JunHyeuk from South Korea
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How I won DAAD master study scholarship

If you’ve ever thought about studying in Germany

… in any aspect, then you’ve probably heard of DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). DAAD is like a goldmine where you can find all sorts of information about studying abroad in Germany including insurance, accommodation, and scholarship.

I am extremely honored to be awarded the Study Scholarships – Master Studies for All Academic Disciplines by DAAD. It had been quite a journey until I received a final notification. When I was preparing for this scholarship, I had a pretty hard time finding resources online, especially reviews written by applicants. Therefore, I would like to write a series of posts sharing my experience with DAAD Master scholarship application into a great detail. Just to illustrate, my intention is to share information and lessons I have gained, absolutely not to brag about it. I might be stating the obvious, but if few of you could get some value out of this series of posts, I would be more than happy!

In this post, I am mainly going to talk about letter of recommendation, which won’t be a short post. If you feel like watching me speak about the identical topic instead of taking your time to read this post, here’s my nicely timestamped !

Preview of JunHyeuk's vlog
Preview of JunHyeuk's vlog "How I won DAAD Master Study Scholarship in Germany"© DAAD/ JunHyeuk
  1. Start early

Unlike other scholarships that might ask you to submit an application about 6 – 8 months before your admission, DAAD wants your application a year before your admission. At this point, some applicants wouldn’t even be sure if they want to go to Germany for a master program. This is super early because the deadline is far earlier than admission application for graduate school, which is January or February (earliest: 9 months before the admission).

Thus, this might be the most important step. I cannot stress this enough since you need time to think about where you want to go and what you want to study in order to write a successful application. It’s good to have a pretty solid idea about your prospective schools and funding sources including DAAD at least 1.5 years in advance.

  1. Curriculum Vitae (CV)

I don’t have much to say about CV because I did nothing more than listing out my experiences. I just tried not to excess more than 3 pages and to be relevant to my graduate school program. Since I was applying to microbiology programs, I prioritized microbiology research experiences over others.

  1. Letter of Recommendation

I was surprised (and felt less overwhelmed:)) by the fact that German master programs don’t really require recommendation letter from undergraduate professors. If it were the US grad school, I would have needed 2 or 3 reference letters per university. But recommendation letter plays a huge role in DAAD scholarship application (refer to the  for 2021 applicants due to pandemic).

First step is obviously finding someone to write you a nice letter of recommendation. This could be a hard task because receiving A or 95 percentile in the class doesn’t necessarily guarantee a great recommendation letter. I would say it’s more about your passion and effort you showed in a research or project. So, try to choose a professor who offered you a project about which you were most enthusiastic. In this way, the professor would know you both at personal and academic level, which will lead to a high-quality reference letter.

When I was preparing for this scholarship, I had a pretty hard time finding resources online, especially reviews written by applicants.


It’s also important to ask early

… because your faculty will have to send this letter by post (at least in my year, refer to  for pandemic situation). I personally asked my professor 2.5 months in advance and sent him a couple of reminder emails. I just wanted to take responsibility and showed some signs of respect by doing this.

Next step is to send them an email itself. I believe it’s highly crucial to organize email as best as possible to help them write the best recommendation letter for you. Remember, even though they knew you when you guys were working together, they don’t know much about your graduate school and scholarship program. I tried to state the followings in the email:

  1. Why I want this scholarship,
  2. How this scholarship is going to help my academic journey,
  3. What aspects of this master program are appealing to you,
  4. My further plan after this Master program
  5. Scholarship information (postal address, deadline, etc)
Preview of JunHyeuk's vlog
Preview of JunHyeuk's vlog "How I won DAAD Master Study Scholarship in Germany"© DAAD/ JunHyeuk

How I won DAAD Master Study Scholarship in Germany

Since this was a quite long and overwhelming email, I tried my best to well-organize my email by color-coding, bolding, underlining so that it’s easy for them to catch the main point. I think DAAD also has a reference template on its portal. So make sure to send that as well!

Lastly, don’t forget to keep them posted with progress. They dedicated their valuable time to write a nice reference letter for you. I am sure they would be more than happy to hear about what’s going on regardless of the outcome. A brief email will do.

I realized this is becoming a lengthy post. I’ll stop here and continue with motivation letter on my next post. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below. Thanks for reading and stay healthy!

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Hello! Thanks for the post. I couldn't find a specific template for the recommendation letter. Does the DAAD office require a specific form, or the teacher can just write it on a document with the university header? Thank you!

written by Andressa Daniella created on

Hi Andressa, you are right, there is no specific template on our part. It is best to talk to your teachers, they are sure to have experience in writing letters of recommendation. Another possibility would be to inquire at the International Office of the university of your choice whether certain details need to be observed. 💌😃 Best wishes, Your SiG-Team

written by daad.nfitzke created on

I have been watching your YouTube video for a long time. Only problem is I am not a very bright student but have shown great improvement on the last year of my study,but have doubted myself for this application. my questions are: Can an average student get this competitive scholarship? Should I mention,if i apply,in my letter that I am currently studying masters here in Nepal?Would it be plus or minus point if I wanted to do a double masters? for 2022,should i hurry and apply now?I will have limited time for IELTS preparation. should I even bother? Does publication help much in your resume? What are the plus point that act as dark horses in Interview? Thank you!!

written by czee created on

Hi czee! Thank you for your comment. The application requirements are listed in the respective description for master’s degree students in the DAAD Scholarship Database: www.funding-guide.de. Unfortunately, we cannot give you a definite answer as many points are taken into consideration when applying for a scholarship. But he/she who doesn't try, never wins ;) Good luck! Your Study in Germany Team!

written by Redaktion created on

Any publication which is needed for this scholarship?

written by zainbo created on

Much interested to joins this opportunity.

written by Allan bureth Abraham created on

Thanks for such a detailed post. Good luck and stay safe!

written by Jack Milgram created on

Wow!!! So so happy I came across this. Am a microbiology student also and I've been following up with happenings in the DAAD website. Your well delivered post just lit up a glimmer of hope in me that I can apply and qualify for this scholarship. Thanks a lot once again Mr. JunHyeuk

written by Stephen Samuel created on

Very informative, thank you How would you cope with language?

written by Faith created on

No problem. Thanks for reading. I am still learning German. It's a hard language to learn.

written by JunHyeuk Shin created on

Hello dear, your post is well appreciated. I wanted to ask you about your experience in DAAD scholarship interview. I'VE Been searching the Web to get a clue but couldn't find a thing.

written by Somaia created on

Hi, thanks for your kind message. I also made a youtube video specifically about my DAAD interview. You can check this link out if you are still interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-glHNs1zteM&t=597s

written by JunHyeuk Shin created on

Thanks for very detailed explanation!

written by Bakyt created on

No problem!

written by JunHyeuk Shin created on

Your blog is very good and very helpful too. I have learned a lot from your blog about student. Due to your blog, people will be very helpful. I read your blog and it is really good. Thank you for sharing this information with us.

written by Student Accommodation Australia created on

Thank you very much for reading my blog! I am glad it's helpful!

written by JunHyeuk Shin created on

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