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Art, Music, Design

Study Design in Germany

Explore 436 programmes.

The field of study of design is all about the conception, design, and realisation of various forms of visual mediums. These can include figurative or semi-figurative trademarks, carpets, or fashion, depending on what you want to later specialise in. Regardless of whether you choose communication or textile design, or something completely different, you will learn to view design critically and conceptually in order to recognise and solve problems.


114 Higher Education Institutions

Bachelor, Master, Diplom, Final Examination

German, English

2-10 Semesters

What content can I expect?

In addition to basic design methods, you will also acquire the ability to develop media creatively during your studies. You will deal with various production processes and techniques. The field of study offers several opportunities for specialisation that allow you to explore certain aspects more in depth:

  • Graphic design deals with various graphical mediums such as posters, calendars, or figurative trademarks.
  • Industrial design or product design deals with analogue and digital products for series production as well as handcrafted products. People and their needs, questions of social responsibility, and ecological consequences are often important aspects of degree programmes in this area.
  • Communication design deals with visual communication or with the applied art of giving shape to specific content, for example in the form of posters, websites, or magazines. Cultural, social, ecological, and economic issues are also focused on in this area.
  • Further specialisation areas in this field of study are media design, multimedia design, performances, jewellery design, and textile design.

Depending on your field of study, you will have to deal with different learning content and require different knowledge. But no matter which direction you choose, one thing is the same across all subject areas: be ready to get creative and use your visual imagination!

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Are you interested in an in Art, Music, Design? Run a non-binding eligibility check now.

What prerequisites are expected? Where and for how long can I study?

As with most other degree programmes, you should have a general higher education entrance qualification or equivalent. For courses of study in design, most higher education institutions have additional admission restrictions: These are usually application requirements in the form of creative work samples, e.g. an artistic portfolio. Other institutions might expect a preliminary internship for admission, sometimes even with specifically outlined content-related conditions, and there are several other internal selection procedures.

Therefore, it is important to find out in good time at the higher education institution of your choice which admission requirements you have to fulfil. Aptitude tests do not take place continuously and the days for the exams may differ from the registration deadlines for the degree programme. And a design portfolio cannot be completed in just a few days but takes time.

You can study at universities, universities of applied sciences, but also often at art colleges, academies or private higher education institutions. There are numerous degree programmes in design offered at private institutions; some of which have no or hardly any admission restrictions. Depending on the higher education institution, options such as distance learning or dual studies are also offered. With distance learning, you are more flexible in terms of time and location, whereas dual study programmes focus on a higher practical component and possibly also on financial relief for the student. But no matter which type of higher education institution you choose, you can generally look forward to many projects and practical units with which you can expand your portfolio to be fully prepared to start your career.

Bachelor’s degree programmes are often designed for six semesters and Master’s degree programmes for three to four semesters. However, deviations from these standard study periods are not uncommon; for example, at some higher education institutions, the Bachelor’s degree can take longer. Some also offer a German “Diplom” degree, which takes longer overall.

What costs can I expect for my studies and living expenses?

The costs during your studies very much depend on the higher education institution of your choice and the city in which you want to study! Public higher education institutions usually don’t have tuition fees, they only have the so-called “Semesterbeitrag”, the semester contribution. On average, this is between 100 and 400 euros per semester – compared internationally, this is really cheap! Sometimes your semester contribution covers a ticket for local public transport or you can purchase a discounted ticket. Depending on where you study, this may be valid for the city, the region or even for all of Germany. Ask your higher education institution whether such an offer is currently available. Private higher education institutions, on the other hand, usually charge high tuition fees of several thousand euros.

Is there a degree programme at a private institution which is particularly appealing to you, but you’re worried about financing? Why not contact the institution and get some advice? (You can do this right here at My GUIDE!) Often, a dual study programme is offered for which your partner, i.e., the company you are working for, pays your tuition fees. This would allow you to avoid paying tuition fees at private higher education institutions.

Rents vary depending on the city you want to study in. In large cities, housing is often scarce and expensive, while in smaller cities it is comparatively affordable. In any case, student halls of residence are usually your cheapest option. As soon as you have decided on where you want to study, you should start looking, as halls of residence can fill up quickly. Here, you can find information on local halls of residence and the respective application process for most cities.

To finance your studies in Germany, you should also find out about scholarships. There are many different scholarship programmes and excellent grades are not the only deciding factor. You can learn more about scholarships here and find suitable programmes directly on My GUIDE.

… and what are my career options after graduation?

In many areas, you will deal with the problems and needs of different client groups and develop suitable designs for them. (A skill for dealing with customers is certainly helpful!) But depending on your specific degree programme and your additional qualifications, you can end up in very different industries. You could find yourself in the following occupational fields:

  • Ad and media agencies, PR agencies
  • Media work in general (editorial, production, …)
  • Graphic, animation and games design, media design, web design
  • Communication design (newspapers, displays, interface design, games, catalogues, …)
  • Fashion design
  • Industrial and product design (furnishings, packaging, consumer goods, automotive design, …)
  • Interior architecture
  • Cultural management and public relations; institutions and associations in politics, culture or education
  • Consulting

Graduates often start working in design offices or agencies. Here, your starting salary depends strongly on the size of the agency. If you choose a different sector, the pay can vary accordingly: Non-profit organisations, for example, pay less than public institutions. As a designer, you can of course also become self-employed and more or less determine your salary!

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Check your eligibility to study at German higher education institutions (non-binding)

Run a quick and non-binding check to determine whether your certificates make you eligible to study at German higher education institutions. Depending on which educational certificates you provide, you may qualify for all degree programmes or only for certain subjects or types of higher education institutions. It is possible that you do not currently meet the requirements to be eligible to apply to a German higher education institution. In such a case, you may be able to attend a Studienkolleg. Please note that the eligibility check results apply exclusively to undergraduate programmes and are not legally binding.

Once you have completed the non-binding check, degree programmes that match your eligibility will be marked with a corresponding icon.