PhD Programmes

PhD programmes in Germany

Research Grants for Doctoral Candidates and Young Academics and Scientists

Research grants provide young foreign academics and scientists with an opportunity to carry out a research project or a course of continuing education and training at a German state or state-recognized higher education institution or non-university research institute. Research grants can be used to carry out:

  • research projects at a German higher education institution for the purpose of gaining a doctorate in the home country
  • research projects at a German university for the purpose of gaining a doctorate in Germany
  • research projects or continuing education and training, but without aiming for a formal degree/qualification

Grants can be paid generally for one to ten months; up to three years in the case of full doctoral programmes in Germany; and up to a maximum of four years in certain cases. Applications for DAAD research grants are open to excellently-qualified university graduates who hold a Master's degree or equivalent at the time they commence the grant-supported research.

Besides previous study achievements, the most important selection criterion is a convincing and well-planned research or continuing education and training project to be completed during the stay in Germany, which has been coordinated and agreed upon with an academic supervisor at the chosen German host institute.

The application deadline for this is 15 October each year.

For more information:

Research Grants for Doctoral Candidates within the Sandwich Model

Within the Sandwich Scheme, PhD students carry out their research and studies alternately in their home country and in Germany, following a schedule set in advance and under continuous supervision by a German academic. The doctorate is obtained at the homeland university. The main characteristic of this Sandwich Scheme is the individually tailor-made PhD programme schedule set with the greatest flexibility possible regarding the beginning and duration of each individual funding phase. Eligibility, application forms and documents for this programme are the same as for research grants for doctoral candidates and young academics and scientists. The extensive and detailed research proposal must be accompanied by a work and time schedule agreed upon by the academic advisors, both in the home country and in Germany.

The application deadline for this is 15 October each year.

PhD programmes in South Africa and the region of Sub-Saharan Africa

Scholarships for Post-Graduate Studies at African Centers of Excellence or Scientific Networks

The programme aims at university staff development in the first line without neglecting other public sector demand for academically trained personnel. Consequently, preference is given to young university staff members or candidates considered for teaching/research staff recruitment. Applications from female candidates are encouraged. These scholarships address postgraduate students from a Sub-Saharan African country who want to pursue their degree at an African university or centre outside of their home country.


  • ANSTI/Kenya: African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions
  • ICIPE/Kenya: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology
  • NAPRECA/Kenya: Natural Products Research Network for Eastern and Central Africa
  • CERAAS/Senegal: Centre d‘Etudes Régional pour l‘Amélioration de l‘Adaptation à la Sécheresse
  • CESPAM/Botswana: Centre of Specialization in Public Administration and Management
  • CHR/South Africa: Centre for Human Rights Law in Africa
  • CEPACS/Nigeria: Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
  • AIMS/South Africa: African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
  • ACMS/South Africa: African Centre for Migration and Society
  • IWM/Kenya: Integrated Watershed Management
  • AAEEN/Kenya: African Agricultural Economics Education Network
  • PTCI/Burkina: Programme de Troisième Cycle Interuniversitaire
  • CESAG/Senegal: Centre Africain d’Etudes Supérieures en Gestion
  • ILRI/Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute
  • IMSP/Benin: Institut de Mathématiques et de Sciences Physiques
  • 2iE/Burkina: Institut International d’Ingénieurs de l’Eau et de L’Environnement

Please contact the networks directly for the application requirements.

DAAD-NRF In-Country scholarship

As part of the “In-Country Scholarship Programme”, in which more than two dozen African universities and university networks participate and which annually supports hundreds of African postgraduates, DAAD in partnership with the National Research Foundation (NRF) offers scholarships for postgraduate studies at South African universities. The programme is co-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the NRF. The scholarship is aimed at university staff development in the first instance, without neglecting other sector demands for academically trained personnel. The programme addresses candidates who aim at acquiring a master’s or doctoral degree at a South African university.

Applicants may come from all fields of study that have a strong relevance to the national development of the country. Fields include: the natural sciences, mathematics, ICT, engineering, agricultural sciences, and applied social sciences. Humanities and fine arts are excluded from this programme. However, Humanities applications may be considered if the research has a social focus.

Preference is given to young South African or permanent resident university staff members or candidates considered for teaching /research staff recruitment either for their own university or any other institution of higher education in South Africa.

Application deadline: August each year.

PhD in German studies in South Africa - Scholarships for university students reading German Studies

The DAAD offers 1 year scholarships for postgraduate students reading German Studies at South African universities. The scholarships are available at Honours, Masters and PhD level.

Applications are made through the German Department in each respective university.