Funding & financial support

Before commencing doctoral training you should make sure that you have a reliable source of funding. Generally speaking, finding funding for a traditional doctoral degree, which may take three to five years to complete depending on subject and your personal situation, demands more personal initiative.

Who may finance your doctoral study?

Most doctoral grants are awarded by foundations, such as funds to support gifted individuals. In addition to academic aptitude and a well-conceived doctoral project, these organisations usually require funding recipients to share their aims or views.

    Possible sources of funding and financial support include:

  • Employment as a research assistant
  • Contract for work and services
  • Employment outside the university
  • Funding from a company
  • Financial support from family members
  • Funding through a doctoral grant.

In terms of funding for your doctoral project, remember that there is usually a period of a few months between the submission of your dissertation and the oral examination.

  • Selection of foundations and funds


    The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is the oldest political foundation in Germany. Since it was founded in 1925, the FES has awarded scholarships to gifted students and doctoral candidates with an active commitment to social democracy.




    The gifted individuals fund of the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit supports talented young academics to enable them to pursue their chosen careers by funding doctoral degrees.



    The CSU-affiliated Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung awards grants through several programmes, including programmes for doctoral research. It works in around 60 countries worldwide in the areas of support for gifted individuals, development cooperation and political education.



    With the motto 'Tailwind for Talent', the Green Party-affiliated Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung supports students and doctoral candidates in all disciplines in Germany and abroad who support the objectives of the Green project.

    Heinrich Böll Stiftung e. V.









    Evangelische Studienwerk e.V. Villigst awards scholarships to gifted students in all subjects who are willing to shoulder responsibility in society, industry and research.

    Evangelisches Studienwerk


    The Hans-Böckler-Stiftung funds doctorates as individual projects through individual scholarships and also supports structured doctoral degrees through Research Training Groups, junior research groups and institutional cooperations. In terms of material support the foundation provides scholarships and supports research visits, conferences and language courses abroad. In non-material terms it organises events on current issues in social policy and cultural topics and seminars designed to provide additional qualification and support the dissertation-writing process.



    We provide individual, programme-based support to highly qualified and socially committed doctoral candidates engaged in an academically demanding project, regardless of individual worldview.

    Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes


    The Studienförderwerk Klaus Murmann, a fund operated by Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (sdw), awards scholarships to doctoral candidates in all subjects throughout Germany. Maximum funding amount per month: €1,050.

    Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft


  • Other sources of information


    An interactive database maintained by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with lots of information about current scholarship programmes.

    Stipendium Plus

    There are 12 funds for gifted individuals funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research which award scholarships.


    The scholarship database of the German Academic Exchange Service provides information about funding opportunities for doctoral candidates from other countries.

    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

    The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) funds doctoral candidates through Research Training Groups.


    Among other things, Kisswin provides information about the various funding opportunities available for doctoral candidates.