I have already mentioned that there are about 400 public universities in Germany. Most of them are called Fachhochschule, which can be translated as School of Applied Sciences. Do not confuse these schools with our Higher Education Schools. These schools give bachelor’s degrees, not associate’s degrees like we do. In the past, graduates from these schools did not have the right to do a PhD, but now they can even do a PhD under certain conditions. With the Bologna process, which aims to standardize different international concepts in education (Turkey has also participated in this process), they are now officially considered equivalent to universities. For a detailed comparison of the two groups of schools, you can read this article.
Although they do not appear on the lists of international rating organizations because they are not called universities, they have a good reputation all over the world for their quality of education. Their main difference from universities is that they emphasize practice as well as theory and provide practical education, especially through applied courses in cooperation with industrial companies. In many Fachhochschulen, engineering education, which usually lasts 6 semesters (180 ECTS) at universities, is planned as 7 semesters (210 ECTS) due to the practical periods.
At universities, subjects are studied in more depth. In schools of applied sciences, the focus is more on job preparation. Fachhochschulen offer more courses than universities, but more superficial content. Theoretical knowledge is more superficial. I would also say that they are more suitable for students who are not very bright in high school.
Is a Fachhochschule diploma worth less?
It can even be the other way around. If you want to go into business immediately after completing your bachelor’s degree, the practical semester at school can be very helpful. Many of the graduates from these schools go on to work in the companies where they worked during the practical semester, or at least do their thesis there. However, with a bachelor’s degree from universities, you will be completely naked and you will have to apply for jobs in many companies and go through interviews and similar processes in order to get into business life. Therefore, if possible, it is best to look for a position in the field and company you want to work in later on while you are still a student. Even if you will not continue your career in that company, this experience will help you in your job search after graduation.
Do Fachhochschule graduates earn less?
Finding information about how much people earn is one of the hardest things to do. Usually everyone is very secretive about disclosing their salary. That’s why statistical studies on this subject are also scarce. However, based on my research and what I have heard, I can say the following: Depending on the size of the company and the city where they work, the annual earnings of technical staff can vary between 5 and 10 thousand Euros, and sometimes even more. As university graduates tend to work for larger companies, it is not uncommon for them to start with higher salaries, but just because you have a bachelor’s degree from university does not mean that you will find a job more easily. A degree from a Fachhochschule may even help you, as companies tend to value practical experience over theoretical knowledge. Expecting a high starting salary for a completely inexperienced graduate is a bit fanciful.
Basically, I can say that whether you get your bachelor’s degree from a “University” or a “Fachhochschule”, you will be seen at the same level in terms of status and degree. Earnings, on the other hand, will vary over the years according to the position you will take, depending entirely on your own talent, determination and hard work. It is worth remembering that some “Fachhochschule” in Germany have more prestige than many universities. When making a choice, it would be better to compare the school alternatives in terms of prestige and course programs rather than the name of the school.
Is there an accreditation problem for Fachhochschule graduates?
After the “Bologna Process” mentioned in my article, there is officially no difference between “University” or “Fachhochschule” undergraduate / graduate diplomas.
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