What is the difference between 'Fachhochschulen' and 'Universities' in Germany?

The international designation for 'Fachhochschulen' is 'Universities for Applied Sciences'. The name is already quite informative - and so is the fact that, in Germany, twice as many engineers obtain their degree there than at technical universities (TU).

Universities of Applied Sciences are distinguished for their science-based yet application-oriented education and their close cooperation with industry.

As explained on the site of the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst / German Academic Exchange Service):

 

Finding the right university

Universities (for research-oriented study):

At Germany's 109 universities, the focus is on the transfer of methodical and theoretical knowledge. Research and teaching are closely linked to each other. Universities offer a wide range of subjects including law, the humanities and cultural studies, natural sciences and economics/business administration and medicine. If you want to do a doctorate in Germany, a university is the place to study.

Universities of applied sciences (for practice-oriented study):

The education offered at the 216 universities of applied sciences has a strong vocational orientation. Students there are prepared for professions in specific fields of work, such as technology, business, social work or media and design. Study programmes include work placements and practical semesters.

[www.daad.de/deutschland/nach-deutschland/angebote/en/6002-finding-the-right-university/]

Master

If you are looking for a Master’ study programme, a university of applied sciences can very well be the better choice for you in terms of employability.

A Master of Science programme such as the one presented by our Department of Information Technology complements the well-established practically relevant 'Fachhochschule' education with the appropriate extension and consolidation of theoretical knowledge and skills.

Our Master’s course aims at educating graduates who will be able to develop complex technology with the same comprehensive competence as technical-university engineers, but still as application- and target-oriented as a 'Fachhochschule' engineer.

Our Master's degree enables you to pursue a PhD programme afterwards.

You can find an excellent review of this subject on the website of the renowned weekly newspaper ‘Die Zeit’ (in German):ZEIT-Online