Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Humboldt Research Track Scholarship
Who can apply?

The Humboldt Research Track Scholarship funding line is aimed at outstanding students and graduates who have either just completed or who are about to complete their degree program. It doesn’t matter where you obtained your degree. You should, however, pursue a PhD at Humboldt-Universität, or – if you graduated from Humboldt Universität – at another university in Germany or abroad. You do not need to have completed your degree in order to apply, but funding can only start once you have received your final degree results. To enable more prospective doctoral candidates with disabilities or chronic illnesses to prepare for a doctorate, applications from this target group will be given particular consideration.

How do I apply?

The application process for Research Track Scholarships takes place via an online application portal. Applications will only be accepted via this portal, and the portal is only accessible during the application period.

Once you have submitted your application via the online application portal, you will receive an automatic confirmation e-mail.

Only complete applications can be considered.

The entire online application process can be completed in German or English.

When does the funding start?

The actual beginning of the funding period is flexible within limits. Scholarships can only be started once you have received your final degree results and should commence by the start of the next funding cycle.

How many Research Track Scholarships are available?

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin awards up to 24 Humboldt Research Track Scholarships each year. Half of these shall be awarded to women. Four scholarships shall be awarded to candidates with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

Who decides who will receive the Humboldt Research Track Scholarships?

The Humboldt Research Track Scholarships are awarded by the Selection Committee of the Institutional Strategy Funding Lines for Promoting Young Researchers. The selection board is comprised of professors, post-docs and doctoral students from various disciplines.

By when can I expect a decision on my application?

The decision to award the scholarships will be made at least a month before the funding is due to begin. We will let you know if your application has been successful as soon as a decision has been reached.

What is the duration of the scholarship?

Scholarships are awarded for a period of up to six months. In exceptional cases and upon application, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin may extend the funding for an additional six months.

What are my obligations after the end of the scholarship period?

Scholarship recipients are obligated to take part in the evaluation of the scholarship program and  to provide details regarding the funding and the further academic career (e.g. submission of an application for a doctoral program).   

What is the value of the scholarship?     

Humboldt Research Track Scholarships provide recipients with €800 a month. If you have children, you will receive an additional €400 a month for your first child, plus €100 for each additional child. Material costs are not covered.

Can I apply for a Research Track Scholarship before I have completed my degree program?

Yes, you can apply for a Research Track Scholarship without submitting your degree certificate. In this case, please submit an overview of your grades with a preliminary overall grade and proof of your expected degree (e.g. confirmation from the examination office that you have submitted your master’s thesis). If you are awarded a Research Track Scholarship, you can then submit a certified copy of your degree certificate. The funding will only begin once these requirements have been met.

How long after I have completed my degree program can I apply for a Research Track Scholarship?

The Humboldt Research Track Scholarship funding line aims to facilitate the transition to a PhD by providing funding to students who pursue a PhD at Humboldt-Universität  or another university. You should therefore ideally apply shortly before or after finishing your degree. If the Master's degree (or equivalent) wasn't obtained within the last six months prior to the date of application, you need to give reasons why you still qualify for a start-up funding.

What degree do I need?

Applicants must meet the relevant admission requirements for doctoral studies at your aspired university.

Who can be the mentor during the funding period?

Only professors of the Humboldt-Universität can become mentors. They do not necessarily have to supervise your PhD.

Is there an age limit for candidates?

No. Candidates are chosen in a transparent selection process on the basis of achievement and how well they meet the required qualifications.

In what languages can I submit my application?

Applications and documents can be submitted in English or German. This also applies to the letter of recommendation and the expert review.

What language skills do I need?

By the time you start your PhD, your language skills should be at the level specified in the regulations for admission to a doctorate. If the PhD is part of a structured program, you must fulfil the requirements of that program.

What are the criteria for a possible extension of the funding period?

The selection committee for the funding lines for promoting young researchers, which is part of the Institutional Strategy of the Excellence Initiative, has laid down criteria for a possible extension of the scholarship duration. The following criteria apply: (1) pregnancy / birth of a child during the scholarship period; (2) special personal circumstances, such as serious illness, illness of children aged under twelve and caring for close relatives; (3) unforeseen changes in the conditions for carrying out the planned project for which the scholar is not responsible. The third criterion should only be applied if the scholar would otherwise suffer significant financial hardship. You will find more detailed information on the criteria and on applying for an extension at this link.