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Study in Germany for free: The DAAD Scholarship explained

SOURCE: John MACDOUGALL / AFP
A tuition-free education, paid accommodation, and a monthly allowance for your German degree — with a DAAD Scholarship, this could be a reality.


By Shekinah Kannan 

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English-taught programmes. Affordable courses. A stellar academic reputation. These reasons and more are part of what makes Germany a popular choice for aspiring postgraduate students.

Located in the centre of Europe, Germany is known for its strength in science, research, and development. They offer a wide range of doctoral opportunities through its distinguished research systems, world-ranking universities, and multitude of organisations that offer practical training opportunities, making it an ideal location for researchers.

If you’re eager to pursue your postgraduate studies in Germany, you might want to consider applying for the DAAD Scholarship. Here’s what you should know:

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What is a DAAD Scholarship?

Fully-funded by the German government, this generous scholarship is open to those looking to pursue a postgraduate degree in the country

In fact, the DAAD, or the German Academic Exchange Service, currently supports the education of 100,000 German and international students annually in party-related foundations or business-affiliated institutions. In some programmes, internships are also covered.

These programmes are specifically aimed at graduates, doctoral students and postdocs.

What are your options?

Are you an aspiring PhD student or aspiring postdoc? There are short-term grants and one-year grants available for students from just about any country of residence. The aim of these programmes is to promote research projects within the context of doctoral programmes. Academics and scientists with a master’s, or in exceptional cases, a bachelor’s, are encouraged to apply.

The DAAD grant for a full doctoral programme is reserved to applicants from developing and threshold countries. It was set in place to support impactful doctoral projects in Germany.

Language courses are also available through University Summer Courses and University Winter Courses. These are especially helpful to students and graduates looking to improve their knowledge of the German language and their knowledge of the country. 

There are also 10 “sur-place and third country programmes” available to students, scientists, and researchers vying to complete a graduate programme, doctoral programme or postdoc period from their home country or region. Click here for the full list

What does a DAAD Scholarship come with?

The scholarships is extensive, and covers tuition and accommodation fees.

Postgraduate students will also receive a monthly allowance of 750 euros, while doctorate students receive €1,000 a month. Both are eligible to receive health insurance too. There is also a provision where these students can receive a travel grant.

Do you need to speak German?

While every programme and institution states different requirements, most ask for proof of an applicant’s current proficiency of either German, English, or both. Keep in mind that IELTS are accepted while TOEFL results aren’t.

If you would like to test your German skills before applying, free placement tests are available via Deutsche Welle or the Goethe-Institut.

Meanwhile, the British Council offers placement tests for English.

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How do you apply?

DAAD Scholarships 2022-2023 are currently open! If you’re looking to apply to a programme ASAP, a full list of application deadlines – some of which have yet to closed – can be found here

Every applicant should begin by identifying their German university and programme of choice. Once done, they should proceed to create an account and login to the DAAD Portal. For most programmes, electronic submission to the portal is all that’s required.

Alternatively, some universities make it possible for students to apply for the DAAD Scholarship directly from their respective websites.

Common requirements

  • Filled the application form for the DAAD Scholarship
  • Hand-signed Europas Specimen form
  • Hand-signed present occupation reference and motivation letter
  • Recommendation letter from your previous university
  • Experience letter from a higher-up
  • An optional letter of guarantee for e-employment post-graduation
  • Proof of English proficiency