Scholarships 101 for Internationals

by Chirag N. Vijay

Scholarships are one of the most popular ways for international students to finance their studies – whether it be tuition fees or living expenses. Several scholarships are offered by private organizations and state governments for international students to sustain themselves. Here are the most popular ones. 

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst is a joint organization of Germany’s higher education institutions, responsible for promoting international academic relations. They focus on the exchange of students, academics, researchers and offer scholarships to foreign students, graduate and doctoral students, and scientists in Germany.

The DAAD scholarships are awarded to students who want to get a qualification in a full-time course of study. 

  • Completed Bachelor’s degree not older than 6 years
  • 2 years of work experience in respective field
Monthly Stipend
  • Postgraduate: 850€
  • Doctoral Students: 1.200€

The DAAD further offers a scholarship finder that may be useful for you. Be sure to check it out. 

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung awards around 1,200 scholarships a year to students across all levels (undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral) belonging to various countries.

  • Enrolled at state recognized universities in Germany
  • Excellent academic records
  • Politically and socially active with a special interest in sustainability, ecology, human rights and justice.
  • Level B2 German language skills
Monthly Stipend


  • Postgraduate: 949€
  • Doctoral Students: 1350€ + 100€ (for travel costs)

Non-EU Students:

  • Postgraduate: 850€ + individual allowances
  • Doctoral students – 1200€ + 100€ (for travel costs)

The scholarships are awarded for the period of study with an extension of one semester for postgraduate students and for two years with an allowed extension of two semesters for doctoral students.

This scholarship program aims to promote foreign students and doctoral candidates who have completed their undergraduate studies in their home country. It, therefore, is available for students wanting to complete a postgraduate, doctorate, or research program. 

Priority is given to students of Ph.D. candidates from so-called “developing countries” or countries that are going through a political transformation.

  • Completed Bachelor’s degree
  • Above average academic achievements
  • Level B2 German language skills
Monthly Stipend
  • Postgraduate: 850€ for two years
  • Doctoral Students: 1100€ for three years

The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung further reimburses up 500€ a semester for tuition fees for scholarship recipients. 

Foreign students can apply for funding for study programs or for the main study stage of state examinations. The minimum sponsorship period for funding is two semesters. Extensions up to the completion of studies can be granted on an application basis.

  • Completed Bachelor’s degree
  • Above average academic achievements
  • Level B2 German language skills
  • Social commitment and liberal engagement
Monthly Stipend
  • 850€

This scholarship is made possible through a public-private collaboration where businesses, foundations sponsor students with a sum of 150€ per month while the Federal Government adds another 150€ to that amount. As the scholarship is awarded by participating universities, they also set the requirements for applicants.

  • check participating university
  • Academic excellence
Monthly Stipend
  • 300€ for at least two semesters

After two semesters, the university reviews if the student still meets the scholarship criteria and may extend the funding. 

In conclusion, good German language skills and good academic performance are a must to apply to most scholarships. Because some scholarships may even require the students to have specific political leanings, the choice of scholarship is completely dependent on the particular student.

Chirag N. Vijay is from India and studies Computer Science in a Master’s degree program at Passau University. He particularly focuses on Deep Learning, Autonomous Systems, Intelligent Systems, and Internet of Things.

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