With its diverse higher-educational landscape, Lower Saxony offers students an abundance of promising opportunities for study. The state's universities, polytechnics (official name: Universities of Applied Sciences), colleges of the arts and vocational academies all have their own characteristic profiles, with different learning goals, subjects and courses of study.
In order to keep up with the rapidly rising demand for highly qualified graduates with practically-oriented knowledge, Lower Saxony is continually modernizing its study programmes. It is evident that studying in Lower Saxony is also an attractive proposition for foreign students; there have certainly never been as many students from abroad matriculating at Lower Saxony institutions.
The higher-education system
Lower Saxony has universities (Universitäten), colleges of the arts (künstlerische Hochschulen) which offer courses with a particular emphasis on academic leaning, and Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen) where course syllabuses are more practically oriented, including innovative 'dual' courses which integrate academic higher-education studies with practical vocational training. The study year is divided into two semesters: the winter and summer semesters begin in October and April respectively (September and March at the Fachhochschulen). Each semester lasts half a year; academic courses tend to be concentrated over a period of three to four months.
Students at Lower Saxony's higher-education establishments are awarded the internationally familiar Bachelor's or Master's degrees. Bachelor courses involve between six and eight semesters of study, whereas Masters programmes can be completed in two to four semesters.
As of the 2014/15 winter semester, tuition fees are no longer applicable in Lower Saxony.
Students' living expenses currently come to around 700 euros a month (including rent for accommodation in a hall of residence).
You may wish to apply for a grant. Whereas German higher-education establishments tend not to award grants themselves, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a number of further institutions offer funding for your intended course of study. Ask at the representative office of DAAD or the Goethe Institute in your own country or visit www.daad.de on the Internet.