Technical universities

Another distinctive feature of Germany’s higher education landscape are its technical universities. Approx. 20 universities of technology (TUs)  and almost 40 technical universities of applied sciences (THs)  focus on engineering disciplines, the spectrum ranging from architecture to industrial engineering.

The universities of technology have the right to award doctorates. The engineering sciences are their specialist area: be it mechanical engineering, civil engineering, metallurgy or materials science – in these disciplines they are first-class. Mathematics, computer science, physics and chemistry are no less important, however.  

The technical universities of applied sciences offer a similar range of subjects to those found at TUs. Teaching is characterised by a high degree of practical relevance and cooperation with (regional) companies. Though they also offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the THs are not normally entitled to award doctorates, but can jointly supervise cooperative PhD programmes with a university.

The TU9 alliance

The nine leading technical universities are grouped under the label TU9.  They are among the most research-intensive universities in Germany: these TUs lead the field when it comes to raising third-party funding – in excess of 1.8 billion euros in the year 2020.  The nine top-class TUs receive more than a fifth of all DFG funding, the DFG being the biggest source of research funding for universities and non-university research institutions in Germany.  In the engineering sciences, nearly half of DFG funding goes to TU9 universities.  And their scientists are regularly awarded the European Union’s coveted ERC Grants.

It is no surprise then that five of these universities are among Germany’s universities of excellence.  

Another is RWTH Aachen University, which regularly tops the ranking in terms of third-party funding per university professor.  Of its 1.1 billion euro budget, it raised more than 420 million euros from third parties (2021).  The specialist research fields at this internationally renowned university,  which maintains three clusters of excellence,  encompass synthetic fuels, data mining, computer science, production technology, high-performance materials, health, renewable resources and mobility.  

Facts & figures

  • Approx. 20 universities of technology (TUs)  
  • Almost 40 technical universities of applied sciences (THs)  
  • 5 TUs are universities of excellence

More information:

The cover of the brochure "The German Research Landscape". It depicts the country of Germany in strong colors. Over it is written the brochure's title. On the bottom left there is the logo of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. On the bottom right is the logo of "Research in Germany"

The German research landscape

2021, 86 pages

German inventions have changed people’s lives. At the same time, research and development are what keep a successful economy going. This brochure shows who is behind this: universities and research institutes, federal and state institutions and companies committed to research. Enjoy discovering the German research landscape!