Fri, 8 September 2017

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What is the Difference Between University and University of Applied Science in Germany?

How to make a choice where to study in Germany: University or University of Applied Science in Germany? Is the difference really substantial? What skills and knowledge do the study programs at both types of universities offer?

Empty lecture hall awaits students at the university of Lüneburg
Empty lecture hall awaits students at the university of Lüneburg

International students planning to study in Germany will need to decide to which university they will apply. Two main options are University (Universität) and University of Applied Science (Fachhochschulen). In addition, there are special schools for art, music, theology, pedagogic. But the vast majority of international students will apply either to University or University of Applied Science.

Some statistics about Universities and Universities of Applied Science in Germany

There are over 400 higher education institutions in German that offer different types of degrees programs. Among those are 106 Universities and 217 Universities of applied science. Overall these universities offer almost 20,000 degree courses.  DAAD lists the following statistics for 2016/17 winter semester: out of 2.8 million students in Germany ca. 360 thousand were international students.

What is special about German university (Universität)?

University or in German Universität focuses on theoretical knowledge and academic research. Most of universities offer a variate of academic subjects from humanities to technology. But there are some that have specialization, for example, technical universities (Technische Universität, TU). In technical universities subjects taught are only related to technological fields.

What is special about  University of Applied Science (Fachhochschulen)?

With over 200 Universities of applied science (Fachhochschulen) are the most numerous type of education establishments. In their programs they aim at practice, so that the graduates could immediately immerse into the job market after getting a diploma. Their curriculum include specific fields such as technology, economics, social work or medicine. In the practical phases, students at universities of applied sciences complete work placements, longer project phases or entire practical semesters, often in businesses.

How do I choose University or University of Applied Science?

You will need to make an importance decision first: what do kind of skills you want to have? If you are looking for the fundamental academic knowledge, especially inf you plan to continue with further academic research, then your choice is obviously University.  You can study in Doctoral programs and becomes a PhD only at Universities.   If you are looking for practice applicable knowledge and plan to start job experience as soon as possible, then apply to Universities of Applied Sciences. Universities of Applied Sciences are very popular and offer a very broad variety of study programs.