These German universities are best at landing you a job

A new Times Higher Education ranking shows which German universities are most likely to get you into your dream job after graduation.

These German universities are best at landing you a job
Photo: DPA.
Times Higher Education (THE) released the ranking of 150 universities on Wednesday, showing which ones worldwide have the best “employability” for students.
THE conducted a survey between April and July of this year, questioning one panel of management-level recruiters from 20 different countries and another panel of directors of international companies.
The first panel's participants voted on their 15 picks for universities that produce the most employable graduates in their countries. The second panel then looked at the list from the first group and voted on their top ten choices for both global and local universities.
Three German universities made it into the top 50 – and one even into the top ten.
1. Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Photo: DPA
This institute in the Bavarian capital placed eighth worldwide and was by far the best rated for Germany. It even ranked above prestigious Ivy league universities like Princeton, Columbia and Dartmouth – and was placed right behind Oxford at number seven.
“The Technical University of Munich is the only institution outside the US, UK or Japan to make it into the top 10,” the report stated.
TUM president Wolfgang Herrmann said the university's success is largely due to its great connections to companies like BMW, Siemens and Lindner.
“There is no other technical university that has such a rich economic environment and especially a technical economic environment [as] we do here in Munich,” Herrmann said in a statement.
It's reputation for creativity and scientific innovation also may give students a leg up when it comes to access to entrepreneurs and inventors: its scientists made 165 inventions in 2014, and 69 patents were submitted in 2015.
And for the past decade, TUM has positioned itself as “The Entrepreneurial University”, launching more than 800 startups by students and staff.
So while your diploma from this university may not have a name on it as well-known as some of the others on the list, rest assured that your chances for success are likely equal, if not greater on graduation day.
2. University of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilian University)
Photo: DPA
Also known as LMU, this university ranked 31 worldwide, beating out Ivy League institutes Dartmouth (34) and Brown (40).
It's one of the world's oldest universities, tracing its roots back to the 15th century, and its list of famous alumni and professors includes Werner Heisenberg and playwright Bertolt Brecht, as well as Pope Benedict XVI.
LMU was also picked as Germany's top university by US News and World Report last month.
THE commended LMU for its “strong commitment to teaching excellence” as a research institution, and for its “dedication to academic freedom”, referring to the White Rose rebellion when students and staff resisted Nazi ideology during the Second World War.
3. Goethe University Frankfurt
Photo: DPA
Frankfurt's leading academic institute came in at number 50 worldwide, beating out Cornell and the University of Chicago.
Named after Germany's most beloved writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the location in Germany's financial hub lends itself to global connections, as part of its “international campus” initiative.
THE notes that Goethe University is particularly well regarded for its medicine and physics programmes, as well as economics and business administration.
4. Heidelberg University
Photo: Heidelberg University Press Office.
Ranked number 56, Heidelberg University is the oldest of Germany's academic institutions, dating back to 1386, and it's also one of the oldest surviving universities in the world. It has a sizable international student body, making up about 17 percent of its more than 29,000 pupils.
Five German chancellors have attended Heidelberg – including Helmut Kohl, who oversaw German reunification – as well as influential thinkers like Hannah Arendt.
And to top it all off, the city of Heidelberg was named one of the most “inspirational” places in the world – perhaps therefore inspiring its graduates to master their most employable skills.
5. Humboldt University, Berlin
Photo: DPA
At number 61, this is Berlin's best bet for students looking to land a job in the bustling capital city after graduation.
As the institute of great minds like Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Albert Einstein, THE calls Humboldt “one of the most prestigious universities not only in Germany, but in Europe.”
“It has a world class reputation in arts and humanities fields… The institution's academic clout is evidenced by the fact that it has educated no fewer than 29 Nobel prizewinners,” THE wrote.
6. Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
Photo: DPA/Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
Perhaps it's not a surprise that a university dedicated to finance and business located in Germany's financial heart would have highly employable graduates.
At number 67, the Frankfurt School tied with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It's a fairly new institute compared to other German ones on the list, but its reputation has grown over the years.
German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche named it the fourth best German university for business administration last year, and also for the first time it was named among the top ten for business IT.
“Graduates of this programme are also best prepared for starting successful careers,” said professor Udo Steffens at the time, referring to the business IT programme.
7. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Atmospheric aerosol researchers at KIT. Photo: DPA
This university in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg was ranked number 81.
Though only established in 2009, KIT already had a history of research before its founding, as it started from a merger of the University of Karlsruhe and the Karlsruhe Research Center.
Its predecessor, the University of Karlsruhe, produced Karl Benz – the inventor of what is considered to be the first practical motorcar. Another former student was Karl Ferdinand Braun, creator of the cathode ray tube used in televisions.
8. University of Göttingen
The central library at Göttingen University. Photo: Ronald Schmidt / SUB Göttingen
At number 92, Göttingen in Lower Saxony still makes it into the top 100 worldwide, and is “regarded as one of the most prestigious universities of Germany,” THE writes.
More than 40 Nobel Prize winners have studied, taught or conducted research at the university, and its prestige has helped to give the town the moniker of “city of science”. The university maintains close ties to both the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community. It also has one of the largest libraries in Germany.
It was actually founded in 1734 by British King George II, elector of Hanover, and Napoleon Bonaparte once said that Göttingen belonged “to the whole of Europe”.
9. Technical University of Berlin
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Queen Elizabeth II at a demonstration at TU Berlin last year. Photo: Pool AP/DPA
This research university was ranked 96 worldwide and offers a “wealth of renowned programmes” within the technical industry, including mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, and computer science, according to THE.
It's also home to two innovation centres from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and its science library of three million books and journals gives scholars and guests unlimited access.
10. Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität)
Philological Library of Freie Universität Berlin, designed by Lord Norman Foster, and opened in 2005. Photo: Freie Universität Berlin
Freie Universität (FU) was established in 1948 at the beginning of the Cold War in West Berlin, due to the fact that Humboldt was located over in the Soviet-occupied East Berlin.
“Truth, justice and freedom remain the university's core values with these words imprinted on the university seal,” THE notes.
It offers partnerships with universities around the world and has seven international liaison offices in  Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, Moscow, New Delhi, New York, and Sao Paulo.
And according to THE, with 30 percent of its professors being women, it's at the “forefront of German education institutions when it comes to gender representation.”

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How much does childcare cost across Germany?

When it comes to affordable childcare in Germany, it can be something of a postcode lottery. Here's what you need to know about the fees for Kitas in various German states.

How much does childcare cost across Germany?

Since 2013, every child over the age of one has had a legal right to partially subsidised state childcare in Germany. There are different types of day care options, from Kinderkrippen (nurseries) to Kindergärten (pre-schools), but they’re all encapsulated under the umbrella term of Kita, which is short for Kindertagesstätte (child day care centre). 

Unfortunately, having a right to a Kita place in theory isn’t always the same as securing one in practice. Demand for childcare massively outstrips supply in Germany, so it’s not unheard of for soon-to-be parents to even start making their enquiries during pregnancy.

The other thing to bear in mind is that Kita fees and government childcare subsidies are decided at a state level. To make matters even more complicated, these state decisions are implemented differently across different regions, meaning two sets of parents in two different cities in Baden-Württemberg could be paying completely different amounts for their childcare.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about parental leave in Germany

Here’s a run-down of the main things to know about childcare costs in each of the federal states.

How much do I have to pay? 


In Bavaria, the cost of childcare varies hugely from city to city and district to district. In Munich, for example, the amount of fees depends on the type of facility the child attends: care in a kindergarten (pre-school) is free, while nursery schools for younger children are not. However, parents with a joint annual income of less than €80,000 can apply for reduced fees.

Under a certain income limit, parents can also apply for the Bavarian day care allowance (Krippengeld). This is a contribution of €100 per month towards the cost of childcare for children over the age of one. 

Children in German kita

Parents drop their children off at nursery school. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert


In Baden-Württemberg, parents shell out different amounts for childcare depending on where they live. In Heilbronn, for example, childcare is free from the age of three, while in Stuttgart, families pay fees that are partially linked to their income. Residents of the state capital with an annual income of up to €70,000 can receive a family card that reduces their childcare fees by around ten cents per hour. In other parts of the state, parents can be asked to cough up as much as €600 per month for childcare. 


Since August 2018, nurseries and day care centres in Berlin have been free of charge for all children, though parents are expected to pay a small contribution for the meals. Kitas are also allowed to charge extra for additional services such as special sports activities, organic food or language lessons, meaning costs can range anywhere between €30 and €90 per month. 


In Brandenburg, every child receives their last year of pre-school care for free. For younger children, parents are expected to pay a contribution towards lunches and the operating costs of the nurseries. These costs vary across the different districts and are also linked to parental income.

However, people receiving social welfare and those on low incomes can receive all their pre-school childcare for free. 


For parents living in Bremen, childcare is free between the ages of three and six, with parents only contributing to the cost of meals. For younger children, the cost of a place a nursery is dependent on a wide range of factors, including income, the number of children in the family and the scope of the care. 

People receiving social benefits and BremenPass holders can get their childcare for free, regardless of the child’s age. 

READ ALSO: What foreign parents in Germany need to know about Sprach-Kitas


In Hamburg, care for five hours a day including lunch is free of charge for parents. Those who take advantage of more extensive care, i.e. daycare for six hours or more a day, pay a contribution that is graded according to income level, family size, age group and scope of care.

For a child receiving eight hours of care, the costs can range anywhere between €11 and €191, for example. You can calculate the costs of your childcare using this calculator on the state website.

German nursery school

A whiteboard with notes welcoming children to nursery school. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert


In the central state of Hesse, children between the ages of three and six get up to six hours of care a day for free. For younger children, fees vary from region to region. In Frankfurt, for example, parents can expect to shell out around €200 per month for a place at a nursery, as well as €30-50 for meals. In Wiesbaden, meanwhile, costs are linked to the duration and type of care required. 

Lower Saxony

In Lower Saxony, children can get up to eight hours’ free care a day from the age of three. For children under the age of three, fees are usually staggered and can depend on the district in question. In Hanover, for example, the childcare fee depends on the type of childcare and the parents’ income. Parents also pay €30 a month to cover the cost of meals. 

Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania

For lucky parents in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg, all childcare places in nurseries and day care centres are paid for by the government. Parents can take advantage of up to 10 hours of free childcare throughout the week without worrying about any eye-watering costs.

READ ALSO: 7 cultural differences between raising kids in Germany and the US

North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) 

In NRW, the last two years of a child’s care before starting school are generally free of charge. For younger children, the local youth welfare office decides whether and to what extent parental contributions are levied for the use of services in day care centres or in day care for children.

Rhineland Palatinate 

In this western state, parents can send their children to a nursery free-of-charge as soon as they turn two. Before that, childcare fees vary depending on the district.

Children play in the grounds of a German nursery school

Children play in the grounds of a German nursery school. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/mauritius images / Westend61 / M | Westend61 / Mareen Fischinger


Unlike most other states, Saarland leaves decisions on nursery fees up to the individual institutions. Unsurprisingly, this makes the tiny western state one of the most expensive in Germany. In Saarbrücken, for example, parents can expect to shell out around €187 for a half-day place at a nursery and €368 for a full-day place, excluding meals.


In Saxony-Anhalt, parents only pay childcare fees for their oldest child, and can apply for the fees to be waived (or partially waived) depending on their income. As a general rule, however childcare costs between €100-200 per month, with parents in Halle paying €165 a month for an eight-hour place in the nursery, and €119 euros for an eight-hour place in the kindergarten. 


In Saxony, too, the parental contribution towards childcare varies from region to region. However, the fees should not exceed 15-23 percent of the average municipal costs for a nursery place and 15-30 percent of the costs for a pre-school place. Children also receive their last year before school free-of-charge.

In Leipzig, the parental contribution is based on the number of children, whether the parent is a single parent, and the duration of care. Fees vary between €56.30 (second child, 20 hours per week) and €311.39 (first child, 55 hours per week). People on lower incomes can apply for various reductions. A full breakdown of the standard costs can be found here.

READ ALSO: 7 surefire signs your kids are definitely German

Children at a kita in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein.

Children at a kita in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Axel Heimken


Since January 2022, childcare costs for parents in Schleswig-Holstein have been capped at €232 per month for eight hours of daily care at a nursery and €226 per month for eight hours of care at a kindergarten or pre-school. Parents pay half of this amount for a second child and there are no contributions from the third child onward. 

While the amount parents pay generally isn’t linked to income, people on benefits don’t pay contributions at all and those on low incomes can apply for Kita Geld to help them with their childcare expenses. 


In the state of Thuringia, the last year of Kindergarten has been free to families since 2018. And since mid-2020, the second last year before school is also free of charge. However, meal costs still have to be paid. Fees for other years depend on parents’ income, the amount of care hours and the number of children receiving care among other factors.

Please note that our article is for guidance only and you should contact your local authority for more information.