DAAD Study Scholarship (German Academic Exchange)

History   |   Description   |   Eligibility   |    How to   |   Application   |   Checklist

History and Purpose

The DAAD (Deutscher Academischer Austauch Dienst), founded in 1925 and re-founded following WWII, is a private, publicly funded, self-governing organization of higher education institutions in Germany. Based in Bonn, DAAD promotes international academic relations and cooperation by offering programs and funding for students, faculty, researchers and others in higher education and represents the German higher education system abroad, helping to build ties between institutions around the world. The DAAD’s five-fold mission includes promoting academic and research partnerships between Germany and other countries; providing Germans with international and intercultural experiences; enhancing internationalization of German higher education; promoting scholarship in German language, literature, art and knowledge of cultural heritage; and supporting the process of economic and democratic reform in developing countries and in the transition countries of Middle and Eastern Europe. US applications are administered primarily through the New York office, although arts grants are handled in Bonn.

Description of the DAAD Study Scholarship

Study Scholarships are available to highly qualified graduating seniors and recent graduates from all disciplines (except medicine) to complete a full Master’s degree at a German university in Germany. The Study Scholarship is for 10 months and must take place during the German academic year (from October 1 – July 31) immediately following graduation (for candidates applying as college seniors). An extension of up to one year may be available for Master's degrees that are longer than one year.  The scholarship includes a monthly stipend of approximately €750, health insurance, a flat rate subsidy for travel costs (see website for amounts), a limited rent subsidy, and financial support for German language-learning prior to start of the German academic year. Candidates for a Master’s program must be able to explain why a particular program has been chosen and how it will further the candidate’s educational and career goals. Candidates must apply to the German university of choice separately, but need not have already gained acceptance or have an invitation to be awarded a DAAD.

All disciplines of study are welcomed. Students pursuing degrees in the arts must include portfolio materials with their applications.  Note that applications in performing arts have a different deadline than that in other fields and are not part of the campus nomination process.

Proficiency in German is not required for all courses of study, but applicants in the humanities and social sciences should have a good command of German. While candidates with strong German language skills in general will be most competitive, many universities in Germany offer course study in English. Research in the sciences is often conducted in English-speaking labs.  Students who have good reasons for pursuing their field of study in Germany, and have German proficiency commensurate with the requirements of their academic plan, are encouraged to apply. All DAAD scholars will be expected to improve their German while in country, of course. You can research programs in German through this database.

(Note: The DAAD offers many additional opportunities for students to study or do research in Germany such as the Undergraduate Scholarship, RISE, and Summer Language Programs. Students interested in these opportunities may apply directly and should consult Mount Holyoke’s MCGI website.)

Eligibility Requirements and Rules for Nomination

Applicants must have/be: 
  • Seniors or graduates within six years (alumnae may apply directly or through campus)
  • US citizenship or international students with more than one full-time year in attendance at an accredited US college or university
  • Proficiency in German appropriate to plan of study (ordinarily minimum of two years)
  • Strong academic standing with at least a 3.5 GPA (3.7 or higher is preferred)
  • MHC may nominate an unlimited number of candidates; one candidate is deemed the priority candidate and is considered in a separate pool
Application components
  • Completed application form, submitted online and printed & signed (available online from the DAAD website)
  • CV or resume in chronological, tabular form with name appearing on each page (maximum 3 pages)
  • A study proposal/letter of motivation; see guidelines for writing this proposal under G of the DAAD FAQ's
  1. For Master’s program: a narrative proposal explaining why particular program has been chosen and how it will further applicant’s academic and career goals (max 3 pages,  name on each page, 11 pt type, Times New Roman, 1" margins recommended) AND a letter of admission to a study program OR a completed "Information about your preferred master programme" form; DAAD recommends listing up to three potential degree programs but when writing proposal, you should focus on your top preferred program and mention briefly additional programs at the end
  2. DAAD language evaluation (completed by a German language instructor; form on DAAD website) – print out - must submit even if you have no German language skills
  3. Original transcripts from all undergraduate study (sent to National Fellowships Advisor directly, who will make necessary copies and provide you with a pdf); hard copies only required of finalists
  4. One faculty recommendation on letterhead, signed, sent to National Fellowships Advisor (can be from MHC or one of Five Colleges)
  5. Supplemental materials (portfolio) for Performing Arts, Fine Art, Design, Film, Music

How to apply

All applicants currently enrolled at MHC are encouraged to apply through a campus process, facilitated by the National Fellowships Advisor and Senior Administrative Assistant Marianne Taylor, and be endorsed by the College (represented by the Committee on Fellowships chaired by the Dean of Studies). Study Scholarship Applicants will receive guidance on essays and application materials and participate in an interview with the Committee.  If endorsed, candidates will further revise materials and submit them to the Academic Deans Office.  National Fellowships Advisor will send the hard copy application materials to DAAD with the College endorsement; candidates must also submit online.  Students who miss the internal deadline can apply directly to DAADArts Applicants will receive similar guidance from National Fellowships Advisor, but will submit their materials to DAAD themselves.  Note:  The deadline for campus submission of Study Scholarship applications is much earlier than the DAAD deadline.  Applicants applying for a Master's program must apply separately to that program, although they need not have received an acceptance letter yet to be considered for the DAAD. In order to register with the DAAD online portal to start your application, go to the scholarship database and enter Study Scholarships for Graduates of All Disciplines in the keyword or program title. Select your status (graduates) and country of origin (which is the country in which you are living and from where you are applying, not your citizenship country). General instructions on the DAAD Study grant are found here.

Campus Process and Checklist

Please note that for all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

All fields 

Timeframe Task(s) to Complete


Investigate German programs/research institutions; discuss plans with German Studies/other faculty and with National Fellowships Advisor; draft essays; seek feedback from National Fellowships Advisor and from faculty in field

August Online application becomes available on DAAD website

Oct 22nd

All application components due to National Fellowships Advisor including faculty recommendation; candidates should print online application form from DAAD website but should not submit it yet

Oct 22 - 31

Committee on Fellowships - DAAD reviews applications and provides feedback to NFA; NFA works with candidates to improve applications

Oct 31

Candidates submit online application in DAAD system, with uploaded supplementary materials as required; print summary of application and give to National Fellowships Advisor.  NO STAPLES should be used.  Recommender submits letter to National Fellowships Advisor - on letterhead, signed, NO STAPLES

By Nov 4th

National Fellowships Advisor sends hard copy summary of application, printed application, and supplementary materials to DAAD

Mid April

Results become available through application portal; notify National Fellowships Advisor of your results!

Arts Applicants:



Investigate German programs/research institutions; discuss plans with German Studies/other faculty and with National Fellowships Advisor; draft essays; seek feedback from National Fellowships Advisor and from faculty in field

By Oct. 31st

Applicant sends materials directly to DAAD office in Bonn according to instructions on DAAD website


Winners announced to candidates via email from DAAD; notify National Fellowships Advisor of your results!