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The Best Universities in Germany

When it comes to choosing a German university, there’s a lot to consider. This includes choosing the right study program, in the right location, as well as looking at the quality of the university in general.

On this page we consider the different ranking systems and also take a look at the five best universities in Germany.


Facts about German Universities

Founding Year of the Oldest German University
Universities in Germany
Immatriculated Students in Germany

Learn more about the academical site of Germany and get to know the most important university ranking to find your ideal place to study!

Important Rankings

Looking into popular University Rankings can help you with your decision where to study in Germany.

CHE Ranking

The CHE ranking system only applies to German universities. The Center for Higher Education Development in Germany (CHE) releases both its ‘Excellence Rankings’ and ‘Research Rankings’ each year.

These rankings are released in Die Zeit newspaper and universities are ranked differently according to each subject.

These rankings are ideal for someone looking for the best university for a certain subject, rather than more generally.

QS World University Ranking

Released annually by Quacquarelli Symonds, the QS rankings are the most commonly referenced university ratings in the world.

Based largely on peer reviews by scholars, academics and recruiters, the rankings also take student: teacher ratio into consideration.

According to the QS rankings, the best German universities are Munich’s two main institutions, the TMU (Technical University of Munich) and LMU (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich).

Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2019

Created by a leading UK newspaper, the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings rates institutions according to 13 performance indicators, grouped into five key areas; teaching, citations, research, industry income and international outlook. There is much more weight given to teaching, citations and research.

According to the THE rankings the best German universities are TMU, LMU and Heidelberg.

Academic Ranking of World Universities

One of the oldest university ranking systems, these ratings are compiled by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.

These rankings are made according to numbers of published articles, Nobel prizes and Fields medals and do not use peer reviews, surveys or even the quality of teaching to assert rankings.

According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the best German universities are Heidelberg and TMU, which both appear in the top 50.

Top 5 German Universities

What are the best German universities? Ranking form 1-5, we list the top universities in Germany, using a combination of the above-ranking systems.

LMU Munich

The Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich is one the largest and arguably the most prestigious universities in all of Germany, which 46 associated Nobel prizes.

Founded in 1472, it is most well-known for is Medical Faculty and associated University Hospital, as well as its degree courses and research in Literature, Humanities and Physical Sciences.

Technical University of Munich

Frequently grappling with LMU for the top spot in the national rankings, the Technical University of Munich is considered the best technical university in Germany, delivering a wide range of degrees. It’s especially celebrated for an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.

Humboldt University of Berlin

The Humboldt University of Berlin was founded in 1810. It’s a leading institution for medicine, and has 55 Nobel prizes associated with it.

Located in central Berlin, it’s popular with those hoping to get a prestigious degree whilst living in one of Europe’s most exciting cities. The university’s much copied ‘Humboldtian model of education’ has earned it the name ‘the mother of all modern universities’.

University of Freiburg

This research university was founded in 1457, making it one of Germany’s oldest universities. Its full name is the Alfred Ludwig University of Freiburg.

Its most prominent academic areas are the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences.

University of Heidelberg

The University of Heidelberg is the oldest university in Germany and one of the oldest in the world even, having been founded in 1386.

Major areas of study include the humanities, natural sciences, medicine and social sciences. It’s one of Germany’s most prestigious universities.

How many universities are there in Germany?

There are almost 400 higher education universities in Germany. About one-fifth of these are private universities, 110 are academic universities, 220 are universities of applied sciences and 58 are art/music/film universities. The rest are highly specialized institutions of higher education.

What is the largest university in Germany?

The University of Hagen with almost 90,000 students is by far the largest in Germany. That is largely because is offer distance learning courses. The next biggest is the LMU (Ludwig-Maximillian-University, Munich) which has just over 50,000 students.

Which is the best university in Germany for MS?

The top German universities for completing a Master of Science are the Technical University of Munich, RWTH Aachen, the Technical University of Berlin and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Which university in Germany is the best for international students?

The Technical University of Munich has the highest proportion of international students at almost a third, arguably making it the best choice for non-Germans.

Whichever university you choose, Expatrio can help you secure a blocked account and health insurance, both of which are integral for securing a place at your chosen institute.

Learn more about Expatrio

Having lived abroad ourselves, we know that finding the right information on how to relocate and settle in a new country can be difficult. We know that the lack of digitization and personalized support can make navigating German bureaucracy a very frustrating process. Motivated by these issues, we built a fully digital platform that provides all the general information and services to make your relocation to Germany easier.