The Best Universities in Germany – 2016

Over recent years there have been more and more options to study in English in Germany and there are currently more than 500 degrees (bachelor’s and master’s programmes) taught at top German universities.

In total, there are 37 universities in Germany which are counted among the very best universities in the world.

Here is a list of the top 5 universities in Germany:

1. LMU Munich

The LMU attracts a huge number of international students, about 13 per cent of the total student body and has the second largest student population of any university in Germany.

The LMU Munich was founded in 1472 (making it one of the oldest universities in the country) and has had 34 Nobel laureates affiliated to the university, including renowned scientists such as Otto Hahn, Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg.

The German Universities Excellence Initiative (launched in 2005) has poured funding into LMU Munich, as well as other leading universities in the country.

2. Heidelberg University

Heidelberg University is the oldest university in current-day Germany, having been founded in 1386.

Close to 20 per cent of the student body is international, representing 130 countries around the world. More than a third of doctoral students are international. The university is rouned globally for its innovative research and intellectual contributions across a range of subjects. Fifty-six Nobel laureates have been associated with Heidelberg University, nine of whom won while tenured at the university.

In addition, many influential politicians, philosophers, and scientists are alumni or affiliates of the university, including Max Weber – the founder of modern sociology – and philosopher Hannah Arendt.

3. Humboldt University of Berlin

Humboldt University of Berlin is known not only for its own prestige but also for the educational ethos and university model –based on a union between teaching and research–that has been adopted by other European and Western universities since the 19th century.

Some of Germany’s most influential figures attended or worked at the university, including Marx and Engels, Walter Benjamin, Albert Einstein and Max Planck.

In total, 40 Nobel prizewinners have been associated with Humboldt University, the majority for physics, chemistry or medicine… and while well-known for its research disciplines, the university particularly excels in arts and humanities, ranking 21st in the world for humanities subjects.

Out of almost 30,000 students, about 16 per cent are international.

4. Technical University of Munich

Founded in the 19th century, the Technical University of Munich is the only state university dedicated to science and technology.

The university originally focused on engineering, but has expanded over the years to include natural sciences, social sciences, agriculture, brewing and food technology, and medicine.

An overarching philosophy of “the entrepreneurial university” guides the development of the university, which now has 12 faculties across three campuses in or around Munich.

Between 1927 and today, 13 Nobel Prizes have been awarded in physics, chemistry and medicine to academics affiliated to the university.

5. Free University of Berlin

The Free University of Berlin was founded as a result of concerns about communist control of Humboldt University during the early Cold War period.

From its founding, students had much more impact on the university system and decisions than in other universities in Germany, although their input has been gradually scaled back.

Over the past 15 years, the university has dramatically reduced the size of the student body from more than 60,000 students to just over 30,000 students. About 20 per cent of the students are international.

In 2007, the Free University of Berlin secured the most funding applications for research through the German Universities Excellence Initiative and is one of nine elite universities to receive special funding for development.

Photo credit: “”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Times Higher Education.

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