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German higher education institutions

Higher education institutions serve to cultivate and develop science and art through research, teaching and studies. They prepare students for professions which require the formation and application of academic and scientific knowledge and methods or the ability to engage in artistic creativity.

The official higher education statistics record all German higher education institutions which have been recognised by the law of the state in which they are located, regardless of how they are funded (public or private institutions). The official higher education statistics have defined various types of higher education institutions and have grouped them together as follows in Wissenschaft weltoffen:

WWO
Types of higher education institutions
Official Statistics
Types of higher education institutions
Universities and university status institutions (including colleges of art and music). Universities
Comprehensive universities (up to summer semester 2002)
Universities of education
Theological/Church-maintained colleges
Colleges of art and music
Fachhochschulen (FH universities of applied science) FH universities of applied science (excluding FH universities of public administration)
FH universities of public administration (Verwaltungsfachhochschulen)

Each higher education institution recorded by the official statistics' higher education institution classification is placed into one of these categories.

Winter semester 2010/11 saw a total of 415 higher education institutions in Germany (386 for graduation year 2011), of which 126 were universities and institutions of similar status (122 for graduation year 2011), 51 colleges of art and music/universities of the arts, 232 universities of applied sciences including universities of public administration (213 for graduation year 2011).

Information on the types of higher education institutions contained in the official statistics:

  • Universities include the technical universities and other research universities of equal status (apart from universities of education, theological colleges and comprehensive universities).
  • Comprehensive Universities were educational establishments whose courses covered the teaching range from research universities to universities of applied sciences and, in some cases, also that of colleges of art and music. Since the winter semester 2002/2003, these are no longer recorded as a separate group and are now recorded as universities only.
  • Universities of Education are largely research universities equipped with the right to confer doctorates. They now only exist as independent institutions in Baden-Württemberg. In all other states they were integrated into the universities, in most cases as independent faculties.
  • Theological Colleges are church-maintained and state-maintained philosophical-theological and theological colleges. This category does not include the theological faculties or departments found at the universities.
  • Colleges of Art and Music are higher education institutions offering teaching and research in fine art, design, music, drama, media, film and television. Admissions conditions often differ from those at universities since student admission is often granted on the basis of proven talent or aptitude tests.
  • Fachhochschulen (FH) are universities of applied sciences and provide applications-oriented training in degree programmes for engineers and other professions, above all in the fields of business, social work and social education, design and computer science.
  • The universities of applied sciences (excluding the universities of public administration) and the universities of public administration (Verwaltungsfachhochschulen) are recorded in the official higher education statistics as separate types of higher education institutions. The latter group brings together those public administration own universities of applied sciences which train young staff for the positions in the higher non-technical federal and state public administration. Apart from these, a number of authority-own higher education institutions also exist which have been placed into the other higher education institution categories.

The graduate statistics recognise 2 other types of higher education institutions. Since some academic degrees, such as doctorates, do not require graduates to be matriculated up to the time of their final examination, cases may occur where the higher education institution at which graduates were last matriculated no longer exist or that the graduates were last matriculated abroad. These cases are recorded as "other higher education institutions" or "higher education institutions abroad".

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