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General FAQ: DAAD Scholarships & Grants

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We know the application process may seem overwhelming in the beginning. To help you, we have collected some of the most frequently asked questions on our scholarships and the application processes.

1. Is there an age limit for DAAD scholarships?
No, there is usually no fixed age limit. There are individual exceptions in programs in which this is explicitly requested by an international partner. Some scholarship programs stipulate that only a certain amount of time should have elapsed since the last degree was taken (see also question 2). For details, please refer to the respective Call for Applications at www.funding-guide.de under the heading “Application requirements.”

2. I finished my university degree or started my doctorate longer ago than the application requirements specify. Am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, an application may be permissible under the following circumstances which may have a delaying effect on studies or doctoral projects:

  • pregnancy and childbirth
  • care of children up to the age of 12 (maximum of three years per child)
  • care of care-dependent relatives
  • disability or chronic illness
  • prolonged, serious illness
  • compulsory military service
  • if applicable, other circumstances.

The dates of birth of children and periods of childcare or care of relatives or longer periods of absence due to illness or disability should be indicated in the application form; the last free text field “Other comments / Information” is available for this purpose. 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.

Information about studying abroad with a disability or chronic illness is provided in the following: Mobility with a Disability.

Other circumstances must also be justified and substantiated with supporting documents.

3. I have not completed my university degree at the time of application. Am I still eligible to apply for a scholarship?
Yes, in programs which require a first university degree, you can apply in your last year of study. You must then meet all the academic requirements set out in the Call for Applications by the time your funding period begins. Also, you can hand in your degree later; it must be submitted before the start of the funding period.

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?
An application from your current country of residence is possible under certain circumstances:

  • If you wish to apply for a short-term scholarship (up to 6 months), you must have lived and have been normal resident in your country of residence for at least one year at the time of application.
  • If you would like to come to Germany for more than 6 months, you must also have obtained your last degree (e.g. Bachelor or Master) in your country of residence or obtain this degree by the time the scholarship period begins.

In any case, you can apply from your country of origin, even if you currently live in another country and meet the above requirements. Your country of origin is usually the country in which you have spent most of your life and may differ from your nationality.

We strongly recommend that you seek information and advice to find out which scholarship programs are available to you. If you are unsure about your eligibility, please contact us at daad.newyork [at] daad.de.

6. I have dual citizenship. From which country should I apply?
Dual nationals must apply from their country of origin (usually the country where you have spent most of your life). If the requirements are met, an application from the current country of residence is also possible, as described above (A.5). Nationality alone does not entitle you to apply from a country you have never lived in and are not currently living in.

7. I am enrolled in a study program at a German university and aim to complete this degree in Germany, or I am completing a doctoral degree at a German university. Can I apply for a DAAD scholarship abroad?

Under certain conditions, foreign nationals may also apply for funding programs abroad

  • You are enrolled in a study program at a German university with the aim of obtaining a degree from the German university, or
  • You are doing your doctorate at a German university

and want do go abroad during this time. This regulation does not apply to international students/doctoral candidates who are already being funded with an “Incoming DAAD scholarship” in Germany.

In addition, persons of equal status to Germans according to § 8 Para. 1 Number 2ff. Paragraph 2, Paragraph 2a, and Paragraph 3 BAföG can apply. In this context, the wording of the law applies, which can be found here.

Furthermore, it is checked to what extent there is a connection to Germany and whether there is a justified expectation that you will return to Germany after the end of the temporary stay abroad.

A funding in your home country is usually excluded.

Programs for funding abroad for students in Germany are listed in our scholarship database www.auslands-stipendien.de.

8. Can I apply for a scholarship whatever subject I am studying?
Principally yes: DAAD offers many scholarship programs that are open to almost all subjects, although restrictions apply to some subjects (e.g. medicine). There are also subject-specific programs that are aimed at very specific subject areas, such as architecture, music or computer science. In the scholarship database, you can select the scholarships programs that are offered for your subject group.

9. What language skills do I need to apply for a scholarship?
Not all programs require a general minimum language level for funding applications. Depending on country of origin and scholarship program, however, certain language skills may be expected. You can find out which requirements these are in the “Application requirements” section of the Call for Applications. Please read these requirements thoroughly to find out what applies to your program.

For scholarships in Germany, however, the following generally applies: when you submit your application, you must provide proof of your current proficiency in the language of instruction (German, English, or German and English) in your chosen study program.

Students from the United States and Canada are not required to demonstrate English language proficiency.

If you would like to assess your German language skills yourself, you can take the free placement tests of e.g. Deutsche Welle or the Goethe-Institut.

10. My German language skills are not yet sufficient. Are there e-learning language courses that I can take in my home country to improve my skills?
Yes, you can learn German in online courses. For example, the Goethe-Institut as well as Deutsche-Uni Online (DUO) offer special online courses in German. For scholarship holders whose funding lasts longer than six months, DAAD will pay the costs of one DUO module.

Furthermore, you can find a wide range of free online content for learning German on Deutsche Welle at https://learngerman.dw.com/en/learn-german/s-9528

11. I am considering online/distance/part-time studies in Germany. Am I eligible for a DAAD scholarship?
No, DAAD scholarships are awarded to applicants wishing to complete a full-time course of study with compulsory attendance in Germany. This is why applicants wishing to take a blended learning or distance/e-learning program or part-time program (e.g. dual course of study) are not eligible for DAAD funding.

12. I already have a scholarship from the European Union, the DAAD, or another organization in Germany. Can I still receive a DAAD scholarship?
If you are already funded by DAAD, another German funding organization or another state agency in Germany, you cannot receive a scholarship from DAAD.

An Erasmus scholarship is not compatible with a full DAAD scholarship. Scholarship holders in the “University Summer Courses in Germany” and “University Winter Courses in Germany” programs as well as those who receive a partial scholarship from DAAD can also take advantage of ERASMUS funding.

1. In the Call for Applications for Study Scholarships, a so-called “letter of motivation” must be submitted. What does this mean?

In a letter of motivation, you are required to describe your professional and personal reasons for wishing to study in Germany on at least one and no more than three pages.

A letter of motivation is required when you apply for a study  or a grant for a language or specialist course. This letter gives you the opportunity to describe your personality and the reasons why you are applying for DAAD funding. The following information and questions will help you write an informative letter of motivation.

  • Facts about your education, skills and knowledge
    • Studies: study programme, number of , if applicable, degree
    • Professional experience, if applicable
    • Specialised knowledge, skills and language skills
    • Prizes and awards (if applicable)
  • Academic motivation
    • Why do you wish to take the study program or attend the language or specialist course for which you are applying?
    • What appeals to you about your chosen university?
    • What are your expectations of studying in Germany or attending the course (personal, professional, for your career)?
  • Reasons for applying for a scholarship
    • Why are you applying for a DAAD scholarship?
    • What do you expect of this scholarship?
    • How will the scholarship help you achieve your academic, professional and personal goals?
  • Personal interests
  • Here you can outline special extracurricular achievements and commitments or personal qualities that say something about your character.

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 on the daad.de website 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.de 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).

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, 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.

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 on the daad.de website. 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 portal@daad.de.
  • 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 signed reference form 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 my application complete if I submit it via the DAAD portal? 
    No. Your application is only complete when we have received your complete electronic application via the online portal and reference by post (postmark date is valid). Please note that incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.

3. 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?

4. 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.

5. 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.

 

  1. Who makes a decision about my application? The selection committee is an independent committee made up of expert US, Canadian, and German If necessary, experts in the respective subject are asked to submit written statements. DAAD employees do not vote in the scholarship election procedure.
  2. According to which criteria does the selection committee make its decision?The key selection criteria are

1. What’s the whole amount of the monthly scholarship payment?
The scholarship payment depends on the academic qualifications of the scholarship holders and on the scholarship program. Scholars taking a Master’s program typically receive € 934, doctoral candidates and postdocs € 1,200. Rates for university teachers are usually € 2,000 for assistant teachers, assistant professors and lecturers, € 2,150 for professors. You can find an overview of other possible benefits in each program’s Call for Applications in the Scholarship database at www.funding-guide.de.

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 €450.00 a month) are credited against the monthly scholarship payments.

6. I have heard that tuition fees are charged by some universities in Germany. Do I have to pay these fees if I’m receiving a DAAD scholarship?
Although tuition fees are not generally charged in Germany, studying at some universities is not always free of charge.
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.

International Students and Scholars

DAAD USA and the programs on www.daad.org serve the academic communities of North America only. In most cases international students and scholars at North American universities are eligible for DAAD programs if they meet certain requirements. Learn more here about your eligibility as an international student.

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