Best universities in Germany 2019

Find the best universities in Germany through Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

September 26 2018
Humboldt University of Berlin

Thinking of studying in Germany? The best German universities according to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2019 include prestigious old institutions alongside younger technical universities.

The top universities in Germany are scattered throughout the country, with options to study in Munich, Berlin and 38 other cities.

In total, 47 universities in Germany are counted among the very best in the world.

LMU Munich is the top university in Germany, followed by the Technical University of Munich. The top university in Berlin is Humboldt University of Berlin.

More than 500 degrees (bachelor’s and master’s programmes) taught in English at top German universities. Whatever subject you are interested in, you can study that degree in English in Germany.

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Top 5 universities in Germany

1. LMU Munich

With the second-largest student population of any university in Germany, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich – to use its full name – attracts a huge number of international students, about 13 per cent of the total student body.

LMU Munich was founded in 1472, making it one of the oldest universities in the country. It is affiliated with 42 Nobel laureates, including renowned scientists such as Otto Hahn, Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg.

In fact, since the end of the 18th century, the university has had a strong focus on natural sciences and has produced world-leading research, discoveries and innovations since the middle of the 19th century.

The German Universities Excellence Initiative, launched in 2005, has poured funding into LMU Munich, as well as other leading universities in the country.  

2. Technical University of Munich

Founded in the 19th century, the Technical University of Munich is the only state university dedicated to science and technology.

The university originally focused on engineering, but has expanded over the years to include natural sciences, social sciences, agriculture, brewing and food technology, and medicine. Many specialisms within engineering and information technology are offered across three departments.

An overarching philosophy of “the entrepreneurial university” guides the development of the institution, which now has 12 faculties across three campuses in and around Munich.

Since 1927, 13 Nobel Prizes have been awarded in physics, chemistry and medicine to academics affiliated to the university.

In 2001, the Technical University of Munich founded a subsidiary university, TUM Asia, in Singapore, providing an international education to students in Asia.

3. Heidelberg University

Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is the oldest university in Germany.

The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in 100 subjects. Academics at Heidelberg have been responsible for founding sub-disciplines including psychiatric genetics, modern sociology and environmental physics.

Close to 20 per cent of the student body is international, representing 130 countries. More than a third of doctoral students are international.

The university particularly excels for its innovative research and intellectual contributions across a range of subjects. Thirty-three Nobel laureates have been associated with Heidelberg University, nine of whom won while tenured there.

Many influential politicians, philosophers and scientists are alumni or affiliates of the university, including Max Weber – the founder of modern sociology – and philosopher Hannah Arendt.

Heidelberg is known as the home of German romanticism and the Old Town and castle are some of the most visited tourist destinations in Germany.

4. Humboldt University of Berlin

Humboldt University of Berlin is the birthplace of an educational ethos and university model that has been adopted by other European and Western universities since the 19th century.

The principle of the university is a union between teaching and research, both done by prominent scholars. Some of Germany’s most influential figures attended or worked at the university, including Marx and Engels, Walter Benjamin, Albert Einstein and Max Planck.

In total, 55 Nobel prizewinners are associated with Humboldt University, the majority for physics, chemistry or medicine.

Although well-known and respected across all subject areas, the university particularly excels in arts and humanities.

The university library, opened in 1874, is one of the most extensive in the country. It contains about 6.5 million books, and thousands of magazines and journals.

Of almost 30,000 students, about 16 per cent are international.

5. University of Freiburg

The University of Freiburg is the fifth-oldest university in Germany, having been established in 1457. 

It is made up of 11 faculties with a long tradition of teaching the natural sciences and humanities.

Some 19 Nobel Laureates have been associated with the university and 15 academic staff members have received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the highest German research prize. 

There are a number of student clubs and organisations, including a campus radio station and a student TV station, which is also available as a podcast. The university owns a retreat in the mountains, where students can take part in outdoor and leisure activities. 

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Best universities in Germany 2019

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2019 results

Germany Rank 2019 WUR Rank 2019 University City/Town
1  =32  LMU Munich Munich
2  =44  Technical University of Munich Munich
3  47  Heidelberg University Heidelberg
4  67  Humboldt University of Berlin Berlin
5  76  University of Freiburg Freiburg
6  =87  RWTH Aachen University Aachen
7  89  University of Tübingen Tübingen
8  =90  Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Berlin
9  104  Free University of Berlin Berlin
10  =110  University of Bonn Bonn
=11  =123  University of Göttingen Göttingen
=11  =123  University of Mannheim Mannheim
13  131  Technical University of Berlin Berlin
=14  =135  University of Hamburg Hamburg
=14  =135  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Karlsruhe
15  =146  University of Cologne Cologne
16  =149  Ulm University Ulm
17  151  TU Dresden Dresden
18  =159  University of Würzburg Würzburg
19  175  University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Erlangen and Nuremberg
20  =184  University of Münster Münster
21  189  University of Konstanz Konstanz
22  =190  University of Duisburg-Essen Duisberg  and Essen
=23  201–250  Bielefeld University Bielefeld
=23  201–250  University of Hohenheim Hohenheim
=23  201–250  University of Kiel Kiel
=23  201–250  University of Passau Passau
=23  201–250  University of Potsdam Potsdam
=28  251–300  Goethe University Frankfurt Frankfurt
=28  251–300  Jacobs University Bremen
=28  251–300  Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz Mainz
=28  251–300  University of Marburg Marburg
=28  251–300  Ruhr University Bochum Bochum
=28  251–300  University of Stuttgart Stuttgart
=28  251–300  Technical University of Darmstadt Darmstadt
=35  301–350  University of Bayreuth Bayreuth
=35  301–350  University of Bremen Bremen
=35  301–350  Technical University of Dortmund Dortmund
38  351–400  Justus Liebig University Giessen Giessen
=39  401–500  University of Greifswald Greifswald
=39  401–500  Hamburg University of Technology Hamburg
=39  401–500  University of Kaiserslautern Kaiserslautern
=39  401–500  Leibniz University of Hanover Hanover
=39  401–500  University of Siegen Siegen
44  501–600  Chemnitz University of Technology Chemnitz
=45  601–800  Ilmenau University of Technology Ilmenau
=45  601–800  Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg Magdeburg

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Reader's comments (1)

"Whatever subject you are interested in, you can study that degree in Germany in English." -Actually, does this apply to general medicine?! As far as I know, it doesn´t. You´ve got patients in the clinical stage of your medical training, and, generally, you´ve got to talk to patients in their native language, don´t you? Please, correct me, if I´m wrong.

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