Scholarship for doctoral students FAQ

Please read the information on our website on the requirements for an application and the application documents. Should you have any further questions, this FAQ is provided to assist you. 


Before applying

When is the next deadline for submitting my application?
1 June or 1 December.

Does the deadline for submitting my application documents apply to the postmark? 
Yes, the deadline applies to the postmark.

I’m not a Protestant. Can I still apply?
Yes. In justified exceptional cases, the Evangelisches Studienwerk will accept doctoral applicants who are not members of the Protestant Church. The reasons for this must be convincing and your application must be strong. Please add a letter of motivation to your application explaining why you are applying for a scholarship with the Evangelisches Studienwerk and summarising your thoughts on religion and the church.

Do I have to be a German citizen? 
No. Doctoral students who don’t have German citizenship, but will be studying at a German university, may apply for a scholarship.

Do I have to have been accepted onto a doctoral programme before applying? 
Yes. You must be able to prove that you are eligible to be accepted onto a doctoral programme.

Do I have to be enrolled during my doctoral studies? 
No, you do not have to be enrolled during your doctoral studies.

I started my doctoral programme six months ago. Can I still apply?
Yes, you can. However, you cannot apply for a scholarship when in the final stages of your PhD.

Can I complete my entire PhD abroad? 
Yes, if there is a valid reason for doing so, you may complete your studies at a foreign university. If you would like to do this, please include an informal statement of grounds in your application.

As a foreign applicant, do I have to prove my knowloedge of the German language?
We require a certification of knowledge on the level of B2 or DSH.

I’m older than 30. Can I still apply for a scholarship from Evangelisches Studienwerk?
Yes. You must explain the reasons for your late decision to complete a PhD on your detailed CV.

Are certain subjects preferred when it comes to awarding scholarship grants? 
No. We’re happy to receive applications for all fields.

Is it possible to apply for a scholarship in the field of medicine? 
It’s possible to apply for a scholarship with a veterinary medical project, biomedical projects will only be permitted if your final qualification will be Dr. rer. nat. or its equivalent.

Can I apply for a scholarship with an artistic project?
You can apply for a scholarship if the project has a prevalence of academic aspects.


Application documents

I don’t yet have my degree certificate – can I still apply?
Yes, you can apply while awaiting your degree certificate, provided that you can supply a written transcript with as complete a list of grades as possible, including your final grade. You have until 10 June or 10 December to submit your degree certificate.

Do the certificate copies need to be certified?
No. We are usually happy to accept simple copies. However, please ensure that they are provided in DIN A4 format. We reserve the right to request certified copies as necessary.

What rules apply to submitting my certificate?

  • Your certificate must be supplied with a full transcript.
  • If you completed your degree abroad, please provide a transfer into the German system and your final grade.
  • Your final grade must be at least »gut« (good), or »vollbefriedigend« (very good) for law degrees.
  • Please submit copies of your leaving certificates with your application documents (A-level, bachelor, master, diploma etc.)

If my certificate is not in English or German, can I still submit it?
Yes, but it must be submitted together with a certified translation.

Do my referees have to be qualified professors?
Yes. This requirement is only waived if your university lecturer does not have a doctor title, but is permitted to mentor students and administer exams, e.g. if your professor is a junior or assistant professor.

What rules apply to submitting my references?

  • Your references must be sent to us in the original.
  • Your references must be signed by hand by the referees. Electronic signatures are not permitted.
  • Your references must include the full contact details of each referee.
  • The references can be submitted together with the application documents in a sealed envelope or sent separately by the referees. Please ask for your references in good time to ensure that you meet the application deadline!

Can I submit my references later? 
Yes, you can. Your references must reach us by 10 June or 10 December, depending on the deadline for your application cycle.

Should I send the references separately or with the rest of my application?
You can submit the references together with your application in a sealed envelope or send them separately.

Do you need the references in duplicate?
If possible, yes. Where references are submitted in sealed envelopes, Evangelisches Studienwerk will make copies on your behalf.

How long should the references be? 
That’s up to the referee. If possible, the references should include all of the points mentioned in the relevant information sheet [PDF].

Should the proposal be written in German? 
Yes, the proposal and the application must be written in German. In special cases, foreign applicants can write their proposal and application in English. They must then add a german summary on one page.

How should I submit my application documents? 
All documents must be submitted in duplicate. Pages must not be stapled, should be printed on one side only and submitted on DIN A4 paper. 

Is the bibliography included in the max. 15 pages? 
No, you can slightly exceed the max. number of pages with the bibliography.

Are there any font or other requirements for the proposal?
No, it’s only important that your documents are submitted in the appropriate manner, with a clear layout and in legible text.

Do I have to include a covering letter? 
No, but you are welcome to include a covering letter for the sake of completeness.

How long should my detailed CV (essay) be? 
Our tip: max. two pages per tabular CV und three pages per detailed CV.

Do I have to provide references for all of my jobs/work placements?
No, it’s enough to mention them in your CV.

Can I fill out the personnel record by hand? 
Yes. If you choose to do this, please fill out the personnel record in clear block capitals. It would be very helpful if you could use a dark-coloured ink!


The selection process

When will the applications be assessed?
Applications are assessed in stages. The final decision regarding selection will be made by Evangelisches Studienwerk after a meeting of the Doctoral Scholarship Committee, which is scheduled to take place after the application deadline (April or October). If necessary assessments are not available at the time of the selection interview, this may delay notification of the outcome of your application. It may be possible for your application to be assigned to the next application cycle.

When will the selection interview take place?
Selection interviews are held in April or October. You will be notified of the exact date and time of your interview at the beginning of the process.

When will I find out whether or not I’ve been invited to an interview?
A few days before the selection interviews. It is not possible to notify you earlier than this. You will be informed of the date and time of the selection interviews at the beginning of the application process, please remember this appointment.

What happens if I cannot attend the interview slot allocated to me? 
Unfortunately, we can only offer each applicant one interview slot. It is not possible to postpone your interview within the same selection process. If necessary, it may be possible for your application to be assigned to the next application cycle.

When will I be notified of the outcome of the selection interview?
Our final decision will be announced around 14 days after your selection interview. If necessaary assessments are not available at the time of the selection interview, this may delay notification of the outcome of your application. It may be possible for your application to be assigned to the next application cycle.

Will I get to find out why my application was successful/unsuccessful?
No, we are not able to tell you this, because the selection process also involves comparing applicants’ personal data. Please do not contact us by telephone with your enquiries.

What happens with my application documents if I’m unsuccessful? 
We are unfortunately not able to return application documents. Your documents will be destroyed in accordance with data protection laws. All data submitted to us digitally will be deleted after six months.

Can I reapply for a scholarship? 
No, unless you are explicitly invited to do so.


The scholarship

For how many semesters will I receive a doctoral scholarship?
The scholarship will initially be awarded for a period of two years. It’s possible to extend the scholarship for a fifth semester, but is only possible to extend it for a sixth semester in exceptional cases. If necessary, a further extension may be possible due to childcare constraints or chronic illness/disability.

What are my obligations as a doctoral scholarship recipient? 
All newly accepted scholarship recipients are required to attend one of two PhD meetings during the first year of their scholarship. In addition, recipients must submit an interim report following their first scholarship year. At the end of your scholarship, you must send us a copy of your PhD certificate and a printed and digital copy of your thesis.

Is it possible to have my doctoral thesis published? 
All theses will be provided as PDF Files on the intranet of Villigst.

Am I allowed to accept a position as an academic employee at the university while in receipt of the scholarship? 
Yes, but you will be subject to additional provisions of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

How many extra hours am I permitted to work? 
When in receipt of the doctoral scholarship, you are permitted to work a maximum of 1/8 of the regular working week. If the work falls within the same academic or disciplinary field as your doctoral thesis, it is deemed compatible with your scholarship provided that you do not work more than 1/4 of the regular working week.


Start of the scholarship

It is important to us that you start the scholarship at the maximum three months after the selection process. This means starting the scholarshop either August 1st (selection process in April) or February 1st (selection process in October) at the latest.

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