Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften an der beleuchteten Rostlaube der FU in Berlin-Dahlem Enlarge image (© picture-alliance)

When it comes to organising and funding a period of study or research in Germany, your most important point of contact is the German Academic Exchange Service. Better known by its German acronym, DAAD, it is the world’s biggest funding organisation for international exchanges among students and academic staff. In 2013, the DAAD provided funds for more than 50,000 foreign undergraduates, PhD students and teaching staff. There is a vast array of funding programmes that can provide the effective, tailored help that prospective exchange candidates need to embark on a stay in Germany. This might be a classic PhD scholarship, a grant for a relatively short research visit or a scholarship for a year, a semester or just a brief stay. A number of foundations in Germany also award scholarships. Beneficiaries are selected in line with the foundations’ own criteria and specific remits.

Doctoral students and other academics or scientists interested in university research at the highest level will find those German universities particularly relevant that have been successful in the Excellence Initiative. Forty-five graduate schools, forty-three clusters of excellence and eleven universities’ institutional strategies secured the five years of funding attached to that recognition in 2012. More information is available here:

Students in Humboldt University's "Audimax" auditorium

DAAD - Scholarships

The DAAD's extensive scholarship database for foreign students, graduates and academics offers applicants a wide range of tips and information to help them successfully apply for a scholarship for a c...

Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation promotes academic cooperation between excellent scientists and scholars from abroad and from Germany.

Helmholtz Gemeinschaft

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and industry with top scientific achievements in six research areas: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Transport and Space.

Stimmauszählung bei einer Wahl

Political Foundations

More than just Financial Support: The Political Foundations

The democratic political parties in Germany have realized that the young scholars of today will be the decision-makers of tomorrow. Providing foreign students with financial aid is very much in the interest of German politics, since whoever has studied in Germany is familiar with the market and culture - and will thus after graduation seek to establish and maintain contacts with German companies. The foundations especially promote exceptionally talented students. All these foundations expect a high degree of social activity and commitment on the part of applicants - as well as the willingness to put the knowledge gained in Germany to good use in their home country. In addition to financial support the foundations also try to offer general guidance and assistance in all academic and personal matters, such as a mentor at the university. They also offer visiting scholars the chance to take part in special events and seminars.

Please be aware that Political Foundations mostly ask for a certain level of kowledge of the German language.
Visit the websites of these organisations to find information on their various programmes:


Vorlesung im Anatomie-Hörsaal der Universität in Leipzig

The German Education Server

The Deutscher Bildungsserver (German Education Server, or Eduserver) is the focal internet guide to education related information on the internet. It provides fundamental and high quality information on internet resources to all those concerned - thus offering quick, up-to-date, concise and free access to information.

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)

Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst

Information on higher education and studying in Germany, including in particular information about international degree programmes, university admission requirements in Germany, DAAD scholarship programmes, language examinations, summer courses and up-to-date reports on life in Germany.

Why learn German?

If you can speak German, you can

  •  read works by the great authors of the last centuries such as Goethe, Schiller and Brecht in the original;

  • include something on your CV that will catch the eye of prospective employers;
  •  study free of charge at a university in Germany, Austria or Switzerland;
  •  visit the Berlinale, go to Munich for the Oktoberfest or join in Karneval in Cologne;
  •  read the latest academic publications (German is the second most popular language in academic publications, and 28% of all books published worldwide are written in German);
  •  apply for jobs on the international stage. German is one of the official languages of the European Union and is also used in many other international organizations.