Don't know how to go about finding a supervisor in Germany? Looking for more information on different higher education institutions in Germany? Here we answer short, frequently asked questions about study and research in Germany and DAAD funding opportunities.

Can I travel to Germany in October for the winter intake in spite of the global pandemic?

If you want to apply for a DAAD scholarship or maybe you already have received your letter of award, you will certainly have many questions as to whether, when and how it is possible to start a scholarship in the corona-induced pandemic situation. The same applies to scholarship holders who have in the meantime returned to their home country and are now considering re-entering Germany.

Entry into Germany from EU member states and from "Schengen-associated" states as well as from Great Britain has been possible again in principle since 15 June 2020; entry restrictions and internal border controls no longer apply; a "valid reason for entry" is no longer required.

From 2 July 2020, the following countries will again be able to admit third-country nationals without restrictions: Australia, Canada, Georgia, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay. This list of countries may be extended or restricted depending on the development of the pandemic. We will follow the development and keep you informed on this page.

Third-country nationals from all other countries may enter Germany for study purposes (including doctoral studies) from 2 July onwards, if the studies cannot be carried out entirely from abroad. It is therefore important that it is clear to the visa offices and border officials from official documents of the German host institution that the study or doctorate requires a presence in Germany. Otherwise, visas may not be issued or entry may be refused. Please contact your host university in this regard.

Please take care of your visa application at a very early stage, as the visa sections of the German missions offer sometimes only a few dates for the application and therefore delays may occur.

Irrespective of entry restrictions, based on the quarantine regulations of the German federal states (in German only), persons who have stayed in a "corona risk area" within 14 days before entering Germany are obliged to remain in quarantine in Germany for 14 days and to inform the local health authority of their entry. The list of risk areas (in German only) is published and regularly updated by the Robert Koch Institute.

A recognised negative corona test result may be presented as an alternative to quarantine. Proof must take the form of a medical certificate and the test cannot be older than 48 hours and must have been carried out in a European Union member state or a state with comparable quality Standards. Alternatively, the test may be carried out upon entry at the border crossing point or at the place where you are staying. More information are provided on the Website of the Federal Foreign Office.

If you wish to enter the country from one of the countries or regions listed there, you must check whether you can meet the quarantine requirements or undergo a corona test. If this is not the case, you cannot enter Germany. As a precautionary measure, we would like to point out that the DAAD cannot organise quarantine accommodation and cannot assume any costs for quarantine or corona-test.

As it is not yet clear for all countries of origin whether and when entry to Germany will be possible without any problems, we have provided you with the opportunity to start your scholarship project, i.e. your studies or research project, online from your home country or to postpone the start of the scholarship if entry to Germany is not possible for you. To find out whether this possibility exists for your programme and your country of origin, please contact your programme section.

Information about these possibilities as well as further questions and answers concerning the topic "DAAD Scholarships in the Corona Crisis" can be found here.

What is the DAAD's response to the Corona virus pandemic?

The DAAD continues to follow the developments on the coronavirus and adapts its activities flexibly to changing situations. In affected areas, we are in contact with the scholarship holders, their relatives and employees in order to provide them with the best possible support. Read more here.

What does the research landscape in Germany look like? How can I identify a research partner in Germany?

Are you interested in conducting research or studying in Germany? GERiT – German Research Institutions – provides an overview of 29,000 research institutions in Germany. On the database you will find institutional profiles, job vacancies, the doctoral regulations for specific institutions and subject areas, and links to German Research Foundation-funded projects.

GERiT Database

In which German cities can I study?

Do you want to study in Germany but don't know much about the cities or university towns in Germany where you can study? Here you will find the best information on German cities and university towns that will help you in your search for a home in Germany during your studies!

Where can I learn German in South Africa?

The Goethe-Institut South Africa offers high-quality German language courses and exams to those interested in learning the German language. Beyond German courses and exams, the Goethe-Institut conveys a comprehensive image of Germany by providing information about cultural, social and political life in Germany.

How do I open a bank account in Germany as a student?

On Study in Germany, you will find answers to this question and many more. Read more about opening a bank account in Germany here.

What type of higher education institutions are there in Germany?

Hochschule is the generic term used to refer to any institutions of the German higher education system.

A University is a doctorate-granting institution. After completing an intermediate examination, university students work towards the final examination, leading to a Bachelor's or Master's degree or the Staatsexamen, depending on the area of study. A Promotion (PhD) can follow.

Originally, a Technische Universität (technical university) restricted its teaching to technical and engineering disciplines. However, in the course of time, technical universities have developed into more  comprehensive higher education institutions. Hence, students can now also study arts and humanities degree courses at the technical universities. Nevertheless, the focus of their activities continues to be directed towards engineering and science.

Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen and Hochschulen für angewandte Wissenschaften) offer practice-oriented academic courses. The focus is more on professional application than theory, and the training is adapted to the requirements of professional life. As at universities, the first degree is the bachelor's, and the second is the master's. The range of subjects comprises fields such as technology, economics, social work or medicine. During the practical phases, which form part of the course of study and can last one or more semesters depending on the degree programme, the focus is on work placements and longer project phases at companies in Germany and abroad.

Colleges of Art, Film and Music – In art, film and music colleges you can study artistic subjects, such as music, architecture, visual arts, drama, dance, industrial and fashion design. At universities for modern media, directors, cinematographers, screenwriters and other film and television professionals are trained. Admission requirements for these courses include a specific talent which you must demonstrate at an entrance examination. Exceptionally talented candidates may sometimes even apply without a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (certificate of aptitude for higher education). Please note that most art, film and music colleges teach in German.

Dual Universities – Alongside a classic University of Applied Sciences course, a cooperative study programme gives you the opportunity to link your academic training more closely to your entry into professional life. If you like "learning by doing", are highly motivated, have a good knowledge of German and want to progress quickly into employment, the dual university is the right place for you. Universities of applied sciences and universities of cooperative education, as well as individual universities, offer these types of degree programmes. If you choose a cooperative studies course, you will also have to sign a contract with a company. The training then usually takes place at two separate locations: on the company's premises and at the higher education institution. In most cases, the work phases and tuition fees are paid.

Research Institutions – Additionally, there are many respected institutions that specialize in advanced research only, for example the institutes of the Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer Society, as well as several research institutions of federal agencies.  Here you will find more information on the major research institutions in Germany.

How do I write supporting documents such as the letter of motivation and research proposal for my application for DAAD funding?

On the DAAD's main website , guidelines have been stipulated to help you write the letter of motivation and research proposal for your application for DAAD funding. You may view the guidelines here.

Which university in Germany is the best?

This question is often the wrong approach to studying in Germany. Because Germany's higher education system is so differentiated with many different options on offer, it is difficult to say which university is objectively the best. In Germany one can choose between traditional research-intensive universities, universities of applied sciences, where the study is much more praxis-oriented, and colleges for art, film and music. The most important thing is to do proper research and find the best institution for you, your field of study and your interests! Here you can search through international degree programmes offered in English in Germany and here you may find more information on studying in Germany.

This website contains the latest ranking of German higher education institutions, which is compiled by examining 39 subjects from a range of subject areas and currently covers 314 higher education institutions. Over 150 000 students and around 9000 professors took part in the latest surveys. The findings of the survey are not simply added together to produce a total score. Rather, the survey produces a multidimensional ranking: several league tables, arranged on a basis of various criteria, reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the individual faculties and departments. To use this free service, you have to register on the website.

What does a DAAD individual scholarship entail?

With a DAAD scholarship with Germany as destination (Master or PhD in Germany, short-term research in Germany etc.) the DAAD generally awards the following to a successful applicant:

  • Travel allowance, should the applicant's home university not provide these funds
  • Health insurance for the entire stay in Germany
  • A fixed monthly allowance paid directly to the scholarship holder with which all of the scholarship holder's living cost must be covered. These include food, accommodation, entertainment, administration fees at the German institution ("semester ticket") etc.

The fixed monthly allowance differs depending on the scholarship holder's academic level. A master student, for example, gets a smaller allowance than a PhD student. Under no circumstances, however, can the DAAD pay out more to a scholarship holder than the appropriate sum for their level. The scholarship holder must use their own discretion in the spending of this fixed allowance. Some German cities are more expensive than others and so it is wise to consider these factors before selecting an institution for study or research.

Furthermore, the DAAD does not provide funding for tuition fees in Germany. Private institutions of higher learning in Germany do charge tuition fees, as does some public institutions for certain courses. In the state of Baden-Württemberg, international students have been charged tuition fees at public institutions since September 2017. The DAAD does not provide funding for these fees, unfortunately. It is therefore in the applicant's best interest to do proper research concerning fees for the course/institution they are interested in. Most public institutions in Germany still charge no tuition fees, however.

A DAAD scholarship with South Africa as destination (the DAAD-NRF In-Country Scholarship, for example) functions much the same, except the scholarship holder does not receive a travel allowance and health insurance. He or she is still awarded a fixed amount per year, depending on his or her level. Some courses in South Africa are more expensive than others. Should the tuition fees of any given course in South Africa be more than the fixed amount paid out by the scholarship, the scholarship holder will need to supplement the required outstanding amount.

What are my options for a Master in Germany with DAAD funding?

We have three main options available to Sub-Saharan African students for a Master in Germany with DAAD funding. Two of them are in the development and public management fields and the third provides funding for artists and architects. Most of these Master courses with DAAD funding are offered in English.

The first option is called Development-Related Postgraduate Courses (EPOS). In the EPOS programme, funding is awarded for preselected Master courses at preselected German Institutions of Higher learning. One must have two years' post-degree work experience in order to be eligible for this funding. The Master courses in this progamme are in the following fields:

  • Economics
  • Development Studies
  • Engineering and Related Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Regional and Urban Planning
  • Agricultural and Forest Sciences
  • Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Medicine and Public Health
  • Social Sciences
  • Media Studies

The second option is called the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme (Master’s Scholarships for Public Policy and Good Governance - PPGG). In this programme, the DAAD funds 8 preselected Master courses in the public policy, public management, law and economics fields at certain preselected German Institutions of Higher Learning. You do not need any previous work experience to qualify for this funding.

The last option is funding for Master courses in Architecture, Music, Performing Arts, and Fine Arts, Visual Arts and Film. You need a first university degree in these fields in order to qualify for the funding. The application deadline for the funding is 30 November.

If none of these options appeal to you, you may search for more Master courses offered in English in Germany here. The DAAD, however, cannot fund any course that does not fall under the above mentioned categories.

How do I identify a supervisor for my research in Germany?

A student or PhD candidate often must identify a supervisor in Germany on their own. It is best to discuss the matter with your supervisor here in South Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa first. They might be in touch with a colleague in Germany who might be able to support your research. You may also get into contact with your university’s International Office and find out whether there are cooperations between your university and German universities. Your International Office should then be able to provide you with contact information of relevant persons at the German university. The following website is enormously helpful: DFG GEPRIS. Here you can check out who is doing research in your field at German universities. You can find out more about individual doctoral studies and how to find a supervisor in Germany here as well: Individual Doctorate. If you are still unsure, make an appointment for a consultation with DAAD South Africa: daad@wits.ac.za. We would be happy to assist you!