German Chancellor Fellowship


Application requirements

Can I apply before completing my Bachelor's (or comparable) degree?

You may apply if you graduate from your Bachelor's programme before the fellowship starts. If you take part in an intensive German language course prior to the start of the fellowship, you will have to graduate from your Bachelor’s Programme before the intensive language course starts.

What determines the completion date of my Bachelor's (or comparable) degree?

The relevant date is that of completing the final requirement for your Bachelor’s degree (e.g. final examination, defence of thesis, oral final examination). This date will usually be included on your certificate alongside the date of issue.

The key date for calculating the eligibility period after the Bachelor's degree is the start date of your fellowship in case of a successful application (1 October of the year following the application).

Which completion date is valid if I hold multiple university degrees?

In the case of multiple degrees, the valid date is the completion date of the first Bachelor's (or comparable) degree.

Will you take into consideration the time I devoted to bringing up my children?

Please indicate on the application form any leave of absence from academic or professional activity after completing your Bachelor for child-rearing purposes. We will determine whether these periods qualify as parental leave. If applicable, the effective application deadline may be extended. We allow up to two years per child at most. If you have additional questions, please contact info(at)

I already am or have previously spent time in Germany. Am I eligible to apply?

You can apply if
  • you have been in Germany for less than six months at the time of the application deadline (15 September) or
  • you have returned from an extended stay in Germany (more than twelve months) and have been in a programme country (USA, Russia, China, India or Brazil) for more than twelve months at the time of the application deadline (15 September).

In all other cases we regret that we cannot consider your application. If in doubt, please direct any questions to info(at)

Can I apply if I completed my schooling and a university degree, or a university degree and a doctorate, in Germany?

No, an application for a German Chancellor Fellowship is not possible. If in doubt, send us a seamless CV so that we can then advise you info(at)

I already am or have previously spent time in a third country (i.e. neither in my country of origin nor in Germany). Am I eligible to apply?

You may apply if you are only staying temporarily (up to 12 months) in a third country and the actual focus of your life and work is still in your country of origin. Exceptions:
  • If you are a citizen of a programme country (USA, Russia, China, India or Brazil), you may also apply if you are staying in another programme country for a longer period of time.
  • Provided that your connection with your country of origin is assured (e.g. if you have been sent on a posting abroad by an institution of your country of origin), you may be able to apply even if you have been abroad for longer.

In case of doubt, please contact us (info(at) before you apply so we can advise you.

I have studied English, German, or related subjects at the university level. Do I have to submit a language certificate?

If this is documented on your diploma, you do not need to submit any additional documentation proving your proficiency in English or German.

English or German is my native language. Do I have to submit a language certificate proving my proficiency?

No, a language certificate is not required.

I completed my first university degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) more than twelve years ago. Can I still apply?

We cannot consider your application if you completed your first university degree (Bachelor's or comparable) more than twelve years ago. If you have just passed the deadline, an exception may be made in well-founded cases (e.g. recognition of parental leave). The key date for calculating the period after your first university degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) is the start date of your fellowship. Please send us your CV so we can advise you (info(at)

Academic host

Who can be my host/mentor?

Anyone working at a public or private institution in Germany (for example businesses, associations, administrations, NGOs) can serve as a host. To ensure adequate support, there must be some relation between your host's/mentor's field of professional expertise and your proposed project in Germany.

What are the host's/mentor's responsibilities?

The host's/mentor's principal task is to create the conditions that are essential to carry out your project in Germany and to mediate the necessary contacts (e.g. providing access to institutions in Germany). The role of the host/mentor can range from regular contacts to close cooperation, depending on the requirements of the project.

How can I find a host/mentor?

You are required to choose your own host/mentor. We do not provide any direct support in finding a host. Applicants often turn to existing contacts from their professional or private sphere to identify a host, e.g. their professional or academic supervisors.

Can I carry out my project with several hosts?

Only one person can be your official host. But this does not mean that you are not permitted to also collaborate with other people during your project.

Will my host institute receive any additional funds for the costs it incurs in connection with my stay?

In general the host institute will receive a monthly allowance for research costs of €500.

Is the German Chancellor Fellowship suitable for inhouse-trainings?

No, the fellowship is not meant to support company employees who intend to work at German headquarters or branches. Applicants suggesting a project that includes an inhouse-training have a rather low chance of success.


I would like to gain a doctorate. Can I apply with a dissertation project?

The German Chancellor Fellowship is not a traditional doctoral fellowship programme. As a doctoral candidate you are however welcome to apply if:
  • You have initial leadership experience beyond your research activities;
  • Your project is relevant to the social dialogue;
  • You will be able to successfully complete your project within the specified fellowship period.

If you are interested in a traditional doctoral fellowship, we recommend applying to the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD) or other funding organisations. In case of doubt, please contact us (info(at) before you apply so we can advise you.

Can I apply to several Humboldt Foundation fellowship programmes at the same time if I fulfil the formal requirements?

No, it is not possible to apply to several fellowship programmes concurrently. Should you be rejected by any of them, you may, however, apply to any other programme as long as you fulfil the formal requirements.

Is the German Chancellor Fellowship suitable for gaining additional university degrees?

No, the German Chancellor Fellowship is granted exclusively to permit fellows to carry out the project arranged with their host. By accepting the fellowship, fellows agree to devote themselves fully to the purpose of their fellowship for the duration of the sponsorship period.

Can I conduct part of my project work abroad?

During the sponsorship period, fellows may conduct short-term study or research visits to institutions elsewhere in Europe (except the fellows' home countries), if this is essential for the execution of the project. The maximum duration should be 1 to 2 months. Further information: stays in Europe.

Are there deadlines for submitting applications?

Yes. The application deadline is 15 September of each year.

How often do selection committee meetings take place?

There is one selection committee meeting in Bonn per year.

Do I need to have contacts in Germany at the time of application?

Yes. In order to assess the viability of your project, the Selection Committee must know if a German mentor has agreed to provide you with adequate professional support during your stay in Germany. The host's/mentor's statement confirming his/her willingness to support you in carrying out your project must be submitted along with your application. Please direct your host's attention to the form for the prospective host's confidential statement.

Can I apply for a fellowship from another institution at the same time I submit my application to the Humboldt Foundation?

In principle, it is possible to file parallel applications. You must, however, indicate this on the application form and inform us immediately of any other applications you submit and any other sponsorship decisions that occur while we are considering your application.

Can the fellowship be postponed?

No. German Chancellor Fellowships must begin according to the predetermined time schedule in the year the fellowship is awarded.

What is the time schedule of the programme?

The following time schedule is mandatory for all German Chancellor Fellows:
August to September Intensive German language course in Bonn: fellows with no knowledge or only a basic knowledge of German come to Germany before the official start of the fellowship to attend an intensive language course. This course is mandatory and lasts from one to two months depending on existing language skills.
October Four-week introductory seminar in Bonn and Berlin
November to September of the following year Eleven-month period spent working on an individual project at a host institution in Germany
June of the following year Two-day Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Annual Meeting in Berlin
summer of the following year Three-day final meeting in Berlin with visits to the German Chancellery and the Federal Foreign Office

Can I bring my family?

The Humboldt Foundation welcomes the idea that fellows' partners and children should accompany them and encourages this by paying family allowances in addition to the fellowship, provided that the family members accompany the fellow for more than three months.

Who bears the travel expenses to and from Germany?

If the fellow's own institution does not cover travel expenses, the Humboldt Foundation will pay a single lump sum for return travel. The Humboldt Foundation will only pay travel expenses for family members in exceptional circumstances.

How high is the monthly grant I can expect if I am awarded a fellowship?

The grant depends mainly on the fellow's academic and professional qualifications, position and professional experience, and may amount to €2,170, €2,470 or €2,770. In each case, this sum includes a flat-rate mobility fee and a subsidy to help meet healthcare and liability insurance costs. The level of the grant is determined by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Examples of grants awarded to Federal Chancellor fellows:

A fellow with a bachelor's degree in international relations, who graduated a year before the beginning of the fellowship; voluntary work and practicals with leading national and international political institutions while at university; since graduating, she has completed work experience placements at a national foundation and with a diplomatic mission of her home country abroad. Grant: €2,170.

A fellow with a master's degree in communication and public relations, who graduated three years before the beginning of the fellowship; since graduating, he has gained professional experience as an employee at a public relations agency. Grant: €2,4570.

A fellow with a law degree, who graduated five years before the beginning of the fellowship; after graduating, she gained professional experience first at a lawyer's office, then in a management role at a non-governmental organisation. Grant: €2,770.

Application procedure

How do I apply?

You must apply online. If you wish to submit an application you must register first. Click here to register. After registering you will receive an email with a link which will allow you to log-on and access the application form using your user name and password.

I am having difficulties with the online application. What can I do?

Should you experience any problems with the online application, please send an email to info(at)

What documents are required in order to submit an application online?

To be able to submit your application successfully, the application form has to be filled out completely and your curriculum vitae has to be enclosed.

What other documents are required in order to complete my application?

The following documents must be submitted in order to complete the application:
  • Host's statement including confirmation of support*
  • Two letters of recommendation*
  • Certificate of your first academic degree and, if applicable, further degrees, including certified translations
  • Transcripts of grades
  • Where appropriate German or English language certificate
*The host and referees upload the required documents in a secure area themselves. The application form contains further instructions and information.

Please note that your complete application must reach the Humboldt Foundation by the application deadline at the latest. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

Can I apply after the official application deadline?

After the application deadline it is, unfortunately, not possible anymore to submit an application online. In this programme applications by email, post or fax are not permitted.

How often can I submit an application online?

You can only submit your application once. It is, however, possible to save your application and return to it as often as you like prior to submission.

Who should send the host's statement to the Humboldt Foundation?

Your host’s statement including the confirmation of support must be uploaded by your host her-/himself to a secure area adding them to your application form. You can find the link to this area in the application form. Please send this link on a timely basis to your designated host and submit the application only after all documents have been completely uploaded. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete.

If for compelling reasons it is not possible for the statement and the confirmation of support from the host to be uploaded by the application deadline (15 September), the application can exceptionally be submitted without these documents. In this case, the host is requested to send the missing documents promptly by email to the Humboldt Foundation (info(at) If we should not receive the documents in a timely manner, we reserve the right to formally reject your application.

Who should send the letters of recommendation to the Humboldt Foundation?

Letters of recommendation must be uploaded by the referees themselves to a secure area adding them to your application form. You can find the link to this area in the application form. Please send this link on a timely basis to both of your referees and submit your application only after all documents have been completely uploaded. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete.

If for compelling reasons it is not possible for the letters of recommendation to be uploaded by the application deadline (15 September), the application can exceptionally be submitted without these documents. In this case, the referees are requested to send the missing documents promptly by email to the Humboldt Foundation (info(at) If we should not receive the documents in a timely manner, we reserve the right to formally reject your application.

Letters of recommendation should not be more than 12 months old at the time of application.

Whom should I ask to provide letters of recommendation and how many are required?

Ask for letters of recommendation from two different persons who are able to give well-founded accounts of your academic, professional and/or personal background as well as your leadership skills, among them for example
  • your current supervisor / mentor
  • previous supervisors / mentors

How can I document my language skills?

You may submit language course or language test certificates, or a certificate issued by your language teacher.

I have not yet completed my Bachelor's degree. Do I have to submit my degree certificate later?

Yes. As soon as you complete your Bachelor's degree, we need to receive official confirmation from your university. You will not be able to start the fellowship without this confirmation.

Do my certificates and transcripts (of grades) have to be officially certified?

No. Certificates and transcripts in German, English or Portuguese do not have to be certified. If your documents are in any other language, you must provide certified translations. A translation agency, for example, can assist you with certified translations.

Selection procedure

Will you confirm receipt of my application?

Yes, as soon as you have submitted your application online you will receive a short confirmation of reception by email.

Who will decide on my application?

The Humboldt Foundation will invite about 15 pre-selected candidates from each of the five countries for an interview and a group discussion to Bonn. The Selection Committee is composed of well-respected leaders from various areas of society and will select up to ten candidates per country by majority vote.

How can I prepare for the Selection Meeting?

The interview lasts about 20 minutes and will be conducted in German or English. The Selection Committee's questions may refer to your motivation, your professional or academic background, your interest in Germany, your career plans, your project as well as the impact that a one-year stay in Germany might have on your future professional career.
Each group discussion lasts approximately 60 minutes. Several candidates are given a task right before the start of the group discussion to which they are expected to jointly develop a solution. The task includes an appropriate presentation of that solution at the end of the group discussion. The selection committee observes the debate, but will not ask any questions.

Will I be notified of the reasons for a rejection?

In every selection round the best applicants are selected to receive fellowships. Whether your application is granted or refused is thus always also directly dependent on the qualification of your fellow applicants.

If you are not invited to the selection meeting, you may send an informal email requesting feedback on the reasons for the rejection. This feedback notification will be sent both to you and your host. In light of the large number of applications it will usually take us between four and six weeks to respond to such enquiries. Please note that we cannot provide any personalised information before this juncture so as not to delay the notification process.

If you are rejected at the selection meeting, you may request an individual feedback meeting on site.


What are the most important selection criteria?

The aim of the German Chancellor Fellowship Programme is to recruit young leaders as future mediators between Germany and their respective countries of origin. In this context, your academic and professional development to date are the central aspects of the assessment.

Can I re-apply after being rejected?

It is possible to re-apply. The new application should, however, differ significantly from the original, rejected application. Generally, a new application makes sense only after you have entered a new phase of your professional development. Submitting a new application that differs little or not at all from the rejected original may result in a formal rejection of the new application.

Advice for individuals