FAQ

Eligibility Criteria

I do not have U.S., Canadian, British or Irish citizenship. Am I eligible to apply?

Provided that you study at a United States, Canadian, British or Irish university/college, you are very welcome to apply. The application process is the same for U.S., Canadian, British or Irish 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, the UK or Irland after the internship. For visa-related information, visit the website of the German Federal Foreign Office.

Attention German Citizenship holders: You are only eligible to apply if you can prove that you have been living outside of Germany for six years or more.

I'm 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.

I’m enrolled at a community college. Am I eligible to apply?

No, you are not eligible to apply. You have to be enrolled at a college / university with a 4-years program.

I will finish my undergraduate'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 2018, you are not eligible for RISE Germany 2018. All students who will graduate in winter 2018 or later are eligible to apply.


We encourage all Master students to apply for RISE professional, our sister program. 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 Germany, this program features a scholarship to cover living expenses.

I received a RISE Germany scholarship last year and I am still going to have undergraduate status next summer. Can I apply for RISE Germany AND for RISE Professional?

No. Although you are eligible to apply for both programs, you must choose one. A parallel application for RISE Germany and RISE Professional is not possible.

I'm 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 Germany.

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.
DAAD can offer up to 90 spots for a paid german beginner language course at the DID institute. Selection is based on a first come- first serve basis.

I already have an internship arranged at a German university or institution. Can I participate in the 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 Germany is a program that offers every applicant the possibility to apply for any internship in the program.

Application process

How exactly do I send my application?

You have to submit your application online at the RISE Germany internship database before the deadline.

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.

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 2017, the maximum number of applications for one single project was 69. 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).

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.

Curriculum vitae (CV). 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, please ask your university advisor or visit: http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/curriculumvitae/a/curriculumvitae.htm.

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.

Transcript: Do I have to upload an official transcript?

Yes, you have to upload an official 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 your online application. In case you received an online password protected transcript be sure you print it out, scan it and upload it in your online application.

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 2018 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 Germany database or under Downloads.

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

Letter of reference: How should it be submitted?

Your letter of reference has to be submitted online by your professor. 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 and email address here. Within seconds a web-link will be created which is assigned to your professor’s name and email address. Your professor will get an email with this link and will be able to submit the letter of reference online.
Deadline for submitting the letter of recommendation is December 22, 2017.

I have submitted my application. What's next?

Once we receive your complete application, we will send you a confirmation via email. By mid-January, 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 end of February or later. Note that we encourage the PhD students to contact applicants by phone or email in order to discuss the application.

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 December 15, 2017, your application cannot be considered. There is one exception: Deadline for submitting the letter of recommendation is December 22, 2017.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to properly submit all requested application documents: working PDF documents, official transcript, official certificate of enrollment and a reference letter including an official letterhead and the referee’s signature.

Is the placement process standardized in some way?

Yes. RISE Germany receives a large number of applications from North American / British / Irish 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.

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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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, Ph.D. students who  offer particularly attractive and interesting projects, and Ph.D. students offering  projects that are exactly what at least one high-ranked student is looking for – they are all considered.

Please keep in mind 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 Germany scholarship in this highly competitive program but a combination of various factors.

Questions about the scholarship

When exactly does the internship take place, and how long does it last?

You begin your internship between May 15 and July 9 (the three-day meeting of all RISE scholarship holders in Heidelberg takes place at the beginning of July 2018), and you stay for a maximum period of three months (10 weeks minimum).
Unfortunately it is not possible to begin the internship before May 15. Due to the work permit waiver provided by DAAD for the entire group of RISE Germany participants, all internships must begin on or after May 15.
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 on the internship offer description are to be understood as timeframes, which are to be readjusted on an individual basis.

Do I need a VISA or a residence permit?

British or European citizens do not need a VISA.
U.S. and Canadian citizens who stay for 90 days or less in Germany do not need a VISA either. Students without such citizenship are strongly advised to check with the German Federal Foreign Office or your embassy whether they require one (see www.auswaertiges-amt.de).

Where can I get the work permit waiver?

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 and your arrange duration of the internship.

What is the amount of the scholarship?

The monthly DAAD scholarship rate amounts to 650,- Euros per month. If you stay more than 22 days in one calendar month, you receive the lump sum of 650,- Euros. If you stay less than 23 days in one month, the scholarship is calculated on a daily basis (650/30). 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 RISE Germany meeting in Heidelberg at the beginning of July 2018. All participants of the RISE Germany meeting will receive an allowance of 160,- Euros to buy a Rail Pass.
Note that airfare to Germany and back is not covered.

Do I need a German bank account?

Yes, you will need a German bank account to receive your monthly stipend and also the travel stipend from DAAD. We recommend you to open an account as soon as you arrived in Germany. You have also the possibility to insert the bank account of your PhD supervisor if you will not be able to open your own account.
DAAD is not allowed to transfer the scholarship amount onto foreign bank accounts.

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. Be careful with offers in the internet and don’t buy any rent before.