Frequently Asked Questions
Last update: December 2018
You want to apply for a scholarship? Here you will find information and answers to questions regarding application requirements, preparing and writing your application, and the following selection procedure.
A. Scholarship application requirements
1. Is there an age limit for DAAD scholarships?
There is no fixed age limit. However, some scholarship programmes specify that only a certain amount of time should have elapsed since the last degree was taken. For details, please refer to the respective call for scholarship applications.
2. My university degree or doctorate began longer ago than the application requirements specify. Am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, an application may be accepted under the following circumstances, which may have a delaying effect on an academic career:
- pregnancy and childbirth
- child care (3 years per child)
- care of dependent relatives
- disability or chronic illness
- long, serious illness
- compulsory military service
If you wish to refer to unavoidable delays in your academic career as justification for your late application, please provide DAAD with proof of this as follows.
The dates of birth of children and periods of childcare or care of relatives or time off due to sickness/disability should be specified in your CV. DAAD reserves the right to ask you to submit appropriate supporting documents.
Proof of disabilities or illnesses can be provided in the form of a disability card or medical certificate. If possible, the medical certificate should indicate the periods of absence. The diagnosis is not relevant for DAAD. Medical certificates shall not be forwarded to reviewers. Information about studying abroad with a disability or chronic illness is provided in the following: DAAD/Mobility with disabilities
3. I have not completed my university degree at the time of application. Am I still eligible to apply for a scholarship?
Yes, in programmes for graduates you can apply in your last academic year. You must then fulfil all the academic requirements stipulated in the call for applications by the time the scholarship begins. You must submit your degree certificate before the scholarship begins.
4. I'm already in Germany. Am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, if you have been in Germany for a maximum of 15 months by the time of the application and if the call for applications does not stipulate any other conditions.
5. I am not currently living in my country of origin. Am I still eligible to apply for a scholarship?
Please note that your country of permanent residence or the country in which you have lived in the year before your application is usually of relevance for the application procedure. We strongly recommend that you obtain information and advice and find out which scholarship programmes are open to you, and whether you have to apply from your country of residence or country of origin.
You can find your nearest contact person in the scholarship database under the “Contact and Consulting” tab.
6. I am enrolled on a degree course at a German university with the aim of obtaining a qualification in Germany, or I am completing a doctoral degree at a German university. Can I apply for funding abroad?
Under certain circumstances, persons with foreign citizenship can also be considered for funding programmes intended for Germans. Please check the DAAD website for more detailed information on the eligibility criteria.
7. Can I apply for a scholarship whatever subject I am studying?
The DAAD offers scholarship programmes throughout the world that are generally open to all subjects, even though there are some restrictions for certain disciplines such as medicine. There are also subject-specific programmes. In the scholarship database, you can select the scholarships that are offered for your subject group.
8. What language skills do I need to apply for a scholarship?
The required language skills generally depend on study plans and subject: In the humanities, social sciences and in law, at least a good knowledge of German is usually expected. In the natural sciences and in engineering, at institutes at which English is spoken and for degree courses in English, proof of good English language skills may be sufficient. Depending on country of origin and scholarship programme, however, certain language skills may be required. The “Application requirements” in the call for scholarship applications specify what requirements these may be.
If you wish to learn more about German language courses and language examination tests, please visit the DAAD website Deutsch-lernen.net.
9. I am considering online/distance/part-time studies in Germany. Am I eligible for a DAAD scholarship?
DAAD scholarships are awarded to qualified candidates who wish to engage in a full-time course of study with compulsory attendance in Germany. Therefore, students planning to pursue blended learning or distance/online study programmes or part-time studies cannot receive DAAD funding.
B. Preparing your application
1. The call for scholarship applications specifies that a “Description of my study plans” or a “Letter of motivation” must be submitted. What exactly does this mean?
You can find tips on how to write a letter of motivation here: “How do I write a letter of motivation?”
2. The call for scholarship applications requires a comprehensive and precise “Description of my research project”. What exactly does this mean?
You can find tips on how to introduce a research project here: “How should I introduce my research project?”
3. I would like to improve my German language skills before I arrive in the country. Are there online language courses that I can take in my home country?
Yes, you can learn German online. Find out on the DAAD website Deutsch-lernen.net about the different options that are available for learning German. Special online German language courses are offered by the Goethe-Institut, for example, or Deutsch-Uni Online (DUO) (for scholarship holders whose scholarship lasts longer than six months, the DAAD covers the costs of a DUO module).
C. Planning your project
1. Do I have to have contacts in Germany when I apply?
Yes, if you are carrying out individual research in Germany or – in artistic subjects – wish to continue your education individually, you need an invitation from a German supervisor (see item 2).
If you are participating in a structured study or doctorate programme, you only need to provide information about your chosen degree course (see “Application procedure” in the call for scholarship applications). If you already have a contact at your host institution, it is also advisable to enclose appropriate proof (e.g. e-mail correspondence).
2. I need a supervisor for my individual project in Germany. Who can be my academic host?
Hosts can be university teachers or academic teaching staff who work at a state or state-approved university or a non-university research institute in Germany. If possible, the host should be qualified to teach at professorial level.
3. I have found a supervisor for my individual project. What documents do I need from him/her for the application?
Your academic supervisor must confirm that he/she is willing to help you carry out your research project or doctorate in a “Letter confirming academic supervision”, which you must submit with your application. Ideally, the letter of confirmation (informal) from your supervisor shall
- indicate that the description of your research project and schedule has been discussed,
- confirm that a workplace is available for you, and
- specify the language that is spoken at the host institute.
D. Writing an application
1. How do I apply?
Application procedures may vary depending on scholarship programme. To find out where and how to apply, please read the “Application procedure” section of the programme’s call for applications.
Please contact us if you have any questions. You can find your nearest contact person in the scholarship database under the “Contact and Consulting” tab for a scholarship programme.
2. In the call for scholarship applications it says I have to apply through the DAAD portal.
- What does that mean?
You have to apply online. To do this, you have to register in the DAAD portal. Select first the call for scholarship applications for your chosen scholarship programme and then the tab “Application portal” in the scholarship database. Please note that this tab is only visible in the period in which it is possible to apply for this scholarship programme or when the DAAD portal is open for applications.
- I have a problem with my online application. What can I do?
If technical problems occur, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
- Which documents do I have to upload to be able to submit an application to the DAAD portal?
Your application is only complete if you submit all the application documents listed in the call for applications. With the exception of your letters of recommendation and work samples (e.g. DVDs), all of these documents must be uploaded to the DAAD portal. In some cases, individual documents (e.g. university certificate) may be submitted at a later date if this is explicitly permitted in the programme's call for scholarship applications.
- Do I receive confirmation that my application has been received?
Yes, as soon as you have submitted your application online, you will automatically receive confirmation that your application has been successfully submitted and an e-mail informing you that a message has been sent to you via the portal's messaging system. The message confirms that your application has been received.
- Is it sufficient to send my application via the DAAD portal?
No. For your online application to be binding, you must (for most programmes) print out the “Application summary” generated in the portal and send this summary together with the documents which did not have to be uploaded (such as letters of recommendation) to the application address. Please read the information in the programme’s call for applications under the “Application procedure” tab and the application deadline. This applies both to the online application and to sending the application documents by post (the postmark date is valid).
3. Several copies of the application must be submitted. How should I organise my documents?
Each copy must contain an application summary of your online application and, if applicable, letters of recommendation. Please submit your documents in the order in which the documents are listed in the call for applications.
Example: 2 copies
4. Should the individual copies be stapled or bound together?
No, please do not staple or bind documents together, or submit documents in a file. This makes it more difficult for us to prepare applications for the selection committee.
5. The call for scholarship applications states that I must submit a letter of recommendation from a university teacher. Who can write a letter of recommendation for my application?
Letters of recommendation in scientific subjects should be written by postdoc university teachers who can provide information about the following:
- What are your academic achievements?
- What are your subject-specific and personal qualities?
- Is your project well planned, feasible and relevant?
- What significance does the scholarship have for your academic and professional career?
6. Do I have to apply in German?
Unless otherwise stated in the call for scholarship applications, you can submit your application either in German or English. Please note that application documents that are not in German or English must be translated either into German or English. The translations do not have to be certified for the application procedure, and you may do the translations yourself. In most scholarship programmes, translations must be submitted again in certified form if a scholarship is awarded.
7. What language certificates do I need when I apply for a scholarship?
You can find out what language certificates you need when you apply for a scholarship in the “Application procedure” section of the call for scholarship applications.
8. Do my certificates and transcripts (lists of grades) have to be certified for my application?
No, not initially. If your certificates and transcripts are not in German or English, you can translate the documents for your application yourself. The DAAD will only ask you to submit certified documents once a positive decision has been made.
E. Selection procedure
1. Who makes the decision regarding my application?
A pre-selection or assessment of submitted applications is usually made in your home country by a pre-selection committee. The pre-selection committee may be made up of local university teachers (with special consideration given to former DAAD scholarship holders and former Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarship holders), German university teachers and assistant professors appointed by the DAAD, lecturers from the Goethe-Institut, representatives of the relevant ministries or partner organisations of the DAAD or the relevant DAAD regional office.
An independent committee made up of German university teachers is responsible for making the final decision. If necessary, experts of the respective subject are asked to submit written statements.
DAAD employees have no right to vote in the scholarship election procedure.
2. According to which criteria does the selection committee make its decision?
The key selection criteria are
- the description and justification of the proposal
- for study or research stays and courses of continuing education: a convincing and well-planned project (see “How should I introduce my research project?”)
- for structured study programmes or language and special courses: a well-justified choice of course (see “How do I write my letter of motivation?”).
- academic achievements.
Additional documents that prove academic suitability or provide information about extracurricular activities will also be considered in the assessment.
F. Scholarship benefits
1. What’s the whole amount of the monthly scholarship payment?
The scholarship payment depends on the applicant's academic qualifications. It is usually € 750 for undergraduate students, € 850 for graduate scholarship holders and € 1,200 for doctoral candidates and postdoc scholarship holders). The payments for university teachers are typically: € 2,000 for assistants, assistant professors and lecturers, € 2,150 for professors. You can find an overview of other possible benefits in each programme’s call for applications.
2. Who pays for outward and return travel expenses?
Unless travel expenses are covered by another source of funding, the DAAD pays a contribution towards the scholarship holder's travel expenses.
3. Can I bring my family with me?
If the funding period is less than six months, there are no provisions to unite families and therefore no family allowances can be paid. For scholarships with a funding period of over six months, please read the call for scholarship applications to find out if this programme provides for family members.
4. Do I have to take out health insurance in Germany?
Scholarship holders and accompanying family members must be covered by health insurance throughout their stay in Germany from their first day in the country. Health insurance coverage in Germany is regulated differently depending on country of origin. You will be informed about the conditions of health insurance and the services provided by the DAAD when you receive the Scholarship Award Letter.
5. Am I allowed to take on additional work as a scholarship holder in Germany?
Scholarship holders wishing to do additional work during their scholarship, i.e. pursue gainful employment, always require the approval of the DAAD. The host must also approve the additional work. The DAAD is responsible for making sure that the additional work does not endanger fulfilment of the scholarship purpose, as described in the introduction of the call for applications. Casual earnings that exceed the “Income limit for part-time workers” (currently € 450 a month) are credited against the monthly scholarship payments.
6. I have heard that tuition fees are charged by some universities in
Although tuition fees are not generally charged in
In the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, international students (Bachelor and Master's level) at state universities have had to pay a fee of € 1,500 per semester since the winter semester 2017/18. However, universities can issue a statute that allows certain exceptions, for example, for especially gifted students or students from developing countries. It is therefore important that you ask your chosen host university about possible exceptions.
Private universities in all federal states may also charge tuition fees. These can vary considerably. You should therefore find out about possible fees before submitting your application.
Both state and private universities in all federal states may also charge fees for so-called Master’s study courses providing further education ("weiterbildende Masterstudiengänge") that often require previous professional experience or lead to a certain additional qualification. These include the so-called LL.M. degree programmes for law students. Fees for these programmes are sometimes very high so you should find out about them in advance.
On principle, DAAD pays no tuition fees for its scholarship holders. So even if you are a scholarship holder, you should ask your chosen host university whether it charges tuition fees in any of the above cases.
If you have any other questions, please use our contact form.