Find German scholarships for international students

With German scholarships for international students, 'money' is tossed aside as the biggest hurdle for students.


5 minute read
Updated on 17 Jul 2023

German scholarships for international students aren't only a real financial boon, but also make studying in Germany a tangible opportunity for everyone. These scholarships are the next big step in your journey to a degree at a German university.

To get you up and running, we've taken a closer look at 3 popular scholarships in Germany that you should definitely check out: DAAD Germany, German Scholarship and Erasmus+.

On average one in three students receives the scholarship they applied for.

DAAD scholarships in Germany

Paying rent for your hip flat in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg and meals in the university refectory digs deep into your students' pockets, not to mention the books for lectures.

DAAD Germany (German Academic Exchange Service) helps international students and takes the financial burden off their shoulders so that students can complete their studies. As a result, DAAD Germany funds the higher education of over 100,000 German and international students every year!

Here's how DAAD Germany helps you

Let the numbers speak for themselves: Since 1925, DAAD Germany has become one of the most significant funding organisations for international exchange - and has since then funded more than 2.6 million young academics and researchers in Germany and abroad. Quite an achievement!

But how exactly does DAAD Germany fund its students? Through regular monthly payments over a certain period of time, the scholarship supports you in covering costs of living and helps you to pay for books, health insurance or childcare.

What's best: DAAD scholarships don't have to be paid back!

More than financial support, however, there's also the networking aspect: as a scholarship holder, you become part of a large network that's valuable for you personally and might even open professional doors for you.

Getting the DAAD Germany Scholarship in Germany

Here's the good news: in order to land your scholarship at DAAD Germany, there're no big barriers to overcome. No one's too old for DAAD, no one's too young.

Above all, DAAD Germany prioritises advanced students, PhD students and postdocs. This means that applicants should be able to cover:

  • completed a Bachelor's degree or in the last year of their studies
  • has lived in Germany for less than 15 months
  • language requirements (English is sufficient in most cases)

Each scholarship provider handles the selection and application process in line with their own ideas. As a rule, the first step usually is a written application. In your application folder, you should include:

  • a cover letter
  • resume
  • certificates
  • letters of recommendation.

Your application file has pushed you into the 2nd round? Congratulations! The 2nd round in the application process is an interview invitation or a panel discussion with other applicants.

Hit the application deadline for your DAAD Scholarships in Germany

The rule of thumb for most student financing schemes is the earlier you apply, the better your chances are. You want to apply for your DAAD scholarship as early as possible.

In most cases, the application phase for your DAAD scholarship runs about half a year before the start of the semester for which you want the scholarship.

For the academic winter semester, you can apply from early May until July 15th; for the summer semester, you can apply from the beginning of December until January 15th.

Deutschland Scholarship (Germany Grant)

No matter what nationality you are, the Germany Scholarship is designed for anyone currently studying in Germany. Spoilers: You can't apply from abroad.

Did you know that 12% of all international students benefit from the Germany Scholarship?

What do I get from the German scholarship?

€300 per month: in some cities, this can partly your rent or your food expenses (including some beers from your go-to Späti!) Not bad, right? The €300 per month can truly lower the financial burden so that you can focus on your studies.

What's more, one-half comes from private sponsors, be they business organisations, charities or alumni; the other half of the funding is provided by the Federal government.

Pro-tip: you can combine the Germany Scholarship with BaföG, a funding programme for low-income students. Although you have to pay back this money at some point, BaföG can give you a financial back-up during your studies.

That's how you apply for the Germany Scholarship

The Germany scholarship goes hand in hand with top performance and encourages young talents. Students apply at their universities, which then make a shortlist and sponsor their selection of scholarship holders.

In 2019, 28,159 students throughout Germany were funded with a Germany Scholarship!

Erasmus+ for European students

With the Erasmus+ grant scheme, European students can do a study exchange at another European country and benefit from financial grants for their exchange. For instance, the Erasmus+ grants programme offers support for one-year exchanges as an international student at any European university.

Moreover, as a non-EU citizen you can still keep this option in mind! This means that you can also apply for the Erasmus+ grant even if you're a non-EU student. For example, you study full-time at a Dutch university but want to spent a semester abroad at a German university. The Erasmus+ is simply all about education exchange within Europe.

How do I qualify for Erasmus+ funding?

Erasmus+ is linked to a number of conditions. Your home university, but also the university in Germany must have signed the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education, i.e. be part of the Erasmus Network. But don't worry: Most of the large universities in Europe are part of the Erasmus programme.

How to apply for the Erasmus+ programme

The application process varies from one Erasmus+ programme to another, but the first thing you need to do is fill in your application form. With this easy step-by-step guide, you can get started in no time.

Scholarship in Germany for undergraduate

Do you find fewer scholarship opportunities for your Bachelor's programme in Germany in comparison to higher degree programmes? There's a very simple reason behind this: Public universities do not charge tuition fees since 2014. That's right: Your Bachelor's degree is free of charge in almost all German states, even for international students! All you have to do is pay an administration fee of €250 per semester.

An exception here is the state of Baden-Württemberg, where non-European students still have to pay €1,500 in tuition fees. So, if you don't have your eye glued on Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg, why not dive into the cheapest Western capital, Berlin, the urban jungle of the Hanseatic city of Hamburg or Munich, the Southern heart where German stereotypes were born?

Master's scholarship in Germany

There are numerous funding opportunities for your Master's programme.

DAAD Master Scholarships in Germany

If you want to secure a DAAD scholarship for your Master's programme in Germany, your chances are particularly strong if you come from industrial countries.

Erasmus+ Programmes

Erasmus+ doesn't only give Master students the prospect of scholarships, it also offers the Erasmus+ Master Degree Loan. It's tailored to ease the burden of financing for students in an Erasmus+ Programme country.

With favourable repayment options, Master students can get a grant between €12,000 (for one-year studies) and €18,000 (for two-year studies).

PhD scholarships in Germany

Even though DAAD Germany remains the largest funding network, there are still numerous smaller funding programmes for PhD students in Germany. The Ministry of Education and Research has summarised all these programmes at a glance.

DAAD for PhD students

The DAAD awards are Short-term Research Grants and One-Year Scholarships for PhD Students for just about all countries of origin. Applicants from developing and threshold countries have priority for a scholarship for their entire doctorate in Germany.

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