Student numbers in Germany universities in 2019/2020, by type of university

In the most recent winter semester, the obvious majority of students in Germany were enrolled in universities, followed by universities of applied sciences. Smaller numbers were distributed in higher education establishments with a specific subject focus.

Class in session

In general, for higher education the German academic year is split into the winter and summer semester. Actual class starting and ending dates may differ depending on the type of university or college attended, as well as the type of course. In most cases the German winter semester starts in October and ends in March, while the summer semester begins in April and ends in September. The time during the semester when no classes take place is called the non-lecture period (vorlesungsfreie Zeit), otherwise known among students as semester vacation (Semesterferien). On average, German university graduates who completed their first degree studied for almost 8 years. It is not uncommon to consider a second degree, for example a Masters after getting a Bachelor.


First-year student numbers in the winter semesters of recent years have been dropping, which may be due to various reasons, for example changing education laws and individual course acceptance regulations or deciding to do an apprenticeship rather than get a degree. Optimistically so, the number of students taking out a loan to finance their studies has been decreasing, as all 16 German states have abolished tuition fees for first degrees.

Number of students in Germany in the winter semester of 2019/2020, by type of university

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Release date

November 2019



Survey time period

Winter semester 2019/2020

Supplementary notes

* Preliminary.

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