Tuition Free Doctoral Programmes for International Students

Tuition Free Doctoral Programmes in Germany for International Students

Study Subjects: Any field
Level of Course: PhD research
Scholarship Provider: DAAD
Scholarship can be taken at: Germany

Scholarships Description
Some 25,000 academics receive doctoral degrees in Germany every year – far more than in any other European country.

And each year, more and more young international researchers are choosing to write their dissertations or join a doctoral research team in Germany. In fact, the number of foreign doctoral candidates in Germany has more than doubled since 1997.

Different paths to a PhD:
There’s more than one way to get your doctoral title in Germany. The majority of doctoral candidates in Germany pursue PhDs through individual doctoral study, yet structured PhD programmes are becoming increasingly common.

Before you can begin your doctoral studies in Germany, there are some preliminary steps you must take, for instance, getting your post-graduate degree recognised and applying for a residence permit.

Eligible groups
Young international researchers from any country choosing to write their dissertations or join a doctoral research team in Germany

Participating Institutions
All German universities and non-university research organisations.
Germany is one of the leading researching nations in the world. Its science and research sector is renowned for its outstanding infrastructure, a widely diverse spectrum of research areas and well-equipped facilities and institutes. For more, see the official 'Why pursue a doctorate in Germany?'

Fields of study
Depending on the subject, research proposal and type of university, there are several possible paths to a PhD, the most common of which are individual doctoral studies and structured PhD programmes:
  1. Individual doctoral studies: The majority of doctoral candidates in Germany choose to pursue their doctorates through individual doctoral study. In this model, candidates must find a university professor who will supervise their work on their dissertation.
  2. Structured PhD programmes: In addition to individual doctoral study, candidates can also attain their doctorates in structured PhD programmes which strongly resemble those in Anglo-Saxon countries. In such a programme, a team of supervisors are responsible for advising the doctoral candidates.
Number of awards
2,900 DAAD scholarships and grants (just in 2010 alone)

Scholarship benefits
No tuition fees are charged for doctoral study at public universities in Germany – at least not for the first six semesters. However, when you apply for a study visa in Germany, the authorities will ask to see whether you have sufficient funds to cover the cost of living – approximately 8,000 euros a year.

Scholarships and funding programmes:
Germany offers foreign doctoral candidates a wide variety of funding opportunities. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is Germany’s largest scholarship provider – especially to international doctoral candidates, who received 2,900 DAAD scholarships and grants just in 2010 alone. Furthermore, an extensive range of foundations and other funding and research organisations also offer grants to highly qualified foreign doctoral candidates.

Method of Application
To apply for a doctoral position in Germany, there are steps that you most take including:
  1. Finding a doctoral position
  2. Recognition of your post-graduate degree/academic requirements
  3. Acceptance as a doctoral candidate in a university department
  4. Admission to a doctoral programme
  5. Enrolment
  6. Visa/residence permit
For more, see link below.

The DAAD head office is located in Bonn, Germany. However, with 15 branch offices across the globe and an increasing number of Information Centres (IC), the DAAD is represented by a worldwide network.

See DAAD Contact Us page.

Scholarship Application Deadline: Ongoing
Scholarship Open to International students: Yes

More Scholarship Information and Application

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