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Mathematics, Natural Sciences

Study Biology in Germany

Explore 522 programmes.

Out of all the natural sciences subjects, biology is the most popular. Your studies will deal with all life that exists on earth. This includes microorganisms such as bacteria, but also fungi, animals, and plants at all stages of development: from molecular structures, proteins, individual cells, visible tissues, organs, complex, multicellular organisms, and organ systems, all the way to complete ecosystems.


105 Higher Education Institutions

Bachelor, Master, Magister, State Examination

German, English

2-11 Semesters

What content can I expect?

Biology is a diverse field of study that encompasses many different subject areas:

  • Anthropobiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Botany
  • Human biology, biomedicine
  • Marine biology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Ecology
  • Zoology

No matter which subject you decide to study, your classes and seminars will not deal exclusively with biology. Especially in the early semesters, you will learn the basics of other natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Some specialisations are only possible in the Master’s programme, for which you first need a basic Bachelor’s degree in biology.

If you want to study biology, you should be interested in scientific issues and enjoy practical experiments, e.g., with microscopes. Knowledge of English is also often necessary for understanding specialist literature. Some biology degree programmes are even offered entirely in English! 

During your studies, you will usually get some opportunities to apply the theoretical knowledge you have acquired into practice, e.g. in laboratory work, outdoor practicals or excursions.

Important: At some higher education institutions, animal experiments or dissection classes are an integral part of the degree programmes! If you do not want to take part in these for various reasons, you should find out beforehand about the course content or alternatives at your higher education institution of choice. Some institutions already offer exemption from such courses by providing alternative credits or even waive them completely.

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Are you interested in an in Mathematics, Natural Sciences? Run a non-binding eligibility check now.

How long does it take to study biology and what are the admission requirements?

With a standard period of study usually lasting six semesters to complete a Bachelor’s degree and four semesters for a Master’s degree, you can study biology at various higher education institutions and obtain a Bachelor’s/Master’s of Science degree. Depending on the institution, the standard periods of study can vary slightly; Bachelor’s degree programmes, for example, which are designed for seven semesters, often include an entire practical semester. If you are studying to become a teacher, you will also have to complete a few additional semesters of study and take the state examination.

At most higher education institutions, you can choose whether you want to study the degree programme as a major, minor or 2-subject Bachelor’s degree. Part-time programmes are also possible in some cases, but on average they take a few semesters longer.

Since the subject is quite popular, the degree programmes often have a local admission restriction, a so-called “numerus clausus” or NC. Depending on the institution, the NC, a minimum grade average, can be quite different, but it is usually in the mid-range of one or two; you might find a few programmes without admission restrictions. Since biology in the classical sense can only be studied at universities, you need a general higher education entrance qualification (the Germany Abitur or an international equivalent). Some universities also require a separate aptitude test to assess your scientific abilities. There are universities of applied sciences which offer programmes in this field of study, namely „applied biology“ or subareas thereof. To apply to one of these programmes a subject-specific higher education entrance qualification is sufficient.

How much does it cost to study biology?

The costs for a course of study in biology are comparable to most other programmes; mostly, there are no additional special payments. Materials and utensils for studying, such as dissecting instruments, are not expensive. You can usually borrow books from libraries or buy them second-hand. Other equipment, such as a microscope, is often provided by the university for the respective courses and learning units; you won’t have to buy it yourself.

In contrast to private higher education institutions, for most degree programmes you do not have to pay tuition fees to study at public higher education institutions in Germany. Here you only have to pay the semester contributions, which are approximately between 100 and 400 euros per semester. 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. In addition, there are your personal living expenses and rent to budget for; these costs are not easy to calculate in advance, as there are significant differences between cities. 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.

What are my career options as a graduate in biology?

With a Master’s degree in biology, it will be easier for you to find a job than if you only have a Bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree is not only important for a position in research, where it is often a prerequisite but can also help you to start your career. Since Bachelor’s programmes are often very general, you only specialise by choosing your Master’s programme and this increases your chances of finding an interesting job. In this respect, internships and/or additional qualifications can also be important for better career prospects.

Graduates, especially ones with a PhD, can find jobs in research at higher education institutions or public research institutes. There are also potential jobs in the private sector, e.g., as a third-party expert or technical specialist, in sales, consulting or quality management in the pharmaceutical or food industry, in public institutions (museums, botanical gardens, or zoos), and in planning authorities. You can also find a job in environmental, nature conservation and regional planning or even in science journalism. However, you should be aware that starting a career as a biologist can be quite difficult. So it may take a while until you find secure footing in the working world.

Compared to other natural science fields, the salary prospects of a biology degree are among the lowest – nevertheless, you can usually expect a good income. The salaries of teachers and civil servants are regulated according to the federal state. In the private sector, you often have higher earnings, but your salary depends on factors such as the specific position, industry, size of the company and/or location.

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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.