Study choice and career choice in Germany: The most popular degree programs

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Studying, doing the bachelor's degree and then writing the master's thesis - who has this plan after graduation dreams of a career. Either as a scientist or in business. But not always this dream comes true. Which are the most popular subjects?

Study Choice and Career Choice in Germany: The Most Popular Degree Programs Study Choice and Career Choice in Germany: The Most Popular Degree Programs

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Why is studying so popular?

With a university degree in the bag, so at least the common opinion, it can only go forward with the career. Such an attitude has its roots on one side in the past, when academics enjoyed a prominent social position.

On the other hand, it is the reality that completing a degree makes it easier for the career ladder.

Studying - but what?

No wonder, then, that more than 400 millions of young adults are studying at Germany's more than 2,8 universities and are preparing for their careers here. The decision to study is often easy. Far more difficult is the subject choice. Because what should one study at the large selection?

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Such a question sounds simple at first, but unfolds a special significance. A representative study of the German Center for Higher Education and Science Research (DZHW), funded by the Federal Ministry of Research, to which, among others, the FAZ, one of Germany's most well-known newspapers, appeals, shows: One-third stops his studies again.

Reasons for premature termination of studies

One reason for dropping out is, among other things, the fact that young adults do not know exactly what they should study - and in the end just run after a trend.

Medicine is still one of the most popular study programs in Germany. But what are the career opportunities in such mass studies and are there appropriate access restrictions?

Courses Top 4: Which subjects are popular?

Which courses of study are in great demand is easy to answer - among other things, about numbers that come from the Federal Statistical Office. Compared with the enrollment figures of the universities, results in a fairly consistent picture, The clear leader is business administration.

  1. Business Administration
  2. Engineering
  3. Law / Law
  4. Medicine

And BWL is the undisputed leader in this list. The subject has as many students as places 2 and 3 together.

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Study choice often takes career opportunities into account

How can this dominance of some subjects be explained? The sciences and humanities do not seem to be so popular. In general, the picture can be better understood if the job / career opportunities are taken into consideration.

Mechanical engineers in particular can often choose offers with mediocre qualifications. And doctors have always had a special reputation - which is also reflected in the student numbers.

Top 4 degree programs in detail

But what are the pros and cons of 4 Top programs? And what about the future prospects in detail? An overview.

1. Business Administration: The Leader

Business administration - or business administration for short - is the front-runner among theCourses when it comes to the number of students. If you do not know what you want to study, take business administration - this credo is gladly countered by students of other courses of study for future business economists. The study of business administration is very demanding (also due to the large number of students) and by no means the famous "thin board drilling".

On the contrary, a degree in business administration deals with all facets of corporate governance, such as:

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  • Marketing
  • Accounting / Controlling
  • Human resources
  • Law
  • Economics (Economics) etc.

At the end of their undergraduate studies, business administrators are all-rounders and later become specialists whose job it is to Company to succeed - and to create and maintain jobs.

The career opportunities are individually very different, Influencing factors are specialization and the quality of the degree. However, business administration have quite the chance to get very far in companies - possibly even (with ambition) to the boardroom.

Attention: Against the background of the rush, admission restrictions for business administration apply at many universities. These differ, depending on the university, sometimes very clearly. Particularly universities with an excellent reputation in economics are looking very closely at aspiring students.

2. Mechanical Engineering: Studying with job guarantee?

Subjects that fall into the field of mechanical engineering are still a male domain. Pure mechanical engineering has developed a variety of facets in recent years - ranging from car manufacturing to large-scale plants to renewable energies. The decision options for students are correspondingly broad. But all mechanical engineers have one thing in common: they have to be well-versed in mathematics and physics.

Especially the construction of individual machine parts is determined by the technical mechanics, which is determined to a considerable extent by mathematics (differential and integral calculus). Certainly this is a reason for the pronounced dominance of male students. As far as the job opportunities of mechanical engineers are concerned, the situation has been good in the past. For some years, mechanical engineers have been so in demand that even an average degree does not hinder their entry into areas such as:

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  • Construction
  • facility planning
  • shaping
  • Quality management


As tempting as these future prospects are and even if a high salary beckons: Who wants to be an engineer, the technical challenges must be clear. Unfortunately, some of the students in mechanical engineering are always surprised at how high the bar here is at the end - even if there are no admission restrictions.

3. Law: Lawyers and judges of the future

Law is still a popular study program with many opportunities. However, studying law requires a lot of perseverance.

Law is considered to be bone dry and a subject in which people like to “sieve”. The failure rate for the second exam shows how much pressure there is on prospective lawyers. Some federal states are still above the 2 percent mark here. The content of a law degree encompasses the entire spectrum of law.

Law is not a science that reveals its “secrets” in passing. Prospective lawyers need good grades as well as good knowledge of German, analytical thinking and a willingness to communicate.

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Last but not least, a great deal of patience, diligence and perseverance are needed. Above all, law is a field of study in which diligence is important and the will to really endure the time as a student.

Of course, students eventually have to decide which direction they prefer. Especially with the spread of the Internet have:

  • Copyright
  • media law
  • Privacy

experience a significant upgrade.

For lawyers this results in very diverse job opportunities. Either with your own law firm or as a lawyer, you have the opportunity to get started. This is just as possible in authorities or ministries as in start-ups or the legal departments of large corporations.

4. Medicine: The Eternal Classic?

Samaritan or God in white - hardly a profession is considered as ambivalent as the doctor. Many see doctors only when they feel bad and expect fast treatment success. The study is still so in demand that the medical faculties choose their students very thoroughly.

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On the one hand, their training is extremely expensive, on the other hand, every doctor must bring a very high sense of responsibility. And every student has one thing to be clear about: Death is part of the study from the first semester. After Vorklinik with Physikum it goes in clinic and PJ (practical year). Up to the specialist more than 10 years can pass.

Just this latter point must be kept in mind. Although the resident physician is a licensed doctor, he is still undergoing further training. As a rule, five years to six years pass before this is completed. Meaning: Specialists have a training period that ranges from 11 years to 12 years (and more).

The job opportunities for doctors On the other hand, they are usually relatively good, The range extends from a general practitioner with his own practice to a clinician who can assume a management role. In terms of income, physicians (especially medical specialists / general practitioners) are well above average.

Who calculates the choice of study well, often finds in the end the job that he really wants to do.

Conclusion: Popular is what brings money

Those who decide to study do not just want to kill time but pave the way up the career ladder. Accordingly, the list of popular subjects looks like. BWL takes the lead - followed by mechanical engineering. But law and medicine have a say too. All professions in which students calculate a quick entry and rise - with appropriate salaries.

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But before that happens, budding physicians or mechanical engineers have to go to school. And the substance has it all in itself. Especially in mechanical engineering, mathematics has a surprisingly great importance - just as the natural sciences biology and chemistry in medicine. In other words, anyone who really chooses one of the subjects should put their personal inclinations through their paces so that they do not belong to the study dropouts after 3 - 4 semesters.

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