Number of the Month: 301,350 international students

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German universities are attracting growing numbers of students from abroad.

An increasing number of the students at German universities come from abroad. In 2014, 301,350 foreign students were enrolled in Germany. That is a record: as compared with 2013, the number has risen by seven percent.

This is the finding of the study “Wissenschaft weltoffen”. The report was produced by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in cooperation with the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW). It was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Foreign Office.

Particular interest in master’s programmes

The study found that Germany is now the third most popular host country for foreign students, after the United States and Great Britain. Master’s students in particular are interested in studying in Germany: in the past five years, the number of them enrolled at German universities has more than doubled from 30,675 to 61,931. Furthermore, the number of doctoral students from abroad grew by 4 percent in 2014.

Which countries are the international students from?

Nearly half of the international students are from Europe, with the majority of these coming from Russia.
In overall terms, the following were the ten leading countries of origin in 2014:

  • China (28,381)
  • Russia (11,126)
  • India (9,372)
  • Austria (9,305)
  • Bulgaria (6,741)
  • Turkey (6,701)
  • Ukraine (6,411)
  • France (6,321)
  • Poland (6,217)
  • Italy (6,210)

Which subjects are the most popular?

A particularly high number of international students enrol in engineering courses.
These are the five most popular subject areas:

  • Engineering sciences (58,465)
  • Law, economics and social sciences (53,401)
  • Languages, cultural studies and sport (38,667)
  • Mathematics, natural sciences (38,225)
  • Art, art studies (12,315)

Many of the international students (60 percent) are also keen to remain in Germany after completing their studies, at least for a time.

By 2020, the objective is for at least 350,000 international students per year to be educated at Germany’s universities. On the basis of the current figures, the Education Ministry predicts that this goal may even be reached before 2020.