There are many possibilities if you want to study in Thuringia. There are nine state universities and universities of applied sciences or technology with many different programmes. Universities of cooperative education and private colleges add to the university landscape in Thuringia. They all offer great student support, modern lecture halls and laboratories as well as well equipped libraries which leads to short programme durations. Many university locations in Thuringia also offer cheaper cost of living and studying.
The minimum requirements to take up a study programme are a recognized university entrance qualification as well as sufficient command of the language of the programme. If you intend to go to university in Germany, the international offices of the universities will decide if you meet these requirements. Every year more than 50,000 young adults study at universities in Thuringia.
Thuringia has five state universities: Friedrich Schiller University Jena, University of Erfurt, Bauhaus University Weimar, Ilmenau University of Technology, and the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar.
There are also four universities of applied sciences: In Erfurt, Jena, Schmalkalden, and Nordhausen. Additionally, there is the Thuringian University of Public Administration in Gotha (internal institution of the State of Thuringia) as well as the private SRH University of Applied Sciences Gera with monthly fees.
The Duale Hochschule exists since 1998 (formerly Staatliche Studienakademie) and offers cooperative education in Eisenach and Gera. During three years of cooperative studies, students will receive an education similar to the one at a university of applied sciences. Universities of cooperative education teach theory and methodologies, while the private partners (businesses, companies) provide field qualifications according to the vocational contract which the students sign. The IUBH Dual Studies Erfurt offers a similar programme but you will have to pay fees.
You can also apply for another fee-based dual study programme at the private International University of Cooperative Education (IBA) in Erfurt. In contrast to the above mentioned courses where you will have blocks of a few months in school and in the company, here you will be in school a few days each week.
EU nationals do not need a residence permit to enter Thuringia or to study there. You just need to register at your place of residence. If you are a citizen of a third country, you require a visa. You will have to apply for a student visa at the German embassy or consulate in your home country.
To apply you will need your university's admission letter, proof of health insurance and proof of financial support for the duration of the study program. Your documents will be processed and the student visa will be issued after receiving the consent of the German immigration office. If you did not received your admission letter or if you have not decided on a programme, yet, you can apply for a "university applicant visa". This visa is valid for three months. After your admission to the university you can convert this visa into a student residence permit.
Please note, that you are not allowed to study if you are in Germany with a tourist visa, except if you are a citizen of the United States or
Foreign students applying for courses taught in German will have to prove that they know enough of the language. Usually those skills correspond to level B2 (intermediate level) of the Common European Framework. You can prove your language skills with the following certificates:
The language centres of the Unviersity of Erfurt, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the Ilmenau University of Technology and the Bauhaus University of Weimar offer language courses which prepare for the DSH II exam. The courses last for one or two semesters and cost about EUR 750 per semester. You will have to pay those fees yourself. The DSH preparation course ends with a written and oral examination.
Some universities and colleges offer study programmes taught in English (Bachelor as well as Master courses) with varying requirements. Please ask at the university if you need German or English language skills.
Students who acquired their university entrance qualification abroad (non-EU citizens) can only be admitted to study programmes if the graduation degree
The online data base anabin.kmk.org provides information about whether a foreign degree can be recognized in Germany. The decision about the recognition is taken by the university at which the student would like to study, in the framework of the application procedure.
If your foreign school qualification is not equivalent to a German Abitur and you are not allowed to study you have two possibilities:
This university-run centre for international students prepares you with language and specialised classes for your chosen study programme. You can only attend the Staatliche Studienkolleg Nordhausen if you pass an entry examination. A direct application is not possible, either – you will have to apply at the university you wish to attend after the Studienkolleg. To attend the Studienkolleg you need basic knowledge of the German language. The language classes will continue at the Studienkolleg.
The preparatory classes are also geared to the subject you have chosen to study and usually last two semesters. At the end of the course you will have an aptitude exam (Feststellungsprüfung, FSP) consisting of a written and an oral part. If you pass the exam you will be entitled to apply for a higher education course in that subject. You can also take the exam without attending the preparatory course at the Studienkolleg in which case you will have to prepare for the exam yourself.
After the university, EU nationals do not need a residence permit to start any kind of work in Thuringia. The same goes for citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
If you are a third country citizen and have just finished a study course in Germany, you can start to work according to your university certificate. You can apply for an appropriate residence permit at your local immigration agency.
If you do not find a suitable job immediately, you can apply for a residence permit with a timelimit of 18 months. During these 18 months you may look for a job which suits your qualifications. While looking for a job you may take on a different vocation to earn your living.
The study guidance of the universities can offer you counsellings and informative appointments about study programmes, formal requirements for the admission and the application process. There is also a specialised guidance for each of the offered study programmes. Here you will receive information about the contents and focus of the programmes and about exam requirements.
The university’s international office is in charge of international students and helps with the organisation of your stay in Germany. In some universities, the international office also advices international students about the study programmes and requirements and admits them to the programmes.
Many student initiatives at the different universities also offer to help if you have questions about your studies. Students in higher semesters pass on their own experiences. They answer questions as to the studies, the city, every day life and give helpful advice.
The Studierendenwerk of Thuringia (student services) offers information and advice about social and economic issues, for example housing or funding.
There are no tuition fees at state universities in Thuringia. But there are administrative and other semester fees (Semesterbeitrag). Currently, those fees amount to about EUR 100 to 200 per semester, depending on what services the university offers.
In order to be able to study in Germany it is necessary to take out a health insurance. The proof of insurance has to be submitted for the enrolment as well as at the Aliens Office. The student rate of approx. EUR 75.00 per month is the same for all legal health insurances. Private health insurances may have other modalities.
At the state universities the semester fee covers a Semesterticket. With this ticket you are allowed to use the regional train services all over Thuringia and sometimes also other public transportations at your place of study and in other cities. Part of the fee also covers the use of the student body services (free counselling and advice, reduced prices for food at the university cafeterias and cheaper housing at student residences).
Students can claim state training support (BAföG) to pay for their livelihood if they fulfil certain conditions (part of which must be paid back after the training). You can apply for BAföG at your university’s student service (Studierendenwerk).
Another option is one of the various scholarships financed for example by trusts, institutions, Federal States or cities. Please ask at your university to find out more about financial support or have a look at the DAAD data base which contains scholarships granted by the DAAD and other organisations.
The brochure "Studying Together in Thuringia" produced by the Thuringian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Science and Digital Society offers further information on topics like admission requirements or possibilities of studying in Thuringia.