International STEM Students in Germany: The Interaction of Predictors of Academic Success at the Individual, Subject, University, and Cultural Level (InterMINT)

From August 2021 to July 2024, the research project "InterMINT - International STEM students in Germany: the interaction of predictors of academic success at the individual, subject, university, and cultural level" is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF). The funding is provided within the framework of the funding line "Academic success and dropout phenomena II". In the project, the Bavarian State Institute for Higher Education Research and Planning (IHF) and the FernUniversität in Hagen are investigating the determinants of academic success of international students in Germany. The specific situation of international students in mathematics, engineering, science and technology (STEM) programs is analyzed in detail.

Description of the Project

The number of international students at German universities (i.e., students with foreign citizenship who obtained their university entrance certificate abroad or at a preparatory course) has increased significantly in recent years. The vast majority of them choose to enroll in a STEM program. The need for higher education policy action and research arises from the findings of recent studies, according to which the dropout rate is higher both in STEM courses and among international students than in non-STEM courses and among German students. The project focuses on a longitudinal analysis of the determinants of academic success and dropout among international students in STEM subjects at German universities. We draw on the data of the International Student Survey collected in the preceding project SeSaBa.

A presentation of the project (video) can be found in our media library.

Reserch question
  • What patterns of student mobility are evident among international students in STEM subjects (change of subject, change of university, university dropout) over time?
  • Can participation in mentoring programs increase the academic success of international students?
  • Does academic success differ between women and men in STEM and non-STEM majors?
  • Can subject- and university-related characteristics explain the academic success of international students in STEM programs?

Homepage of the joint research project

More information on the joint research project InterMINT can be found here

Selected presentations

Thies, T., & Falk, S. (2022, 14.-16. September). Fachwechsel und Studienabbruch bei internationalen Studierenden in Deutschland [Paper Presentation]. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Hochschulforschung, Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien.

Thies, T., & Falk, S. (2022, 21.-23. July). Determinants of major switches for international STEM and non-STEM students in Germany [Paper Presentation]. Network Gender & STEM Conference 2022, Universität der Bundeswehr München.



IHF – Bayerisches Staatsinstitut für Hochschulforschung
und Hochschulplanung

Dr. Susanne Falk (Project manager)
E-Mail: falk (at)

Theresa Thies, M.A. (Research associate)
E-Mail: thies (at)

FernUniversität in Hagen
Dr. Julia Zimmermann (Project manager)
E-Mail: julia.zimmermann (at)

Judith Sarah Preuß, M.Sc. (Research associate)
E-Mail: judith.preuss (at)