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FAQs

The following are some of the frequently asked questions we get about the DAAD:

About Study, Research and Life in Germany

Q: Do I need to speak fluent German before I can apply to a university in Germany?

A: No, not necessarily. With the International Degree Programs at German universities you have the possibility to take German language courses parallel to the degree course itself. The degree courses are instructed partly in English, partly in German; some courses are even taught entirely in English. For all other degree courses you will be required to take a German language proficiency test for admission.

Q: How much are the tuition fees for foreigners at German universities?

A: Until now, at public universities, no distinction is made between tuition fees charged to foreigners and Germans. Currently, public universities in Germany do not charge any tuition fees at all for undergraduate courses. The costs of master courses range from nil to the rather expensive ones of several thousand Euros. As a rule, contact the university of your choice directly for information on the fee structure.

Q: When does the academic year in Germany begin, and what are the application deadlines for foreigners?

A: The German academic year is divided into two semesters. The official semester dates are: Winter Semester: October 1 - March 31, and Summer Semester: April 1 - September 30.

However, these dates may vary from state to state and from institution to institution. For a detailed academic year schedule, check www.studentenwerk.de or www.hrk.de.

The application to admission must be submitted by January 15 each year for the summer semester (beginning on April 1) and by July 15 for the winter semester (beginning on October 1).

Students from outside Germany now have the opportunity to apply to several universities with only one set of documents through the Application Services for International Students (assist). For a fee, assist will verify whether your application is complete and that the necessary formal requirements are met. Applications are then forwarded by them to the respective universities. The "Application Services for International Students" is a joint venture of DAAD, the Conference of University Rectors and about 60 German universities.

Q: Which is the best university for my field of study?

Each year, the Center for Higher Education Development (CHE) publishes Germany's most comprehensive ranking of higher education institutions. This multidimensional ranking uses up to 40 different indicators to provide a differentiated and detailed view of the strengths and weaknesses of German higher education by subject areas.

This is complemented by a research ranking published every fall to provide specific information on the research contribution of German higher education institutions. On the CHE website (in German) you can find out about the top-ranked German universities in every subject area. An alternative is to check DAAD's English-language version of the CHE results at www.university-ranking.de.

Q: What is the difference between "Universität", "Technische Universität", "Fachhochschule" and research centers?

A: "Hochschule" is the generic term used to refer to any institutions of the German higher education system.

A "Universität" is a doctorate-granting institution. After completing an intermediate examination, Universität students work towards the final examination, leading to a “Bachelor”, “Master”, "Diplom", "Magister Artium", or the "Staatsexamen", depending on the area of study. A "Promotion" (PhD) can follow.

Traditionally, teaching in a "Technische Universität" was restricted to technical and engineering disciplines. However, in the course of time, technical universities have developed into more comprehensive higher education institutions. Hence, students can now also study arts and humanities degree courses at the technical universities. Nevertheless, the focus of their activities continues to be directed towards engineering and science fields.

A "Fachhochschule" is an institution with emphasis on professional and practical training in a specialized area. After completing eight semesters (which may include one or two semesters of practical work or internships), the student receives a Diplom, Bachelor or Master. These smaller, more specialized institutions are becoming increasingly popular.

A "Kunsthochschule" and a "Musikhochschule" are similar to fine arts schools or music conservatories. They offer curricula in the fine arts and music, respectively, or in related professional areas.

Research Institutions: In addition, there are many respected institutions that specialize in advanced research only, for example the institutes of the Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer Society, as well as several research institutions of federal agencies. Click here for more information about the major research institutions in Germany.

About Applying for DAAD Scholarships

Q: Can DAAD fund my Bachelor’s Degree?

A: Unfortunately, DAAD does not sponsor undergraduate studies, neither in Germany nor in Africa. 

Q: Can I apply for a DAAD scholarship? I am an African living in Germany.

A: An application is not possible if the applicant has been living in Germany for more than a year at the time the grant would start.

Q: Can I get funding to do my Master’s/ PhD in Kenya or Sub-Saharan Africa?

A: DAAD offers selected universities, networks and associations in Sub-Saharan Africa, the so-called In-Country or In-Region scholarships for university staff development. For this kind of scholarships, contact the respective Board of Postgraduate Studies/ Graduate School or Bonface Nyagah at DAAD Nairobi for application details.

The offers are usually published by DAAD around March/ April every year. The scholarships begin in September/ October of the same year.

For more information on In-Country scholarships, click here.

For more information on In-Region scholarships, click here.

Q: Are there age limits for DAAD funding?

A: For DAAD scholarships, there are no age limits. However, the previous degree must not be older than 6 years at the time of application.

Q: For some programmes, DAAD requires a detailed statement of purpose of study. What am I expected to write?

A: The statement of purpose of study serves as a motivation letter. Here you have the chance to explain your choice for a particular course of study, why you feel qualified for this course, how you (your employer, your country) could benefit from you obtaining the course, how the course is related to your current occupation and your academic qualification, and how this course fits into your plans for your future.

Be brief and to the point. Usually, the statement should not be longer than 3 pages.

Q: How do I find a scientific supervisor in Germany for my PhD project?

A: The initial step should be to consult colleagues/ supervisors at your home university or research institute who may be able to recommend you to a German professor. A personal recommendation is always an advantage.

Make use of the internet. Type key words of your field of study and your PhD project into a search machine. The profiles of most of the researchers are usually on the internet. Useful search machines are www.daad.de/research-explorer, www.phdgermany.de, www.dfg.de/gepris

Also use the Simple guide how to find a supervisor in Germany

Q: How much is the DAAD stipend?

A: The DAAD monthly stipend for scholars studying/ doing research in Germany is as follows:

Graduates (pursuing a master’s degree): 750 Euros/ month (plus travel allowance and health insurance)
PhD candidates: 1.000 Euros/ month (plus travel allowance and health insurance)
Post-doctoral scholars: 1.840 Euros/ month – 2,240 Euros/ month, depending on the academic status/ seniority (travel allowance only for Re-Invitation Programme)

Q: If I am awarded a DAAD scholarship for Germany, can I take my family along?

A: Although DAAD scholarships are individual scholarships, there are provisions for family members.

A scholar who studies for at least 6 months in Germany, can, upon completion of the German language course and upon commencement of the study period, have his family join him for the duration of the stay.

DAAD will carry out a health insurance cover for all family members. In addition to the scholar’s monthly stipend, the family allowance for the spouse is currently 276 Euros per month; the allowance for the first and second child is 184 Euros per month, for the third child 190 Euros, and for every further child 215 Euros each..

Q: My application for a DAAD scholarship was not successful. Can I apply again?

A: Re-application is possible as long as you still meet the requirements.

Q: I am a former DAAD scholar and would like to continue the cooperation with my former institute in Germany. How can DAAD support me?

A: Former DAAD scholars who received a scholarship for at least one year in Germany can apply for a Re-Invitation Grant.

DAAD has a large active Alumni network, and many attractive offers to encourage cooperations between Germany and the African partner. Please check our Alumni chapter on this website.

Q: Where can I send my application, if I don’t live in Kenya where the Regional Office for Africa is based?

A: Many scholarship programmes now require an online application. Please check the respective information on the DAAD website.

In particular countries, DAAD Lecturers can assist with the study and scholarship application details.

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