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Germany: a researcher’s haven

Germany is a top choice for Indians who wish to pursue engineering. Check out the various options available in the country.
Hindustan Times | By HT Horizons Correspndent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2008 01:09 PM IST

Germany is a top choice for Indians who wish to pursue engineering. Check out the various options available with the country.

The country’s USP

Germany is a leader in Science and Technology. No wonder most Indians landing in Germany are research and post-doctoral aspirants in Engineering.

What makes German education attractive is that it is practice-oriented. Many universities require students to compulsorily take up an internship, also called industrial placements that may or may not be paid, as part of their programme.

Else students are not allowed to sit for their final exams. Certain programmes like International Business Administration require applicants to have done a pre-study internship.

Even otherwise, pupils are encouraged to go for voluntary internships that can help them put their aptitude on trial or explore a different career option. According to a DAAD official in Delhi, Ph.D. and postdoc students from India have numbered at a stable 1,100 over past years, making them the fourth largest group of international research pupils in Germany. However, the ranks of Indian postgraduate students have dwindled because “Germany is not promoting studies at the Master’s level.”

Asked for a reason, he said, “We are promoting research and not studies.” In the past few years, Indian enrolments slipped a trifle but rose again – 4,249 in 2004, 3,988 in 2005-06 and around 4,200 today, out of 2.5 lakh international students.

Hot for what?

According to official data for 2003, Engineering remains the top subject choice of Indian students (47 per cent) in Germany, followed by Mathematics and natural sciences (34 per cent); Law, Economics and Social Studies (8 per cent); Language and Civilisation Studies (five per cent); Medicine (3.5 per cent); Veterinary Medicine, Forestry, agro-and nutritional sciences (2 per cent); and arts, music and sports (0.5 per cent).

Top five institutes by enrolment (2005 admission figures). RWTH (Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hochschule) Aachen (190 Indian students). University of Stuttgart (101), University of Dortmund (101). Technical University Darmstadt (87). University of Applied Sciences Karlsruhe (86). Technical University Berlin (83)

Information highway

Now check out the nuts and bolts required for your German mission to materialise…

Session commences: the winter semester starts in October (major intake for all subjects and universities) and the summer semester in April (minor intake, only for limited subjects and universities). When to apply: aspirants should start looking at options by January-February and apply by March.

How to apply

: send your admission application directly to the selected university or apply through a consortium known as Uni-assist (earlier called ASSIST) (

), which has 98 member institutions. However, certain universities, though members of Uni-assist, do not accept applications via the umbrella organisation.

Deadlines: for Indians --who mostly wish to pursue international degree programmes (delivered throughout or partly in English), application deadlines are from March to May of the year in which admission is sought.

You should, however, check the exact date with your chosen university. Application processing time: the status of an application is usually communicated by June or July.

Application docket: applicants have to submit their university application form along with authenticated copies of the following. Educational certificates. Curriculum Vitae (at times required). TOEFL/IELTS score. A copy of your passport. SAT/ GRE/ GMAT score.

Statement of Purpose, college essay or professional interest essay (some institutes require it). Work experience certificates (if required) Some institutions may also ask candidates to submit recommendation letters, which should be expressive in nature.

A German education aspirant must have a strong and impressive educational track record. His academic background should be related to the field of study he wishes to pursue in Germany. There is no harm in sending information on your extra-curricular activities — however, you need not if you wish.

Applications routed through Uni-assist have to be sent to the consortium’s Germany office, along with a proof of payment of the processing fee of 55 euros for applying to the first university and 15 euros extra for every additional institution you choose. Standardised tests scores: a SAT score is required for entry to an undergraduate programme.

TOEFL or IELTS scores are also mandatory. Universities offering postgraduate programmes in Engineering may ask for GRE scores and those offering MBA degrees may look for GMATqualified candidates.

Tuition fees: till a year or so ago, state-funded universities did not charge any tuition fees as they were borne by German taxpayers. However, the German Supreme Court ruled in January 2005 that individual federal states are free to decide whether they want to introduce tuition charges.

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