“My profile is ABC and I need to do a masters course in XYZ. Suggest me some courses and universities”. This is the first question a person asks, when he has decided to do a course in another country. This article provides a step by step approach in finding the suitable university.
Step 1 – Prepare to make a database:
Take pen and paper or excel or any suitable resources to make a list of universities, courses, deadlines, requirements and anything else you may find important. I used a notebook and a pen.
Step 2 – Deciding on the type of university:
Understand clearly the difference between “normal” University, Technical University (TU) and University of Applied Science (UAS). Google to find out the differences (there are lot of quora discussions about these).
In short, a “normal” University has a strong research and theoretical inclination. It makes one ready to do a PhD later or work in R&D. There is less practical stuff here. They value your CGPA (and sometimes research publications) more than your work experience during admission.
A technical university (TU) is the same as a “normal” University but is more concentrated on STEM subjects (google it). There will be less arts, history or similar subjects here.
University of Applied Science (UAS) are more practical oriented and have less theoretical subjects. After doing MS in a UAS, one might find it difficult to do a PhD later. A work experience will boost your profile when you apply. The job scope however will not be much different.
Step 3.1- DAAD
DAAD contains a database of all courses and resources related to studies in Germany. I wouldn’t recommend this as the only source of searching for courses, but this is definitely a start. Go to daad.de and search for the courses using the filter provided. Filter mainly using the options “degree”, “field of study”, “subjects” and “course language”. If you really want to, you may provide the keywords but there are chances of having the course you prefer in some other keyword.
When you have done this, you will have limited the number of courses to less than 100. Go through the name of each course, open the link you think is good for you and check the course contents and the purpose of the course. If you find it matching with your interests, find out the course duration, contents of the course, the semester in which it is offered, deadlines, fees, German or English level requirements and sometimes even the academic requirements such as number of credits required in each subject. After noting the important points you get from here, go to step 4. But please note that DAAD is not a well organised or regularly updated database. Hence I would recommend step 3.2.
step 3.2 – CHE Ranking
DAAD is used to get a general idea of the courses. But there are chances that you missed a couple of universities there. Hence, I found CHE Rankings to be excellent. Go to CHE ranking website, select the subject of your preference (eg. Mechanical Engineering) and select type of university/degree (University stands for “normal” University or TU and UAS is university of applied science).
Click on show rankings and they will ask you to register (you have to do that). You now get a list of all universities that offer a degree in the field you selected. This list will be much larger than the one you got from DAAD because this contains universities that offer courses in German language too and not just English taught ones. This is a comparatively tiring process but is foolproof. Once you get the list, go to step 4.
Step 4 – University Website
This is definitely the best source of information. The website contains updated and correct details on absolutely everything you need – from list of courses, requirements, deadlines, people to contact, FAQ etc. Once you are on the website, search for the course of interest: go to the list of degree programs they are offering, find the one suitable for you, open the link and read the entire contents thoroughly. Note down important points and any wrong information you got from DAAD. Especially make a note of documents required, application process (if it is through uni assist or direct), language requirements, deadlines and everything. If you have any doubts, put in in BiG WhatsApp or Facebook groups and most importantly, send an email to the international office or to the address they have mentioned. Here you will get accurate information and they almost always reply. In case you arrived to step 4 from step 3.2, then you may not find the course you are looking for as the course may be offered in German language. Then skip the university. The following images are from RWTH Aachen website.
Step 5 – Shortlisting
After these steps, you have an overall idea on the courses offered, requirements etc. Now, you may have several courses in hand to apply. My recommendation: Apply to all so that you get several opportunities to choose from (that is what I did). Otherwise, you can select one of the following common criteria to decide (everyone has a separate priority)
1. Location of university: If it is industrialized or a township, you may have more part time opportunities
2. Living expense: Some (like me) are very concerned about the money they spend. In some places, the overall expenses can be low (eg. Bayreuth – you can find a room as cheap as 155 euros). Others are somewhat expensive.
3. The reputation of the university: Just google.
4. Other criteria: If you go to CHE rankings, you can find a list of categories (overall study situation, successful completion of course in time (%) etc.) with which you can compare the universities. I found that as excellent tool!
For the points 1 and 2, the best option will be to contact some seniors studying in the college. You can search in FB, find a person and just DM them requesting for guidance.
After having the list of courses, you can start applying for the courses. Make sure the documents reach there before deadline. All the best for your applications.