In 2013 alone, 41% of all foreign graduates completed a master’s degree programme, attracted to the country’s academic reputation, little to no tuition fees and increasing offering of English taught courses.
“German higher education institutions are offering specialised, challenging programmes that attract excellent students from abroad”
The annual report released by DAAD and DZHW, Wissenschaft Weltoffen, which looks at international study in Germany, reported that the number of foreign students graduating from a master’s degree programme reached 13,163 in 2013 representing an increase of almost 23% from the year before.
Since 2008, foreign enrolments across all degree levels in Germany have increased by 25%.
However, the number of foreign students enrolled in a master’s degree in 2014 reached 66,647 – more than triple the 20,783 seven years ago.
President of DAAD, Margret Wintermantel, said that many international students come to Germany for their master’s degrees due to the quality of the education in the country.
“German higher education institutions are offering specialised, challenging programmes that attract excellent students from abroad,” she told The PIE News.
“In addition to clear structures and straightforward, manageable study hours, the teaching culture, professional level and academic and research content in particular accounted for this popularity.”
Wintermantel also attributes the high number of master’s students coming from overseas to the country’s numerous English language programmes.
“In recent years, German higher education institutions have developed a large and wide range of English-language master’s programmes,” she said.
“[These] are particularly attractive to internationally mobile students who do not speak German very well.”
Germany has a total of 867 foreign language master’s programme, of which 848 are in English.
Nearly half the foreign students who responded to a DAAD survey said they were enrolled on a fully English-taught programme, which make up just 11% of all master’s programmes in the country, indicating that a high proportion of international master’s students are enrolled on these courses.
According to DAAD, India is driving growth rates, as the number of international master’s students from India have increased by 338% since 2008 to 6,974.
“Germany is one of the particularly popular destination countries”
But like other master’s destinations, including the US, China continues to be the top source country.
In 2014, there were 11,833 students from China, making up almost 18% of the international master’s student population.
The DAAD has said that it is well on its way to reaching its goal of hosting 350,000 international students by 2020.
According to preliminary data, the number of international students, both those that have come to Germany purely for higher education studies, and those who have taken their higher education entrance exams in Germany, will reach 319,283 this year.
It seems clear master’s programmes will play a leading role in the country’s efforts to meet its target.
“Many international master’s students initially want to undertake their first degree in their own country, and then take specific further educational courses abroad,” said Wintermantel.
“Germany is one of the particularly popular destination countries.”