In graphs: Number of international students in Germany quickly growing

Rachel Stern
Rachel Stern - [email protected]
In graphs: Number of international students in Germany quickly growing
International students' day at the University of Viadrinna in Frankfurt (Oder). Photo: DPA

The number of international students in Germany is increasing, with about a 7-8 percent annual growth over the past eight years, according to statistics provided to The Local Germany from


One of the most popular destinations in the world for students from abroad, Germany reached its long-term target of 350,000 foreign students in 2016, four years before it was planned.

It’s not surprising that students from all over the world flock to Germany for all levels of education. As of the 2018-2019 academic year, there were a total of 108 bachelor’s programs, 883 master’s programs and 178 phD programs in English.

As of the winter semester 2017/2018, there were a total of 374,951 foreigners enrolled at a German university. The number of foreign graduates also increased by seven percent between 2016 and 2017, rising from 49,112 to 52,733. There’s been a big boost since 2010, when there were 35,427 international students in Germany.

Engineering among the most popular degrees

While Germany has earned a reputation as a country of ‘Dichter and Denker’ (poets and thinkers), it is also a country of maths and science savvy students, as demonstrated by the increasing number of students receiving bachelor and master’s engineering degrees.

Over a quarter of graduates by the summer semester 2017 received their degrees in engineering. Out of the nearly 130,000 students that received an engineering degree the summer of 2017, 2,560 of them - or about five percent - were coming from overseas.

Among foreigner students, engineering is the third most popular degree, trailing only slightly behind Business Administration (4,187) and Electrical/Electronics (2,728).

Mastering their degrees

The majority of degrees which were awarded to international students were masters degrees, reports Of the 52,733 degrees awarded to international students in Germany in 2017, 25,022 of them were awarded a master’s degree.

In engineering alone, there are more than 350 programs offered in English, according to

But at the same time, 17,874 international students received a bachelor’s degree and 5,279 received a phD.

Chinese students comprised the top group gaining their degrees, with 6,999 graduates in 2017. A total of 4,130 of those were master’s degree students, while 1,796 received a Bachelor’s degree and 807 of them a pHD.

Only students coming from Turkey, neighbouring Austria and Italy were more likely to receive a bachelor’s degree in Germany than a master’s degree.

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