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Int’l students in Germany up 6% as English-taught masters gain popularity

The number of international students in Germany reached 340,305 in 2016, according to recent statistics from the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, up almost 6% from the year before.

Freie Universitat Berlin (pictured) was ranked 44th in the Times Higher Education Most International Universities 2017, and number one in Germany. Photo: wikicommons/torinberl

The number of master’s students reached 86,245 up 12% from 2015

And the number of foreign students enrolled in master’s programs increased by 12%, accounting for just over a third of all students.

Students who came to Germany after finishing their high school degree in their home country, known as Bildungsauslaender, amounted to 251,542.

“The number of English-taught master’s programs is still increasing with steady pace”

Of these students, 90,214 studied a bachelor’s degree, up 10% from the previous year, while the number of master’s students reached 86,245 up 12% from 2015, narrowing the gap in enrolment between the two disciplines.

The increase in the number of English-taught master’s programs over the last few years across Germany has contributed to the rise in master’s level students, according to Jan Kercher, senior researcher external studies & statistics, at DAAD.

“There are much more English-taught master’s programs in Germany (currently 1,043 according the HRK’s Higher Education Compass) than English-taught bachelor’s programs (currently 204),” he told The PIE News.

“The number of English-taught master’s programs is still increasing with steady pace.”

Master’s programs were also introduced to the Bologna process at a later stage, Kercher added, meaning that the capacity is still growing.

The highest proportion of foreign students studying in Germany came from the Asia Pacific region – 28% or 70,748 students.

In line with global trends, China and India were the top source countries. The former sent 32,268, up from 30,259, while Indian student numbers grew from 11,655 to 13,537.

India overtook Russia as the second highest source market in 2015, and the Russian market, while strong with 11,413 students, showed no signs of growth in 2016.

Kercher said the reason for this isn’t clear, but he would assume it’s partly the result of economic issues in Russia “and the deterioration of the German-Russian relationship during the last few years”.

Western, Northern and Southern Europe together sent a fifth of Germany’s foreign students in 2016, accounting for the next highest proportion of students after the Asia Pacific.

And countries in Middle and Southeast Europe accounted for close to 14% of all foreign students.

While only accounting for 2.4% of all students, the North American market has shown signs of growth. The number of US students increased from 4,728 to 5,213 last year.

This “is probably a consequence of the increase of study and living costs in the US”, commented Kercher.

Combining the number of Bildungsauslaender with the number of international students who had taken their high school certificate in Germany, international students make up just over 12% of the country’s student population.

The latest statistics confirm the country is well on its way to reaching its goal of welcoming 350,000 international students by 2020.

“Marketing for us means to support the internationalisation of our universities in all its aspects”

To support its growth strategy, DAAD is currently running two campaigns, ‘Study in Germany – Land of Ideas’ and ‘Research in Germany – Land of Ideas’, to market Germany as a study destination.

“We have learned that international students are coming to Germany especially because they get a high quality education with internationally recognised degrees which give them better career chances,” said Stefan Hase-Bergen, head of higher education marketing at DAAD.

“And because Germany is a safe and inexpensive place to study.”

Hase-Bergen added that DAAD doesn’t have particular source markets to target, instead taking a “decentralised approach”.

“Marketing doesn’t mean for us only international student recruitment but also, for example, to support our universities in finding the best partners worldwide for exchange and research or to recruit international scientists,” he said.

“Marketing for us means to support the internationalisation of our universities in all its aspects.”

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