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Finding the right university

There are state-run and state-recognised universities in Germany. The majority of the universities are financed and run by the state. There are 14 universities in Saxony. In accordance with the Freedom of Institutes of Higher Education Act, these universities do not charge fees for an undergraduate degree (e.g., Bachelor’s degree) and a Master’s degree based on a Bachelor’s degree in the standard period of study and for the next four semesters.

There are also universities that are run by the church and state-recognised private universities. You have to enquire about the fees in these universities!

Blick in die Bibliothek der Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden
A peek into the library of the University of Applied Sciences Dresden  © Stephan Floss

Universities are primarily research-oriented and offer a wide range of subjects. Universities of applied sciences on the other hand are much more practice-oriented and have a tighter structure. Although they too offer the entire range of subjects now, internships are often prerequisites for admission. Those who want to prepare for a life as an artist, musician or in the therapeutic or educational field can study at universities of fine arts, for which they do not necessarily need an Abitur, but must demonstrate their suitability for such a course of study. A training contract with a practice partner and not a folder full of qualifications opens the door to the Berufsakademie. Here, training is specifically geared to the requirements of a profession.

Universities are primarily focused on scientific work, and research plays a major role. Not least for this reason, they offer the largest range of subjects. In many cases, the first step in a university course is to look at phenomena theoretically and conduct research on them.

Therefore, those who know that they want to take the academic path to a doctorate after completing their studies are in good hands at a university.

Human Medicine or Teacher Training are some of the few courses that are only offered at universities. A general or subject-linked higher education entrance qualification is a prerequisite for university studies. While the Abitur provides access to all study programmes, the subject-linked higher education entrance qualification provides access only to certain subjects.

There are four universities in Saxony:

Universities of fine arts and music are equivalent to universities and offer training in fine arts, creative arts and performing arts as well as in subjects in the field of music. The five universities of fine arts in Saxony open their doors to those who have proven their talent in aptitude tests. Therefore, the Abitur is not always necessary. The course structure is similar to that of universities. Cooperation with well-known orchestras and theatres is an integral part of the training. An academic degree, such as Bachelor, Master or diploma, is the reward for all the effort that students put in, just like at universities and technical colleges.

There are five universities of fine arts in Saxony:

Courses at the universities of applied sciences are more application-oriented. Those thinking of taking up a technical or administrative study programme for example, often choose to study at a technical college (university of applied sciences). These offer some very specific study programmes, which can be particularly suitable for certain specialist fields. Technical colleges are often smaller than universities. Many of these universities cooperate with companies in practice - which is an advantage for students who want to take the dual route. An Abitur, advanced technical college entrance qualification or a subject-linked higher education entrance qualification is a prerequisite for studying at a university of applied sciences. A subject-linked Master’s examination or a qualification recognised as equivalent by the university is also an adequate qualification for studying here - it would be best to simply enquire with the respective university.

There are five universities of applied sciences in Saxony:

As an alternative to university studies, the Berufsakademie - BA for short - with its seven locations in Saxony beckons with the closest possible link between theory and practice. Two partners take on the task of optimally qualifying students for their profession: a company as a place of practical learning and the Berufsakademie Sachsen as a place of theoretical learning. In a period of three years, graduates of the Berufsakademie receive a recognised Bachelor's degree or diploma.

The Berufsakademie has seven locations in Saxony.

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