university professors. Young researchers often use this option to help them onto the career ladder.
Residence permits for Students
If you wish to pursue a scientific career at a German university or in a research institute, you do not need any special residence permit if you are an EU citizen. If you come from another country, all you have to do is to have your residence permit extended by your local foreign nationals’ registration office. To do so, you will need your certificate of matriculation. Furthermore, you need to be able to prove that you have adequate health insurance and that you are able to support yourself.We recommend that you ask the foreign residents’ registration office which documents you need to bring with you. Some local offices provide information about this on the Internet too.
Wanted: innovative engineers
Germany is the global leader in numerous high-tech fields. Thanks to a constant stream of innovations, German companies are hugely successful on the world’s export markets. Sophisticated technology combined with quality manufacturing ensure that German cars, machinery, and electrical and electronic equipment remain in big demand. Behind this achievement are thousands and thousands of engineers who work in design, development, and production. They all have a major share in the “Made in Germany” success story.
The fields in biggest demand
Germany’s many technology-driven companies currently have a large number of vacancies. There is a need for new recruits in all sectors, but most particularly in the fields of mechanical, automotive, and electrical engineering. Job prospects are also good in the field of building engineering.
For engineers in Germany, there are opportunities to climb to the very top of the career ladder – all the way to the very highest level of management. In German industry, many board members and managing directors of manufacturing companies started their working life as engineers. Such shining prospects are also reflected in salary levels. Job starters with a degree from a university of applied science in, for example, electrical or building engineering can expect to earn, on average, between €36,000 and €45,000 a year. Incomes rise with each year of service, reaching levels of around €50,000 to €64,000 after 10 years. For university graduates, average earnings in some fields can rise to over €70,000 a year.
Recognition of Educational Documents
For many qualifications, it is helpful to have them recognised. For others, it is an actual requirement for being able to work in Germany. It really depends on your profession:
Who needs recognition? In Germany, certain professions are “regulated”. Germans and foreign nationals may only work in these professions if they have a very precise qualification. This applies to professions such as doctors and lawyers. It also applies to different masters of manual trades if they work as independent contractors. If you want to work in one of these regulated professions, you need to have your professional qualification recognised in Germany.
For whom is recognition helpful? Most professions are not regulated. If you are going to work as a business manager, IT specialist or baker, for example, you will not need to have your qualifications recognised. However, it may still make sense to have your qualifications recognised – even in cases of partial equivalence. Recognition will help companies understand your skills and qualifications, so that you can leave a good impression as you apply for a job.
Please note: If you would like to relocate to Germany from a non-EU country, and if your qualification is non-academic, you will have to have it recognised before taking up employment in Germany. However, recognition of your vocational credentials alone is not sufficient if you would like to work in Germany. In order to obtain a residence permit with permission to work you will need to meet a number of additional criteria.
In Germany, training for many vocations is provided by means of a dual programme of training and education. Apprentices spend three to four days a week at a company providing vocational training, where they acquire the practical skills required for their field of work. The remaining one or two days are spent at a vocational school, where apprentices receive a theoretical grounding in their future job.
Depending on the vocation and the level of basic knowledge, an apprenticeship lasts between two and three-and-a-half years. During this period, apprentices receive a training allowance from their company. On average, this is around €650 a month, depending on the field of work. Those who successfully complete their training are often taken on permanently as a skilled worker by the company. Moreover, if they perform well in the workplace, there is also the opportunity to train further to become a master craftsman or a state-certified engineer, and then to rise to a managerial position in the company or to set up in business and become self-employed. Many prominent people, including former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, began their career with a course of vocational training.