How to Study in Germany without speaking German5 min read

Yes, you’ve heard right! You can study in Germany without speaking the language (because, let’s be honest, not a lot of people speak German fluently). Despite the fact that German as a language is often mocked (it’s not as horrible as you may think), the country is really beautiful and has a lot to offer.

So when you’re reading this here, I probably don’t have to tell you how important studying abroad is and that employers more or less expect that you’ve been abroad for at least a short time – whether it be for an internship, a study programme or a volunteer project. But what if you do not speak another language? Or you speak only English as a foreign language, but don’t want to go to the UK, US or Australia? Don’t panic! As English is the standard language today, an increasing number of universities offer courses in English, even in non-English-speaking countries. I have been studying in Germany for three years, so I have quite a bit on-hand experience. There are a lot of possibilities to study in English in Germany, if you are still learning German or you simply prefer to do a course in English. Got a lot of questions in your mind? I’m walking you through the three most essential ones. I will be explaing several aspects of the German education system, so you can get the basic infos in your pretty head! Let’s get started:


Most universities in Germany are financed by the government. Therefore, you do not have to pay tuition fees. But don’t get over excited just now! There is a semester fee payable for all students at all universities. This covers costs for the student union, for the student administration and sometimes for a student “Semesterticket” (bus or train ticket for students). The amount differs from university to university, but it should be around 100/150€. Ok, so this is probably a lot less than in other countries, so a little happy dance is acceptable at this point!

There are some private universities as well, which are approved or recognised by the government (you may need to pay tuition fees for those). However, most of the students are enrolled in state-run universities.

Are you still with me or still dancing? Let’s get into the German education system a little bit more. There are three different types of universities: “colleges of art, film and music”, “universities of applied sciences” and “universities”. So, what is the difference? Universities generally have a strong research focus and are the only institution that can award an academic doctoral degree. Universities of applied sciences are more focused on a practical approach and less on theoretical background. Colleges of art, film and music educate artists, musicians, actors and designers. To get in you need to have a special artistic talent that you have to demonstrate in an entrance exam. Sounds alright to you? Great.

I’m sure that especially this question is on the tip of your tongue right now: What courses can I do if I don’t speak German?

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Want to study abroad, but only speak English and don't want to go to the UK, US or Australia? Why not study in Germany? You don't even have to speak German.           Want to study abroad, but only speak English and don't want to go to the UK, US or Australia? Why not study in Germany? You don't even have to speak German.


Courses at a German university are generally held in German. However, there are some that are taught in English. I don’t want to spoil your mood, but of course I would suggest that you at least try to learn a bit of German, because you will be living in the country for the duration of your course.

How can you find your dream course in Germany? The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) offers a search engine for university courses. You can specify your search for “Course Language >> English only”. Don’t forget to specify that you only want to see courses with no tuition fees – because I just know that you’re all in for that!

There are around 72 pages of courses (Masters as well as Bachelors) when I do this search. Obviously, I can’t list every single one here. But to get an impression, there are, for example, MSc Applied Mathematics in Digital Media (English level B2, German not required but A2 recommended), BA International Business (Advanced English Knowledge IELTS 6.5, Basic Knowledge of German A1), or the MA North American Studies (English C1).

Now that we’ve chatted about various aspects of the education system and the courses you could do, let’s talk about something that will also be important for your study abroad experience: What do you need to know about the application process?


When you’re applying for a course programme, always check the requirements. There might be a Numerus Clausus on your course of choice. This means you have to meet a certain degree to be able to enroll. Sometimes there are additional, local admission restrictions. You should make sure that you can answer these questions:
  1. What are the requirements for the course?
  2. When is the deadline for applications?
  3. What documents do I need for the application?
The application process for the winter semester generally ends on the 15th July and the one for the summer semester on the 15th January, but can vary from university to university. Remember, applying for different courses at different universities enhances your chance of success. As you can see, it is not impossible to study in a non-English speaking country.

Also, I just wanted to give you a fist bump and say thank you for considering going to Germany because it’s an awesome place to go! I genuinely hope the post was helpful for you. Now, I REALLY want you to digest the tips and start planning your study abroad experience. In case you didn’t do it already, check out these 6 things you need to do before you go abroad. If you do go to Germany, make sure to shoot me a message so that I can cheer you on.

Got any questions about stuying in Germany? Let me know in the comments.

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