image
Updated: 2020-08-14 | Duration: 9:30 min.

Scholarships for international students in Germany (2020/21)

A list of study grants for universities in Germany: DAAD scholarships, Studienstiftung, Deutschlandstipendium, Erasmus+ etc.

At MyGermanUniversity (MyGU), our team members have many years of experience in counseling international students who are interested in studying in Germany. Be it in Italy, Peru, or at the international office at one of Germany’s universities, one question and worry is on the mind of most international students:

How can I finance my studies in Germany?

You may have heard already that you can study for free in Germany since many programs offered at public universities are tuition-free. Still, the question of how to finance your studies and life in Germany remains important - and we find that often it is difficult for international students to get an overview over the manifold options there are for them to get study grants for Germany.

With this article, we want to provide you with an overview regarding:

  • Which options for financial aid and study grants there are - from fully funded scholarships for international students in Germany offered by one of the most important scholarship providers, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), to over 20 other options.
  • Funding organizations by name - we breakdown their scholarship options and their main goals. You’ll discover new funding options you didn’t even know you had.

Many international students who are looking to come study in Germany think only of the DAAD when it comes to funding their studies. While they are indeed a key organization to keep in mind when searching for scholarships, international students should be aware that there are a multitude of other funding options available to them.

Did you know that besides DAAD there are 20 other scholarship organizations that finance thousands of students at German universities each year?

Our goal is to provide you a first overview of various study grants available for international students. If you want to dive deeper into the different scholarships click “more info”.

DAAD - the biggest scholarship organization of them all

DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service

  • Category: Scientific
  • Affiliation: German Universities and student bodies
  • No. of fellows: 145,188 (2018)
Flags in front of the DAAD main building in Bonn

© MyGU GmbH.

The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) is the largest German funding organization for international academic cooperation and is, therefore, the largest scholarship provider for international students looking to study in Germany. It finances approx. 150,000 fellows per year. 

The DAAD is a private entity funded by the federal government and has many different scholarships and grants geared towards international students looking to come to study in Germany. It is an association of German universities and student representatives that advocates for the internationalization of the German Higher Education landscape. The organization is politically and ideologically neutral.

 

The DAAD is the first address you should turn to when looking for funding for your studies in Germany. There are funding options available for different levels of education and experience - Whether you are looking to study your bachelor's, master's, or Ph.D. As a rule of thumb, it is going to be hardest to find funding for your bachelor's degree. Additionally, there are different scholarships depending on your field of studies such as musicians and artists, as an example or depending on your nationality.

Why to apply for DAAD scholarships

+

DAAD scholarships in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, Master, Ph.D., Post-doc
  • Main selection criteria: Academic performance, motivation
  • Amount for master students: 850 € per month
  • Amount details: Under special circumstances, a monthly rent subsidy
  • International students allowed: Yes
  • Available for: (In general) all German universities, all subjects

Facts & Figures

+

Main DAAD scholarships for students

image

Scholarships for students

image

Scholarships for Ph.D. students

image

Scholarships for research

Research grants (for graduates, doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers).

Further Reading

DAAD Scholarships: A Guide for International Students (2020/21)

Advice Box

Given the broad diversity of DAAD scholarships, you should familiarize yourself with the expectations  and conditions attached to the individual funding options:

  • Sometimes the scholarships are connected to demands, such as that the scholarship holder has to return to their home country to work for a specific time after their studies in Germany.
  • Application deadlines may be very early. We recommend you start your scholarship search with the DAAD at least 1 year before taking up your studies in Germany.
  • Some scholarship programs may be connected to certain study programs.

The 13 sponsorship foundations (Begabtenförderungswerke)

In Germany there are thirteen organizations that provide sponsorship for the “Promotion of Young Talent” or Begabtenförderungswerke in German. Each of the thirteen organizations supports young talented adults who show societal, political, cultural, and or social commitment.

 

Each respective organization has its own affiliation on diverse topics that range from philosophical, political, denominational, or business-oriented topics. They look to support individuals who can identify with the values the organization stands for. Successful applicants will not only have to present good grades, but also social commitment in the form of volunteer experiences, special talents, or experiences.

 

Despite their differences, these thirteen funding organizations operate under the same legal frameworks given by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and also are primarily funded through public means allocated by the BMBF. Overall, there are approximately 226 million euros available annually for the thirteen organizations’ funding programs which is used to fund over 33,500 scholarships.

 

Because of the legal framework provided by the German authorities, the 13 organizations share certain similarities:

 

  • The scholarship schemes are similar and often include funding for bachelor's and master's levels as well as funding of doctoral studies.
  • Scholarships for doctoral candidates are often available to people from all nationalities. Bachelor’s and master’s levels are partially restricted to EU-citizens or permanent residents of Germany.
  • Financial stipends for the bachelor’s and master’s levels are allocated depending on the financial need of the scholarship holder (up to 1044 €).

 

Some aspects to consider for international students, especially those who do not hold EU citizenship, are that some foundations offer scholarships specifically for you! These scholarships include a higher monthly stipend (850 € on a master’s level) that matches the amount of money you need to present for the visa application.

 

Furthermore, to apply for these scholarships, German skills from a B2-C1 level are required in almost all cases. One reason for this is that the 13 funding organizations not only offer financial aid but also workshops and ideational training and discussion spaces usually in the German language. This is great to build networks and broaden your horizon outside your studies.

 

If you are looking to apply to one of these organizations, you should pay close attention to application processes and deadlines. For many organizations, you need to be in Germany to take part in the selection process and may only be informed whether you can secure funding after the start of your study program. Therefore, you may need a backup plan to finance your studies in the period before the funding would be available to you and also should you not get chosen for sponsorship.

 

In the following section, we present the thirteen funding organizations, their affiliations. Additionally, at the end of each section we outline one scholarship from each foundation which is most applicable to international students. However, depending on your position, it is worth exploring the organizations’ other scholarship options which we provided links for!

1) Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes - The biggest and only ‘neutral’ foundation

Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes e.V.

  • Category: Scientific (non-religious, apolitical)
  • Affiliation: Neutral
  • No. of fellows: 2,360 (2018)
Main building of the University of Bonn from Shutterstock.

Main building of the University of Bonn.

The Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, or the German National Academic Foundation, is Germany’s oldest scholarship foundation. The foundation is non-political, non-denominational, and ideologically independent.

 

It supports students whose talents and personalities give reason to expect special achievements in the service of the general public. They encourage scholarship holders to formulate and implement goals of independent academic and personal development. Sponsorship includes 300 € allocated every month plus additional funds between 590 € and 744 €,  depending on parents’ income, and is reserved for EU-citizens and permanent residents.

 

Doctoral students of all nationalities can apply and receive 1,050 € per month plus 100 € for books. The German National Academic Foundation also has many funding opportunities for scholars to go abroad during their studies. The selection process for scholarships is rigorous and reserved for students who demonstrate outstanding academic and personal achievement and potential.

Studienstiftung scholarships in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master, doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Promising potential for future success/leadership quality. Good academic and intellectual performance/social commitment and engagement
  • Amount for master students: 300 € + max. 744 €
  • Amount details: Depends on your status (family income, etc.)
  • International students allowed: EU-students, refugees, Non-EU students who lived in Germany for at least 5 years
  • Available for: (In general) all German universities, all subjects
  • Restrictions: German skills (B2), age < 35 years

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

For bachelor and master students (restricted access for international students).

image

Scholarships for doctoral candidates

See all Studienstifung scholarships

More info

2) Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft - A foundation representing the employers’ side

Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (sdw)

  • Category: Economic
  • Affiliation: Representing private company/economic perspectives
  • No. of fellows: 1,929 (2018)

The Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (SDW) or the Foundation of German Business was founded in 1994 and is committed to providing educational opportunities for particularly high-performing students, doctoral candidates, pupils, and disadvantaged young adults. It aims to support young people throughout their education to provide them with the best conditions for a successful educational and career path.

 

They hold close ties with other business-related foundations, companies, and business associations. The Klaus Murmann Study Promotion Agency of the SDW has scholarships that are aimed at students and postgraduate teachers (Studienkolleg) and students of childhood education. The foundation also has a special opportunity to receive 15,000 euros in funding subsidies for dedicated young adults looking for help with a start-up.

sdw scholarships in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master, doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Academic performance in the upper third of your cohort, social commitment, and engagement
  • Amount for master students: 300 + max. 744 €
  • Amount details: Depends on your status (family income, etc.)
  • International students allowed: EU-students, refugees, Non-EU students who lived in Germany for at least 5 years
  • Available for: (In general) all German universities, all subjects 
  • Restrictions: German (C1)

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

For bachelor and master students (restricted access for international students).

image

Scholarships for doctoral students

3) Hans-Böckler-Stiftung - A foundation representing the Trade Unions

Hans-Böckler-Stiftung

  • Category: Economic
  • Affiliation: Union & workers' perspectives
  • No. of fellow: 2,740 (2018)

© Hans-Böckler-Stiftung. Type of license: CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Hans Böckler Foundation is the institute of the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB) and is committed to promoting research and studies in Germany. Their scholarships are sponsored by the DGB’s scholarship program for talented young students. Funding is awarded to German students and students residing in Germany. There are different sponsorship opportunities depending on the level of education ranging from scholarships for bachelor’s students to doctoral students.

 

Scholarship holders study at universities and technical colleges. Scholarship holders should be active young adults who are committed to socio-political issues which should be demonstrated through involvement in associations, initiatives, youth organizations, party affiliations, or at a university. Applicants will be evaluated based on their level of engagement with such issues (political, socio-political, politico-cultural, eco-political, etc).

Hans-Böckler-Stiftung in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master, doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Academic performance, political/social commitment
  • Amount for master students: 300 + max. 744 €
  • Amount details: depending on your status (parent’s income, etc)
  • International students allowed: EU-students, refugees, Non-EU students who lived in Germany for at least 5 years
  • Available for: (In general) all German universities, all subjects
  • Restrictions: German C1, students older than 35 need to provide convincing biographical reasoning for support

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

For bachelor and master students (restricted access for international students).

image

Scholarships for doctoral students

4) Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung - A foundation related to the Christian Democratic Union

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

  • Category: Political foundation
  • Affiliation: CDU (Christian Democratic Union)
  • No. of fellows:  3,432 (2018)

© Stefan Knauf. Type of license: Public domain.

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is a political foundation with ties to the Christian Democratic Union political party of Germany. They also hold offices abroad and take charge of over 200 projects in more than 120 countries. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung awards scholarships to students and graduates of exceptional academic achievement and outstanding political and or social commitment.

 

The scholarships program is aimed at international students and doctoral candidates who have already successfully completed their studies and wish to take up further studies (postgraduate or master’s degree), a doctorate or a research stay of at least three semesters at a German university. Note that German scholars are expected to endorse Christian Democratic social and political values. Proof of German language skills with a minimum B2 level is required to apply for funding.

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in brief

  • Levels: Master, doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Academic performance, political/social commitment
  • Amount for master students: min. 850 €
  • Amount details: Depending on your status (family income, etc)
  • International students allowed: Yes (non-EU, primarily from so-called developing and emerging countries)
  • Available for: (In general) all German universities, all subjects
  • Restrictions: German skills (B2), age < 30 years

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

For master's students and doctoral candidates (restricted access for international students).

5) Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung - A foundation related to the Social Democratic Party

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

  • Category: Political
  • Affiliation: SPD
  • No. of fellows: 2,876 (2018)

© Gerd Fahrenhorst. Type of license: CC BY 4.0.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is named after the German politician of the Social democratic party (SPD) of Germany, who was the first democratically elected president of the Weimar Republic. The foundation is associated with the SPD and its political convictions, which the FES specifies to be social democracy, justice, and solidarity. It was founded in 1925.

 

Something to note about the FES is that they have an international presence through offices in various countries all over the world. This can be a good way for you to reach out and inform yourself about this foundation. Especially interesting for international students is that the FES offers a scholarship program especially for internationals so that many of the national restrictions (EU-citizenship, residence in Germany) that are in place for some other scholarship applications do not apply for scholarships offered by the FES.

 

For the scholarship for internationals, master students receive 850 € per month and bachelor students 830 € per month, this sum is sufficient so that applicants qualify for a visa. Even if you are looking to study in English, to qualify for this scholarship, you need to prove excellent German skills (C1-level).

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master, and doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Social commitment and engagement in line with social-democratic values, excellent academic performance
  • Amount: 830 - 850 € + cost of health insurance
  • Amount details: Other variables not relevant in determining funding amount
  • International students allowed: Yes
  • Available for: Students who are not from an OECD country
  • Restrictions: German (C1)

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

image

Scholarships for doctoral students

6) Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit - A foundation related to the Free Democratic Party

Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit

  • Category: Political
  • Affiliation: Free Democratic Party (FDP)
  • No. of fellows: 1,245 (2018)

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is devoted to the promotion of liberal principles and to political education in Germany. Their goals are to advance the principles of freedom and dignity for all peoples in all areas of society not only in Germany but abroad as well. They are active in more than sixty countries around the globe and span over several continents (Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and Central America). The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom supports local, regional, and national initiatives that advance the rights of minorities, the democratic control of security forces, and the strengthening of international human rights coalitions.

 

Foreign study grants are used to support qualified students in full-time studies at German universities. Foreign students can apply for funding for study programs or for the main study stage of state examinations. The minimum sponsorship period for funding is two semesters. Extensions up to the completion of studies can be granted on an application basis. Research stays as well as internships abroad are not supported by the sponsorship.

Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung in brief

  • Levels: Master, doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Good academic performance, social commitment, and engagement according to liberalist values
  • Amount for master students: 850 €
  • Amount details: Other variables not relevant in determining funding amount
  • International students allowed: Non-EU citizens
  • Available for: Students who have lived in Germany for less than 15 months. Must reside in Germany to apply
  • Restrictions: German (B2)

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

image

Scholarships for master and doctoral students

For master students and doctoral candidates (German and foreign university students).

7) Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung - A foundation related to the Christian Social Union

Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung

  • Category: Political
  • Affiliation: Christian Social Union
  • No. of fellows: 1,247 (2018)

© J. Patrick Fischer. Type of license: CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Hanns Seidel Foundation was founded in 1967 and is a German political foundation closely connected to the Christian Social Union (CSU). It runs about one hundred different projects in sixty-five different countries worldwide. These projects vary and focus on strengthening civil society, civic involvement and promotion of the rule of law, education and management training, raising environmental awareness, as well as advising in politics and business.

 

The Hanns Seidel Foundation scholarship programs serve to enrich students’ experiences but not just financially. This funding consists of conceptual as well as financial support. The sum of the sponsorship varies depending on the level of education a student is pursuing in Germany, 850 € per month for graduates with a bachelor’s degree, and 1,200 € per month for doctoral candidates. They also have sponsorship opportunities for travel expenses, families, and grant financial subsidies for other costs that can accrue such as printing costs regarding scientific publications.

Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master, and doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Good academic performance, social engagement e.g. in politics or the church in line with Christian-democratic values
  • Available for: EU-students, refugees, Non-EU students who lived in Germany for at least 5 years
  • Amount for master students: Max. 744 + 300 €
  • International students allowed: Yes
  • Restrictions: Age limit of 32, excellent German
  • Amount details: Depending on your status (family income, etc)

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students and doctoral candidates

image

Scholarships for internationals

For international students who get suggested for scholarships through one of the Hanns Seidel Foundation offices abroad.

8) Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung - A foundation related to the Green Party

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

  • Category: Political foundation
  • Affiliation: German Green Party “Bündnis 90/ Die Grüne”
  • No. of fellows: 1,307 (2018)

© Jörg Zägel. Type of license: CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation is affiliated with the German Green Party and therefore call themselves the Green Political Foundation. Their work is dedicated to fostering democracy and upholding human rights. The Heinrich Böll Foundation provides funding opportunities to approximately 1,200 students per year from different levels of education (undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral) of all subjects and nationalities.

 

Scholarship recipients should have excellent academic records, be socially and politically engaged, and should have an interest in the basic values that the foundation represents which are ecology and sustainability, democracy and human rights, and self-determination and justice.

 

This organization holds good opportunities for international students. Each year, applications are open to foreign nationals from certain regions. Special target groups are international graduate and doctoral students from central and eastern Europe, the EU’s neighboring states, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East, North Africa, transition and newly industrialized countries, and conflict regions worldwide - in some cases tuition fees may be waived for international students.

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in brief

  • Levels: Master and doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Good academic performance, social commitment, and engagement according to green-party values (such as sustainability)
  • Amount for master students: 850 €
  • Amount details: Other variables not relevant in determining the funding amount
  • International students allowed: Non-EU
  • Available for: All subjects, all German universities
  • Restrictions: German (B2)

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

image

Scholarships for doctoral candidates

9) Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - A foundation related to the Left Party

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung

  • Category: Political foundation
  • Affiliation: German Left Party “Die Linke”
  • No. of fellows: 1,160 (2018)

The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung is one of the six major political foundations of the thirteen public sponsorship organizations or Begabtenförderungswerke in Germany. The foundation holds close ties to Die Linke, the German Left Party. Founded in 1990, the foundation adheres to the legacy of its namesake, German socialist leader, Rosa Luxemburg. They seek to represent democratic socialism with an international focus.

 

The foundation promotes a critical analysis of society and fosters networks of emancipatory political, social, and cultural initiatives around Germany. The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung provides sponsorship to highly qualified students from Germany and abroad who demonstrate great dedication to political and social engagement.

 

Preference for sponsorship will be given to applications from women, students of non-academic and migrant backgrounds, the socially needy, and people with disabilities who demonstrate comparable achievements and commitment. Furthermore, scholarships are available specifically for international students. There are funding options exclusively for doctoral and master students from Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, and Iraq.

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in brief

  • Levels: Master’s and doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Good academic performance, social engagement according to politically left-democratic values
  • Amount for master students: Min. 850 + 20 €
  • Amount details: Other variables not relevant in determining the funding amount
  • International students allowed: Non-EU
  • Available for: All subjects, all German universities
  • Restrictions: German (B2)

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

image

Scholarships for doctoral candidates

10) Cusanuswerk e.V. - A foundation related to the Catholic church

Cusanuswerk e.V.

  • Category: Religious foundation
  • Affiliation: German catholic church

The Cusanuswerk is affiliated with the catholic church and looks to support students who are curious, open-minded, self-reflexive, and who take their religious beliefs seriously and want to make a contribution to their church community as well as the world they live in.

 

The Cusanuswerk provides scholarships to students of catholic denomination. International students have restricted options with this foundation and need to prove EU-citizenship or permanent residence in the EU area. For international students looking to have their doctoral studies funded, they should turn to the KAAD instead (see below). As part of the BMBF funding scheme, this foundation provides up to 744 € per month plus 300 € for books and study materials. On top of that, scholarship holders can take part in activities and workshops organized by the Cusanuswerk.

Cusanuswerk e.V. in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master (might be difficult for students who did not study their bachelor in Germany)
  • Main selection criteria: Catholic denomination; extraordinary academic performance and interdisciplinary interests, social commitment and engagement
  • Amount for master students: 300 + max. 744 €
  • Amount details: Depends on your status (family income, nationality)
  • International students allowed: EU-students, refugees, Non-EU students who lived in Germany for at least 5 years
  • Available for: All subjects, all German universities
  • Restrictions: German skills on B2 level

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

Scholarships for bachelor's and master's level (restricted availability for international students).

image

Scholarships for Ph.D. students

Scholarships for doctoral studies (restricted availability for international students).

11) Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. Villigst - A foundation related to the Protestant church

Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. Villigst

  • Category: Religious foundation
  • Affiliation: German protestant church
  • No. of fellows: 1,688 (2018)

The Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. was founded in 1948 by the German protestant church also in response to the experiences of the national socialist rule in Germany. The goal is to train personalities who represent and take a stand for democratic principles and protestant ethics. One highlight for students promoted under this scholarship scheme is the yearly summer university, which allows for students to visit a transdisciplinary and international educational retreat in the Haus Villigst where they can discuss and develop with other academics.

 

The scholarship is available to students with EU-citizenship or internationals who permanently reside in Germany. The required German level is C1. If you are looking to have your doctoral studies financed, access is a bit easier and you can apply as soon as you have the admit from a German university. Note that there is no funding available exclusively on the master’s level.

Evangelisches Studienwerk in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor and doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Membership in the protestant church (exceptions may be possible), social commitment, good academic performance
  • Amount for master students: 300 + max. 744 €
  • Amount details: Depends on your status (family income, nationality)
  • International students allowed: EU-students, refugees, Non-EU students who lived in Germany for at least 5 years
  • Available for: All subjects, all German universities
  • Restrictions: C1 German, younger than 35

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for bachelor

For bachelor students (restricted availability for international students).

image

Scholarships for Ph.D. students

For doctoral candidates (no nationality restrictions).

12) Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk - A foundation related to Judaism

Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk

  • Category: Religious foundation
  • Affiliation: German Jewish Community
  • No. of fellows: >650 (2010-2020)

The Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk was founded in 2009 and named after academic Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich, who represents the connection of studying and learning with Judaism, and also stands for inter-Jewish dialog. These are the values this foundation seeks to promote. They fund Jewish students and doctoral students and provide a room for exchange and discussion and input for their scholarship holders. The foundation is affiliated with the German Jewish community and welcomes religious and non-religious applicants.

 

International students have restricted options with this foundation and need to prove EU-citizenship or permanent residence in the EU area. Doctoral studies can be funded for citizens of all states and do not demand residency in Germany.

Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master, and doctoral candidates
  • Main selection criteria: Members of the Jewish community or students of Jewish studies, good academic performance, social commitment
  • Amount for master students: 300 + max. 744 €
  • Amount details: Depends on your status (family income, nationality)
  • International students allowed: EU-students, refugees, Non-EU students who lived in Germany for at least 5 years
  • Available for: All subjects, all German universities
  • Restrictions: German skills (B2)

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

For bachelor and master students (restricted availability for international students).

image

Scholarships for internationals

For doctoral candidates (no nationality restrictions).

image

Scholarships for Jewish

The ELES foundation also offers scholarships for Jewish community leaders from outside Germany, Jewish journalists, and for doctoral candidates working on the history of the German-speaking Jewish community.

13) Avicenna-Studienwerk - A foundation related to Islam

Avicenna-Studienwerk

  • Category: Religious foundation
  • Affiliation: Islam
  • No. of fellows: 500 (2019)

Avicenna provides scholarships to talented and engaged Muslim students and researchers. Recognized by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2013, Avicenna-Studienwerk is the youngest German scholarship organization recognized by the state.

 

The financial support they offer consists of a monthly grant as well as a fixed sum for study or research expenses which may be incurred throughout the stay. Additionally, this may include sponsorship for semesters abroad, conferences, internships, and language courses. Avicenna also provides suitable spaces and opportunities for promising and driven young Muslim students and researchers to develop academically and to engage with their own faith and take responsibilities by being socially active.

Avicenna-Studienwerk in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master (for students who studied a bachelor’s in Germany)
  • Main selection criteria: Being Muslim (exceptions may be made for students whose studies have special relevance to the cause of the foundation), good academic performance, social commitment and engagement
  • Amount for master students: 300 + max. 744 €
  • Amount details: depends on your status (family income, etc)
  • International students allowed: EU-students, refugees, Non-EU students who lived in Germany for at least 5 years
  • Available for: All subjects, all German universities
  • Restrictions: C1 German skills

Facts & Figures

+
image

Scholarships for students

For bachelor and master students (restricted availability for international students).

image

Scholarships for Ph.D. students

For doctoral candidates (no nationality restrictions).

Deutschlandstipendium

Deutschlandstipendium

  • Category: Non-religious, apolitical
  • Affiliation: Neutral
  • No. of fellows: 27,229 (2018)

The Deutschlandstipendium, created by the Federal Ministry of Education (BMBF) in 2011, is often overlooked by many international students - even though it’s really attractive. The reason might be that this scholarship program, though being a nation-wide initiative, is administered by the single Universities - which often publish the relevant information only in German. The purpose of the scholarship is to support committed and qualified students who, taking account of social, family, personal circumstances, and biography, show high potential and outstanding achievement.

 

Long story short: we highly recommend that you apply to the Deutschlandstipendium and give it a shot:

 

  • The application to this funding scheme is easy.
  • You can do so after you moved to Germany at the beginning of your semester.
  • Scholarship holders receive 300 € per month, half of which is paid through public state funds and the other half through private actors.

 

Because the applications are administered through universities, application deadlines and requirements may vary. Upon admission, you should inquire about the possibilities to apply. There are no nationality restrictions.

Deutschlandstipendium in brief

  • Levels: Bachelor, master, doctoral candidates.
  • Main selection criteria: Can be set by universities independently; academic achievement, social commitment, and personal achievement
  • Amount for master students: 300 € a month
  • Amount details: 300 € a month
  • International students allowed: Yes
  • Available for: Students who are enrolled at a German university that participates in the Deutschlandstipendium program
  • Restrictions: None

For further information we recommend you check the website of your future German University. If you have not picked your university yet, you can find more details about how the scholarship is handled by different universities. A few examples can be found below:

EU scholarships to study in Germany

Besides the German scholarships, you should definitely know Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus - these two big flagship programs offered by the European Union (EU) and support thousands of students each year to study in Germany and other countries.

These EU scholarships differ in some respects from the German scholarships:

  1. Exchange programs.
    Erasmus+ and Erasmus Mundus scholarships are offered only for existing bilateral (or multilateral) exchange programs between universities. I.e. you cannot use these grants for any study program or university in Germany, but only within the scope of the exchange program (e.g. 1-2 semesters abroad with Erasmus) or a certain Joint degree program (Erasmus Mundus).
  2. Application.
    For both programs, you have to apply directly at the university (so please make sure to check the calls on their websites).
    • Erasmus+: your home university.
    • Erasmus Mundus: the university which administers the Joint Degree Program.

Erasmus+

+

Erasmus Mundus

+

Other scholarship options you may have heard about

Alexander von Humboldt foundation (AvH)

© Wolkenkratzer. Type of license: CC BY-SA 3.0.

An intermediary organization of the German foreign cultural and education policy, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation aims to promote international cultural dialogue and academic exchange between Germany and countries abroad. It awards sponsorship for researchers at all stages of their academic and professional careers from young researchers beginning in their field to advanced and renowned researchers at the top of their field.

 

Additionally, sponsored fellows are admitted into the Humboldt Network, a worldwide network for alumni of AvH sponsorship which includes over 29,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries worldwide, including 55 Nobel Prize winners. As alumni, they are granted further sponsorship opportunities to maintain the cultural and academic exchange created in the original stay.

BaFöG (50% grant, 50% credit loan)

BaFöG is the abbreviation for Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, the legal scheme that describes which means the German Federal government takes to support the education of people in various educational settings. When talking about BaFöG, students mean a need-based monthly governmental social support grant that is paid, with few exceptions, to students from lower-income families. Half of the monthly stipend is a gift from the government, the other half has to be paid back after finishing one’s studies on a zero-interest basis.

 

This service is made available primarily to German citizens. EU-citizens qualify for BaFöG in certain circumstances, for example, if they have resided in Germany for at least 3 years. Non-EU citizens may qualify for BaFöG if they are recognized as asylum seekers and permanently residing refugees. Who may qualify for BaFöG, how to apply, and which version of BaFöG is right for you is a bit complicated and hard to understand. Contact the Studierendenwerk with the specifics of your situation for help and clarification. Also, you can ask questions through the official bafög homepage.

German Chancellor Fellowship for tomorrow’s leaders

The German Chancellor Fellowship is a research fellowship for young leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, the USA, and starting in March 2021, South Africa.  Applicants must hold a university degree and present a project of social significance which will be carried out in the course of a year with a host of the applicant’s choice. Relevant sectors include politics, economics, the media, administration, fine arts, and culture.

 

The Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany is the patron of the German Chancellor Fellowship program which fellows meet during their stay in Germany. The foundation grants up to 50 fellowships annually - up to 10 per country. Fellows are provided with a travel stipend, an intensive language course during which their accommodation and living costs are sponsored, and receive a monthly sum throughout the fellowship year of 2,170 €, 2,470 €, or 2,770 €, depending on academic qualifications. Fellows may also apply for a sponsored stay abroad for their research fellowship and can apply for an extension to their fellowship year.

KAAD scholarships

KAAD sounds a lot like DAAD. It stands for Catholic Academic Exchange Service and is a scholarship foundation of the German catholic church. Unlike the Cusanuswerk e.V. it does not fall under the scheme of the 13 public sponsorship foundations. It offers scholarships to postgraduates and researchers from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Near and Middle East, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.

 

The KAAD offers different scholarship schemes that students can apply to have their masters or doctoral studies funded. Other than one’s origin in one of the regions mentioned above, requirements include work experience, being a Catholic Christian, or a member of a Christian denomination, as well as German language skills. While the scholarship application portal is online, the applications are processed through partner committees in the region where you apply from.

Do you want to see even more scholarships? Sure!

As you can see, you have many opportunities for sponsorship at your disposal when it comes to funding your studies in Germany. While the DAAD is a great resource, don't forget about the many other foundations and scholarships which we outlined in this article. While many do require an advanced level of German for you to apply, there are also options that do not require German and allow students to apply in English. If you are further into the application process, then keep the scholarship deadlines in mind and make sure you apply early! If you are still searching for your dream master's study program, then check out our StudyFinder and find the program that's perfect for you!

Summary Box

Germany has more than 20 scholarship institutions for international students

As you can see, you have many opportunities for sponsorship at your disposal when it comes to funding your studies in Germany.

  • While the DAAD is a great resource, don't forget about the many other foundations and scholarships which we outlined in this article.
  • While many do require an advanced level of German for you to apply, there are also options that do not require German and allow students to apply in English.
  • If you are further into the application process, then keep the scholarship deadlines in mind and make sure you apply early!

If you are still searching for your dream master's study program, then check out our StudyFinder and find the program that's perfect for you!