German higher education has been growing in international stature over the past few years, and their new prominence was reflected in the latest US News and World Report College Rankings, which featured 55 German institutions overall, and increase from previous years.
Here are the top six German universities featured in the new rankings.
Ludwig Maximilian University Munich
The University of Munich, named after two of its aristocratic founders, is not only one of Germany's oldest universities but also one of its most prestigious. It is regularly ranked near the top in both international and European university rankings, and boasts one of the larger international student bodies, with approximately 14% of its 36,000 students coming from abroad.
Famous Alumni: Physicist Werner Heisenberg, playwright Bertolt Brecht, and Pope Benedict XVI
Prominent study programs: psychology, zoology, neuroscience, physics, biology
University of Heidelberg
Founded in 1386, Heidelberg University is the oldest of Germany's academic institutions, and also one of the oldest surviving universities in the world. It has a sizable international student body, making up about 17 percent of its more than 29,000 pupils.
Five German chancellors have attended Heidelberg - including Helmut Kohl, who oversaw German reunification - as well as influential thinkers like Hannah Arendt.
Famous alumni: Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Political Scientist Hannah Arendt, Historian Arnold Toynbee, Chemist Adolf von Baeyer
Prominent study programs: medicine, neuroscience, biology, physics, and political science.
Technical University of Munich
TU Munich has made headlines over its controversial decision to start teaching all master's programs in English, but the "Entrepreneurial University" has also risen in international prominence in the years since the announcement. Today, around one in five of its 37,000 students come from outside Germany.
Famous alumni: Chemist Ernst Otto Fischer, mechanical engineer Rudolf Diesel, mathematician Walther von Dyck
Prominent study programs: computer science, mechanical engineering, physics, agriculture
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Founded in 1810 by legendary education reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt, HU Berlin has long served as a model for higher education reform throughout the world and has influenced the development of many universities in the United States. The Times Higher Education world rankings praised Humboldt as "one of the most prestigious universities not only in Germany, but in Europe."
Famous alumni: Karl Marx, poet Heinrich Heine, Otto von Bismark, sociology W.E.B. Du Bois
Prominent study programs: history, area studies, neuroscience, immunology, political science
University of Bonn
The former German capital and birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven is also home to one of Germany's most prestigious institutions of higher learning. The modern university was founded in 1818, and today is host to over 32,000 students, including over 4,000 international students.
Famous alumni: Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer
Prominent study programs: mathematics, immunology, neuroscience, philosophy, economics
Freie Universität Berlin
The Free University in Berlin was founded in 1948 to counter political pressure in academics as a result of the conflict between the occupying powers in Germany. Berlin's most prominent educational institution, Humboldt University, was under Soviet occupation, and students in the Western regions of the city called for a university of their own.
Famous alumni: Former Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, author Jonathan Franzen, jurist Jutta Limbach
Prominent study programs: literature, chemistry, economics, physics, area studies