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International Master in Geosciences: Palaeobiology

Studying in Erlangen

Studying in Erlangen

Photo of the main University building

Photo: FAU/Georg Pöhlein

Scanning at the micro-CT

Scanning at the micro-CT

Making thin sections to study biomineralisation

Making thin sections to study biomineralization

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) is located in northern Bavaria, in the south of Germany. According to the Reuters Ranking 2018, it is the most innovative university in Germany and 5th in Europe. In the „Shanghai Ranking“ (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2017), FAU belongs to the top 200 universities worldwide, and our Faculty of Natural Sciences is among the top 100 in the world.

Financing your stay in Erlangen

There is no tuition fee for the Master in Geosciences programme and there are multiple opportunities for students to support themselves during their stay in Germany through scholarships and part-time jobs as student research assistants and outside University. The University provides an estimate of the cost of living here.

However, please note that if you are a non-EU student, you must present proof of financing for one full year before you can be issued a visa. Most international students use a “blocked account” to provide this evidence. The Federal Foreign Office requires students to block €10,236 in their Sperrkonto, from which a monthly sum of €853 is disbursed to the student for their living expenses. More information can be found on the Federal Foreign Office website, and we encourage you to check with your German Mission Abroad to get the most up to date information.

Several scholarship programmes are offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Students from Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe are also eligible for scholarships from BAYHOST. Once you are enrolled, you can apply for a wide number of scholarships, e.g. the “Deutschlandstipendium” or StipendiumPlus. Many scholarships are awarded to students by religious or political organizations. You can find a selection of these here. Further opportunities can be found on the German portal

Typical tasks for student research assistants (also called “HiWis”) include preparation of thin sections, scanning and analyzing fossils at our mico-CT facility, contributing datasets into the Paleobiology Database or work at the scanning electron microscope. Here you can find an overview of the average costs of living in Erlangen. FAU also provides German courses for a small fee (approx. 120€ per semester).

About Erlangen

Erlangen is a university town (population ca. 100 000) on the outskirts of the city of Nuremberg. Our courses and the Faculty of Natural Sciences are located in Erlangen, but thanks to efficient public transport students can choose from a wide housing offer, from lively downtown Nuremberg to countryside locations outside Erlangen. A public institution called Studentenwerk provides low-cost services to students, including housing, childcare, and cultural activities. You can use their online services in English to find an apartment in Erlangen. You can also search for accommodation on your own, e.g. at, which provides offers of apartments and shared accommodation.

The Erlangen area is famous for its hilly Jurassic landscape with fossil-collecting localities to be found even inside the town, hiking trails, caves, castles, climbing routes, and small breweries. Thanks to a very large international community, many cultural and sports activities are offered in English. You can fly to Nuremberg with regular or budget airlines; downtown Erlangen is only 40 min by bus from the airport. Erlangen can be also reached in one hour by train from Munich, in two hours from Frankfurt, and in four hours by bus from Prague.

Practical information

To complete the formalities associated with your stay in Germany, you will first need to obtain a rental contract from your landlord. The contract is your legal protection against unlawful actions from your landlord. Here you can find information about the most important terms used in rental contracts and about your rights and obligations as a tenant. With the contract, you will need to register in the City Hall. You can see an overview of the services available to you as Erlangen resident in this video. With a document confirming your registration, you can open a bank account. Health insurance is obligatory for students.

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