The QS World Rankings is an annual publication, that organizes international league tables, using their own methodology. Its system covers a global array of the subject and school lists and is the only international ranking to receive approval from the International Ranking Expert Group (IREG).

The Times Higher Education (THE), is a weekly magazine based in London reporting specifically about topics related to higher education. THE magazine used to run alongside QS rankings, however, the Times developed a new methodology for ranking and split apart from QS, using data from Thomson Reuters data analysts instead. Nevertheless, both rankings are held in extremely high regard and are seen as the top tier list for determining university rankings.

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In 2019, Germany is one of the top ten most popular study destinations in the world for German Universities for International Students. Roughly 380,000 international students are studying in Germany, according to official data provided by the German Federal Statistical Office. Germany will soon climb as one of the top 5 most popular study destinations with the same healthy growth of international enrollment likely to continue in the coming years. In terms of their global higher education standards, many German universities rank among the best in the world. They are valued for study program diversity, excellent study conditions, modern facilities, world-class teaching staff, job opportunities, and career opportunities. Besides, most universities in Germany charge their international students no or low tuition fees, making it an even more attractive destination for study.

Here are the top 20 German universities across both lists for 2019.

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These are the top 10 German universities that appear in both lists:

  1. Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (LMU)
  2. Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  3. Ruprecht Karls University of Heidelberg
  4. Humboldt University of Berlin
  5. Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
  6. RWTH Aachen University
  7. Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen
  8. Free University of Berlin
  9. Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn
  10. University of Göttingen

Naturally, choosing the university that is best for you is critically important. Going to the right education center for what you want to study gives you an advantage over other candidates, both when it comes to studying and when it comes to a career after. The rest of this article will cover the top 5 universities, cross-referenced from both lists:

1. Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München - LMU)

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2. Technical University of Munich (Technische Universität München – TUM

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3. Ruprecht Karls University of Heidelberg (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)

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4. Humboldt University of Berlin (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

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5. Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg

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Now that you have an understanding of what each university offers it is up to you to choose what you think is best for during your study away in Germany. If you are personally interested in rankings of German universities, there are 5 well-known rankings that you will encounter again and again in newspapers and the internet:

But note that: A good place in the international or national university ranking does not mean that the respective university is the best for you! Because:

  • Perhaps your personal criteria is very different to and more important than the one that reflects the university ranking.
  • Most rankings rate the university only as a whole, but differences in faculties or departments should also be considered. This is important because a university that is top in one area may flop in another area.
  • Universities have two main tasks: research and teaching. If you are looking for a bachelor's degree program, the quality of teaching and study is usually more important to you than research.
  • Universities of applied sciences are hardly considered in rankings. If you are interested in studying for a university of applied sciences, you can skip the topic “ranking”.