Best universities in Germany

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

Best universities in
Rankings for Students
Study abroad
September 2 2020
Humboldt University of Berlin


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.

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

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.  

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 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.

In 2001, the TUM founded a subsidiary university in Singapore, TUM Asia, providing an international education to students in Asia.Download your Study Abroad Guide for FREE

3. Heidelberg 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.

4. Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

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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Best universities in Germany 2021

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2021 results

World University Rank 2021   Germany Rank 2021  University City/town
 32                                          1 LMU Munich Munich
 41  2 Technical University of Munich Munich
 42                                      3 Heidelberg University Heidelburg
 =75                                      4 Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Berlin
 =78                                      5 University of Tübingen Tübingen
 =80                                      6 Humboldt University of Berlin Berlin
 83                                      7 University of Freiburg Freiburg
 =107                                      8 RWTH Aachen University Aachen 
 =114                                      9 University of Bonn Bonn
 =118                                    10 Free University of Berlin Berlin
 130                                    11 University of Göttingen Göttingen
 135                                    12 University of Hamburg Hamburg
 =140   =13  University of Mannheim Mannheim
 =140   =13  Technical University of Berlin Berline
 =140   =13  Ulm University Ulm
 =140   =13  University of Würzburg Würzburg
 =145                                    17 University of Cologne Cologne
 =152                                    18 TU Dresden Dresden
 =158                                    19 Bielefeld University Bielefeld
 =195                                    20 University of Münster Münster
 =198                                    21 University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Nuremberg and Erlangen
 201–250   =22  University of Duisburg-Essen Essen and Duisburg
 201–250   =22  University of Hohenheim Hohenheim
 201–250   =22  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Karlsruhe
 251–300   =25  Friedrich Schiller University Jena Jena
 251–300   =25  Goethe University Frankfurt Frankfurt
 251–300   =25  Jacobs University Bremen
 251–300   =25  University of Kiel Kiel
 251–300   =25  University of Konstanz Konstanz
 251–300   =25  University of Potsdam Potsdam
 251–300   =25  Ruhr University Bochum Bochum
 301–350   =32  University of Greifswald Greifswald
 301–350   =32  Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz Mainz
 301–350   =32  University of Marburg Marburg
 301–350   =32  University of Passau Passau
 301–350   =32  Technical University of Darmstadt Darmstadt
 351–400   =37  University of Bayreuth Bayreuth
 351–400   =37  University of Stuttgart Stuttgart
 401–500   =39  University of Bremen Bremen
 401–500   =39  Justus Liebig University Giessen Giessen
 401–500   =39  TU Dortmund University Dortmund
 501–600  42 Leibniz University Hannover Hannover
 601–800   =43  Hamburg University of Technology Hamburg
 601–800   =43  University of Kaiserslautern Kaiserslautern
 601–800   =43  University of Siegen Siegen
 601–800   =43  TU Braunschweig Braunschweig
 601–800   =43  University of Wuppertal Wuppertal
 801–1000  48 Ilmenau University of Technology Ilmenau

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