RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering)

FAQ

Eligibility Criteria

  1. I do not have U.S., Canadian or British citizenship. Am I eligible to apply?
  2. I am a freshman. Am I eligible to apply?
  3. I will finish my Bachelor’s degree before the internship. Am I eligible?
  4. Do I have to be able to speak German?
  5. I am a pre-med student, but I am majoring in a field other than the natural sciences. Am I eligible to apply?
  6. Is computer science included?
  7. I already have an internship arranged at a German university or other institution. Can I participate in the RISE program with this independently-organized internship?

Application Process

  1. How exactly do I send my application? Who needs what, and may I use email?
  2. What happens if I submit an incomplete application?
  3. Curriculum vitae/résumé: What should it include?
  4. Transcript: Do the PhD students need to receive an official transcript?
  5. List of courses: What is the purpose of this list?
  6. Letter of reference: Who should write it and what should it contain?
  7. Letter of reference: How should it be submitted?
  8. Cover letters: What should it include?
  9. I have submitted my application. What's next?
  10. Is the placement process standardized in some way?
  11. How does the placement process actually work?
  12. What should I consider when I search for projects in the internship database?
  13. What should I consider when I choose my projects?
  14. What is the Certificate of enrollment?

Questions about the Scholarship

  1. When exactly does the internship take place, and how long does it last?
  2. Is it possible to begin the internship before July 1?
  3. I am not able to be in Germany by July 1, but many internships seem to begin on that date. Does that mean that I cannot choose those internships?
  4. Do I need a residence visa or work permit?
  5. How many scholarships will there be?
  6. What is the amount of the scholarship?
  7. Can I get by on the scholarship grant?
  8. How will I find housing in Germany?
  9. How can I get into contact with other RISE scholarship holders?

Eligibility Criteria

  1. I do not have U.S., Canadian or British citizenship. Am I eligible to apply?
    Provided that you study at a United States, Canadian or British university/college, you are very welcome to apply. The application process is the same for U.S., Canadian and British citizens as for international students, so you do not need to submit any additional documents. However, you may need to obtain a visa for Germany and make sure that you will be allowed to re-enter the U.S., Canada or the UK after the internship. For visa-related information, visit the website of the German Federal Foreign Office at www.auswaertiges-amt.de.
  2. I am a freshman. Am I eligible to apply?
    No. Applicants are required to have completed at least two years of an undergraduate degree program by the time of the internship.
  3. I will finish my Bachelor’s degree before the internship. Am I eligible?
    No, unfortunately not. You need to retain undergraduate status throughout the duration of the internship. This is due to German labor law; we cannot obtain a work permit waiver for you if you are not an undergraduate. Thus, should you graduate in spring or summer 2015, you are not eligible for RISE 2015. All students who will graduate in winter 2015 or later are eligible for RISE 2015.

    We encourage graduating seniors and graduate students to apply for RISE professional, the sister program to RISE. Participants are matched with a German company, where they gain insight into the professional applications of science and engineering and develop their own practical skills. Just like RISE, this program features a scholarship to cover living expenses. For more information visit www.daad.de/rise-pro.
  4. Do I have to be able to speak German?
    German language ability is not required unless otherwise noted in the individual project descriptions. Get in touch with the PhD student if you want to discuss language requirements. Basic knowledge of German will prove helpful in everyday life, but the working language will be English.
  5. I am a pre-med student, but I am majoring in a field other than the natural sciences. Am I eligible to apply?
    Yes, you are. Explain your situation in the cover letter which you upload in your online application. Pre-med students who have already gotten their first B.A. degree, are not eligible for RISE.
  6. Is computer science included?
    No, but you should check the internship database carefully as there may be some projects that include essential computer science aspects. In particular, try the specializations “communications engineering” and “software engineering”.
  7. I already have an internship arranged at a German university or other institution. Can I participate in the RISE program with this independently-organized internship?
    No, this is not possible. We are not able to support personal or institutional contacts that already exist and are not open to the general public. RISE is a program that offers every applicant the possibility to apply for any internship in the program.

Application process

  1. How exactly do I send my application?
    Your have to submit your application online at the database.
  2. What happens if I submit an incomplete application?
    We do our best to notify you by email if your application is incomplete. However, if we have not received everything online by January 15, 2015, your application cannot be considered. It is the applicant's responsibility to properly submit all requested application documents: working PdF documents, offical transcript, official certificate of enrollment and a reference letter including an official letterhead and the referee's signature.
  3. Curriculum vitae/résumé: What should it include?
    You should include your contact details, information about your education and work or volunteer experience, and some details about your interest or previous experience in the field. To learn more about how to write a CV/resume, please ask your university advisor or visit: http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/curriculumvitae/a/curriculumvitae.htm
  4. Transcript: Do the PhD students need to receive an official transcript?
    You have to upload a current transcript in your online application. It does not matter if the transcript bears an “issued to student” stamp. Only official transcripts are accepted! Please feel free to open the sealed envelope in which you might receive your transcript in order to scan and upload it to the RISE online application.
  5. List of courses: What is the purpose of this list?
    The “list of courses you will have completed by the time the internship begins” serves two purposes . First, since transcripts are ordered by semester rather than content, and because they often contain a large number of abbreviations, it is meant for the PhD students to better understand your academic history. And second, it gives you the chance to include all courses that are too recent to appear on the transcript.
  6. Letter of reference: Who should write it and what should it contain?
    Ask a senior academic from your university who can judge how well you would perform in an international research internship setting. For this purpose, someone who has taught a small class that you attended or supervised you in the laboratory is the best choice. Please ask your referee (has to hold a PhD degree at least) to upload the letter of recommendation in the online database and not to write it in the database's "Remarks" text field. The letter of reference has to be submitted with the official letterhead of the respective university and the referee's original signature. We therefore propose to scan and convert the letter of reference into a PdF document before submitting it online. Please find below a guideline for your professor of what the letter of reference should contain:
    • Since when and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
    • The applicant is among the best students (in %): 5 %; 10 %;  20%; 30%; or no assessment possible
    • How does the applicant stand out in academic and personal terms and how would you assess his/her potential?
    • Of what significance is the aspired scholarship to the applicant’s academic and professional career?
    • Additional information that could be of importance to the scholarship award decision?
    • Degree of approval: Emphatic approval; Approval; Conditional Approval
  7. Letter of reference: How should it be submitted?
    Your letter of reference has to be submitted by your professor online. After you have logged in to the database and have saved your application for the first time you will find a field named "Letter of Reference - Please create a link for your professor." Please insert you professor's name here. Within seconds a weblink will be created which is assigned to your professor's name. Please send this weblink to your professor to enable him to submit the letter of reference online. Please make sure that you copy the entire link including the numbers at the end of this link! In order to activate the link you have to send it VIA EMAIL to your referee! Please do not test or use the link yourself, since it will neither work with your professor's explorer afterwards nor will it work with your explorer. Once your professor has received the weblink in question, he/she has to click on it and will be guided to an online portal where he/she has to register first. After the registration your professor will receive a confirmation email that the registration has been successful. Now, he/she must click on the confirmation link (in the email) and will be guided to a login portal in which he/she can submit the letter of recommendation for you.
    Deadline for submitting the letter of recommendation is January 22, 2015 (Hawaiian Standard Time)
  8. Cover letter: What should it include?
    You are required to write one cover letter for each project that you apply to. You should describe your motivation for applying for this research internship, and you should supplement your resume by explaining how your past experience has prepared you for the position. You may also add a few words about your plans for the future. As salutary address you can directly address the PhD students.
  9. I have submitted my application. What's next?
    Once we receive your complete application, we will send you a confirmation via email. By mid-February, all PhD students submit a list of preference. They have the option to exclude undergraduates who they feel are unsuited, which rarely happens. We will then begin with the placement process and notify you of the outcome at the beginning of March or later. Note that we encourage the PhD students to contact applicants by phone or email in order to discuss the application.
  10. Is the placement process standardized in some way?
    Yes. RISE receives a large number of applications both from North American / British undergraduates and from PhD students in Germany. Having a large pool of applications is one of the program’s strengths, but it requires that the placement process is carried out in a somewhat formalized way, as outlined below. The average GPA of students from the United States and Canada in 2014 was a GPA of 3.6 (out of 4; 4.3) and of students from Great Britain it was an average GPA of 60% (out of 100%).
  11. How does the placement process actually work?
    First of all, the PhD students send us their ranking of the applicants. This is the starting basis for all further decisions taken by DAAD. Afterwards, both the applying undergraduates and the project offers submitted by the PhD students are ranked as follows:
    • undergraduates are ranked in order of academic performance, as indicated by their grade point average
    • projects are ranked in order of demand, as indicated by the number of applications they have attracted
    • The two rankings are then used to match undergraduates and projects. Once a pair has been matched, it is removed from the process.
    • the top ten projects are assigned one of the three applicants they have given highest priority (and who are still available at that time)
    • the top ten students with the best academic performance are assigned one of the three projects they have applied for (and which are still available at that time)
    • and so on – the placement process goes on in this alternating manner until all scholarships are awarded
    Please note that this system is not absolute as we always try to make matches that please both undergraduates and PhD students. By designing the  placement process the way we do, we believe to achieve a high level of fairness and transparency. Undergraduate students with good grades, undergraduate  students who provide applications convincing in other ways, PhD students who  offer particularly attractive and interesting projects, and PhD students offering  projects that are exactly what at least one high-ranked student is looking for - they are all considered.
  12. What should I consider when I search for projects in the internship database?
    Do not restrict your search to a single field of study. Many projects treat aspects of, for instance, biology as well as chemistry. Because the PhD students have to choose a field of study when they submit their offers, you may miss some of them if you restrict your search to one particular field.
  13. What should I consider when I choose my projects?
    You should carefully choose the projects you apply for and make sure that they are in line with your academic field of interest. Withdrawals cause considerable inconvenience for DAAD and the PhD student. Projects at famous universities and research institutes are often heavily overbooked. In 2014, the maximum number of applications for one single project was 76. Thus, even highly qualified students will find it hard to be matched if they choose such projects only. We therefore suggest you submit at least one application for a project which is fully acceptable for you but for which you expect less competition by other applicants (e.g. because the project is somewhat exotic or the city is less well-known).
  14. What is the certificate of enrollment?
    The form certificate of enrolment is provided by the German Federal Employment Agency that needs certain information to be able to decide on the approval of an internship. The certificate has to show stamp of the university/college and signature of an authorized person. The expected date of graduation is required in order to prove your ongoing student status to the German Employment Agency- so that they are assured that you will be continuing your academic studies in fall 2015 upon completion of your internship in Germany. Some universities do not complete third-party verification forms. In this case we also accept the university's own official enrolment form as long as it shows a prospective/anticipated/expected graduation date. This document is available to download on the RISE database.

Please note that no individual feedback can be provided on your application - not by email nor by phone. It is the combination of your motivation letter, academic performance, letter of recommendation, practical experience and the PhDs' ranking which serve as determinants of the placement. Experience shows that PhD students tend to prefer applicants who have already completed their third year of study and have gained some practical experience so far. Nevertheless, we also welcome a considerable amount of students who have just finished their second year of study and might not have extensive work experience but stand out through excellent letters of recommendation and high academic grades. There is no single determinant for being awarded a RISE scholarship in this highly competitive program but a combination of various factors.

Questions about the scholarship

  1. When exactly does the internship take place, and how long does it last?
    You begin your internship between May 18 and early July (the three-day meeting of all scholarship holders in Heidelberg takes place at the beginning in July 2015), and you stay for a period between eight weeks up to three months. You can agree with the PhD student on the exact duration of the internship once you are accepted. The dates which the PhD students have indicated are to be understood as timeframes, which are to be readjusted on an individual basis.
  2. Is it possible to begin the internship before May 18?
    Unfortunately this is not possible. Due to the work permit waiver provided by DAAD for the entire group of RISE participants, all internships must begin on or after May 18.
  3. I am not able to be in Germany by May 18, but many internships seem to begin on that date. Does that mean that I cannot choose those internships?
    Since the dates are meant as timeframes, you can choose those internships nevertheless. Get in touch with the PhD student if you have questions about the dates.
  4. Do I need a visa or work permit?
    British citizens do not need a visa. U.S. and Canadian citizens who stay for 90 days or less do not need a visa either. Students without such citizenship are strongly advised to check with the German Federal Foreign Office whether they require one (see www.auswaertiges-amt.de). As for the work permit, the DAAD arranges for you to receive a work permit waiver. We will send it directly to your German supervisor after your acceptance to the program.
  5. How many scholarships will there be?
    We are able to offer about 300 scholarships. This will probably mean that one of every three applicants receives a placement.
  6. What is the amount of the scholarship?
    The monthly DAAD scholarship rate amounts to 650,- Euro. Scholarships can be issued as follows: 8 weeks a 1,300,- Euro; 10 weeks a 1,625,- Euro and 12 weeks a 1,950,- Euro. The scholarship is meant to cover living expenses such as housing and food. The award also includes health insurance as well as accident and personal liability insurance, issued directly through the DAAD insurance office. In addition, all scholarship holders are invited to a paid-for three-day meeting in Heidelberg in July 2015. All participants of the scholarship holder meeting will receive an allowance of 160,- Euro to buy a Rail Pass. Note that airfare to Germany and back is not covered.
  7. Can I get by on the scholarship grant?
    Yes, most German students live on about the same sum. Housing will cost you between 150,- and 400,- Euros, depending on where you live and how large your room is. According to our database of internship offers, the PhD students estimate the cost of housing to an average 250,- Euros. Groceries are quite expensive in Germany, but most universities have a commons where you can buy lunch for about 2,- Euros. In short, you will not incur additional costs for basic living expenses. If you travel extensively on the weekends, though, you will need additional funds.
  8. How will I find housing in Germany?
    Your host will help you to find reasonably-priced housing for the duration of the internship, which can be anything from a room in a student dormitory to a shared apartment. You can certainly also use your own contacts to find suitable accommodation.
  9. How can I get into contact with other RISE scholarship holders?
    Before leaving for Germany, you will receive a list of all scholarship holders who have given us permission to put their name and email address on it. We will also arrange a Facebook group (DAAD RISE 2015).

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