Universities of applied sciences

The name says it all: Universities of applied sciences (UASs) focus on the practical aspects of research and teaching in a broad field of subjects like business economics, IT, social science, engineering, nursing care or design. Due to their practical approach, the UASs have a strong connection to industry and public institutions which generates synergies for all parties involved.

By activating the video, you agree to the transfer of your data (including IP address, date, time, website) to Google Ireland Limited for the purpose of playing the video. You can deactivate the video at any time by clicking again. More information can be found here.

Application-oriented and practical

Thanks to their combination of practical science and application-oriented teaching, Germany’s universities of applied sciences, known in German as Hochschulen für Angewandte Wissenschaften (HAW, or formerly Fachhochschulen or FH), have become an indispensable part of the German higher education landscape and a role model worldwide when it comes to qualifications that are application-oriented yet at the same time research-focused.  

The UASs specialise in offering degree courses in engineering, the natural and social sciences, economics, law, technology and design, as well as in healthcare.  Many of the degree programmes are also offered on a career-integrated, part-time or dual vocational training basis – or as an online correspondence course.  

Studying at a UAS

More than one million students  study at Germany‘s 210 universities of applied sciences . Roughly half of all UASs are state-funded, and account for just under 70 per cent of UASs students.  17 of the approximately 100 private UASs are church institutions.  

Another of their strengths is the variety of dual degree courses (2022: 1,400) they offer. These enable students to undergo vocational training at a partner company while pursuing their academic studies at the same time. Students can also obtain qualifications at a UAS on a career-integrated programme (650 degree courses) or correspondence course (850).  

The UASs are higher education institutions on a par with universities, and like the latter also confer bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Usually, however, UASs do not have the right to award doctoral degrees, though cooperative PhD programmes run jointly with universities have existed for a long time. And nowadays some particularly research-oriented UASs also have the right to award doctorates in certain subjects.

Practice-oriented research

When they were set up in the late 1960s, universities of applied sciences initially focused on providing practical training to produce qualified skilled professionals; since the mid-1980s, however, application-oriented research and development has also been part of their remit. That is why most “Fachhochschulen” now call themselves “Hochschulen für Angewandte Wissenschaften” (HAW, i.e. universities of applied sciences).


Regional roots coupled with an international focus

The UASs principle has proven to be a recipe for success: with their regional roots, applied research and practical courses, the UASs are ideally suited to cooperating with companies, associations, municipalities or social institutions, allowing them to respond with flexibility to specific social or business needs at the local level.  

Nonetheless, the UASs also have an international focus: for students from abroad, the universities of applied sciences offer around 700 degree courses taught in English and 800 international degree programmes . And in 2021 the UASs were involved in some 6,500 collaborations with partner organisations around the world.

Facts & figures

  • 210 universities of applied sciences  
  • Approx. 107,000 academic staff, including 6,700 researchers and academics from abroad  
  • More than 1 million students, including around 150,000 students from all over the world
  • Around 6,500 international collaborations

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

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!