Ph.D. in Germany

How to get Funds or Scholarships in Germany For PhD Studies?

What are the Ways to get PhD studies funded in Germany?

Apart from many benefits of the education system of Germany, one of the major benefits students find is that German institutions do not charge tuition fees. This is mainly because of the fact that non-university research institutions and universities are usually funded by the government. On the other hand, industries are also the ones who fund the universities and research institutions as they work in collaboration with them. However, there is also a third party that funds universities and research centers and that are the private foundations. For example, Gerda Henkel and Fritz Thyssen are the private foundations that fund millions of rupees to the universities and research institutions. Moreover, the European Union also provides funds to the Research Framework Program.

Additionally, because of the increased disruptions in demographic and climate changes, an increase in the disease worldwide, increase in the need for healthy and safe food and the deficiency of energy resources, the federal government of Germany has decided to launch a high tech strategy to support research in all of the major areas. Furthermore, in the year 2015, the German government assigned 10% of GDP to research and education.

In Germany, there are about 20,000 funding organizations belonging to the private and public sectors. These organizations provide funds to the institutions for the doctorate students belonging to other countries. Moreover, these organizations include the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Helmholtz Association, and Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Furthermore, giving you the clear stats of the support the organizations provide to academic institutions such as The Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft which contribute 35 million euros to the sector of science, education, and research.

Anyhow, despite the fact that German institutions do not ask for the tuition fees from international students, they still have to meet the expenses of living and have to pay the semester fee.  Correspondingly, being an international student in Germany you have to show the financial proof at the time of visa application. According to the current laws you need to submit 8,640 euros in your block account. However, in Germany, you need 794 euros monthly at least to cover the expenses which are greater than the sum of 8,040 euros needed to cover expenses for a year. So, for this purpose, you need to find some extra funding opportunities.

Most of the doctoral candidates who engage themselves in research activities at the research centers or universities do part-time jobs. Or sometimes the doctoral candidate gets scholarships funding from many funding organizations. On the other hand, some PhD. students get jobs in the industrial departments and some of them find jobs outside the areas of their research.

How much Money is  needed for Doctoral Studies in German Universities?

As mentioned before, in Germany there are no tuition fees as different funding parties fund the universities and research centers. While it is estimated that a student needs 794 euros monthly to cover the living costs. This includes the costs of semester fee which is 75-250 euros, 165 euros for Food, 298 euros for Rent, travel costs for public transportation which is 82 euros, 68 euros for sports, 52 euros for clothing, 66-90 euros for health insurance, 30 euros for study materials, and 33 euros for internet, telephone, TV cable, radio, and postage.

Funding Opportunities while doing PhD in Germany

Apart from the stress you go through while collecting the money for providing the financial proof, there are many other opportunities that can support you financially for the doctoral studies. Being a PhD. student you can do a part-time job at any university, industry or any non-university research institution. Moreover, there are many organizations that support doctoral candidates by providing scholarships and support programs.

Research centers like Helmholtz Association, Max Planck Society and Leibniz Association including others offer doctoral candidates many scholarships or part-time jobs. Sometimes both are offered to the candidates.

If you are a student of a structured doctorate program then you can get a job of a doctoral researcher. There are many organizations like Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft which offer jobs to structured doctorate students.

Apart from this, you can always get a part-time job in the industry. This job is mostly related to your research area and also meets the demands of the industry. However, there are also another aspect of this that you can choose the job at the industrial company which is research-based. In this case, the university employs you as a recruiter and with the collaboration of industry, it engages you in the research-based project meeting the demands of the industrial company. Moreover, in this case, the PhD. candidate is usually supervised by the team of supervisors from the company and university.

On the other hand, you can always get a job in the industrial department. It is a part-time job mostly and is based on a fixed contract depending upon the area research in which you are interested.

Moreover, if you want to get a job at the non-university research institution which is another option for doctoral candidates, then you have to work on the project meeting the demands of the industry. In this case, the job you do is supervised by the industry, non-university, and the university.

Funding organizations in Germany for Doctorate Degree

As mentioned before, in Germany the three departments of science, development, and research are sponsored on a large scale. In Germany there about 20,000 organizations belonging to the public and private sector supporting the research activities and the scientific innovation in the industry. Some of the organizations among these provide support to the doctoral students by offering scholarships, part-time jobs with fixed contracts or both. Moreover, the universities in Germany also play a major role in providing jobs to the students. For example, the jobs of research associates at the university which also helps the students to gain the teaching and research skills. These jobs are offered to make the students financially stable.

There are thousands of funding organizations in Germany but following we have mentioned some of the organizations which are providing great support to research and education purposes.

  • The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

DAAD is one of the biggest networks providing scholarships to international students dreaming to chase education in German universities. The main focus of DAAD is to provide funds for the research and education of PhD. students. Moreover, there are 15 offices of DAAD and has 51 centers that are spread throughout the world.

  • The Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation

It is the foundation which is recognized by the international partners, Federal ministries and the Federal Foreign Office. The foundation has dedicated its support in the form of funds to the doctoral students having a foreign nationality so that they can carry out their research in Germany. Moreover, the foundation supports 2,000 national and international researchers in many research fields.

  • The German Research Foundation (DFG)

DFG is a funding organization that is self-governed. It acts as a research partner of universities, research institutions which are non-university and scientific academies. The main activity of the DFG is that its focus on giving financial support to the young researchers and international doctorates. As it has many funds obtained by the German lander and Federal Government.

  • German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF)

AiF provides funds to assist the activities relating to the development and applied research on behalf of SMEs which are Small and Medium Enterprises. The AiF foundation seeks the praise of collaboration between research, science, and industry so that the marketable products which are innovative can be increased. Moreover, it has a huge network of 50,000 companies subjugated by SMEs. Additionally, it provides 490 million euros of budget to innovation and research.

  • The European Union (EU)

It is another institution that provides funds for the budgeting of innovation and research activities for all European territory which is constructed on the 2020 strategy. EU supports individual researchers and many research projects. The main purpose of the EU is to provide assistance in technology, research, innovation, and development. Horizon 2020 encourages excellence in research, innovation, and science. The EU has allocated 24.6 billion euros for Horizon 2020. Moreover, the EU encourages support to the innovation and research through Marie Sklodowska-Curie beneficiaries and ERC Grants which are institutions of research for junior researchers.

  • Research Funding from German Companies

Companies in Germany are the greatest sponsors to support innovation and research by allocating two-third of the total annual budget. Moreover, SMEs support the discoveries and research leading to the formation of novel marketable products. For this purpose, the industries have a close association with the research and academic institutions to fund their research and education activities.

Moreover, the companies show support to doctoral students by offering them jobs or by offering them scholarships or prizes. However, in Germany, there are many companies. Additionally, in Germany, the Federation of German Industries provides support to 36 industrial associations that have memberships of approximately 100,000 companies.

  • State and Federal Governments

Governments either they are state or Federal contribute greatly to the innovation and research activities. These authorities mostly focus on funding the activities which are governmental and also focus on the strategies of Lander’s areas. For example, The Robert Koch Institute is funded by the government so that it can perform research on the diseases and their preventive measures. On the other hand, The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) research activities are funded to find new findings of material technology and chemistry so that the safety in the field of chemistry can be increased.

  • Association of German Foundations

As mentioned before, the foundations contribute greatly to the research and innovation in Germany and also help in increasing the skills of young researchers. Moreover, there are about 20,000 foundations in Germany that contribute to science and innovation.

Moreover, you can get all the information about 10,000 foundations in Germany on the online database named the Association of German Foundations. The database shows the foundations contributing to research and development in Germany.

The most prominent foundations are listed as follows

  • Robert Bosch Stiftung
  • Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung
  • Robert Bosch Stiftung
  • Klaus Tschira Stiftung
  • Dietmar Hopp Stiftung
  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
  • Bertelsmann-Stiftung
  • Hans Böckler Stiftung
  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • WWF-Deutschland

Moreover, these research foundations have been divided into different categories depending upon the research activity.

  • Research activities supporting foundations
  • Young researchers and Doctoral students
  • Senior researchers
  • Young talents, etc

Doctoral Scholarships in Germany

There is always an option of getting a scholarship to fund your studies and if you are thinking about to get one then we have great news. In Germany, there are different organizations that support doctoral students by providing them with scholarships. In order to apply for the scholarship, it is necessary to send your application at the desired organization within the time, as it increases the chances of getting a scholarship.

Following we have listed some main databases which will provide you with the information of all the doctoral scholarships available for the international students in Germany.

  • DAAD is the German Academic Exchange Service web portal that provides all the information about scholarships for Ph.D. students. It can be searched by the link
  • BMBF is the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It has listed all the information about Ph.D. scholarships at the website scholarship pilot website
  • The database of Stiftervrbandprovides information about the organizations offering scholarships in several areas of study.
  • EURAXESS is a scholarship online portalis a portal where you can have all the information about full and partial scholarships for the Ph.D. students.

Part-time Employment while Studing in German Universities

Along with many options, you as a doctorate candidate has the opportunity of finding part-time employment at the university or industry. This part-time job is based on a contract basis.

  • Employed in a University

Being a doctoral candidate you have the great opportunities of getting part-time jobs at the university. The universities mostly give the jobs of research assistant which involves the research and teaching activities. You can get the information about the job opening from the career center and international office of the university.

  • Employment in a Non-university research institute

Instead of the fact that non-universities institutions do not have the authority of giving doctoral degrees, they provide tremendous support to the students. These institutions help doctoral candidates to enhance their research skills. Most of the times they offer part-time jobs to the students to make them financially stable.

In the part-time job offered by the non-university institutions you mostly have to work on the projects that facilitate the research institutions. Moreover, you also get the supervision by a team of supervisors in non-university institutions.

  • Employment in the Industry

If you want to have a job in the industry then you have a lot of opportunities. This is because there is a strong collaboration of industries with the universities and research centers. If you opt to work in the industry then it is possible that you will be working on the project facilitating the industry under the supervision of a team of supervisors.

The information about job openings can be obtained by the international office in university or the career center. Moreover, you can also visit the websites to get information about the job openings.

  • In an Independent Employment

In Germany, it is obvious that you can get employment in a rich market. There are so many jobs in the market which pay you handsome money even during the part-time job. However, being an international student you have to meet all the requirements by getting the proper permission of work.

Following Government institutions post jobs openings

  • Hotline working and living in Germany
  • Federal Employment Agency






Zahira Bano

(Associate Editor) Zahira holds a PhD in Cosmetics Surgery and Pharma. She worked with Mashables and some other beauty and wellness blogs. She is also a well-known personality and educationist and has a large number of social following. She also writes on the female empowerment motivational topics in her leisure time. She is also a scholarship winner and mentor for students looking for studying abroad opportunities.

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