Research in Germany


A Step by Step Guide: DAAD Research Grant Application

What prerequisite qualification will I need to meet?

As a rule, you will need to have:

  • A very good higher education degree that is recognized in Germany. Generally, that is a degree equivalent to a German Master.This means you need to have completed 18 years (MS/ M Phil) of education in Pakistan.
  • No more than six years should have passed since you gained the last degree.


In the past, applicants to the DAAD "Research Grant" programme have been, expected to be faculty of a Pakistani university or research institution. Now, postgraduate students (having recently completed 18 years of education) or who are in the process of finalizing their M. Phil course or who are on an "M. Phil leading to PhD" programme or those who have already started their PhD research work without being employed at any university are eligible to apply.

The programme announcement can be found here.


In what order should i approach my preparation?

1. The point to start from is the careful consideration of your research question. Please keep in mind that PhD is supposed

    • to be based on previous research and findings in the specific field and
    • to contribute new findings to the academic discourse.

Thus, the following pre-knowledge is mandatory:

    • Broad knowledge in your field as such.
    • Knowledge of the state of research including the latest national and international publications in your field of specialization.
    • Knowledge of methodology and its implementation. (Not just "quantitative" and "qualitative" methods but how exactly they are executed and to what purpose with expected results.

If you are not sure if you can master this, buy some books, sit down and read. For literature on your own field, read the international online journals which are mostly accessible from Pakistani universities. Please read the guideline " How to Develop a Research Project and Write a Research Proposal".


2. The next step is to find a supervisor – a Doktorvater or Doktormutter. Please read the guideline "How to find a supervisor"carefully.

Keep in mind that you have to find a professor with matching research foci. The German professor is looking for somebody with an interesting project to join his/her team. So inform yourself very well about the ongoing research projects at his/her institute.

Read all available information carefully including abstracts, of the ongoing research projects, but do not make contact with the professor at this stage!

A comprehensive search of the German research landscape can be conducted by using the Research Explorer. or by visiting the following links:

Doing a PhD in Germany


3. Before contacting the supervisor, it is important that you have a well prepared synopsis of the doctoral dissertation you are planning to write. please read the guideline " How to Develop a Research project and Write a Research Proposal"


Please strictly obey the rules of good academic practice and never ever plagiarize from other people's publication. (Whatever is taken from another source word by word has to be enclosed in quotation marks followed by a reference to the original. Whenever you use other people's ideas, you have to give the reference to the original.)

The regulations of the University of Cambridge can be found here.



As a rule, every applicant is expected to submit a self written research proposal. In cases, however, where the supervisor provides the proposal, this may be used under the condition that:


- it is made clear that the proposal was not written by the applicant

- the applicant submits an additional statement of purpose


The statement of purpose should describe:


- how you got to know your supervisor and that he/she sent you the proposal,

- why you are interested to carry out the proposed project. (Benefits for your career or for your country, gain of   

 specific academic skills etc.)

- why you think you are fit to complete this project (similar projects in MPhil research? Read publications on       

  the topic? Which ones?)


4. Next you have to write a careful introductory e-mail to a professor which you have identified in step 2. Please follow the guideline "How to make contact", before sending out any e-mail. Always write a new e-mail to each professor and explain in detail why you think you will be a suitable member of his/her research team. Make sure you have read at least one of his/her online publications and refer to it in your e-mail. Add your draft research proposal and your CV. Also, please make sure that you have read the guideline Email Etiquette, for formal e-mail writing, carefully.


5.While waiting for a response from the supervisor(s), you may acquire your letter of recommendations. You can provide your referee with the pdf format generated from the DAAD Portal provided by  DAAD to fill out, or use the letter head of the referee`s institution/university. 


6.Applications to the programme DAAD Research Grant have to be submitted online.

More information on how to apply online to the DAAD Research Grant`s various sections, can be found here.

Note: Documents do not need to be certified! Certified copies have to be submitted only by successful candidates! 

IELTS or TOEFL is mandatory!


Deadline of application: 31 August 2020


  • Your application is only valid if you submit all the required documents to the DAAD portal and by post. The 

         postmark date serves as proof that the application has been dispatched on time.

  • The DAAD portal closes at 24.00 hrs. Central European Time (CET) on the last application day.