Germany has a worldwide fame among foreign students due to the practically-oriented degrees, lifestyle and, of course, tuition-free undergraduate degree programmes. You only have to pay a small administrative fee each semester, but you should be aware this applies only to public universities.
However, financially speaking, studying in Germany is not just about tuition fees. International students also have to pay for their accommodation, food, additional living expenses and, of course, for study materials.
Some financial aid programmes are awarded to international students only in exceptional cases and most universities in Germany don't include funding opportunities.
You have more reasons to look for a Master's degree scholarship in Germany if you're interested in a Master's programme in a different subject than the one you studied during your Bachelor's programme. For instance, if you completed a Bachelor's degree in history and plan to do a Master's in computer science in Germany, you will be charged for tuition fees.
Check out below some of the most suitable and well-known financial aid opportunities you can find in Germany.
Best known government scholarships in Germany
The DAAD Scholarships
The DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst German Academic Exchange Service) is the largest financial aid organisation in the world. DAAD also targets other countries besides Germany and even includes special programmes such as Artists-in-Berlin, dedicated to students from the field of art. The organisation annually supports over 100,000 German and international students and researchers.
The DAAD also targets students from developing countries.
Over 22,500 students benefit from this national programme created by the Federal Government of Germany. The programme is a partnership between public and private institutions, in order to reward talented students. Through sponsorship from businesses, foundations, private universities and other institutions plus the government, talented students are awarded 300 EUR/month.
Students also earn mentoring programmes, networking events and internships. The selection of the students doesn't take into consideration the personal or parent income or the nationality of the student.
If you meet the requirements of the university you study in, you can qualify for the Deutschlandstipendium. The funding is given for at least two semesters, the standard period of study, but it can be extended if the university considers the student is eligible to further receive financial aid.
1. The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is a political foundation that offers financial help to international and German students with grades above average and who show awareness of civil responsibility, mainly showing a social or political involvement. Awarded students can receive up to 1,000 EUR/month, the sum covering enrollment fees, the health insurance and the monthly required books/study materials.
2. Heinrich Böll Foundation
Heinrich Böll Foundation provides several scholarships to German students as well as international students, including refugees, at all degree levels. However, the foundation mainly awards students who plan to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and especially those programmes with a focus on Environmental Science.
Other scholarships are dedicated to students who apply to economic, legal studies, journalism and art degrees.
3. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Scholarships
International students who plan to study a Master's or a PhD programme in Germany are eligible for Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Scholarships. The award is offered for one year, and one important requirement is for students to have German language skills (level 2 CEFR) even if the degree they apply to is English-taught. Applicants should also meet the 30 years age-limit requirement.
4. Bayer Foundations
Bayer Foundations grants financial support to both students and young professionals from Germany and from abroad that want to pursue a study programmes or a research project. The main requirement for students is to prove very good academic results and the project must focus on an innovative topic and approach.
You may also find financial aid from associations and programmes such as:
Specialised scholarships from German universities
- Hamburg University of Applied Sciences offers scholarships of up to 400 EUR/month, four months/semester for students in some Master's degree courses.
- Leipzig Graduate School of Management offers financial aid programmes for students who enrol in various MSc. programmes.
- ESMT MBA
- Ulm University
- RWTH Aachen
Important tips before applying for a scholarship
- Remember to always check the deadline for submitting the scholarship application!
- Read the eligibility criteria thoroughly and make sure you fit with them. If you?re not sure, contact the scholarship provider for clarification.
- Apply for more than one scholarship to improve your chances of receiving one.
- Check out other scholarship opportunities in Germany.
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