What is DAAD and what do they do for International Students?


Germany is now becoming a top education destination for international students attracted by its universities and research institutions, which are some of the oldest and most prestigious in the world.

In addition to full-time students, Germany has also proved quite proactive in attracting exchange students to boost educational links with other countries of the world.

What is DAAD?

It is a 93-year old German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst), commonly known as DAAD, which funds the largest number of international exchange students and researchers worldwide. True to its motto ‘Change by Exchange’, it has supported around 2 million scholarships in Germany and abroad.

DAAD is funded by various German federal ministries, including the education and foreign ministries as well as the office of the Chancellor. DAAD receives funding from the European Union as well as contributions from various corporations and other organizations.

The institution is renowned for its scholarships – in 2015, nearly 52,000 foreign students were recipients of DAAD scholarships. In India, the DAAD has a representative office in New Delhi.

What do they do for International students?

The best part of DAAD funding is that it has country specific schemes and eligibilities which make it easier for Indian students. Another highlight is that funding is provided for almost all educational streams rather than professional education which most institutions fund. They have over 200 scholarships out of which Indian students are eligible for 86.

Indian students can benefit from a range of scholarship and exchange funding options of DAAD. In most cases, tuition fee and basic living costs are covered. In some cases, even travel costs are covered.

Of the 86 programs for which Indian students are eligible, some are listed below:

Under-Graduate Programs

Friedrich Ebert Foundation: Scholarship for International Students – Available to students in any discipline

Heinrich Böll Foundation: Student Scholarship – Available to students in any discipline (students should show a commitment to ‘green’ or environment-friendly ideals)

Post-Graduate Programs

Helmut-Schmidt-Programme (Master’s Scholarships for Public Policy and Good Governance) – German Foreign Office-funded scholarship for master’s degree pertinent to economic, political or social development

Master of European Law –Scholarship towards a 1-year Master of Law program (including 2 months of German language tuition)

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation: The German Chancellor Fellowship – 1-year scholarship for post-graduate studies in any discipline

Doctoral Programs

Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds: PhD Fellowships – Open to doctoral students in the field of biomedicine

Gerda Henkel Foundation: Doctoral Scholarships – Awarded to students interested in doctoral research in the humanities


In addition to full-time education, the DAAD also provides financial support for paid internships for students from India and other countries.

The AIESEC: Global Talent Program is open to students and graduates for paid internships in Germany in various fields like IT, Engineering, Sales & Marketing, administration and teaching.

Practical Traineeships for Foreign Students of Natural and Technical Sciences, Agriculture and Forestry (IAESTE) offer paid internships for students for 2-3 months.

How to apply?

The application forms and procedures for all the programs are clearly listed on DAAD’s website.

In most cases, candidates will need to demonstrate an excellent academic record as well as submit a brief profile about them.

In case of research candidates, a detailed research proposal may also be required with a brief resume of their previous achievements.

The competition for the scholarships is quite strong and hence students need to be early to meet the deadlines.

In some cases, students may need to attend an interview. The interviews are usually held in New Delhi as DAAD has a representative office there.