Universities in Cologne: Where should I study?


Mar 04 • 8 minute read

8 universities in Cologne, +100 programmes. In Cologne, researchers with a thirst for knowledge cavort in research centres, the media talents of the future are being coached for their film premieres, and on the sports field of the Sports University in Cologne, the first students get ready to practice their comments for international football matches ahead of time.

The wide range of courses on offer doesn't exactly make it easy for you to answer the question 'Where should I study in Cologne?', yet if you have a feeling for the direction you want to take, you're sure to find the right course for you at the universities in Cologne. Let us give you a hand!

Is the university in Cologne free?

The good news: education in Germany is free! And so you don't have to pay tuition fees for public universities, just a contribution to cover the bureaucratic hurdles (about 300 euros per semester), which includes your ticket for public transport, so you could even live in Dusseldorf and jet to study in Cologne every day for free! (let's be honest, Cologne versus Düsseldorf is and will be the toughest decision of all)

The situation is different at many universities of applied sciences in Cologne: There is a density of private universities in Cologne, which are often state-recognised, but act as 'companies' and therefore charge tuition fees.

Take your pick: Universities of Applied Sciences or universities in Cologne, public or private?

Decisions upon decisions: where should I study in Cologne? With its range of universities in Cologne, the doors are wide open in the creative scene, but the depth of science also awaits students. Where you end up studying in Cologne is entirely up to your personality and learning style.

The University of Cologne has a high standard of research, and in the midst of almost 50,000 students, you can easily get lost in massive lecture halls. If you want to be a student at the University of Cologne, you should have a high degree of initiative and proactive learning. But it is rewarded: degrees from the University of Cologne are highly regarded!

It's a different story at universities of applied sciences:

practice-oriented degree programmes take students by the hand and build their network from day one.

However, many universities of applied sciences are also private for this purpose: going from zero tuition fees at the University of Cologne, you then have to dig pretty deep into your pocket.

University of Cologne

Cologne is home to Germany's seventh-best university: the University of Cologne is ranked 7th in Germany and 151st in the world. And since its foundation in 1388 (yes, in the late Middle Ages!), the University of Cologne has been the hub of science and scholarship in Europe.

The University of Cologne's approach to research runs through the lecture halls to the research rooms. Scattered across six faculties, you'll find more than 102 programmes supported by 10 cross-functional research and teaching centres.

So it's hardly surprising that students don't have to scratch the surface of a topic, but can plunge into the depths of science: mechanism of ageing-associated diseases, plant breeding research, cultural and political change in Africa, Latin America, and South America, to name a few.

Number of students49,804
Tuition fees282,95€ / Semester
Study programmes214 programmes

Universities of Applied Sciences in Cologne

7 universities pave the way for students in Cologne to enter the professional world: be it in the creative field, business or sport. Cologne universities open the doors for you to delve into a niche or stay on the surface.

You can choose between 7 private and public universities of applied sciences in Cologne:

1. Cologne University of Technology

Always one step ahead, facing the future: At Cologne University of Applied Sciences, students don't stick much too outdated case studies and tackle much more real-world problems: be it climate change, energy supply, health and food chains, or demographic changes.

With partnerships in over 290 institutions and local, national and international collaborations, the ideal research conditions are created for students to solve social challenges through pioneering cultural and technological investigations.

In more than 90 degree programmes in Applied Natural Science, Computer Science, Architecture and Construction, Engineering, Social Sciences, Business and Information and Communication, more than 26,000 students from 120 nations meet the challenges, with 6000 new students joining TH Köln every year.

Number of students26,000
Tuition fees281,50 € / Semester
Study programmes90 programmes

2. Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM)

Have you ever asked yourself after a visit to the cinema what it would be like to be the director of the film? Or you perceive film cuts from completely different eyes? It's no longer a secret that Cologne is not only the stronghold of creativity for the most outlandish carnival costumes but also the media port of Germany. And so it is precisely here that the talented artists, film producers, cinematographers, scriptwriters or designers of tomorrow are trained locally, or more precisely: at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne (KHM).

Creativity wafts in the air of the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, a creative aura fills the lecture halls of the university in Cologne. The KHM has created an experimental ambience for young talents, where they can live out their passion for film, media and art and have room to develop their skills on all levels.

Just as art never follows the norm, the KHM is also anything but conventional. As a young talent, every newcomer must take the only 9-semester course offered, 'Media Arts', so there's not much choice. The reason: students gain the necessary broad perspective on film and television, media studies and art. Once they've got the basics down, they go on to specialise in one of these areas in the fourth semester.

It gets even better: there are countless international students at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne - goodbye language barrier! Every year, around 70 to 80 new students are enrolled, making a total of 320 students. And just under a third of them are internationals!

Number of students300
Tuition fees330 Euro / Semester
Study programmes'Media Arts’

3. Cologne Business School

Your career could hardly get off to a smoother start after graduating from the Cologne Business School: Top-networked and empowered, you will set off on your first stage in the business world full of drive. Last but not least, the Cologne Business School is one of the best private universities for business in Germany!

In the midst of 1,400 young students,each student receives intensive support in small learning groups, students are prepared for the working world with practice-oriented units and, last but not least, they are networked with more than 100 universities and large companies.

Practice-oriented partnerships, business games and internships are the be-all and end-all for the Cologne Business School

because students thus already acquire a realistic feel for the business world.

And for international students, the Cologne Business School is a true heaven: with students from over 75 nations, you will feel right at home in the international flair. Do you feel like stirring up the business world?

Number of students1,400
Tuition fees5.310 Euro / Semester
Study programmesB.A., B.Sc, M.Sc., M.A., MBA, MBA Executive

4. Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne

An all-rounder: The Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne tickles out the talents of students in the fields of business & media, as well as health and social affairs. With its Business School, Media School and Psychology/ Medical School, the university in Cologne manages the balancing act between the 34 subjects.

In Corona times, there were no 'winners' and yet the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne had a noticeable advantage over other universities: the private Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne rarely requires its students to live locally; instead, great emphasis has been placed on e-learning here for years. In Corona times, e-learning is a blessing; in normal times, student life here feels straightforward in return.

Number of students1,700
Tuition fees500 - 800€/ Month
Study programmesB.A., M.A., M.Sc.

5. Cologne Sports University

A true one-of-a-kind: there really is only one sports university in Germany, the Cologne Sports University. Your weekends are dedicated to football games, you go all out for Super Bowl Sunday and you fill your free time with running? The Cologne Sports University is literally calling your name.

The bachelor's degree programmes train 6,000 young talents from 85 nations in sports journalism, sports management, sports and health, sports, experience and movement and sports and performance.

And as befits a university that focuses exclusively on sports science, exercise can’t be missing for Cologne's students: in the heart of the Müngersdorf district, you can let out all your energy in the university's own sports park, including the famous RheinEnergieStadion! Do you think you'll run out of breath at some point on the gigantic campus area that would fit Cologne Cathedral 26 times over?

Number of students6,000
Tuition fees204,70 EUR / Semester
Study programmes5 Bachelor's programmes, 9 Master's programmes, 6 in advances studies

6. Rhenish University of Applied Sciences Cologne

There's no shortage of choice here: between 19 Bachelor's degree programmes and 12 Master's programmes in the fields of engineering, media, health care, business & law, logistics, marketing management and communications management, the Rheinische Fachhochschule in Cologne is a true all-rounder.

With 6,500 students, the private university of applied sciences in Cologne is becoming one of the largest. And despite its large number of students, the 'private' feel is not lost: the seminar study groups never exceed 50 students and study content is taught in a practical way in a compact, short courses.

Number of students6,414
Tuition fees197,80 € / Semester
Study programmesB.Eng., B.Sc., B.A., M. Sc., M.A., M.Eng. LL.B.

7. University of Media, Communication and Business

You've already noticed that Cologne is a stronghold for media in Germany. And so it's less surprising that more than one university is training the media talents. At the private University of Media, Communication and Business in Cologne, you can choose between four Bachelor and three Master's programmes.

No doubt about it: the decision for a degree programme is made relatively quickly here and, with fewer than 500 students at the university in Cologne, you are guaranteed not to get lost in the lecture halls.

Number of students500
Tuition fees595 € / Month
Study programmesfour Bachelor's and three Master's programmes

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