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Funding a PhD in Germany

In addition to state support for graduate students in Germany, it is also possible to get scholarships from private foundations or institutions for financial support for the successful completion of your graduation. There are also special funding opportunities for scientific publications.

Government Support Measures

The EURAXESS Funding Database offers general information on funding programmes.

A large part of the state funding in the higher education sector is provided by twelve foundations, who provide grants to selected applicants - usually in the form of a doctoral scholarship. On the website of Stipendium Plus , you can find profiles of individual institutions and their approach to supporting the graduation of individual scientists. You can also get more detailed information about the eligibility criteria and the basic nature of the scholarships being offered.

The German Research Foundation also supports PhD students with state funds who are already being supported with a doctoral scholarship within the DFG funded research training groups. With this limited scheme, the PhD students have the opportunity to present their thesis as a part of an interdisciplinary research program. A list of funded colleges and other information is available at the DFG.

Besides the aforementioned programs, tax benefits are among the state support for graduate students. Costs incurred during the graduation can be considered to be advertising costs and are tax-free for an unlimited amount. This requires proof that the doctorate is of considerable importance for the career advancement and is thus important regarding subsequent taxable income. If the proof is found not to be strong enough, the amount spent on the graduation and any special costs incurred are considered to be training costs and can be claimed as special expences up to the amount of 4000€ annually. You can find a list of allowable items in Manager Magazin.

Other Funding Measures

The individual universities offer scholarships that are funded from the local budget. These state graduate scholarships have similar conditions (e.g. very good exam and an important contribution of the thesis to science) and are independent of the field of study and graduation. To apply, the student should contact the university where the doctorate degree finally is conferred on to the student. The Forschungsreferat as well as the Stipendien AG provides information to the new generation of young scientists.

The German Academic Exchange Service is probably the best known foreign funding institution for high school graduates who to Germany to do research.
German students who wish to conduct research projects that are related to their dissertation abroad, may also apply for a DAAD scholarships. Printing expences for publications of the students are also paid by the DAAD. For more information, visit the website of the DAAD.


There are also many private foundations that award scholarships to PhD students and grants to pay for the printing of your doctorate thesis. The subject of the doctorate studies is important when applying for a scholarship, mainly because the private foundations provide funds for topics which deal with the focus of those foundations. In addition to the subject of your PhD research, other aspects such as the city in which the university is located, the position of the university, the birth place or residence of the applicant can also play an important role in getting the scholarship. An overview of the research-promoting institutions can be found at the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen.

Promotion of Scientific Publications

Funding for a doctorate can also includes grants for scientific publications. This includes monographs, dissertations,conference proceedings as well as congress and commemorative publications. Below you can find Ph.D. students tenders from publishers and other institutions, etc. for publication grants:

DepartmentPurpose of scholarshipAmount awardedFurther Information
Verlag Dr. KovacSupport for publishingnormally 380,- EURwww.verlagdrkovac.de/kosten-foerderfonds.html

Related Documents

Recommended literature on the topic of financing and publishing of the doctorate thesis can be found here.