Shutterstock.com
Updated 5 months ago

Munich is a charming, international city that has gained popularity among expats and students for its lifestyle, academic opportunities, and nightlife. The city’s proximity to the mountains, beautiful lakes, as well as neighbouring countries like Austria, Switzerland, and Italy within easy reach make it an attractive destination during summer as well as winter.

Why study in Munich?

Quality education that’s affordable

Did you know that two Munich universities rank among the top 100 universities worldwide? Based on the QS world university rankings, the Technische Universität München (TUM or TU Munich) is at 60th and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) at 68th place worldwide and both even ranked as Germany’s top two representatives in 2016-2017.

Living expenses in Munich may be among the highest in Germany, however public universities offer quality degrees for free or at very affordable costs as long as you meet the entry qualifications. The fact that no tuition fees are charged regardless of your nationality makes Munich score high on the affordability ranking. On top of that, you’ll get the opportunity to study under the same conditions as the locals and live the Bavarian way of life.

Great employment prospects and starting salaries

For many German employers, Munich is known to produce highly adaptable, communicative, flexible, and motivated graduates.

In fact, in 2016 three Munich universities ranked among the top five in the global university employability ranking. The French human resources consulting agency Emerging and the German market research firm Trendence surveyed about 6,000 staff members and managers from 20 countries, asking which universities educate the "most professional" graduates. The TU München made it to first place while the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) and the University of Applied Sciences shared the fifth place. Both the TU and LMU benefited from the Excellence Initiative, a top-level research program. And globally operating companies also recruit graduates there.

Also, the average unemployment rate of graduates with an academic degree is only 2.5%! In 2016 the average starting salary for graduates was 42,000 EUR. Even the more difficult fields such as humanities had entry salaries starting around 32,000 EUR. If you are prepared to move for a job, you’ll find numerous job opportunities all over Germany.

Munich is a student city

The local students find Munich to be a very attractive, safe, and tolerant city that has much to offer: it’s a multicultural city and people are quite open-minded You’ll get to know new people quickly and it is never boring. Munich is a very green and welcoming city with great entertainment, leisure, and sports facilities. There are a semester travel ticket and a great infrastructure.

The TU main campus is central so there are a lot of entertainment possibilities nearby. Although the building itself may look a little functional, there is a great rooftop cafe with a fantastic view over the city. And there are possibilities to work with different groups e.g. in Zeppelin construction, racing, robots, film, etc.

The academic environment

There are 28 colleges and four higher education institutes of which nine are State-owned, 21 private, and two religious. About 120,000 students are studying in Munich, that’s an 8% student’s share among 1.5 million inhabitants. There are more than 15,000 students of foreign origin enrolled at the city’s universities.

Most foreign students come from other European countries such as Austria, Italy, Bulgaria or France. Other countries of origin include India, China, Russia and the U.S.

The teaching culture

Munich universities promise highly trained and practice-oriented teachers. In fact, the TU Munich credits its success to the deep relationships between the university and industry in Bavaria. The university's academics also work for companies such as BMW, Siemens, and Lindner, which give students an immediate insight into the work environment.

Depending on your level of education and type of studies, you may be part of a group who follows the same schedule as you, or you may choose your courses individually. You’ll attend reading lectures (Vorlesungen), where the professor covers the theory at a quick pace, and more hands-on seminars (Seminare) in smaller groups, where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics to apply your newly acquired knowledge. Lectures tend to be non-compulsory and are often evaluated by an exam at the end of the semester, while seminars are mandatory and require submitting a paper (Hausarbeit) or a presentation (Referat) to pass the course. Some programs may include practices (Übung) that go along with the lectures and offer a practical revision of what you’ve learned in the corresponding lectures.

The education system is rather hierarchical and you’ll always address the teachers formally using “Sie” or “Herr/Frau”.

The first 2-3 semesters tend to be theoretical and cover more general knowledge and it usually gets more practical and interesting after that.

The teaching language


Some institutes offer degree programs in English such as TU Munich, LMU or EU Business School Munich. Many universities may hold individual classes in English, but for most programs, you’ll need to have an acceptable level of fluency in German in order to enroll at public universities. You should hold one of the following German language certifications:

  • DSH – The Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang is usually taken at the local university.
  • TestDaF – Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache can be taken in your country.
  • ZOP – Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung
  • KDS – Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom
  • GDS – Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (most difficult one)

Munich’s most renowned universities

Ludwig-Maximilians-University München

Ludwig-Maximilians-University München is also known as LMU or University of Munich. Located in the heart of Munich the LMU is the city’s biggest university with 51,000 students and about 15% international students.

It’s a public research university, recognized as one of Europe’s premier academic and research institutions. Established in 1472, the LMU is also one of the oldest, most prestigious universities in Germany and is associated with 36 Nobel laureates. Additionally, it is one of eleven German universities of excellence.

LMU Munich is valued for its academic diversity from the humanities and cultural studies through economics, law and social sciences to medicine and natural sciences. There is an increasing amount of programs being taught entirely in English.

Today it offers over 300 degree courses, including 96 Bachelor's and 130 Master's, as well as teaching degrees (Lehramtstudium). Studies usually begin in the winter semester (305 courses of study), but there are also courses starting in the summer semester (52 courses). You can find out more regarding admissions at the LMU.

Technische Universität München

Technische Universität München or TU München (TUM) was founded in 1868. More than 39,000 students attend lectures at the Technical University of whom about 20 percent are from abroad. Note, the TU and LMU are among the world's most prestigious universities.

TU Munich is a research university and member of TU9 as one of the largest and most notable German institutes of technology. According to the QS World University Rankings, the TUM ranked 60th overall and as Germany’s highest ranked university. It offers a wide range of studies in engineering, life and medical sciences, natural sciences, economics and covers a large spectrum of fundamental and applied research.

To date, there are about thirteen faculties and 160 programs of study, most of which with bachelor and master degrees. It holds double degree agreements with over 20 universities and maintains partnerships with some 170 universities worldwide. Among the alumni are 13 Nobel Prize winners, 18 Leibnitz Prize winners and 10 IEEE Fellow Members. Don’t hesitate to find out more directly on the university website.

Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften München (MUAS)

As the third largest university, the Munich University of Applied Sciences offers more than 18,000 students over 85 Bachelor’s and master’s degree programs across 14 departments. International students make up 12% of the student body.

The MUAS was founded in 1971 and now counts as the second largest university of applied sciences in Germany. It offers degree programs and active academic collaboration in the MINT subjects (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and engineering), economics, public health and social sciences as well as in design and architecture. If this catches your interest, check out the MUAS website.

Other universities, which are specialized in film, music and theatre, philosophy, administration, the Bundeswehr University, or the Meisterschule für Mode, (Master School of Fashion) also offer a wide range of creative and research opportunities. Young artists learn their craft at the Academy of Fine Arts (Akademie der Bildenden Künste) while future film directors and producers study at the College of Television and Film (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film). If you prefer to gain an academic degree with vocational training, you can do so at the HFH Munich.

Entry conditions

As an EU citizen you can freely come and study in Germany as long as you fulfill the basic entry conditions, i.e. you have a secondary school diploma (A-levels) and a recognized German language certificate. Most universities apply a NC (numerous clausus) based on the final grades of your A-levels and may require ability tests. For more information regarding admissions, check with the university of your choice.

If you are a citizen from outside the EU-EEA, you must apply for a student visa at the German embassy or consulate in your home country. There are three kinds of student visas: a temporary student visa valid up to three months, the student visa per se and a visa for language courses only.

Note that application closing dates differ between universities. Generally, applications must be filed before January 15th for the summer semester (beginning in April) or before July 15th for the winter semester (beginning in October). However, make sure to check well in advance to be able to respect the deadlines for submitting your paperwork.

Scholarships

The Erasmus exchange program is an easy option to study in Germany for up to one year. You can find more information directly through your university or through the German embassy or consulate in your area. You can also check with the DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service who grants many scholarships for international students at various degree levels.

Your host institution may also offer scholarships or grants. Do not hesitate to contact them for further information. Some fellowships offer non-government scholarships, for example, the Einstein International Postdoctoral Fellowship or the Global Challenges Fellowship Program.

Students from EU countries may be eligible for BAföG, which is a half-loan, half-grant from the state which is generally interest-free.

Living in Germany

The costs of living in Munich

Munich is known for the highest rent prices in the country. However, the costs of living won’t be higher than living in Paris or London. Be prepared to pay around 600 to 850 EUR per month to rent a room in a shared flat or single-bedroom apartment. Student accommodation is much cheaper but highly in demand.

Make sure to use the numerous special student prices for transport, the student canteens and sports facilities (Zentraler Hochschulsport), cultural events, cinema, museums, swimming pools or hairdressers.

Be aware that health insurance is compulsory and you will have to either get cover from your home country or ask the university’s Studentenwerk for student offers.

During the semester, students may work for 20 hours per week. Student jobs are pretty easy to get and tend to be fairly well paid. You can check with the university’s Jobbörsen of LMU and TU or pages like Jobcafe.de.

Nightlife, lakes,
parks and beer gardens

Munich’s nightlife and student parties won’t leave you disappointed; there are endless possibilities and always something going on. The LMU is right next to the English Gardens (Englischer Garten) with plenty of cafes, beer gardens, and restaurants to explore. There are many other parks, such as the Olympiapark or the banks of the River Isar.

During the winter semester, there is, of course, Oktoberfest, and the Christmas market in December. In spring students enjoy the Frühlingsfest, a smaller version of Oktoberfest. And in summer the many nearby lakes and mountains make a popular destination.

Local meals every student should taste once in their life


Bavarian cuisine is known for many meat and Knödel dishes and is closely connected to Austrian, Tyrol and Czech cuisine. Definitely, try Münchner Weißwurst with a pretzel and sweet mustard. Schweinshaxe (pork), Grillhendl (grilled chicken) and of course the many local beers are typical for the region.

Student housing

Flat hunting in Munich is pretty much reminiscent of finding a flat in Paris, so it’s best to start early!

Most students live in shared flats or university student housing, which is advertised online, on student notice boards or through the local Studentenwerk (National Association for Student Affairs) at your university. The Studentenwerk München offers 11,000 rooms, which tend to be cheap and central. Your chances will increase if you apply for dormitories in less popular locations in time. Note, a lot of students apply up to 2 years in advance – no joke!

To find your own flatshare known as a WG or Wohngemeinschaft, try these websites to get started:wg-gesucht.de, wohngemeinschaft.de, studenten-wg.de. Finding roommates will help you adjust and improve your German and make it so much easier to meet locals and make friends.

Popular student areas are Schwabing and Maxvorstadt for their proximity to TU and LMU. Haidhausen and Glockenbach are close to the center and equally popular and known for their bars and nightlife.

General advice

Be organized. German universities will be happy to advise but won’t hold your hand. While enjoying the privilege of free education at a public university, it’s up to you to attend your lectures and study. You’ll be treated like a local and it’s unlikely anyone will remind you to catch up with missed classes. You only get out what you put in! This may be different at private teaching institutions.

 Useful links:

Munich official portal

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.