Comparison between Technical Universities (TU) and Applied Sciences Universities (FH)
Once a student successfully completes his or her Abitur levels, he/she has two distinct pathways to obtain a university degree. The universities in Germany are of two types, namely, technical universities and university of applied sciences.
A technical university is usually well-suited for students who have completed their 'Abitur' with very good or excellent grades. Technical universities put an emphasis on educating students with a more fundamental and theoretical approach regarding their respective study fields. As an example, an engineering degree at a TU would tend to focus more on the mathematical principles and the underlying theoretical foundations of that subject rather than its practical applications in the industry.
Students are usually taught to develop new concepts or ideas from first principles instead of directly using commercially viable solutions. Due to its focus on theory, and in the case of engineering fields, on mathematics, studying at a TU is vastly more challenging than at a FH.
TU's have tremendous funding from industries, government research organizations and are highly involved in cutting-edge research. Students who graduate from TU's can apply directly for PhD and are very well suited for a career in academics or research. Naturally, students can also apply directly for jobs after graduation.
University of Applied Sciences
University of applied sciences is known as "Fachhochschule" (FH) in German language.
Applied science universities (FH) implement a rather practical and industry oriented approach to studying as compared to TU's. Hence they are well suited for students who want to directly work at an industry after graduation.
Studies at a FH focus more on implementing the learnt concepts on industrial projects and practical applications. The intensity of coursework and workload (number of subjects and/or number of credits) are also much lighter at a FH than at a TU. FH's usually do not offer PhD degrees, and students who further intend to pursue their PhD's have to apply at a TU.
FH's also have very good industry contacts and some professors at these universities are eminent professionals previously employed in multinational companies.