June 13, 2024

Among the manifold advantages of Germany’s education system lies a prominent perk: the absence of tuition fees in German institutions.

This is largely attributed to government funding that sustains both non-university research institutions and universities.

Industry partnerships further bolster these institutions financially, fostering collaborative efforts in research and development. Private foundations, such as Gerda Henkel and Fritz Thyssen, also play a pivotal role by injecting substantial funding into universities and research centers.

Moreover, the European Union contributes additional funds through the Research Framework Program.

Furthermore, cognizant of escalating challenges posed by demographic shifts, climate fluctuations, global health crises, and energy scarcity, the German federal government has launched a robust high-tech strategy to advance research across these critical domains.

In a significant commitment to the advancement of knowledge and innovation, the German government allocated 10% of GDP to research and education in 2015.

This concerted effort underscores Germany’s dedication to fostering a dynamic research landscape that addresses pressing global issues and propels scientific progress forward.

In Germany, there are about 20,000 funding organizations belonging to the private and public sectors. These organizations provide funds to institutions for doctorate students belonging to other countries.

Moreover, these organizations include the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Helmholtz Association, and Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Furthermore, giving you the clear stats of the support the organizations provide to academic institutions such as The Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft which contributes 35 million euros to the sector of science, education, and research.

Anyhow, even though German institutions do not ask for tuition fees from international students, they still have to meet the expenses of living and have to pay the semester fee.

Correspondingly, being an international student in Germany you have to show financial proof at the time of visa application.

According to the current laws you need to submit 8,640 euros in your block account. However, in Germany, you need 794 euros monthly at least to cover the expenses which is greater than the sum of 8,040 euros needed to cover expenses for a year. So, for this purpose, you need to find some extra funding opportunities.

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Many doctoral candidates pursuing research at universities or research centers often balance their academic pursuits with part-time employment. Alternatively, numerous candidates secure scholarships from various funding organizations to support their doctoral studies.

Moreover, some PhD students opt for employment in industrial sectors, leveraging their expertise in specialized domains. Additionally, there are instances where doctoral candidates explore career opportunities beyond the scope of their research areas, showcasing the versatility and adaptability of their skill sets.

This diverse array of pathways reflects the multifaceted nature of doctoral education and highlights the flexibility inherent in navigating the academic and professional landscape.

How much Money is needed for Doctoral Studies in German Universities?

As mentioned before, in Germany there are no tuition fees as different funding parties fund the universities and research centers. It is estimated that a student needs 794 euros monthly to cover the living costs.

This includes the costs of the semester fee which is 75-250 euros, 165 euros for Food, 298 euros for Rent, travel costs for public transportation which is 82 euros, 68 euros for sports, 52 euros for clothing, 66-90 euros for health insurance, 30 euros for study materials, and 33 euros for internet, telephone, TV cable, radio, and postage.

Funding Opportunities while doing PhD in Germany

Apart from the stress you go through while collecting the money for providing financial proof, many other opportunities can support you financially for your doctoral studies. Being a Ph.D. student you can do a part-time job at any university, industry, or any non-university research institution. Moreover, many organizations support doctoral candidates by providing scholarships and support programs.

Research centers like Helmholtz Association, Max Planck Society, and Leibniz Association among others offer doctoral candidates many scholarships or part-time jobs. Sometimes both are offered to the candidates.

If you are a student of a structured doctorate program then you can get a job as a doctoral researcher. There are many organizations like Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft which offer jobs to structured doctorate students.

Apart from this, you can always get a part-time job in the industry. This job is mostly related to your research area and also meets the demands of the industry. However, there is also another aspect of this that you can choose the job at the industrial company which is research-based. In this case, the university employs you as a recruiter and with the collaboration of industry, it engages you in the research-based project meeting the demands of the industrial company. Moreover, in this case, the Ph.D. candidate is usually supervised by a team of supervisors from the company and university.

On the other hand, you can always get a job in the industrial department. It is a part-time job mostly and is based on a fixed contract depending upon the area of research in which you are interested.

Moreover, if you want to get a job at a non-university research institution which is another option for doctoral candidates, then you have to work on the project meeting the demands of the industry. In this case, the job you do is supervised by the industry, non-university, and the university.

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Funding organizations in Germany for Doctorate Degrees

As mentioned before, in Germany the three departments of science, development, and research are sponsored on a large scale.

In Germany, there are about 20,000 organizations belonging to the public and private sectors supporting research activities and scientific innovation in the industry. Some of the organizations among these provide support to doctoral students by offering scholarships, part-time jobs with fixed contracts, or both.

Moreover, the universities in Germany also play a major role in providing jobs to students. For example, the jobs of research associates at the university also help the students to gain teaching and research skills. These jobs are offered to make the students financially stable.

There are thousands of funding organizations in Germany but we have mentioned some of the organizations that are providing great support to research and education purposes.

  • The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

DAAD is one of the biggest networks providing scholarships to international students dreaming of chasing education in German universities. The main focus of DAAD is to provide funds for the research and education of Ph.D. students. Moreover, there are 15 offices of DAAD and 51 centers that are spread throughout the world.

  • The Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation

It is the foundation that is recognized by international partners, Federal ministries, and the Federal Foreign Office. The foundation has dedicated its support in the form of funds to doctoral students having a foreign nationality so that they can carry out their research in Germany. Moreover, the foundation supports 2,000 national and international researchers in many research fields.

DFG is a funding organization that is self-governed. It acts as a research partner of universities, and research institutions that are non-university and scientific academies. The main activity of the DFG is its focus on giving financial support to young researchers and international doctorates. As it has many funds obtained by the German lander and Federal Government.

  • German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF)

AiF provides funds to assist the activities relating to the development and applied research on behalf of SMEs which are Small and Medium Enterprises. The AiF foundation seeks the praise of collaboration between research, science, and industry so that the marketable innovative products can be increased. Moreover, it has a huge network of 50,000 companies subjugated by SMEs. Additionally, it provides 490 million euros of budget for innovation and research.

  • The European Union (EU)

It is another institution that provides funds for the budgeting of innovation and research activities for all European territory which is constructed on the 2020 strategy. EU supports individual researchers and many research projects. The main purpose of the EU is to assist in technology, research, innovation, and development. Horizon 2020 encourages excellence in research, innovation, and science. The EU has allocated 24.6 billion euros for Horizon 2020. Moreover, the EU encourages support for innovation and research through Marie Sklodowska-Curie beneficiaries and ERC Grants which are institutions of research for junior researchers.

  • Research Funding from German Companies

Companies in Germany are the greatest sponsors to support innovation and research by allocating two-thirds of the total annual budget. Moreover, SMEs support the discoveries and research leading to the formation of novel marketable products. For this purpose, the industries have a close association with the research and academic institutions to fund their research and education activities.

Moreover, the companies show support to doctoral students by offering them jobs or by offering them scholarships or prizes. However, in Germany, there are many companies. Additionally, in Germany, the Federation of German Industries provides support to 36 industrial associations that have memberships of approximately 100,000 companies.

  • State and Federal Governments

Governments whether they are state or Federal contribute greatly to the innovation and research activities. These authorities mostly focus on funding the activities that are governmental and also focus on the strategies of Lander’s areas. For example, The Robert Koch Institute is funded by the government so that it can perform research on diseases and their preventive measures. On the other hand, The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) research activities are funded to find new findings in material technology and chemistry so that safety in the field of chemistry can be increased.

  • Association of German Foundations

As mentioned before, the foundations contribute greatly to the research and innovation in Germany and also help in increasing the skills of young researchers. Moreover, there are about 20,000 foundations in Germany that contribute to science and innovation.

Moreover, you can get all the information about 10,000 foundations in Germany on the online database named the Association of German Foundations. The database shows the foundations contributing to research and development in Germany.

The most prominent foundations are listed as follows

  • Robert Bosch Stiftung
  • Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung
  • Robert Bosch Stiftung
  • Klaus Tschira Stiftung
  • Dietmar Hopp Stiftung
  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
  • Bertelsmann-Stiftung
  • Hans Böckler Stiftung
  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • WWF-Deutschland

Moreover, these research foundations have been divided into different categories depending on the research activity.

  • Research activities supporting foundations
  • Young researchers and Doctoral students
  • Senior researchers
  • Young talents, etc

Doctoral Scholarships in Germany

There is always an option of getting a scholarship to fund your studies and if you are thinking about getting one then we have great news. In Germany, different organizations support doctoral students by providing them with scholarships. To apply for the scholarship, it is necessary to send your application to the desired organization within the time, as it increases the chances of getting a scholarship.

Following we have listed some main databases that will provide you with information on all the doctoral scholarships available for international students in Germany.

  • DAAD is the German Academic Exchange Service web portal that provides all the information about scholarships for Ph.D. students. It can be searched by the link funding-guide.de
  • BMBF is the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It has listed all the information about Ph.D. scholarships on the website scholarship pilot website
  • The database of the Stiftervr band provides information about the organizations offering scholarships in several areas of study.
  • EURAXESS is a scholarship online portal where you can have all the information about full and partial scholarships for Ph.D. students.

Part-time Employment while Studying at German Universities

Along with many options, you as a doctorate candidate have the opportunity of finding part-time employment at the university or industry. This part-time job is based on a contract basis.

  • Employed in a University

Being a doctoral candidate you have the great opportunities of getting part-time jobs at the university. The universities mostly give the jobs of research assistant which involves research and teaching activities. You can get information about the job opening from the career center and international office of the university.

  • Employment in a Non-university research institute

Instead of the fact that non-universities institutions do not have the authority to give doctoral degrees, they provide tremendous support to the students. These institutions help doctoral candidates to enhance their research skills. Most of the time they offer part-time jobs to the students to make them financially stable.

In the part-time job offered by the non-university institutions you mostly have to work on the projects that facilitate the research institutions. Moreover, you also get supervision by a team of supervisors in non-university institutions.

  • Employment in the Industry

If you want to have a job in the industry then you have a lot of opportunities. This is because there is a strong collaboration of industries with the universities and research centers. If you opt to work in the industry then you may be working on the project facilitating the industry under the supervision of a team of supervisors.

The information about job openings can be obtained from the international office in the university or the career center. Moreover, you can also visit the websites to get information about the job openings.

  • In an Independent Employment

In Germany, it is obvious that you can get employment in a rich market. There are so many jobs in the market that pay you handsome money even during a part-time job. However, being an international student you have to meet all the requirements by getting the proper permission to work.

Following Government institutions post job openings

  • Hotline working and living in Germany
  • Federal Employment Agency