As Germany is a country governed with state sytem and univesities are autonomous institutions, higher education system varies with respect to state. Nevertheless, main aspects are almost common.
German higher education system has been built on the concepts of University (Universität) and University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule).
Technical university (technische universität), classical university and university of applied sciences are the three types of universities which form the basis of higher education. University of applied sciences are the universities giving occupational-oriented undergraduate education to meet qualified personnel requirement in the market.
Undergraduate education (Bechalorstudium) at universities lasts 6 semesters (3 years). Following 4 semester basic education (Grundstudium) at universities, a mid-term exam (Zwischenprüfung) is conducted. Students who become successful in this exam start main education program which lasts 2 semesters. At this level, focusing on their departments students specialize in their majors.
To graduate from universities, writing a dissertation (diplomarbeit) is required. Students having successfully completed all the courses and whose dissertations are accepted graduate. There is an exit test (abschulussprüfung-Staatsexam) for some departments like teaching and law and students are expected to succeed in this exam to graduate.
Master’s education lasts 2-4 semesters. Students are generally required to graduate from PhD programs in 3 years latest. In case they fail to graduate within this duration, they are not disenrolled but students are required to explain their excuses for delay.