In 2016, more students enrolled in German universities than ever before, with over 3 million pursuing their degrees at the country's colleges and universities. With 425 institutions of higher education all-told, Germany has universities with enrollments ranging from as small as a few dozen all the way to nearly 100,000. Larger universities in Germany offer more course selection and variety than smaller campuses, and there's no question that the college experience is different when you go to school with 50,000 other students.
So, what are the largest universities in Germany?
The Technical University (TU) of Dresden is a German "university of excellence" and the 10th largest university in Germany with just under 40,000 students. The name TU Dresden has only been used since 1961, but the university was founded in 1828. The university is member of TU9, a consortium of the nine leading German Institutes of Technology.
Friedrich Alexander University (FAU), has its main campus in Erlangen, as well as a smaller campus in nearby Nuremberg. FAU was founded in 1742, and has some of the top engineering and computer science programs in the country. With over 40,000 students, it's also the ninth largest university in Germany.
Coming in just ahead of FAU is the University of Duisburg-Essen, with 39,000 total enrollees. The current university was formed by the consolidation of the universities of Duisburg and Essen, two large cities in the populous Ruhr region, in 2003. Together with the University of Bochum and the Technical University of Dortmund, they form the Ruhr University Alliance, which allows students from all three schools to take courses at their sister campuses.
The 40,000 students at the University of Münster (WWU) not only make it only of the largest colleges in Germany, but also help to define the city of 300,000 as a true college town. WWU's home of Münster is also the largest biking town in country, with thousands of miles of paved bike lanes throughout the city and the region.
6. RWTH Aachen
Historic Aachen, the former capital of Charlemagne's empire, is home to nearly 75,000 students overall, most of whom study at RWTH University. Although it has a wealth of offerings across many technical fields, RWTH known internationally as a mecca for engineers, and as a university of excellence. It also has one of the highest enrollments in Germany, with 42,000 students as of last year.
Hamburg is Germany's second largest city and home to its sixth largest university, just slightly edging out RWTH Aachen with 42,300 enrolled students. The university was founded in 1919, and is considered the top research university in northern Germany.
Sliding in a few places ahead of its sister campus in Duisburg-Essen, the Ruhr University in Bochum has an enrollment of just over 43,000. Founded in 1962 to provide comprehensive education to students in Germany's Ruhr Valley, Bochum is also a partner in the Ruhr University Alliance.
With over 46,000 students, Goethe University takes the number four place in the list. Founded in the same era as the University of Hamburg, Goethe University has since taken its place as one of the most prestigious universities in Germany. Its modern Westend campus, one of four in Frankfurt, also receives top marks.
Cologne is not only one of the five oldest cities in Germany, but it's also home to one of its five oldest universities - the University of Cologne, which was founded in 1388. Today, the the nearly 50,000 students at the University of Cologne can study subjects across all fields, but the largest number study in the college's humanities department.
Although the distance learning university in Hagen is technically larger, the biggest traditional, campus university in Germany is in Munich. With 52,000 students across 18 academic departments, Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) takes the title of "Largest University in Germany," and is also well-regarded as on of the best institutions of higher learning in the world. Like many others on this list, LMU is also a university of excellence, and has programs across all disciplines.