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Scholarships for PhD Studies in Germany

We've compiled a list of scholarships you can apply for if you'd like to get a PhD in Germany as an international student.

Aug 8, 2023
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Scholarships are a great way to make your studies more affordable, enabling you to concentrate on your academic program without the added stress of tuition and living expenses.

Here's a list of scholarships you can apply for if you'd like to get a PhD in Germany as an international student:

University scholarships

Humboldt Research Track Scholarship

The Humboldt Research Track funding line is designed to support outstanding Master’s students from Humboldt-Universität who plan to pursue a doctorate. Graduates from other universities may also be funded if they pursue a doctorate at Humboldt-Universität.

University: Humboldt Graduate School

Period: 6 to 12 months

Scholarship Award: Funding of 800 EUR per month is awarded for up to six months. Scholarship holders with children receive an additional 400 EUR a month for the first child, plus 100 EUR for each additional child. In exceptional cases, funding can be extended for up to an additional six months

Scholarship Requirements: Outstanding Master’s students as well as graduates who plan to pursue their doctorate at Humboldt-Universität or – if graduated from Humboldt-Universität – at another university in Germany or abroad.

Bridge Financing Grant

University: Technical University of Munich

Period: The grant is provided for a maximum of three months.

Scholarship Award: The grant provides funding of 1,000 euros per month, plus a family supplement of 150 euros per month per child.

Scholarship Requirements: Applicants should fulfill the following criteria:

  • completion of an above-average Master's degree from TUM within the last 6 months;
  • a supervision commitment by a TUM professor;
  • a commitment for employment by TUM or a commitment for a scholarship;
  • intention to apply for entry into the doctoral candidacy list (i.e. planning to become a regular doctoral candidate).

State Graduate Funding

University: University of Freiburg

Period: a funding period of 24 months, which can be extended up to twelve months.

Scholarship Award: Scholarship in the amount of 1300 euros per month (including an allowance for material costs and travel expenses). Scholarship recipients with children receive an additional amount of 300 euros per month for one child increased by 100 euros for every further child.

Scholarship Requirements: Eligible for funding are doctoral candidates of all faculties.

Courses or Subjects: All disciplines.

RWTH Scholarships for Doctoral Students

University: RWTH Aachen University

Period: As a rule, basic scholarships are awarded for a period of one year. Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to apply for an extension of the scholarship. If the application is approved based on a positive application, a two-year extension of the scholarship will be granted. The maximum scholarship period is 36 months.

Scholarship Award: Scholarship holders receive 1,400 euros per month. If the scholarship recipient has a child (or children), he or she will receive an additional monthly allowance of 400 euros.

Scholarship Requirements: Eligible to apply for funding are students with an above average degree which qualifies for doctoral studies. The applicant's research endeavor is expected to make an important and original contribution in the respective field of study.

The applicant must be enrolled as a doctoral student at RWTH Aachen University.

Argelander Scholarships

The aim is to provide funding for doctoral candidates from countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia in order to promote scientific exchange.

University: University of Bonn

Period: the award offers the opportunity for research stays in Bonn (3–12 months) for doctoral students of the named regions.

Scholarship Award: A travel allowance (depending on country of origin). A scholarship of € 1,500 per month (additional funds for accompanying family members: up to € 300 for a spouse and € 250 per child). A research expense allowance of up to € 300 per month that can be submitted to the International Office after the scholarship has been awarded. Information on applying for the allowance will be provided with your scholarship award.

Scholarship Requirements:

  • Preference is given to international doctoral candidates pursuing a doctoral degree at a university or a research institute in Africa, Latin America or Asia.
  • Doctoral candidates who are already pursuing their Ph.D. at the University of Bonn are not eligible for funding.
  • Recipients of funding should finish their doctorates at their home university (to avoid brain drain).

Scholarships funded by governmental bodies and external organizations

One-Year Grants for Doctoral Candidates

The scholarships are funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Period: 7 to 12 months

Scholarship Award: Monthly stipend of €1,200 for doctoral candidates, payments towards insurance cover, one-off research allowance, travel allowance, and additional benefits under certain circumstances.

Scholarship Requirements: PhD students from almost all countries of origin. Full doctoral program grants are primarily for applicants from developing and threshold countries.

Courses or subjects: Any research projects or courses of continuing education at a German university or research institute, coordinated with a German academic supervisor.

Baden-Württemberg Stiftung: The Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM for University Students

The Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM for University Students is a programme established by the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.

Period:The funding period ranges between 3 and 11 months.

Scholarship Award: The scholarship is calculated individually and amounts from 600 EUR to 1,400 EUR per month. Scholars also receive non-material assistance and are part of a broad international network connecting people from different disciplines and cultures.

Scholarship Requirements: you can apply if you are a highly qualified undergraduate, graduate or doctoral student; if you study at institutions of higher education either in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg (Germany) or at their international partner institutions; if you want to spend 1 or 2 exchange semesters at one of the partner institutions either in Baden-Württemberg (Germany) or abroad

Courses or subjects: Language and Cultural Studies, Law, Economics and Social Sciences, Mathematics/Natural Sciences, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine/Agriculture, Forestry and Nutritional Science, Engineering, Art, Music, Sport

DLR-DAAD Research Fellowship Programme

DLR is Germany's national research center for aeronautics and space.

Period: 36 months.

Scholarship Award: monthly installment of 1,760 euros; e.g. flat-rate travel allowance, health insurance, family allowances

Scholarship Requirements: This special programme is intended for highly-qualified foreign graduates, doctoral and postdoctoral students as well as senior scientists. DLR-DAAD Fellowships are defined and awarded on an individual basis. Each fellowship announcement will indicate the specific qualification requirements and terms of visit.

Courses or subjects: Aeronautics, Space, Energy, Transportation, Digitalisation, Security.

Hanns Seidel Foundation: PhD scholarships

The Hanns Seidel Foundation sponsors highly-qualified doctoral candidates either from EU member states or with the legal status of German educational nationals.

Period: The scholarship is initially granted for 1 year with a renewal option if applied for. An assessment of academic achievement will take place before the award. The sponsorship ends after 2 years. Under extraordinary circumstances the scholarship may be extended for 6 months.

Scholarship Award: 1,350 EUR per month plus a research cost allowance of 100 EUR and family- and child allowances, if necessary non-material support in the form of, i.e., seminars, events and networking meetings.

Scholarship Requirements: admission to postgraduate studies (certificate of higher-education degree required) at a state or state-recognized higher education institution in Germany or in EU countries plus Switzerland with proof of first deliverables of the project or at least after completion of literature research.

Courses or Subjects: Language and Cultural Studies, Law, Economics and Social Sciences, Mathematics/Natural Sciences, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine/Agriculture, Forestry and Nutritional Science, Engineering, Art, Music, Sport.

Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk: Doctoral Scholarship

The Studienwerk specifically promotes talented Jewish students and doctoral candidates.

Period: The doctoral scholarships are generally awarded over a standard period of 2 years. In exceptional cases, however, academics may apply for the funding to be renewed twice for 6 months at a time.

Scholarship Award: financial support, non-material support, religious mentoring, comprehensive mentoring of the academics with the aim of promoting academic excellence, and fostering personal growth.

Scholarship Requirements: admission to a doctoral programme at a state or state-recognised institution of higher education in Germany or, if the applicant holds German citizenship, in an EU member state or Switzerland. In justified cases doctoral programmes at a higher education institution in an extra-European country may be funded. The doctoral scholarship promotes the next generation of academics. The application for a doctoral scholarship should be made in the initial phase of developing the dissertation.

Courses or Subjects: Language and Cultural Studies, Law, Economics and Social Sciences, Mathematics/Natural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine/Agriculture, Forestry and Nutritional Science, Engineering, Art, Music, Sport.

Major-specific scholarships

Bayer Foundation: Carl Duisberg Fellowships in Medical Sciences

Offers individual support for the study of human or veterinary medicine or for an MSc or PhD (or equivalent) in medical engineering, applied medical sciences, public health, or data science in medicine.
Period: 2 to 6 months

Scholarship Award: Individual financial support, but limited to 10,000 EUR per request

Courses or subjects: human or veterinary medicine, medical engineering, applied medical sciences, public health, or data science in medicine.

Bayer Foundation: Jeff Schell Fellowship in Agricultural Sciences

The Jeff Schell Fellowship can be granted to MSc and PhD students from all fields of natural science and data science with fundamental or applied studies with relevance to the crop science industry.

Period: 2 weeks to 6 months

Scholarship Award: individual financial support, limited to 10,000 EUR per application.

Scholarship Requirements: applicants are currently students (MSc or PhD) of natural science and data science with fundamental or applied studies in agricultural science.

German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ): International PhD Program

The program is intended for Internationals holding a Master’s degree in the natural sciences who wish to obtain a doctorate in the field of cancer research.

Period: 3 years

Scholarship Award: The salaries are competitive by national and international standards in this field.

Scholarship Requirements: International students holding a Master’s degree in (molecular) biology, (bio-)chemistry, physics, mathematics, computational biology, computer science, epidemiology/public health studies and related subjects are invited to apply for the international PhD program.

German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU): PhD Scholarship Program

Sponsor research in the field of environmental protection at higher-education institutions in Germany.

Period: The maximum funding covers a period of 3 years.

Scholarship Award: Financing includes a base amount 1,500 EUR per month over a period of 3 years at most. Moreover, there is a fixed allowance of 210 EUR per month for material expenses; further contributions to material expenses are paid in exceptional cases. Fellows with children are granted additional support, if necessary.

Scholarship Requirements: academics qualified for doctoral studies and with an above-average degree (overall grade good or very good; law: at least fully satisfactory)

German National Academic Foundation: Leo Baeck Fellowship Program

The international Leo Baeck Fellowship Program awards grants to doctoral students who carry out research into the history and culture of Central European Jewry.

Period: 1 year. Doctoral candidates who will prepare and submit their dissertation to universities in Germany can apply for an extension of the funding period after the first year, provided that the Studienstiftung has the appropriate funding available.

Scholarship Award: grant amount of 1,350 EUR each month; monthly research cost allowance of 100 EUR; if applicable, health insurance allowance of max. 100 EUR, child allowance if applicable; Travel expenses for research meetings and conferences abroad will be partly refunded on a monthly basis.

Scholarship Requirements: admission to doctoral studies.

Privately funded scholarships

Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds: PhD Fellowships

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds offers doctoral fellowships to outstanding junior scientists who want to conduct an ambitious doctoral project in the field of basic biomedical research at an internationally leading laboratory.

Period: 2 years with the option to apply for an extension of up to 18 months.

Scholarship Award: base amount of 1,650 EUR per month plus individual country allowance, i.e., of 300 EUR in Germany plus 150 EUR lump sum per month for material expenses; allowance for accompanying spouses and children possible; travel allowance possible; attendance of tailored seminars for scientific research and networking during the fellowship and beyond; communication training; lifetime membership in the alumni network; individual support by the foundation.

Scholarship Requirements: Natural scientists should have obtained their last university degree (BSc, diploma, MSc or equivalent) before starting their doctorate. Eligible applicants meet the following criteria: (1) outstanding academic record, (2) research proposal of extraordinary scientific quality and (3) excellent scientific standard of the laboratory, in which the project is to be realized.

Courses or subjects: Mathematics/Natural Sciences, Medicine.

Cusanuswerk: Undergraduate and Postgraduate Fellowships

The Cusanuswerk offers fellowships to particularly gifted students and doctoral candidates of catholic faith from all disciplines.

Period: the doctorate can be funded for a maximum of 3 years; in the event of illness or child care, the funding period can be extended to a maximum of 4 years.

Scholarship Award: The monthly amount is modeled after the BAföG grant and calculated depending on the income or assets of the candidate, the candidate's parents or spouse. In addition, a standard study cost allowance of 300 EUR per month is granted. Doctoral candidates receive a monthly stipend of 1,350 EUR per month regardless of parental income plus a research cost allowance of 100 EUR as well as health care-, child- and family allowances, if required.

Scholarship Requirements: the program is intended for students and doctoral candidates of catholic faith with an excellent academic record, strong reflection skills and a commitment to standing up for the catholic faith and the Church.

Courses or Subjects: Language and Cultural Studies, Law, Economics and Social Sciences, Mathematics/Natural Sciences, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine/Agriculture, Forestry and Nutritional Science, Engineering, Art, Music, Sport.

Gerda Henkel Stiftung Scholarship

The PhD scholarships support highly qualified junior academics from the historical sciences with excellent academic standing and brilliant examination results who show unusual promise for their doctoral theses.

Period: The funding period is up to two years. In justified cases, the scholarship period can be extended for up to 12 months if an extension application is made before the end of the second year of funding.

Scholarship Award: scholarship base amount per month: 2,300 EUR; standard foreign-residence allowance per month: 575 EUR; travel allowance: as required; material costs: as required. Family allowance, if applicable: 400 EUR for scientists with 1 child, +100 EUR for each additional child.

Scholarship Requirements: Overall graduation grade (Masters, or for German State Examinations Sek. II): 1.5 or better (foreign graduation certificates will be assessed separately). The applicant must not have been older than 28 years of age at the point in time when s/he graduated and qualified to take part in a PhD programme. (Age limit extension possible for exceptional circumstances like night school, childcare, military service, work experience, etc.)

Courses or subjects: Archaeology, History of Art, Historical Islamic Studies, History, History of Science, History of Law, Prehistory and Early History

Evangelisches Studienwerk: Scholarship for Doctoral Students

Every year the Studienwerk funds about 300 German and foreign doctoral candidates of protestant faith from all disciplines.

Period: Scholarships are initially awarded for a period of 2 years, an extension of the funding period for up to 3 years at most is possible.

Scholarship Award: A full grant currently amounts to 1,350 EUR. Doctoral candidates moreover receive a research allowance of 100 EUR. If there are children under the age of 14 living with the doctoral candidate for whom the candidate is the legal guardian, the candidate is eligible for a child care allowance or support for a parental year.

Scholarship Requirements: admission to a doctorate at a German institution of higher education. An application is possible if the applicant has not worked on the project for more than a year.

Courses or Subjects: Language and Cultural Studies, Law, Economics and Social Sciences, Mathematics/Natural Sciences, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine/Agriculture, Forestry and Nutritional Science, Engineering, Art, Music, Sport.

Evonik Foundation: Evonik Foundation Scholarship

The program's focus is on supporting of particularly gifted and skilled young scientists and includes mentoring of the scientist's academic and personal skills.

Period: 2 years with an option to renew the sponsorship for 1 year at the most

Scholarship Award: doctoral theses: 1,400 EUR per month over 2 years with an option to renew the sponsorship

Scholarship Requirements: Master's or Diploma program or doctoral program.

Courses or Subjects: Mathematics/Natural Sciences.

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