Overview: Funding opportunities

Types of support

There are two forms of scholarships – financial and non-monetary scholarships – both of which are often coupled together:

In the case of financial scholarships, the recipient is awarded a fixed amount, paid out on a monthly basis over a defined funding period. These types of scholarships are often full scholarships, i.e., they generally cover the applicant’s entire living expenses. Recipients of partial scholarships, however, are required to secure additional financial support to cover their living expenses. When awarded a full scholarship, recipients are generally not permitted to receive funding from other scholarships simultaneously.

In addition to financial support, many institutions also offer non-monetary scholarships. Recipients are invited to workshops, lectures and scientific conferences where they also have the opportunity to network with other scholarship holders. In most cases, these non-monetary scholarship programmes aim to create a long-standing relationship between the scholarship holder and the institution well beyond the scholarship period.

All the programmes have one thing in common, however – no one is entitled to a scholarship.

The institutions

The institutions which grant scholarships can be roughly divided up into six groups.

  1. First, there are party-affiliated foundations. They maintain close ties to the political parties represented in the German Bundestag. Consequently, they expect applicants to share their socio-political views, which the applicants often express through their social commitment.
  2. The second group is comprised of corporate-affiliated foundations. Recipients can be chosen based on their subject of study, research emphasis, social attitude, or purely on their achievement – epitomizing whatever model qualities that distinguish the namesake of the foundation.
  3. The German federal states offer scholarships based on economic or performance-oriented aspects. To apply for such scholarships, applications should be submitted directly to the universities of the state in question. Applicants are generally required to hold a higher education entrance qualification or doctoral programme qualification to be eligible for such scholarships.
  4. Social institutions , such as the large churches in Germany, offer their own scholarships. In addition to outstanding achievement, the selection committee also places strong focus on financial hardship, as well as the applicants’ commitment to use their knowledge and skills attained in Germany for the benefit of others in their home country.
  5. The major research institutions in Germany, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation , award scholarships based on purely scientific criteria.
  6. There are also a number of student organisations run by volunteers, in which students assist other students and find supporters who are willing to help them finance their visit and thereby enable them to stay in Germany.

Checklist – Questions you should ask before applying

  • Does my profile truly match the programme?
  • Do my academic status, subject of study, country of origin, my achievements, the university I’ve chosen in Germany and my prior experience meet the criteria of the scholarship programme?
  • Can I attain all the documents required for the application (create a checklist and allow yourself extra time to gather these documents)?
  • Can I submit the application by the deadline?