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.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) condemns the Russian attack on the Ukraine and stands with its partners there. DAAD President Joybrato Mukherjee is calling for a large-scale support program for Ukrainian scholars.
From the DAAD’s point of view, a support programme should consist of several pillars that have already proven their worth in other conflicts:
- Scholarships for Ukrainian students, doctoral candidates and academics who will be joining us in the coming weeks and months, as well as the unbureaucratic extension of support for those who are already with us;
- Supporting the German universities in supervising and accompanying the Ukrainians during the funding period and beyond;
- Supporting German higher education institutions in the professional and linguistic further qualification of academically pre-qualified specialists with a view to the German labour market;
- Supporting German higher education institutions in the development and provision of digital offerings for their Ukrainian partner institutions for as long as they are able to maintain their operations;
- Leadership programmes for future leaders who will take on leadership roles once the situation in Ukraine stabilises at a later date.
The DAAD is already in talks with the German government about the programme elements.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) recently launched the website “National Academic Contact Point Ukraine”. The platform offers comprehensive information and assistance for Ukrainian students and researchers.
The DAAD is continuously monitoring the developments and is in close contact with its member universities and the funding ministries on the steps that now need to be taken.
Check out the DAAD’s new platform, My GUIDE, which helps you find your way through the richness and diversity of German study programmes in three easy steps:
Step 1: Answer three simple questions to find the degree programme that best meets your expectations.
Step 2: Check your eligibility and choose a degree programme.
Step 3: Contact the university and start planning your studies in Germany.
Create a profile on the platform today: My GUIDE
We have three main scholarship programmes available to Sub-Saharan African students for a Master in Germany. In two of these scholarship programmes, scholarships are awarded for preselected degrees in development-related and public management fields and in the third scholarship programme, scholarships are awarded for Master degrees in architecture and the arts. Most of the Master degrees that can be obtained with DAAD funding are offered in English.
The first scholarship programme is called Development-Related Postgraduate Courses (EPOS). In this programme, scholarships are awarded for preselected Master degrees in development-related fields at German Institutions of Higher learning. One must have two years’ post-degree work experience in order to be eligible for this funding. The Master degrees in this progamme are in the following fields:
- Development Studies
- Engineering and Related Sciences
- Regional and Urban Planning
- Agricultural and Forest Sciences
- Natural and Environmental Sciences
- Medicine and Public Health
- Social Sciences
- Media Studies
The degrees in the scholarship programme have different application deadlines. Check out the link for more information on application procedure and requirements.
The second scholarship programme is called the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme (Master’s Scholarships for Public Policy and Good Governance – PPGG). In this programme, the DAAD awards scholarships for 8 preselected Master degrees in public policy, public management, law and economics fields at German Institutions of Higher Learning. You do not need any previous work experience to qualify for this funding. Application takes place every year between June and July. Click on the link for more information on application procedure and requirements.
In the last scholarship programme, scholarships are awarded for Master degrees 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 deadlines vary for the different fields. Check the links for more information on application procedure and requirements.
If none of these options appeal to you, you may search for more Master degrees offered in English in Germany here. The DAAD, however, cannot fund any degrees that do not fall under the above mentioned categories.
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.
Grants for Alumni Events
The DAAD may fund alumni events that support the topical exchange and the networking and cooperation both among the alumni and with scientific, political, social, cultural, and economic institutions, extend and actively involve the alumni’s competences for developing solutions for global challenges, promote the relationship of alumni with the DAAD and with Germany and support the sharing of experiences with the next generations of scholarship holders.
Alumni Special Projects
In the Alumni Special Projects programme professionals from developing countries who have been trained in Germany have the opportunity to come into contact with German representatives from academia and business at important trade fairs and conferences.
Re-invitation Programme for Former Scholarship holders
The aim of this programme is to enable former scholarship holders from abroad to return to Germany and carry out research and working projects. There are funding opportunities for different qualification phases and stages in a career.
Scientific Literature Programme
Former one-year scholarship holders of all disciplines (as well as former German studies scholarship holders who received support for at least 5 months) from developing countries and from the countries of South-eastern and Eastern Europe can apply once a year for specialist literature (books, journals, articles) produced by German publishers to help them advance their academic knowledge and qualifications (max. value of 200 euros per year).
Small Equipment Programme
One-year scholarship holders from developing countries and from the countries of South-eastern and Eastern Europe, especially those from the fields of engineering, technology, and science and from the agricultural and forestry sciences, who received DAAD support for a period of 10 or more months can apply for a grant towards for purchase of small equipment and materials. The application deadline ends 8 weeks before the scholarship period is completed.
DIES alumni programmes
Since 2005, DIES has supported more than 7,000 participants in training courses and projects. After these events, the participants are DIES alumni and share their acquired knowledge with universities in their home countries and regions, thus multiplying the impact at a national level.
Dual study programmmes are study programmes at higher education institutions in Germany with integrated periods of practical application of knowledge. Academic studies and workplace training are completed simultaneously. The student is enrolled a university, signs a work contract and obtains two qualifications at the end of the study period. The training usually takes place at two separate locations: on the company’s premises and at the higher education institution. Advanced German language skills are often a requirement for these programmes.
What are the advantages of a dual study programme?
You gain two qualifications (an academic degree and a vocational qualification) in a relatively short time, along with valuable experience and many professional skills. In most cases, companies pay students on dual study programmes for their work and cover their tuition fees. The corporate contacts you establish during your degree programme will help you gain a foothold in interesting fields and improve your chances on the labour market later on. Many of the companies that offer dual study programmes retain their former students as employees once they graduate.
For whom are dual study programmes suitable?
If you want to complete a dual study programme, you should be highly motivated. Working at a company while completing a degree programme requires a lot of stamina and resilience. The phases at the company have to be carefully planned and coordinated with the higher education institution’s curricula. You also have to persuade a company of your qualities at the beginning of your degree programme.
Where can I find more information about dual study programmes?
The AusbildungPlus database (only in German) contains over 1600 dual study programmes. These courses are offered mainly by universities of applied sciences, but also by universities of cooperative education and private and state higher education institutions. More information and a list of degree programmes can be found on the website of the German Rectors’ Conference.
The Dual Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) is a specialised university in Germany for dual study programmes. The university offers some programmes in English.
More information on dual study programmes here.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to assist you!
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.
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.
Third-country nationals from all other countries may enter Germany for study purposes (including doctoral studies), 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.
Generally proof of vaccine is required!
Irrespective of entry restrictions, based on the (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 (in German only) is published and regularly updated by the Robert Koch Institute.
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.
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.
“The new evaluation by the DZHW shows: Germany has very mobile doctoral researchers and at the same time is an attractive research location for international doctoral students. It is also gratifying to see that the DAAD is the most important provider of scholarships for international young researchers in Germany,” said DAAD President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee.
German doctoral students are drawn abroad
For the DZHW special evaluation, about 18,000 German doctoral students were asked about their mobility abroad. Twenty-seven percent of them stated that they had already spent a longer period abroad during their doctorate. This is the first reliable mobility rate for doctoral researchers in Germany. Compared to students, the rate among doctoral researchers is significantly higher.
Stays abroad improve research skills
Doctoral researchers from Germany who have already spent time abroad primarily consider stays abroad to be very useful for improving their research skills. In second place, according to the survey, is the establishment of collaborations with researchers outside Germany, and the improvement of foreign language skills is in third place.
International doctoral researchers at German universities
Around 4,000 international doctoral researchers were also surveyed for the evaluation. When planning a stay in Germany, international junior researchers rely on the personalities at German universities: they look very specifically for the best supervisor and this consideration guides their choice of university. Accordingly, the majority of those surveyed are satisfied or very satisfied with the support they receive at the university and from their main supervisor.
Jobs and scholarships
The international doctoral researchers surveyed mainly finance their stay through employment at a university or research institution. Almost 37 percent of those surveyed finance their stay through a scholarship: the DAAD was named as the most important funding organisation in the survey (19 percent of all scholarship holders), followed in second and third place by funding from their own university and funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Evaluation of the National Academics Panel Study (Nacaps)
The current special evaluation is based on the survey results collected by the DZHW in 2019 as part of the first National Academics Panel Study (Nacaps). The Nacaps results provide a comprehensive insight into doctoral conditions and career paths in Germany. The additional DZWH special evaluation, financed by the DAAD with funds from the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), also offers a first stocktaking of the internationality of doctoral studies in Germany. The evaluation will be updated at regular intervals in the future.
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!
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.
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.
How do I write supporting documents such as the letter of motivation and research proposal for my application for German 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.
For postdocs the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers helpful tips as well as a template for the list of publications. Visit their website for more.
Should you have any issues accessing and navigating the DAAD Portal please contact the Portal Hotline for assistance;
email at email@example.com
phone at +49 228 882-8888.
In general, the portal hotline can be reached on weekdays from 09:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 16:00 hrs (German Time).
The online application form is found in the DAAD Portal under your relevant scholarship option in the Scholarship Database
On Study in Germany, you will find answers to this question and many more. Read more about opening a bank account in Germany here.