Find German Scholarships for International Students


Updated on Nov 12 • 5 minute read

German scholarships for international students aren't only a real financial boon, but also turn to study in Germany into a tangible opportunity for everyone - no matter which country you come from or how much money you have saved up. With a German scholarship for international students, you're taking the biggest step forward in getting started with your studies in Germany.

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

What's more,

on average one in three students nowadays receives the scholarship for which they applied.

The smaller the funding organisation, the better your chances of success in most cases. So, what's stopping you?

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 in a carefree frame of mind. As a result, DAAD Germany funds well 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 is 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 are no big barriers to overcome; no one is too old for DAAD, no one too young.

Above all, DAAD Germany primarily addresses advanced students, PhD students and postdocs. This means that applicants usually need to be able to cover these areas:

  • completed a Bachelor's degree or in the last year of their studies
  • lives 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, however, the first step usually remains the same: a written application. In your application folder, you should include

  • a cover letter
  • resume
  • certificates
  • and teacher recommendations.

Your application file has pushed you into the second round? Congratulations! The second round in the application process is an invite to an interview 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. And so, you want to apply for your DAAD scholarship as early as possible; in other words, once you have decided that you need a scholarship.

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 between May until 15 July; for the summer semester, you must apply at the beginning of December until 15 January.

As you can see, it’s quite straightforward!

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 percent of all international students benefit from the Germany Scholarship?

What do I get from the German scholarship?

300€ per month: in some cities, this is equivalent to the monthly rent for your student room or will cover your food expenses (including some beers from your go-to Späti!) Not bad, right? The 300€ per month truly take away your daily financial troubles so that you can fully focus on your studies.

What's more, one-half (150€) 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 some financial back-up during your studies.

That's how you apply for the Germany Scholarship

Straightforward concept: The Germany scholarship goes hand in hand for top performance and encourages young talents.

To this end, students apply to 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 dive into 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 but study at a Dutch university and spend your semester abroad at a university in Germany. The Erasmus+ is simply all about the 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 1500€ 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 to kickstart your studies in Germany for free?

Masters 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 has the Erasmus+ Master Degree Loan in its hands; tailored to ease the burden of financing for students in an Erasmus+ Programme country, leaving the smallest possible financial footprint.

With favourable repayment options, Master students can get a grant of €12,000 for one year or €18,000 for two years of Master's 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 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 the entire doctorate in Germany.

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