Getting Creative - Five (Other) Types of Universities in Germany

The University of the Arts in Berlin

The University of the Arts in Berlin

Art and Music Universities

There are over 50 recognized art and music universities (Kunst- und Musikhochschulen) in Germany. These universities offer a diverse array of courses, from acting and sculpture to graphic design and chamber music.

The application process at art and music universities is different than the normal process at other universities and generally includes the review of an applicant’s portfolio or reel by a board comprised of professors, administrators and students. This can also include a special examination administered by the university. Art and music universities are also allowed to enroll students with lower grades if they deem their artistic potential worthy.

Service Academies

Germany has two service academies (Universitaeten der Bundeswehr), one in Munich and the other in Hamburg. These are similar to West Point and the other US academies, and train future German officers in a wide variety of subjects from Mechanical Engineering to Psychology. Unlike the US service academies, they also accept civilians, but charge them large tuition fees (up to 22,500 euros per year).

Theological Seminaries

There are around 40 universities in Germany that are considered to be theological seminaries (Kirchliche Hochschulen). Despite the translation, these academies offer an array of subjects beyond Theology, such as Social Work or Music. Most of these schools are sponsored by Catholic or Protestant denominations, but there is also a Jewish seminary in Heidelberg.

Private Universities

The vast majority of German students study at public institutions, but a growing number are enrolling in private universities (Private Hochschulen), currently around 200,000 total. Most of these universities focus on business and economics, but many also train students for positions in medical and technical fields. Classes are generally much smaller than at public universities, and students receive more support, but this comes with a cost: 4,000 – 20,000 euros a year in tuition.

Distance Learning

The largest university in Germany, the University of Hagen, only offers distance courses. Generally, this means taking courses online with periods spent on campus. This is a popular option for workers seeking to improve their earning potential without leaving their job. Some traditional universities also offer the option to study this way as well.