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Public vs Private Universities in Germany

Updated on 11 October, 2023

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Does Germany top your study abroad destination list? If yes, this article will take you on a tour of the country’s education system, covering vital aspects of Public and Private universities in Germany and their extensive comparison on multiple factors.  


An Insight into German Education System 

The German education system is respected and renowned for its versatility, affordability, and accessibility. The Grundgesetz, or the German Fundamental Law, is in charge of laying down the rules and regulations of the education system. The universities in Germany offer over 20,000 courses. With a blend of government funding and state-of-the-art modern approaches to learning, opting for a German university can be the best option for higher education.  

The universities in Germany are either private or public. If you are planning to opt for higher education in Germany, you need to be aware of the various aspects of Public vs private universities in Germany. 

The grading system followed in German universities is the GPA system, wherein 6 points GPA is implemented. However, the Bachelor’s degrees are graded in the standard method for the Bologna system, where the Students attain a First Class, Upper Second, Lower Second, or Third Class degree.

Keep on reading to learn more about the difference between private and public universities in Germany. 

Public vs Private Universities in Germany:

Are private universities in Germany better than public ones? Or are public universities more feasible? In layperson’s language, a public university is funded by the government, whereas a private university is not. Below is a list of key differences between the two to help you make the right decision.


Considering the tuition fees is an essential aspect of enrolling in a university. Studying at a public university is less expensive because they are mostly government-funded. 

Admission Criterion

The admission criteria of a public university are much more complicated than those of a private university. The paperwork required in a public university is generally more than in a private one because the latter is more accessible, and everyone prefers it. 


Another significant difference between public and private universities in Germany is the number of programs or courses offered. As per DAAD, there are 422 courses offered in Germany, out of which 90% are implemented in public universities. 

Global Ranking

Before opting for a university, researching its world ranking is crucial. In Germany, most public universities are ranked higher than private universities. Due to several factors like affordability and good ranking, many students prefer public universities. 

Placement Opportunities

Keeping a check on the placements provided by the universities is also a critical part of selecting a university. 

Top 12 Public & Private Universities in Germany:

One might wonder what are the best private universities in Germany or the top public universities to enroll in. The table below lists the best public and private universities in Germany:

University TypeUniversity NameLocationQS Ranking 2023*Top Programs Offered
PublicHeidelberg UniversityHeidelberg65Biosciences, Biochemistry, Anthropology
PublicTechnical University of MunichMünchen49Engineering, Computer Science, Physical and Life Science
PublicHumboldt University of BerlinBerlin128Medicine, Philosophy, law
PublicLudwig Maximilian University (LMU)München59Psychology, Management, Business
PublicRWTH Aachen University (RWTH)Aachen147Natural Sciences, Engineering
PublicUniversity of StuttgartStuttgart355Technical Education, Humanities, Business Studies
PrivateSRH DresdenDresden200Hospitality Management and Leadership
PrivateEBS UniversityOestrich-Winkel64Business, Law
PrivateNEC MunichMunich49 BBA, MBA
PrivateUniversity of Applied Sciences EuropeBerlinN/ASoftware Engineering, Digital Business and data science, Digital product marketing
PrivateBerlin School of Business and InnovationBerlinN/ATourism and Hospitality Management, Energy Management, and Digital marketing & social media
PrivateSchiller International University- HeidelbergHeidelbergN/AInternational relations and diplomacy, International Business


Though there are some differences between public and private universities in Germany, the quality of education is not compromised anywhere. Choosing between the two types of universities depends on the candidate’s financial condition, suitability, and personal preference. All German universities are known for their infrastructure, high-quality education, and good student resources. Therefore, pursuing higher studies in Germany at private or public universities can provide students the upper hand and requisite exposure. 

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Is education in Germany free?

Public universities in Germany charge no tuition fees, even for international students, making the total education fee in German universities very low. The studying costs at private universities are also reasonable.




Is Education good in Germany?

Yes. The education system in Germany is excellent, with incredible resources, placements, and grants. Furthermore, Germany facilitates various courses in English to make it easy for international students to grasp the knowledge.




What is the pro of enrolling in a public university?

The public universities in Germany have low tuition fees and offer more programs while maintaining global education quality standards.

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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