10 Good reasons to pursue your higher education in Saxony

A WIDE RANGE OF SUBJECTS

Four universities – one of which is a university of excellence –, five Universities of Fine Arts and the special offerings of the seven Dual Academy Programmes belonging to the BA Sachsen University of Cooperative Education provide a vast range of almost 500 academic opportunities, from A as in African Studies to Z as in Zoology. Many courses of study are very unusual or even unique in Germany.

Students at the university Görlitz, Zittau Photo: Stephan Floss

STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITIES

If you are looking for excellent conditions for studying, robust support and state-of-the-art facilities, Saxony’s universities and colleges are the perfect choice for you. Tradition meets cutting-edge architecture in university buildings such as the Paulinum Leipzig, the mathematics and natural science institutes at TU Dresden, or the Centre for Materials, Architectures and Integration of Nanomembranes, which is currently under construction at TU Chemnitz and will stand alone in Europe. One of Europe’s most advanced media education centres is located in Mittweida.

Phantom classroom with 32 networked and fully-digitized dental simulation units in the Carl Gustav Carus Dresden University Clinic Photo: Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus Dresden

AFFORDABLE STUDIES

Saxony’s students pay no tuition fees! The first degree is free of charge anywhere in the state and living expenses are fairly modest, as well. The living costs calculator at ‘Unicum.de’, which computes a student’s monthly living expenses (rent, groceries, clothing, transportation, insurance, communications, textbooks etc.) in university towns in all 16 federal states of Germany, shows Freiberg as the most affordable place for students in the country! You can easily make ends meet with €665.72 per month. For just a few euros more, you can afford to live in Zwickau, Chemnitz or Dresden – they are also amongst the top ten of Germany’s most inexpensive university towns.

Mensa of the HTWK Leipzig, which is run by the Studentenwerk Leipzig Photo: Stephan Floss

ENJOY CULTURE & FABLED STUDENT NIGHT LIFE

One of the hallmarks of Saxony is its rich artistic and cultural heritage, which you can experience at more than 400 museums across the state, including the legendary Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (Dresden State Art Collections), home to one of the most precious treasuries in Europe, the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault). If you prefer young, contemporary art, check out the Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei or the international art show Ostrale in Dresden. Thanks to its numerous churches, theatres and opera houses, such as the Semperoper Dresden or the Leipziger Gewandhaus, Saxony’s cultural landscape is quite unique. Also, Saxon student towns are widely renowned for their legendary subculture. Generations of students have celebrated their academic success at venues like the Moritzbastei in Leipzig, the Bärenzwinger in Dresden or the Erdalchimistenclub in Freiberg.

Marie studied opera singing at the Dresden University of Music and is already on the stage Photo: Stephan Floss

PERFECT LOCATION

The easternmost state of Germany enjoys the great advantage of having two immediate European neighbours, Poland and the Czech Republic. Do you want to dance the night away in Berlin, stroll around Prague, or visit art museums in Wroclaw? A quick getaway to any of these cities is no problem for students in Saxony.

Mark Norman studies forestry in Tharandt and appreciates the proximity between forest and Dresden Neustadt Photo: Stephan Floss

A DIVERSE COMMUNITY

Saxony’s universities are places of cultural diversity and open-mindedness! International students account for 15,000 of our total student body of 112,000. At TU Dresden, for instance, 4,800 students in the winter term 2015 hailed from abroad. In addition, Saxon universities employ almost 2,000 international teaching staff. Both academic institutions and the art scene offer countless opportunities to get involved, because being a student is about more than just studying.

The Saxonian Studentenwerke offer dormitories - from the single apartment to the 7 flat share Photo: Stephan Floss

INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH

There is an abundance of non-university research in Saxony, as well. With its 14 institutes and institutions, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft heads the list, followed by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, which explores our future at six locations in Saxony. The Leibniz Association operates six institutes and two satellite branches. There are two Helmholtz Centres, one Helmholtz Institute, as well as nine state-funded research facilities. Saxony is a top global research player in microelectronics, nanotechnologies, mechanical and vehicle engineering, material science, biotechnology, neurosciences, medical technology and environmental research.

Researcher at the Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy at the University of Leipzig Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch

TRIED AND TESTED DEGREES

The wide array of academic opportunities also includes a very special bonus: a Diplom. Many Saxon universities continue to award the tried and tested German Diplom degree, which is very well respected internationally. Prospective teachers in Saxony have resumed taking the Staatsexamen (state examination).

Graduates of the Mittweida university Photo: Stephan Floss

EXCELLENT PROSPECTS

University graduates from Saxony have outstanding professional prospects, not just with regional companies. Germany’s Silicon Valley is home to prestigious enterprises and numerous research networks. Career prospects for young scientists are ideal!

Investigation of energy flow visualizations as research units on the way to the emissions-neutral factory at the Chemnitz University of Technology Photo: Wolfgang Thieme

NATURE & FAMILY

Mountains, lakes and forests – Saxony’s landscapes are made for connoisseurs, nature lovers and athletes. Climbers and adventure sports lovers have virtually immediate access to Saxony’s ore mountains and Elbe sandstone highlands from almost every university location. Cyclists and hikers will enjoy the Leipzig lowland as well as Upper and Lower Lusatia. Also in the Leipzig area, man-made lakes with sandy beaches and perfectly laid-out sports parks have been created in the areas where bituminous coal used to be mined in opencast pits. At Saxony’s universities, issues like child care, flexible study times and leave of absence to take care of dependents are a matter of course. Many institutions are certified with the label ‘family-friendly university’, offering students comprehensive services so that you don’t have to worry about how to combine studying with taking care of your family.

Active relaxation in the Lausitzer Seenland Photo: René Gäns

Which University is right for me?

University & Univerity of applied sciences

Choosing the right type of higher learning institution is vital. Whilst Universitäten (full universities) are primarily dedicated to academic work, Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) focus more on practical application. At both types of university, the objective is to train young scientists and scholars. At universities, research also plays a major role, which is one of the reasons why they offer the broadest range of subjects. If you are already planning to pursue postgraduate academic studies through to a doctorate, a university is the best choice for you. Prospective physicians and teachers have no choice: they are required to graduate from a university. In order to be admitted to a university, you must have obtained a qualification called Hochschulreife. Those who have completed Gymnasium (secondary school) with an Abitur diploma are eligible for admission to any course of studies; students with specialised Hochschulreife are eligible for specific subjects only. Fachhochschulen, or FH for short, are more application-oriented. Since a FH degree is more closely aligned with the needs of practical professional life, Fachhochschulen are also referred to as ‘universities of applied sciences’ in Saxony. Compared to universities, they offer a less comprehensive range of subjects, but many FHs cooperate with businesses – which is a great advantage for students looking to pursue the dual education path. If you want to be admitted to a course of studies at a university of applied sciences, you need either an Abitur diploma, Fachhochschulreife or specialised Hochschulreife.

Universities of fine arts

Kunsthochschulen are open to those who demonstrate their aptitude in an entrance exam, which is why Abitur is not always an essential admission requirement. The courses of study are, however, structured similarly to those at universities. Cooperation with renowned orchestras or theatres is an integral part of the courses. Just like at a university or FH, students’ efforts are rewarded with an academic degree such as a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Diplom.

University of cooperative education

As an alternative to studying at a university, the Berufsakademie, or BA for short, offers the closest possible interconnection with practical application at seven locations throughout Saxony. Two partners cooperate to provide students with tailor-made practical training for their future professional careers: a company teaches the practical aspects of the career, whilst the Berufsakademie Sachsen imparts the theory. Students graduate from the University of Cooperative Education after three years with a recognised Bachelor’s or Diplom degree