Thinking of studying in Germany? The best German universities according to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2021 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 40 other cities.
In total, 48 universities in Germany are counted among the very best in the world.
More than 500 degrees (bachelor’s and master’s programmes) are 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 large 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.
Since the end of the 18th century the university has had a strong focus on natural sciences, and since the middle of the 19th century it has produced world-leading research, discoveries and innovations.
The German Universities Excellence Initiative, launched in 2005, has poured funding into LMU Munich, as well as other leading universities in the country.
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 15 departments across three campuses in and around Munich.
Since 1927, 17 Nobel prizes have been awarded in physics, chemistry and medicine to academics affiliated with the university.
Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is the oldest university in Germany.
The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in 160 study programmes. 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. Some 27 Nobel laureates have been associated with Heidelberg University, nine of whom won the prize 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.
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe.
It can trace its roots back to 1710 when the hospital was built in response to the plague in Eastern Prussia. In 2003 it merged with other medical institutes in Germany and took on its current name.
Many famous scientists and physicians have worked or studied at the university including neurologist Carl Wernicke, psychiatrist Karl Leonhard and Rahel Hirsch, the first female medical professor in Prussia.
More than half of the German Nobel prizewinners in medicine and physiology have studied or worked at the university.
5. University of Tübingen
The University of Tübingen is renowned for the humanities, natural sciences and theology. The university is situated in Tübingen, one of the traditional German university towns of Baden-Württemberg, which is famous for its boat trips and the beautiful architecture of its old town.
The university has close connections with more than 150 international institutions in 62 nations. Some of them include the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of St Andrews. This provides students with the opportunity to study abroad for one year, or for foreign students to come to Tübingen and engage in scientific research.
The university is associated with 11 Nobel laureates, mainly in the fields of medicine and chemistry.
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Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2021 results
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