PhD Level

Two people in a counselling session.

The DAAD offers a variety of research grants for postgraduate students aiming for PhD /doctoral studies. Some are of specific relevance to Ghanaians.

The DAAD offers programmes to support PhD studies with different funding schemes and in diverse subject areas. Those that are most relevant to Ghanaians are described below. A full list of scholarship offers by DAAD and other German funding organizations can be found on our funding guide.

The DAAD research grants support PhD studies in different schemes and can be granted for a maximum of four years. The different schemes are presented in greater detail below.

The DAAD research grants support PhD studies in different schemes

For all research grants, applicants have to fulfil three criteria to be eligible.

A Bachelor’s degree in at least second upper division,

a very good Master’s degree and

a last degree that has been awarded within the last six years.

In contrast to a DAAD Master’s scholarship, an application for a research grant is still possible when the PhD student has already started his research or study, provided that the applicant has not been based in Germany more than 15 months to the date of application.

All applications for research grants are handled via the DAAD application portal. Each document needs to be uploaded there. This includes recommendation letters. Application letters may also be forwarded to the DAAD via mail. The DAAD may ask for certified copies to be handed in later.

One scheme the DAAD funds is the increasingly popular structured PhD. Within the framework of these PhD programmes students participate in an interdisciplinary study course programme and engage with other students while working on their own theses.

Application Procedure

There are different databases to help you find a structured PhD programme in Germany. offers a comprehensive register of all study courses that are offered by German Higher Education institutions. Programmes taught exclusively in English can be found on the DAAD’s international programme database.

Once the applicant has secured admission for the desired structured programme, he or she can apply for a research grant for Doctoral programmes in Germany via the DAAD online application portal. For more information on the research grant,  please refer to our funding guide.

Some Structured PhD Programmes are also listed under the ‘DAAD Graduate School Scholarship Programme’ where you first apply to the schools and then you are nominated to complete an application on the DAAD online application portal.

In addition to that, there are a few structured PhD courses available within the framework of the EPOS programmes. For instructions on applying for these, please follow the application process outlined for here.

In the traditional one-on-one PhD supervision scheme, the prospective PhD student and the supervisor agree on a research topic on which the student works at the institution of the supervisor. If you need guidance in securing a PhD position, please consult the download section.

In this model the prospective student has to actively look for a placement at a German university or institute. Germany has numerous research facilities in all scientific fields, a the research explorer database contains a comprehensive list of research institutes. Applicants have to convince a supervisor with their research proposal before applying for a research grant via the DAAD application portal. For more information, please refer to our funding guide.


In this format, a PhD student who is enrolled in a Ghanaian university can complete his or her doctorate under both a domestic and a German supervisor. This research grant allows the student to complete research periods at a German institute. The grant is initially provided for a 12 months period and is extendable to up to 2 years.

A doctorate student currently enrolled in his or her home country can approach a German supervisor as described above for the individual PhD. The applicant needs to be pursuing a doctoral degree at a Ghanaian university. A supervisor in Germany has to be convinced to offer the student a workplace to pursue their research in Germany. For more information please refer to our funding guide.


Does DAAD pay for field trips/cost of research?

  • No.

What does the DAAD research grant cover?

  • DAAD Research Grant pays monthly living allowance, health, accident and personal liability insurance cover and Travel allowance.

Does the DAAD cover conference travel costs for Scholarship/Grant holders?

  • No.  Scholarship/Grant holders are however entitled to a Study and Research Allowance of 460 Euros per annum during the period as a Scholarship/Grant holder.  This amount of money could be used to attend conferences etc.

Questions on the Application portal:

Can I apply to more than one programme at the same time?

Yes.  The application portal allows you to submit more than one application at a time.  You will however be eventually contacted by a DAAD representative to select your most preferred in the event of a successful application.

Can I upload further documents after submitting my application online?

Yes.  The application portal allows you to upload further documents for you application.  You can however not change your submitted application form.

The excellent academic and learning environment at the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS) where I was Guest Researcher was simply amazing and exacted the best out of me. German academic institutions are indeed par excellence and that is the most exciting thing to discover about them. Well-equipped libraries and laboratories, excellent working environments, very approachable academic supervisors/advisors and a lot more.

Maxwell Aziaba (Former PhD scholarship holder)

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