Frequently asked questions about the application requirements

What does "university entrance qualification" mean?

Students from Germany ("Bildungsinländer/innen") are those who have acquired their "higher education entrance qualification" in Germany. This refers to the school-leaving qualification that entitles the holder to study at a university. The higher education entrance qualification or entitlement to study is evidenced by an appropriate certificate. Commonly the Abitur ("allg. Hochschulreife") is meant, but not only this: In addition to the general higher education entrance qualification, we distinguish the subject-related higher education entrance qualification, the advanced technical college entrance qualification or the study entitlement of vocationally qualified persons, are, for example, master craftsmen and women, technicians, technical managers and/or holders of equivalent qualifications who can study a subject of their choice without having to take an aptitude test. This means that their qualification is equivalent to the general higher education entrance qualification.

The term "higher education entrance qualification" therefore always refers to the school-leaving qualification and not to a degree in Germany which qualifies the holder for a doctorate.

"Bildungsinländer/innen" are both Germans and students with foreign passports who - in contrast to "Bildungsausländer/innen" - have acquired their higher education entrance qualification in Germany.

Can I be sponsored for the entire duration of my studies abroad?

Study scholarship holders ("Bildungsinländer") can study abroad for several semesters after they have been admitted to the programme and receive additional funding for this in addition to the basic scholarship. It is also possible to sponsor complete Bachelor's degree programmes within the EU with additional financial support. The intention (choice of study location, subject) should be explained in detail in the application. Tuition fees can be (partially) reimbursed.

Additional financial support for studies abroad is limited to a maximum of 12 months per degree programme.
Can a complete doctorate abroad be funded?

Funding for a complete doctorate abroad within the EU is possible with additional financial support in addition to the basic scholarship. The project (choice of study location, subject, dissertation topic) should be justified in detail in the application.

Additional financial support for a doctorate abroad is limited to a maximum of 12 months.

Can I apply as a "Bildungsinländer" exclusively for funding for a Master's degree?

Students who have acquired their higher education entrance qualification in Germany ("Bildungsinländer/innen") may NOT apply for funding for a Master's programme if they have not yet received funding from us for their Bachelor's programme. Our goal is rather to support and accompany students for a longer period of time.

However, in the case of Bachelor's students who are accepted for sponsorship, further sponsorship in the Master's programme is possible.

The situation is different for students from abroad ("Bildungsausländer/innen"); they may only apply for funding for the Master's programme (or funding for the main study programme in the Diplom or Staatsexamen) and must already provide evidence of a first degree qualifying for a profession (e.g. a BA degree or an intermediate examination or the Vordiplom) with their application.

Exceptions to these regulations are refugee students or doctoral candidates who, regardless of their nationality, degree or number of semesters, can apply for funding for both Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes (or Diplom or Staatsexamens degree programmes) as well as for funding for doctoral studies.

If I have a dual nationality, which nationality will be used as a basis for the study programme / doctorate to be funded?

This requires a case-by-case assessment depending on the combination of citizenships. In principle, the following applies: If you have acquired your higher education entrance qualification abroad, the same regulations apply as for foreign students; if you have acquired your higher education entrance qualification in Germany, the same regulations apply as for German students (see above). We would like to encourage you to apply in any case, even if these requirements do not apply. We decide on a case-by-case basis.

When can graduates of German schools abroad apply?

Graduates of German schools abroad can apply to study in Germany in any selection procedure (on 1 March or 1 September), irrespective of their nationality. The same regulations apply as for foreign students. Very good German language skills are required.

Do I have a good chance of being sponsored if I can prove that I have very good grades at school and in my studies, but am not socially involved or politically interested, or vice versa?

No, all three criteria - excellent performance and social commitment and political interest - must be met and are necessary conditions for a successful application.

What Abitur average - or, in the case of doctoral candidates, what final grade - should I have in order to have a good chance of receiving a Heinrich Böll Foundation scholarship?

We expect excellent, i.e. very good, school and study results. However, we do not specify a minimum grade point average. We examine each application and judge it in its overall context. The better your performance at school and in your studies, the better your chances of receiving a scholarship, and vice versa.

What is meant by "social commitment"?

We expect applicants and future scholarship holders to support the goals of the Foundation and to actively work for a just, democratic, and ecological world.

We expect scholarship holders to assume social responsibility and to look beyond their own professional horizons. We do not see a scholarship as a reward for good performance in the past, but as an expression of the high expectations we have of our scholarship holders to pursue their studies in a goal-oriented manner, to complete them successfully, and to continue to be socially active in the future.

Examples of socio-political commitment can be: Participation in the student council, school representative, leadership of international youth camps, participation in the Green Youth, involvement in associations and NGOs, such as a migration association, BUND, Terre des Femmes, Amnesty International, and many more.

Do I have to be a party member of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen to receive a scholarship?


Is there an age limit for applying for a study or doctoral scholarship?

We do not impose any age limits on applicants. We also welcome, for example, those who have obtained their Abitur through a second-chance education or who have completed an apprenticeship before going on to study.

We see our study and doctoral sponsorship as support for young people who are seeking to enter or advance their careers or gain further qualifications.

Can I apply if I want to study for a Master's degree while working?

No, students on part-time courses are not eligible for funding.

Are dual studies, distance learning or part-time studies funded?

No, as a rule not; analogous to BAföG, only full-time studies are funded, provided this is confirmed in the certificate of study according to § 9 BAföG.

Can I only apply for non-material support if, for example, I already receive material support from another foundation or if I am employed?


Can I also apply for non-material support from another foundation if I receive a scholarship from the Heinrich Böll Foundation?

No, ideational double sponsorship is not possible.

Can I also receive a scholarship from the Heinrich Böll Foundation if I am already receiving BAföG or a Deutschlandstipendium or a scholarship from another funding organisation?

No, multiple funding for the same purpose is mutually exclusive. Before funding begins, BAföG receipt or the scholarship from a third party must be terminated.

In the case of doctoral students, any periods of prior funding by others will be counted towards the maximum funding period.

Can foreign students from countries outside the EU also apply for a scholarship?

Yes, the Studienwerk also supports students and doctoral candidates from non-EU countries, provided that they intend to study in Germany and are enrolled at a state-recognised German higher education institution or admitted to doctoral studies. For international scholarship holders, a temporary sponsorship abroad in a third country is also possible to a limited extent.

When and when can I apply?

All interested persons - whether students or doctoral candidates, whether nationals or foreigners - can apply to us twice a year (on 1 March and 1 September).


Germans or Bildungsinländer/innen including refugees can apply for funding for a first degree - for example, with the aim of obtaining a Bachelor's or Diplom degree - immediately before taking up their studies up to the fourth semester. In the case of BA graduates, further funding for a Master's degree is only possible if the Bachelor's degree has already been funded by us.

We recommend that first-year students apply immediately before the start of their studies, i.e. e.g. by 1 September with a start date of 1 October - if the subject and university location have already been determined at the time of application.

International students from EU and non-EU countries can apply for funding if they already have a first degree qualifying them for a profession, for example a Bachelor's or Diplom degree. Only Master's degree programmes are eligible for funding here.

Doctoral students:

Doctoral students apply when they have defined the research topic, can present a synopsis, have found a supervisor and have completed initial preliminary work. Admission to the doctoral programme should have been granted, or at least applied for, and confirmed by the supervisor. The written confirmation of admission to the doctoral programme may be submitted later during the selection process.

Can I apply for funding for a second Bachelor's programme if I have already started a first Bachelor's programme and will continue it?

No, the funding relates to the first Bachelor's programme; the application must be submitted before the start of the programme or by the 4th semester as described above.

Can I apply for funding for a second degree if I have already successfully completed a degree, for example a second Master's degree?

The funding of second studies is generally excluded; for exceptions, the same conditions apply as in BAföG with regard to a possible funding of a second study.

Can I apply for a scholarship to support a second degree programme if I have already discontinued my first degree programme?

In principle, this is possible if the interrupted study programme did not last longer than one or two semesters. The discontinuation and the reorientation should be justified in detail. The funding conditions apply analogously to the BAföG regulations regarding a discontinuation of studies.

Can I apply for sole funding of a master's degree course?

No, it is not possible to apply for the sole funding of such a postgraduate course. Sponsorship of postgraduate studies such as master's studies is only possible if the scholarship holder has already been sponsored by us in a master's or diploma programme.

As a foreign applicant or non-native speaker, do I have to prove that I have knowledge of German, even if I would like to complete an English-language degree programme in Germany?

Yes, we expect our scholarship holders to have sufficient knowledge of the German language; they should be able to actively participate in our extensive programme of events. Level B2 or DSHII must already be proven in the application process. The selection interviews and the group discussion in the selection workshop are usually conducted in German.

Can I apply for the final financing of my doctorate?

No, pure final funding of doctoral projects (up to 12 months) is not possible.

Do I have a better chance of receiving a scholarship with a "green" doctoral topic?

No, not automatically, because we want to support personalities and not just topics. However, we are particularly pleased with dissertation topics that touch on the Foundation's main topics.

Does the Heinrich Böll Foundation award postdoctoral or habilitation fellowships?

No. We also do not fund the study projects of those who have already completed their doctorate.

Can I apply exclusively for funding for a study or research stay abroad, even if I am not yet a scholarship holder?

Students and graduates who are planning a stay abroad but are not yet a scholarship holder of the Heinrich Böll Foundation cannot be funded separately for a stay abroad.

Can I apply for printing subsidies or project funding (e.g. for study trips) from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, even if I am not a scholarship holder?

No, we cannot provide external applicants with printing subsidies or project funding.

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