Study in Germany

02.03.21

An overview of course offerings and scholarship programs for foreign law students in Germany

[ Up ] [ Introduction ] [ Study programs ] [ Doctoral programs ] [ Scholarship programs ] [ General information on studies in Germany ] [ Overview on study programs in German (2015) ]

Introduction

Once upon a time lawyers only needed to know the law of their home country. They enjoyed a national legal education, worked with national law only and did not need to speak foreign languages. A sophisticated lawyer of the 21st century, however, must be prepared for the globalisation and its growing impact on his work. A young researcher, university lecturer, lawyer in an international law firm or civil servant in a ministry should have studied international and comparative law and the legal thinking in other countries with different legal systems. This will enable him to make valuable contributions to the development of the law of his home country. The best way to qualify is to pursue studies abroad, thus learning to know not only the foreign law but also the country, the culture and the people. This does not change with the Covid-19 pandemic, even if going abroad is more difficult in this year.

Studies in Germany are particularly attractive for lawyers from countries whose legal system is based on the continental legal tradition - including Indonesia. After Word War II, responding to the catastrophe of the Third Reich, Germany has focused eminently on building up a modern "Rechtsstaat" (state based on the rule of law) with a sophisticated legal system. For many countries, in particular in East Europe and East Asia, German law and German legal science have become a source of inspiration for the development of their own legal system. For the foreign lawyers, not the details of the German law are interesting but the structures, the innovative legal concepts, the highly developed legal dogmatics, the systematic approach and the advanced legal methodology.

Many German universities have developed study programs for foreign law students. The course offerings are heterogeneous and sometimes confusing. It is my task as DAAD lecturer to provide guidance for orientation. The following overview shall serve this purpose, redirecting you directly to the relevant websites of the universities. It is followed by an overview of scholarship programs and links to general information on studying in Germany. With regard to the great number of study and scholarship programs the overview cannot be exhaustive. Note that this overview is restricted to study programs in English. If your language skills allow you to follow study programs in the German language, there are many more options (see my more extensive overview on study programs in German in 2015 ).

Are you interested? Then, in a first step, you should inform yourself about the study programs that come into consideration. It may be a good idea to contact a relevant university in order to make sure that your participation in the program is in principle possible. Besides advanced language skills usually a master's degree (in some cases a bachelor's degree) and sometimes other qualifications are required. You should also acquaint yourself with the scholarship programs. In a second step you should see me for consultation (UGM Faculty of Law, Building A, room A.IV.11, e-mail: tschmit1@gwdg.de). On closer examination, some course offers may be less interesting than they appear in the advertising of the universities. Others may not be well advertised but correspond better to your personal interests or promise a better individual support. Concerning scholarship programs, you may also get advice from the DAAD Regional Office Jakarta. Finally, in a third step you may submit your applications to the German university and the scholarship provider. Plan all these steps a year in advance so that you do not risk to miss the deadline. In particular, upgrade and certify your language skills in time! For many DAAD scholarships, the deadline for applications is in September or October.

Study programs for foreign law students in Germany

[A. Summer courses] [B. Erasmus program] [C. Complementary study programs] [D. General postgraduate study programs] [E. Specialised postgraduate study programs]

A. Summer courses (as advertised for 2021)

Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic many summer courses have been cancelled for 2021 or will be or may be organised as online courses.

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University of Augsburg: Augsburg Summer Program on European and International Economic Law
(in English)

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University of Bayreuth: Bayreuth International Summer School - Law: Corporate Governance, ESG, and Sustainability (online course)
(in English)

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Humboldt University Berlin: Introduction to International Economic Law (online course) and Refugee Protection and Forced Migration (online course)
(in English)

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Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin / Berlin School of Economics and Law: How Europe Works: Institutions & Law in the EU (ILEU)
(in English)

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Technical University of Dresden and University of Leipzig: Summer School “Human Rights in Theory and Practice"
(in English)

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University of Frankfurt/Oder: The European System of Human Rights Protection (online course)
(in English)

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University of Giessen: U.S.-German Summer Law School in International and Comparative Law
(in English)

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University of Munich: Munich University Summer Training in German and European Law (MUST) (online course) and Munich Advanced Course in International Law (MACIL) (online course)
 (in English)

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see also the language and introductory courses for lawyers, e.g. the crash course Juristische Fachterminologie - Einführung in das deutsche Recht at the Hochschule Bremen, the summer course German for Lawyers and Other Legal Practitioners (online course) at the University of Münster and the International Summer German Courses in the field of law of the University of Bielefeld  (all courses in German)

B. The Erasmus program

The Erasmus+ program of the European Union is the most popular exchange program for students, lecturers (and others) in Europe. The studies abroad can be for one or two semesters, the access is easy and the foreign students are well supported and integrated at the guest university. In its 30 years history, the Erasmus program has provided an important contribution to a better mutual understanding and cooperation of lawyers in integrating Europe. However, the exchange was generally limited to students coming from and going to European universities. Only the Erasmus Mundus program that focused on the sector of advanced studies and doctoral studies supported cooperation between European and non-European universities. In 2013, these programs and others were merged to the Erasmus+ program that also promotes the exchange with non-European partner countries. In 2019,  200 Indonesians were awarded Erasmus+ scholarships. The Erasmus+ program was recently reshaped and extended until 2027.

C. Complementary study programs (not requiring completion of a full course of legal studies)

German universities usually offer study programs for foreign law students  who have completed a full course of legal studies (of 4 to 5 years, including bachelor's and master's degree) in their home country. However, there are exceptions (a few even in English):

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Berlin School of Economics and Law: M.A. International Security Management
(interdisciplinary studies; 4 semesters; with master thesis; requires bachelor's degree; in English)

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University of Bonn: Master of European Studies
(interdisciplinary studies; 1 year; with a focus on governance and regulation in the EU; with master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 6.500 €)

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Technical University of Dresden: LL.M. (International Studies in Intellectual Property Law)
(2 semesters, one of them at a partner university [Exeter, Krakow, London, Prague, Seattle, Strasbourg, Szeged or Tokyo]; starts twice a year; requires some practical experience after graduation; in German and English or English; tuition fee: 3.000 - 12.650 €)

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University of Göttingen: LL.M (European and Transnational Law of Intellectual Property and Information Technology)
(2 semesters; with master thesis; requires bachelor's degree and 1 year of practical experience; in English; tuition fee: 7.200 or 7.800 €)

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University of Göttingen: Erasmus Mundus MA Euroculture: Society, politics and culture in a global contex [see also consortium website]
(interdisciplinary studies, not at the Faculty of Law; with master thesis; 4 semesters, including 1 semester at one of 12 foreign partner universities; requires bachelor's degree in home country; in English; tuition fee: 5.900 - 18.000 €)

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University of Hannover: LL.M (European Legal Practice)
(4 semesters; with master thesis; requires bachelor's degree in home country; joint international study program of the universities Hannover, Lisbon and Rouen; requires knowledge of English AND of German, French or Portuguese)

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SRH University Heidelberg: LL.M (International and Comparative Business Law)
(practice-orientated studies; 2 semesters; with focus on German, European, American and Chinese law; with master thesis; requires completion of studies or combination of studies and work experience; in English; tuition fee: 9.240 €)

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Leuphana University Lüneburg: LL.M (International Economic Law)
(4 semesters; with master thesis; requires bachelor's degree (or completion of 81 % of bachelor's program) in home country; dual degree program with University of Glasgow (Scotland) or University of the West Indies (Barbados); in English; tuition fee: 8.520 € - 20.440 €)

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University of Passau: CECIL (Certificate of Studies in European, Comparative and International Law)
(1 or 2 semesters; certificates for 20 or 40 ECTS credit points; includes courses on academic legal writing and/or legal presentation skills; requires 2 years of previous studies of law; in English)

D. General postgraduate study programs (magister programs) requiring prior completion of a full course of legal studies (open only to foreign participants)

Most German faculties of law offer general postgraduate studies in German law for foreign lawyers who have completed a full course of legal studies (of 4 to 5 years) with a degree that must be equivalent to the German State Examination. These studies take 2 semesters, include a magister thesis and an oral examination and result in the degree of "Magister Legum" (LL.M) or "Magister iuris" (Mag. iur.). Often they precede doctoral studies at the same university. However, these studies require excellent knowledge of the German language, since the foreign students will attend the same courses as ordinary German law students.

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see the course offerings of the universities of Augsburg, Bayreuth, HU Berlin, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Cologne, Constance, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Frankfurt/Main, Frankfurt/Oder, Freiburg, Gießen, Göttingen, Halle, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Jena, Kiel, Mainz, Marburg, Munich, Münster, Osnabrück, Passau, Potsdam, Regensburg, Trier, Tübingen, Würzburg

E. Specialised postgraduate study programs requiring prior completion of a full course of legal studies (open to German and foreign participants)

German universities offer a wide variety of specialised postgraduate study programs, in particular in the fields of European Union law and business law. These programs are primarily designed for graduates of a full course of legal studies in Germany but are generally also open to foreign lawyers with equivalent degrees. Usually they last 2 semesters and result in a postgraduate master's degree (LL.M). They provide legal education at the highest level but some present a challenge to foreign participants because they build upon the knowledge from a full course of legal studies in Germany. These programs are usually offered in German, some combine lectures in German and English.

However, there is also an increasing number of specialised postgraduate study programs offered entirely in English. While some of them require a moderate tuition, many are offered on a commercial basis for high or very high tuition fees (but sometimes with tuition waivers for certain applicants). Scholarships may not always cover the high fees. The target group of the most expensive programs are predominantly young professionals with a bit of practical experience whose employer may support their studies.

Note that these study programs continue to be offered during the pandemic. Application for admission is usually possible until March, April or even May 2021. Be aware that depending on the local pandemic situation there is a certain risk that at the beginning of the study year 2021/22 some courses still need to be offered online or in a hybrid format.

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University of Augsburg (Munich Intellectual Property Law Center): LL.M IP (Intellectual Property and Competition Law)
(2 semesters; with study visits, conference attendance, optional intership and master thesis; requires 1 year of practical experience; admission possible with 3 years bachelor's degree and 2 years of practical experience; with individual tutoring; in English; tuition and participation fees: 32.850 €)

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Freie Universität Berlin: MBL-FU (Master of Business, Competition and Regulatory Law)
(2 semesters; with master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 9.500 €)

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Humboldt University Berlin: IDR LL.M (International Dispute Resolution)
(2 semesters; with master thesis; requires 6 months of practical experience after graduation; in English; tuition fee: 9.000 €)

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Technical University of Berlin: MBL European and International Energy Law
(2 semesters; with master thesis; requires 1 year of professional experiene; in English; tuition fee: 10.000 €)

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University of Erlangen-Nuremberg: M.A. (Human Rights)
(interdisciplinary studies; 3 semesters; with master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 4.900 €))

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University of Frankfurt/Main: LL.M (Legal Theory)
(2 semesters; with master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 7.200 €)

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University of Frankfurt/Main: LL.M (Finance)
(interdisciplinary studies, also practice-orientated; 2 semesters; with internship and master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 20.000 €)

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University of Frankfurt/Main: LL.M (International Finance  - for Asian Graduates)
(interdisciplinary studies, also practice-orientated; 2 semesters; with master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 18.000 €)

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University of Frankfurt/Oder: LL.M (Master of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law)
(3 semesters; with internship and master thesis; includes distance learning; in English; tuition fee: 6.100 €;  also smaller diploma and certificate programs offered)

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Bucerius Law School (Hamburg): LL.M/MLB (Master of Law and Business)
(interdisciplinary studies, also practice-orientated; 2 semesters; with master thesis; requires 1 - 3 years of practical experience; in English; tuition fee: 22.000 €)

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University of Hamburg: LL.M . (European and European Legal Studies)
(interdisciplinary studies; 2 semesters; with internship and master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 8.500 €)

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University of Hamburg: EMLE (European Master in Law and Economics)
(interdisciplinary studies, offered by a consortium of 10 universities; 3 trimesters (students can study at 3 different universities); with master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 6.000 . 10.500 €)

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Leuphana University Lüneburg: LL.M Competition and Regulation
(3 semesters; blended-learning program, partly building on distance (online) learning; requires 1 year of relevant professional experience; in English;cm tuition fee: 9.700 €)

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University of Mannheim: M.C.B.L. (Master of Comparative Business Law)
(2 semesters; with master thesis; in coperation with the University of Adelaide; in English; tuition fee: 8.500 €)

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Saarland University (Saarbrücken): LL.M European and International Law
(2 semesters; with master thesis; can be followed in German and/or English; tuition fee: 5.600 €))

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EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht Wiesbaden: LL.M (Global Business Law)
(2 semesters; with master thesis; in English; tuition fee: 21.900 €)

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In preparation: University of Giessen: LL.M (International Law)
(4 semesters; also practice-orientated; with e-learning and master thesis; requires 1 year of practical experience after graduation; in English; tuition fee: 9.990 €)

Doctoral programs (open to German and foreign participants)

Foreign lawyers who want to obtain a doctoral degree in Germany, usually first have to complete general postgraduate studies in German law for foreign lawyers (magister programs). During this time they may already look for a doctorate supervisor. Afterwards they may prepare a doctoral thesis in German language; only a few universities accept doctoral theses in legal science in English. Special doctoral study programs are not common in the field of legal science. However, some German universities and some consortiums of Max Planck Institutes and local universities offer them. Despite their English label, some require advanced German language skills, while others only require English language skills. Free paid doctoral research positions are usually especially advertised (e.g. in the PhDGermany Database of the DAAD). See for further information the special web page of the DAAD.

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Humboldt University Berlin: Doctoral Programme EPEDER - Unity and Difference in the European Legal Area
(6 semesters; in cooperation with univ. in London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam; activities in German and English)

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University of Münster: Doctoral study with a foreign university degree
(requires knowledge of German law but doctoral thesis can be written in English)

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University of Göttingen: Public International Law: Human Rights – International Economic and Environmental Law – International Criminal Law
(6 semesters; activities in German and/or English, doctoral thesis in English)

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University of Hamburg: Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law
(6 semesters; activities and thesis in German and/or English)

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University of Hamburg: European Doctorate in Law & Economics (EDLE)
(6 semesters; joint doctoral programme of the Universities of Bologna, Hamburg, Rennes 1 and Rotterdam; activities and thesis in English; tuition fee: 10.800 €)

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Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law (Freiburg) and other Max Planck Institutes in cooperation with the University of Freiburg and other universities: International Max Planck Research School on Retaliation, Mediation and Punishment (REMEP) (interdisciplinary studies; activities in English)

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Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law and other MP Institutions in cooperation with the Universities of Luxembourg and Heidelberg: International Max Planck Research School for Successful Dispute Resolution (IMPRS-SDR)
(doctoral studies in Luxembourg; in English)

Scholarship programs for law students for studying in Germany

There are many scholarship offers for studies of foreign students in Germany. Orientation is not easy, since the offers are heterogeneous - different sponsors, objectives and target groups, different requirements and conditions and different deadlines for application. Some programs are open for all foreign students, others only for those from certain countries. So the first step will be to get an overview. The best tool for this purpose is the DAAD scholarship database.

I. Overviews

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Find Scholarships (DAAD) - expert website on scholarships and other financial aspects of studying in Germany

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Scholarship database (DAAD) - the fastest way to focused and detailed information

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Stipendienlotse (scholarship database of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

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Stipendiumplus.de (overview on the most important organizations for the promotion of young talents" ["Begabtenförderungswerke"])

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Best Student Scholarships for a Master's Degree (studyportals)

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Browse for Funding (EURAXESS Germany)  - European database of research funding options in Germany

II. Scholarship programs of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

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The DAAD supports studying of Indonesians in Germany by
- scholarships for university summer courses (for students and graduates)
- scholarships for study visits by groups of students (must be organized by a lecturer)
- scholarships for development-related postgraduate courses (for graduates with at least 2 years professional experience)
- scholarships for master studies in the fields public policy and good governance (PPGG) (Helmut-Schmidt-Programme)
- the DAAC-ACEH Scholarship of Excellence (for master studies of excellently qualified young academics from Aceh).

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The DAAD supports legal research of Indonesians in Germany by
- one year research grants for young researchers (for doctoral students and other researchers with master degree)
- research grants for doctoral studies in Germany (for achieving the doctoral degree in Germany by individual studies or in a doctoral study program, up to 4 years)
- research grants for bi-nationally supervised doctoral studies (for research phases of up to 2 years in total in Germany within doctoral studies in Indonesia)
- the DAAC-ACEH Scholarship of Excellence (for doctoral studies of excellently qualified young academics from Aceh)
- grants for 1 to 3 months research stays of lecturers and established researchers (usually with doctoral degree)
- re-invitation of DAAD alumni (for research projects and maintaining contacts)
- within the framework of inter-university partnerships.

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Law students and graduates from other countries may benefit from different programs (see DAAD scholarship database).

III. Scholarship programs of political foundations (close to political parties)

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Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung [KAS] (conservatives)

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Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung [FES] (social democrats)

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Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (greens)

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Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung [RLS] (leftists)

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Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung [FNS] (liberals)

IV. Other scholarship programs

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Deutschlandstipendium (additional scholarships financed by the Federal Government and private sponsors but granted by the following universities)

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Katholischer Akademischer Ausländer-Dienst [KAAD] (Catholic Academic Exchange Service)

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Stiftung der deutschen Wirtschaft [SDW] (Foundation of German Business)

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Mawista Scholarship for persons studying abroad with a child (from a private company providing health insurance for foreign nationals in Germany)

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Note that some scholarships (from various sponsors, under various programs) are directly granted by universities. Check the study program descriptions for specific information!

General information on studying in Germany

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Guide Studying in Germany (studying-in-germany.org)

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Guide Study in Germany (studieren.de)

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Guide Studieren in Deutschland / Study in Germany (DAAD)

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Guide Research in Germany (Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

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Web pages Plan your studies and First steps in Germany (DAAD)

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Study program database Courses of study in Germany (DAAD), including international programs in English

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Study program database Higher Education Compass (German Rectors' Conference)

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Links to the websites of Faculties of Law in Germany (Humboldt University Berlin)

 

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