Germany International Student Statistics 2018

Statistics and News

Germany is becoming a very popular study destination standing alongside the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. Consequent to this high attractiveness the country has reached its long-term of welcoming 350,000 international students, by 2020, three years earlier in 2017.
Main reasons why international students choose Germany?

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Free higher education: 35.3% of prospective students would choose Germany because of its free-tuition universities
World-class professors: 29.3% of international students value professorship at German universities
Countless job opportunities after graduation: 69.2% of international students would prefer to remain in the country and find a good job

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International students’ growth in Germany (as of Winter semester 2017/18)

374,951 international students were enrolled in German higher education institutions
2,842,225 students were seeking a degree at German universities
Foreign students shared 13% of the total number of the student population in Germany
The number of international students increased by 4.5% as compared to 358,895 students on the Winter semester 2016/17
Since 2009/2010 the international students’ community has grown by 53% (244,775 to 374,951)

Types of the higher education institutions international students choose to study in

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International students in Germany more likely to choose a University over a University of Applied Sciences
The gap between foreign university students and foreign university of applied sciences students remains large
As of Winter semester 2017/18, universities enrolled roughly 70% of the foreign students
259,369 international scholars were attending a university as of winter semester 2017/18 as opposed to 115,435 students who were attending a university of applied sciences
In 2009/2010, 73% of 244,775 international students were seeking a degree at a university

Where do they come from?

Most international students at German universities are from the following countries: China, India, Russia, Austria, Italy, France, Cameron, Ukraine, Turkey and Bulgaria
China is traditionally the largest distributor of international students at German universities
In 2017, 32,268 Chinese students enrolled in German universities
Other groups of international students enrolled in 2017 were: Indians (13,537), Russians (11,413), Austrians (10,129), Italians (8,047), French (7,330), Camerons (7,106), Ukraine (6,941), Turkey (6,930) and Bulgaria (6,840)
Compared to 2016, the number of Chinese students grew by 6.6% (30,259 to 32,268)
Between 2016 and 2017, Indians at German universities had the biggest growth by 16% (11,655 to 13,537)

The most preferred study fields

Most international students study Engineering at German universities
139,559 international students were studying an Engineering field as of Winter semester 2017/18
In terms of percentage, 37% of foreign students currently seeking a degree in Engineering in Germany
The second most preferred study fields for international students are Law, Economics and Social Sciences with 104,042 (27%) students seeking a degree at one of these study fields
With only 1,227 foreign students enrolled, sports courses are the least preferred study options for international students in Germany

Course level

As of 2017, 36.5% international students in Germany were attending a Bachelor’s degree course, 36% a Master’s degree, 10% PhD programs, 8% other degrees and 10% non-degree courses
In 2017, the majority of international students enrolled a postgraduate degree course
90,2014 international students started their Undergraduate studies in 2017
132,726 international students started their postgraduate studies in 2017

Future plans of international students

Most international students in Germany aim to remain in the country in their post-study life because of job and career opportunities
2% of international scholars at German universities would like to stay in the country and find a good job
3% plan to stay for a while after their graduation to travel and see new places
And 16.5% are likely to return back home

Funding options

5% of students plan to fund their education through part-time working
29% of students plan to remain on their saving and family incomes
3% plan to rely on scholarships
Just 9.2% plan to get a student loan

Data sources:
Studying in Germany Survey ( (
Federal Ministry of Education in Germany (
Education and Research Figures in 2017 /Federal Ministry of Education in Germany (
IIE report (
ICEF Monitor (
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