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Scholarships, Financial Support

Scholarships for Outstanding Students

There are 11 organisations that offer financial support for academically outstanding doctoral students via scholarships of two to three years’ duration.

These organisations have different requirement for the award of scholarships. What they have in common, though, is that they consider not only the applicants’ academic and personal achievements, but also evidence of societal, religious or social activities. It is furthermore expected that the applicants take an interest in the work of the funding organisation and are prepared to actively participate in this work. Typically, with the exception of Studienstiftung, applicants submit their own application documents. Details and requirements can be found at or in a BMBF brochure (PDF).

Contact Persons

The above named funding organisations have nominated professors and academic staff who may be contacted by prospective applicants. The relevant contact persons in the Faculty of Arts are as follows:

  • Cusanuswerk: Prof. Dr. Chr. Horn
  • Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst: Prof. Dr. G. Bader/Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät
  • Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung: PD Dr. Gunther Hirschfelder, Prof. Dr. K. Niclauß
  • Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung: Prof. Dr. J. Scholtyseck, Prof. Dr. E. Weede
  • Hans-Böckler-Stiftung: Prof. Dr. A. Kuhn
  • Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung: Dr. H. Beck/Universität Köln
  • Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung: Prof. Dr. A. Pangritz/Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät
  • Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Prof. Dr. G. Schulz
  • Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft: Prof. Dr. W.-H. Roth/Rechts- und Staatswissenschaftliche Fakultät
  • Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes: Prof. Dr. P. Geyer, Prof. Dr. W.-D. Lange, Prof. Dr. M. Lanzinner, Prof. Dr. Th. A. Schmitz, Prof. Dr. Stuhlmann-Laeisz

Private Foundations

There are a number of private foundations which award scholarships to doctoral students. These foundations typically support research in topics that are close to their own interests. A good overview of these can be found on the website of the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen.

Scholarships for Doctoral Students from outside Germany and for Research Stays Abroad

The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD) is a joint organisation of German universities and probably the best known funding body for students from abroad who wish to come to Germany for their research. Additionally, German students who would like to pursue part of their doctoral research abroad may apply for DAAD scholarships. DAAD also supports costs that arise from publications by DAAD-funded students.

Graduate Schools / Research Training Groups

Doctoral students may also receive scholarships within graduate schools (e.g. DFG Graduiertenkollegs, Research Training Groups). For example, in DFG-funded Research Training Groups students pursue their research within a research programme that is coordinated by several professors.

Support after the PhD / Postdoctral Fellowships

After completion of the PhD it is possible to apply for further funding. There are different means of support at this level, from short-term research stays abroad to postdoctoral fellowships of up to two years and scholarships for pursuing the Habilitation. Often there are restrictions for applications in terms of the applicant’s age as well as the time since having completed the PhD. Of course, the grade of the PhD as well as other scientific qualifications play an important role in the success of such an application.

Full-time Scholarships to Support Research Projects

In addition to scholarships that are open to all applicants from all subject areas there are a number of funding opportunities that are specific to certain topics. Within the arts and humanities, the following are of particular relevance.

  • Gerda Henkel Foundation - Projects in history, archaeology, art history and Islamic studies.
  • Hans Böckler Foundation - The focus is on work investigating relationships between work and society.
  • Stiftung für Romantik-Forschung - This foundation supports scientific research and projects in literature and arts that focus on the Romantic era (1770-1820) and/or its relations to the present.
  • Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe - This institute awards scholarships to scientists, particularly from outside Germany, whose research is on Eastern Europe, particularly with a focus on the history of former German territories and settlements.

Scholarships to Study and Work Abroad

  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarships. DAAD offers different options to support research stays abroad.
  • The Feodor Lynen Programme of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation funds scientists to carry out research projects abroad.
  • The South East Europe Association awards scholarships to support junior scientists in the arts and humanities, social sciences and economics to carry out research on South East Europe.
  • The Fulbright Commission awards travel scholarships to postdoctoral scientists who would like to go to the US for a teaching or research stay. The Commission also supports research projects in the field of American history, culture or civilisation.

There are further, more advanced funding options for postdoctoral scientists such as the DFG Emmy Noether programme. Additionally, current postdoctoral research positions are advertised on the internet portal.

German Language Courses

The University of Bonn offers numerous, mostly fee-based courses for doctoral students from abroad who wish to improve their German language skills.


The University of Bonn has launched a project entitled "Pro-Motion"-/Pro-Buddy-Programme. This programme aims to intensify contact between doctoral students from Germany and abroad.
The equal opportunities office of the University of Bonn furthermore offers a network and mentoring programme for female doctoral students. These programmes serve to improve networking amongst female doctoral students and enable individual coaching by experienced scientists at the University. There are also comprehensive workshops and training events.

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