Applying at a university

Universities in Cologne

Choosing a university isn’t easy, especially if you are going abroad. There is a wide variety of universities in Cologne and all of them offer different experiences, different programs and subjects. However, the journey towards finding your perfect university should be a lot less daunting if you have a clear picture what is available so you can make an informed choice.

We want to help you make the right decision, so we provided an overview of the most important universities in Cologne:


  • The University of Cologne (UoC)

Since its establishment in 1388, the University of Cologne is one of the prestigious universities in Europe. It has gained an outstanding reputation for maintaining the highest standards in research and education and it is one of eleven German Excellence Universities.

UoC is home to more than 49,000 students and offers 128 undergraduate and 138 postgraduate programs in six faculties: Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Human Sciences. Most of the courses are held in German. However, a growing number of courses are held in English as well.

This unversity has particular strength in five key research areas: aging-associated diseases, behavioral economic engineering and social cognition, quantum matter and materials, socioeconomic, cultural and political transformations in the global south and in plant sciences.

You can find out more about the UoC programs on its official website, and how to apply on it’s online application service.


  • The University of Music and Dance Cologne (HfMT)

The University of Music and Dance Cologne (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln) is one of the largest music institutions for higher education in Europe with its three campuses in Cologne, Wuppertal, and Aachen. Of the three campuses, the Cologne campus boasts the most comprehensive and extensive course offerings in the arts, education, and academics.

The foundation of the HfMT is to artistically and pedagogically educate musicians to be as multifaceted as possible. The University is dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive education and a high level of professional skills. It’s specialised degree programs (bachelor’s and master’s degrees) are both interdisciplinary with a future-aimed perspective:

  1. All orchestra instruments as well as many special instruments
  2. Orchestra musicians (in partnership with the Orchesterzentrum Dortmund)
  3. Voice and musical theatre
  4. Protestant and Catholic church music
  5. Contemporary dance and dance education
  6. Dance studies
  7. Instrumental and electronic composition
  8. Degree programs with specializations in art performance and education
  9. Jazz/Pop music

You can find out more about the HfMT programs and application process on its official website,


  • The German Sport University Cologne (DSHS)

The German Sport University Cologne (Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln) is Germany’s largest center of teaching and research in physical education and sport science.

With 20 different departments, DSHS covers a wide range of sport science teaching and research. More than 30 sports are taught in theory and practice in modern facilities.

It is home to approximately 6,000 students, including 500 foreign students, which are preparing for professional careers in sport, physical education sport science, and other related fields. The university offers academic Bachelor and Master degrees, teacher certificates for various school levels, and a doctoral degree.

You can find out more about the DSHS programs and application process on its official website.


  • The University of Applied Science (RFH)

The University of Applied Sciences Cologne (Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln) is a private higher education institution with an enrollment of approximately 6,500 students.

RFH is a nationally recognized university that has 19 Bachelor’s and 12 Master’s programs. The main program areas are: engineering, media, healthcare management, business and law, logistics management, marketing management and communication management.

RFH also provides several academic and non-academic facilities and services to students, including a library, sport facilities, exchange programs, as well as administrative services.

You can find out more about the RFH programs and application on its official website.


  • The TH Köln/University of Applied Sciences

The University of Applied Sciences (TH Köln) – sees itself as University of Technology, Arts, Sciences. With a population of 26,000 students from about 120 different countries, it is the largest University of Applied Sciences in Germany.

TH Köln consist of 12 faculties and offers a total of 90 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. The main program areas are: the applied natural sciences, architecture and construction, information and communication, computer science, engineering, culture, society and social sciences and business studies.

TH Köln is a research-intensive university actively engaging in a variety of research activities. Research mainly focuses on future-related issues, including climate change, energy supply, health and food safety as well as demographic changes. University cooperates with 290 institutions of higher education on a national and international level with a purpose of knowledge exchange.

You can find out more about the TH Köln programs and application process on its official website.


  • The Cologne Business School (CBS)

The Cologne Business School is a private business school of applied sciences established in 1993. Its portfolio comprises English and German-language Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs with a focus on management as well as MBA and Executive MBA programs. The study conditions are based on small learning groups and intensive supervision by the professors and lecturers.

The CBS study programs are regularly checked by the tri-national accreditation agency, FIBAA (Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation) as regards content, topicality and academic feasibility.

You can find out more about the CBS programs and application on its official website.


  • The Catholic University of Applied Sciences of North Rhine – Westphalia (KatHO)

With campuses in Aachen, Cologne, Münster and Paderborn, the Catholic University of Applied Sciences of North Rhine – Westphalia is Germany’s largest church-sponsored university with state certification. It has around 3,500 students that can choose degrees in social services, health science or theology.

The Catholic University of Applied Sciences cooperates with many universities in Germany and abroad and has a great number of partnerships in professional practice where students can test their knowledge.

You can find out more about the KatHO programs and application process on its official website.


  • The Academy of Media Arts in Cologne (KHM)

The Academy of Media Arts Cologne (Die Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln) was established in 1990. It offers an educational concept that cross-links and integrates the fields of film, art and theory in one single degree course titled Media and Fine Art.

KHM accepts around 80 new enrollments per winter semester, with an average of around 320 students in total, of which approximately one third are international students.

The individual development of artistic projects, their guidance and reflexive appropriation, is at the core of the “Media and Fine Art” degree course. These projects are supported by the interdisciplinary supervision of professors, academic staff and technicians. Student work takes place in the ateliers, studios and laboratories of the KHM.

You can find out more about the KHM programs and application process on its official website.


  • The praxisHochschule

The University of Applied Sciences praxisHochschule is located in Cologne and in Rheine. It was founded in 2014.

At the praxisHochschule, the students can complete a dual degree for a Bachelor of Dental Hygiene and Prevention Management and a Bachelor of Digital Dental Technology. The Healthcare Manager and the Social Manager in addition to the Health Networker can receive academic training concluding with a Bachelor degree.

Some programs contain vocational training – all of them are practice-integrated. As a result, innovative learning methods in small groups makes the praxisHochschule unique.

You can find out more about the praxisHochschule programs and application process on its official website.


Universities near Cologne

If you want to enroll a university that is not located in the city, these are the ones you should definitely pay attention to (some of the websites are available only in German language):

University of Bonn, Hochschule Düsseldorf – University of Applied Sciences, Hochschule Niederrhein – University of Applied Sciences, University of Wuppertal,  Alanus Hochschule, Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg –  University of Applied Sciences, European University of Applied Sciences (EUFH), Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Philosophisch-Theologischen Hochschule SVD, St. Augustin, Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf, Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel Hochschule für Kirche und Diakonie, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Hochschule der Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe – University of Applied Sciences – Bonn, Fliedner Fachhochschule Düsseldorf and IST University of Applied Sciences.