PhD Scholarship - Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes

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    Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
    Formal sciences
    Natural sciences
    Professions and applied sciences
    Social sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)


In line with its statutes, the Studienstiftung supports "the university education of young people who, because of their exceptional academic or artistic talents and personal qualities, can be expected to make an outstanding contribution to society as a whole". Its programmes include comprehensive support for doctoral students. Applications are invited from highly qualified and socially committed PhD students, in conjunction with their academic supervisors.


What is funded

The Studienstiftung offers generous financial support for Ph.D. students. Doctoral scholars receive € 1,450 a month, comprising a basic monthly stipend of € 1,350 and a research allowance of € 100 a month.

In addition, scholars can apply for a contribution towards the costs of health insurance, amounting to 50 % of documented costs to a maximum of € 100 a month. This contribution is available to scholars whose health insurance is not covered by employment (for example in research and teaching).

Family and childcare allowances are available for doctoral scholars. Further funding for childcare can be provided through a reallocation of scholarship funds from the final year of funding ("time for money").

Doctoral scholars who travel abroad for research purposes, laboratory visits or to attend conferences can apply for grants for travel and additional living expenses.



Funding is initially granted for two years. On application and subject to successful progress, the scholarship may be extended twice, for up to six months respectively. The maximum funding period is 36 months; for scholarship holders with children this period can be increased to 48 months.



  • The doctoral candidate has been accepted on a doctoral programme at a German university where the thesis will also be submitted; nationality is irrelevant. German citizens pursuing a Ph.D. abroad may also apply; in this instance applicants must provide an explanation for their choice of university.
  • The last academic degree should have been completed no longer than four years prior to submission of the application. Periods of professional qualification, for example legal or teacher training (Referendariat) do not constitute grounds for an extension of the four-year deadline; pregnancy, childcare and periods of extended illness or inability to work will be taken into account. Relevant documentation must be supplied.
  • Part-time doctoral degrees cannot be funded. During the period of the scholarship, Ph.D. candidates commit to concentrate fully on their dissertation; parallel study on a taught degree or professional training programme (for example for lawyers, teachers, psychologists/psychotherapists) is not compatible with the scholarship.
  • Doctoral studies undertaken parallel to a medical degree are not eligible for the doctoral scholarship programme; support is offered for these projects within the framework of scholarships offered by the Studienstiftung for taught degree programmes.
  • Previous membership of the Studienstiftung is not a requirement for the doctoral programme. 

Selection procedure

The review procedure takes place in two phases:

A preliminary review of applications is conducted in the Studienstiftung according to the formal application requirements listed above. At this stage, the exposé of the doctoral thesis is not taken into consideration.

If an application is successful in the preliminary selection, it proceeds to the academic review phase: Two qualified academics provide written assessments of the applicant’s academic and extracurricular qualifications, as well as the quality of the proposed research project. The first review is conducted on the basis of the application documents; the second also includes a personal interview of the candidate.

First reviewers will be familiar with the applicant’s field of research. They formulate their assessments on the basis of the written documents provided by the applicant and, in particular, consider in their review his / her academic qualifications, as well as the exposé of the proposed dissertation project.

For the second review, an interview with the candidate is conducted in addition to the assessment of the written documents. In this case, reviewers drawn from the applicant’s discipline also have a standing relationship with the Studienstiftung; they may not necessarily be experts in the candidate’s narrow field of research. The second review assesses the academic aspects of the application and takes the applicant's personal qualities and extra-curricular activities into consideration.

When selecting interviewers, we seek to limit travel times to a minimum; we are unable to cover travel expenses. If candidates are abroad at the time of application, we will, if possible, arrange an interview locally. Applicants should, however, be prepared to attend interviews in Germany. Interviews are intended to enable an assessment of the candidate based on personal meeting and cannot, therefore, be conducted by telephone or skype.

Following receipt of both reviews, the application proceeds to the selection board for doctoral scholarships for the final decision. The board is appointed by the governing body of the Studienstiftung and convenes four times a year. From start to finish the selection procedure can take up to eight months.



The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.