Education System in Germany

Germany is a land of ideas where education, science and research play a cardinal part. It is one of the countries most preferred by international students, a hub of cutting-edge international research and a perpetual source of new patents.

Levels of Schools and Lengths of Study

Primary Education :Germany offers free education for students between 6 to 18 years.
  • Kindergarten: Age 3 to 6       
  • Elementary school/ Grundschule is mandatory: Grade 1 to 4
Secondary Education: Based on the recommendation of elementary school teachers, academic ability of the students & parents choices, students attend one of the four different forms of secondary schools:

  • Grades Covered: 5 to 9
  • Duration: 5 to 6 years
  • Age level:  10 to 15 years
  • Degree:  Hauptschul abschluss
Hauptschule leads to part-time enrollment in a vocational school combined with apprenticeship training until the age of 18. From the first year of Hauptschule, all children learn English. They are also taught German, mathematics, physics / chemistry, biology, geography, history, religion (or a substitute subject), music, art, politics and sports, and are given an introduction to the careers available and employment related information.

  • Grades Covered: 5 to 10
  • Duration:  6 years
  • Age level:  10 to 15 years
  • Degree:  Mittlere Reife
Realschule guides to part-time and higher vocational schools. The Realschule gives children a broader general education. They also have a chance to learn a second foreign language usually French, in accession to the first compulsory language generally English.

  • Grades Covered: 5 to 13
  • Duration:  9 years
  • Age level:  10 to 18 years
  • Degree: Abitur
Gymnasium prepare students for university study or for a dual academic and vocational credential. The Gymnasium is designed to offer students with an education which will enable them to study at a German university or equivalent.

  • Grades Covered: 5 to 10
  • Duration:  6 years
  • Age level:  10 to 15 years
  • Degree: Hauptschulabschluss in the 9th grade/Mittlere Reife in the 10th grade
Gesamtschule guides to vocational study or University study. The Gesamtschule, also known as the comprehensive school combines elements from the Hauptschule, the Realschule and the Gymnasium.

Higher Education

In Germany, students have a wide choice from more than 200 University of Applied Sciences & 300 universities offering a variety of courses & degree programs. Two primary types of higher education institutions exist in Germany: the Universitaten (universities) and Fachhochschulen or Hochschulen (universities of applied sciences). The universities have the exclusive right to grant doctoral degrees and focus on research, while the universities of applied sciences lean more toward applied studies research.

University/ Universitat
The Universities are theory oriented and research plays an integral part of the study. Degrees offered include bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. Major departments are education, law, medicine, social & cultural sciences, business management

Technical University / Technische Universitat
Technical universities in Germany offers courses only in engineering & science. Likewise, research plays an integral part of the study. Degrees offered include bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate.

University of Applied Sciences / Fachhochschule
The University of Applied Sciences is more practical oriented. They concentrate on application oriented study and research. University of Applied Sciences offers Bachelors programmes in general. Some institutions also offer
Masters programme.

College of Arts & Music
College of Music offer courses in composition, directing, training on an instrument, voice, jazz, music theater, stage dance, and music education
College of Arts offer courses in painting, graphic design, sculpture and art education, architecture, stage design, ceramics, glass painting, restoration work, and art media

Academic Year

Schools: The school year consists of two semesters and normally starts around the middle to end of August. There are longer breaks at Christmas and in the summer. The Christmas break is usually 2 weeks and the summer break is about 6 weeks.

Universities: In Germany there are basically two Intakes for the higher education Institutes, i.e. universities including the universities of technology and universities of applied sciences or Fachhochschulen
  • Summer – March/April
  • Winter – September/October
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