Scholarship opportunities and requirements for your studies in Germany

For many students, a scholarship is a great opportunity to go study at a university, which would usually be impossible for them to finance otherwise. However, this also means that they are highly contested in most cases and specific requirements need to be met to be even considered for a scholarship. Go on reading to find out which would be your path to attaining a scholarship for your studies in Germany.

What is a scholarship?

You most likely have heard of scholarships before. Scholarships are usually granted to support students (or sometimes interns) on their further educational journey. Even though most scholarships are money grants at their core, some also offer additional, non-material support, such as access to networking events or student consulting. In most cases, scholarships are granted based on previous academic achievements or special activities that qualify the students for financial support. However, regardless of where you come from, what you did before or what you are planning to do, you need to have excelled in some way on your previous path to be granted a scholarship for your studies in Germany.

Who offers scholarships?

There are plenty of different institutions that offer scholarships for different fields of study, degree programmes and purposes, for people all around the globe, aspiring a stay in Germany. The main sponsors of these scholarships are political organisations, businesses, religious institutions and institutions such as the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (EN: German Academic Exchange Service)). More information about the different patrons of scholarships can be found below.

What are the requirements for a scholarship?

As mentioned above, there are certain requirements to be granted a scholarship. Due to the different requirements depending on the scholarship provider it is not possible to give a perfect handbook on how to apply for one. However, we can give you recommendations on what is usually expected of scholarship holders to increase your chances of being awarded a scholarship.

First up, it strongly depends on the scholarships that you chose to apply for. There are scholarships that are awarded strictly based on former academic successes. One example of such a scholarship is the Deutschlandstipendium. Then again, there are also scholarships that are more likely to be granted to socially, culturally, or financially underprivileged students, to help them make their dreams come true. Below, you can find a list with the most common requirements that are held against scholarship applicants:

  • Involvement in associations, political parties, initiatives, youth organisations, university groups
  • Above-average performance in previous studies, academic work or work experience
  • High level of motivation to achieve your goal, often expressed through an interview or a letter of motivation

Tip: A well thought through motivation letter as well as letters of recommendation will increase your chances!

In a letter of motivation, you have the unique opportunity to explain why you, of all people, are suitable for the scholarship. Here is some inspiration for what you could include in your letter:

  • The reason why you chose your field of study
  • What particularly interests you about your studies
  • How you imagine your future career
  • Previous successes such as awards
  • Previous jobs or internships
  • If you are involved in a club, a political party or social projects
  • How the scholarship would advance your career
  • How you would use the money to reach your goals
  • What you would attempt to change in the world

You can also address financial aspects here, for example, by mentioning that greater financial freedom would help you to concentrate more on your studies. But most important: Be creative but genuine when writing your letter. Always remember that you do not want to write the same as everyone else but stand out from the crowd.

Even though a letter of recommendation is often not explicitly required, it comes in handy for the application process. It is best to ask at your university or school whether one of your professors or another teacher, who knows you well, could issue you such a letter. A letter of recommendation can often work wonders because it emphasises your suitability for a scholarship from a professional point of view as well.

Where and how can I apply for a scholarship?

Since there are multiple organisations that offer scholarships for different fields and qualification levels, there are in theory countless points of contact you can apply at for a scholarship. Of course, you can go ahead and search for the specific organisation you wish to apply at for a scholarship. However, probably the quickest solution is to go to a portal that offers an overview of available scholarships in Germany, at least in a specific field, and then filter for the scholarships that are applicable for you. Websites that offer such services are the DAAD, Stipendienlotse, scholars4dev, and Begabungslotse (here you also find other sponsorship offers). All those websites offer the above-mentioned functionalities to filter and search for specific types of scholarships. It is worth to mention that only the DAAD and scholars4dev have English websites.

DAAD

With around 100,000 supported students and researchers every year, the DAAD is one of the biggest funding organisations of its kind. For getting a grant, it does not matter where you are coming from as the DAAD scholarships are awarded to talented people from all around the world.

Graduates, doctoral students, and postdocs are the main target groups that are supported by DAAD grants, but language students can also find support from the DAAD. There are even scholarships available for people that attend an academic programme or do research in their home country.

The funding at DAAD usually consists of € 861.00 per month for graduates or € 1,200.00 for doctoral students, often supplemented by free or reduced rates for elemental insurances, as well as other benefits, depending on the scholarship. More information about the scholarships and their exact terms can be found in the DAAD scholarship database. When applying for a scholarship, please always pay close attention to the conditions under which they are granted and to the deadlines for the individual programmes.

Deutschlandstipendium

The Deutschlandstipendium (English: Germany Scholarship) is granted to students with outstanding academic performances and that are willing to take over responsibility and are able to master hurdles in their daily life but also on their educational path.

The Deutschlandstipendium grants € 300.00 per month to its holders. Half of the grant is sponsored by the state, while the other half is sponsored by diverse private institutions.

You can find out, whether your university is taking part in this programme by checking this map.

Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft – Klaus Murmann Stipendium

The Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (English: Foundations of the German Economy) is currently supporting around 1,900 scholars from all different parts of society. As with most other scholarships, good academic performances are a basic requirement for this scholarship.

The financial support of this scholarship is based on the income of the holder. A flat amount of € 300.00 per month is paid to every student, while the maximum amount is € 752.00 per month. Doctoral students on the other hand receive € 100.00 every month for research costs, on top of a maximum, income-dependent scholarship of maximum € 1,350.00 per month. However, holders of this scholarship receive additional support when it comes to direct dialogue with companies and participants of the German economy. Regular seminars with representatives of said organisations are held throughout the whole year. Furthermore, you can also train and test your skills in competitions organised by the foundation’s members.

There are fixed deadlines for the application process for this scholarship throughout the year which need to be considered during the application process. More information about the whole application process can be found here.

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung currently supports more than 2,800 students on their academic endeavours. For this grant, personality and socio-political commitment are equally as important as outstanding performances. The foundation supports young talents that are willing to take over responsibility and that are fighting for the values of free democracy.

With how much money the foundation supports you depends on a multitude of factors, including the income of your parents. The maximum amount is at around €1,100.00 per month, while the general flat support is at around € 300.00 per month.

During the application process for this grant, it will be evaluated, whether your personality and values align with those of the foundation. This will, among other measures, be evaluated based on two personal interviews with representatives. More information about the application process can be found here.

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung

The focus of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung lies on individuals that demonstrate high levels of social and political engagement. Special focus is put on applications from women, students of non-academic families and migrant backgrounds, socially needy and people with disabilities, as well as students that are studying in the fields of science and technology. The scholarship is not awarded to Bachelor students.

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung supports its scholarship holders with € 850.00 per month with some additional lump sums to be attained. Doctoral students receive € 1,200.00 per month, also with additional lump sums that can be requested.

During the selection process of the application, the focus is specifically put on the following criteria:

  • Above-average academic proficiency and achievements
  • Political and social engagement
  • German language proficiency (B2 level or above)
  • Personal/family background

More information about the application process can be found here.

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung specifically grants scholarships for international students that have at least finished their Bachelor level qualification, to support international exchange. However, this scholarship underlies quite a few requirements, some of which are as follows:

  • Above-average academic results
  • Not older than 30 years at the time of application
  • German skills level B2 or higher
  • Active engagement in voluntary work
  • Planned studies of at least 3 semesters in Germany
  • Broad general education and a strong interest in political issues
  • Positive attitude towards human rights and democracy
  • Openness to develop own points of view and practise tolerance
  • High motivation

Monthly support in this foundation is based on your course of studies and other factors. Master students receive monthly support of € 861,00, for which the usual funding period is two years. Doctoral students receive a monthly grant of € 1.200,00. The standard period for this scholarship is three years. In addition to those stipends, multiple other subsidies are provided by the foundation, depending on your family situation.

Besides this, there are additional benefits of being a holder of this scholarship. On the one hand, you will profit from the membership in a big network of former and current scholars, with which you can exchange opinions and ideas. On the other hand, you will get access to mentoring offers by staff members of the foundation or representatives of the universities. This allows you to further broaden your horizon and continuously hone your skills.

There are two main ways of applying. The first way is relevant when you are lucky enough to live in one of the focus regions, which change every year. Interviews will then be held in countries of those focus regions, for which you can send in your application directly. The other way is applying online. All necessary information for this process, as well as a list of all required documents, can be found here.

Heinrich Böll Stiftung

Heinrich Böll Stiftung specifically grants scholarships for international students. Prerequisites for the scholarship are a good knowledge of German (at least B2 level or higher) and additional documentation about your personal and academic skills which need to be handed in via the online application form.

The volume of the support of this scholarship is dependent on the income of your parents as well as other personal influence factors. However, an exact estimate cannot be given for international students due to the volatility of the amount.

If you are interested in this scholarship, you can apply for it through this website. Follow the steps indicated there and your application will be done swiftly.

Get your proof of financial resources for your studies in Germany

As soon as you have enough money to study in Germany, you can apply for a visa. For this, you need proof of financial resources. The most convenient way to provide this proof is by opening a digital blocked account – with Fintiba it is quick, secure and will be accepted by all German authorities with a 100% guarantee.

Even though it may sound difficult to attain a scholarship and they are certainly not awarded lightly, it is always worth looking out for a scholarship that suits you as a person and your course of studies. As an application costs nothing except some of your time, it is worth giving it a try to get a chance to relieve some of the financial strain while studying in Germany. So, go ahead and find a scholarship that fits your situation and get the applications rolling.

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Last update: February 23, 2021

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