Compared to other large cities in Germany, living costs in Rostock are relatively low. Nevertheless, they still need to be paid in some way. On this website you will find an overview of the breakdown of the living costs and the different financing options.

Financing options

The financing options are diverse and often depend on the respective qualification phase. Basically, the following possibilities can be distinguished, which are often combined:

  • Financing from your own means
  • Financing by employment at the institute
  • Financing by additional employment (part-time job)
  • Claiming social security benefits
  • Financing from a credit or a loan
  • Financing from grant or funding programmes

Living costs

The actual living costs will, of course, depend on your personal circumstances and standards. You should plan for at least 1,000 Euros per month (12,000 Euros per year). This is more than the amount you need to prove if a visa is required for (doctoral) studies in Germany (10,332 Euros per year).

Sample calculation
Sample calculation for monthly living costs for doctoral studies in Rostock

Financing from your own means

Financing from your own means is possible provided you have them.

Financing by employment at the institute

Often there is the possibility of employment as a research associate or assistant at the institute. This involves tasks in research and teaching, and possibly also administrative tasks. The employment is usually limited in time. They are part-time or full-time and are paid according to the collective agreement for the public service. The positions are often financed through research projects (from third-party funds). Payment of health insurance and social security contributions are also linked to the employment.

Financing by additional employment (part-time job)

You also have the opportunity of financing your living costs - completely, or in part - by a part-time job unrelated to science. Further information is available in our section Work and Taxes.

Social security benefits

It may be possible to cover part of your living costs from social security benefits.

  • Unemployment benefit - relevant information can be obtained from the Federal Employment Agency.
  • Child benefit and parental allowance - relevant information can be found in our section “Family
  • Housing benefit - relevant information can be found on the Town Hall website.

Financing from a credit or a loan

Credits or loans are particularly suitable for bridging financial bottlenecks, or the inability to pay through no fault of your own, but they can also be used for longer-term financing. Some foundations provide zero interest credit within their framework of their funding programmes, primarily in the final phase of the doctorate.

Example: Student loan from the KfW

The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW, Credit Institute for Reconstruction) is the largest national development bank in the world.

The most important facts in brief

  • flexible monthly payment up to 650 Euros
  • maximum funding period: 6 semesters
  • independent of income
  • no collateral required
  • flexible repayment at a fixed interest rate

Who receives funding?

  • doctoral candidates
  • maximum 44 years old at the start of financing
  • EU nationals who have been in Germany constantly for at least 3 years and who are registered here
  • Family members (irrespective of nationality) of a German or EU national who live with them in Germany and are registered here
  • German students with a German registration address

Details: KfW Student Loan

Grant and Funding Programmes

In addition to the previously listed financing options, a doctorate can also be financed by a grant or similar funding. There are numerous options in this regard in Germany.

Who grants funding? - State and private institutions: The Federal Government, the Federal States, Organisations for Providing Scholarships for Outstanding Students, research and funding organisations, foundations and companies.

Are there any requirements? - Yes, partly with substantial differences between the various institutions. Often the funding is linked to particular technical achievements or to voluntary commitment. However, factors can also play a role in supporting specific target groups or purposes. Here is an overview of the different grant and funding programmes.

Programmes on national level

DAAD and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation-Stiftung

The Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD; German Academic Exchange Service) and the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung are two of the largest and most renowned patrons, especially for international doctoral candidates in Germany. Both of them offer a wide variety of funding programmes.

Organisations for Providing Scholarships for Outstanding Students

The majority of grants in Germany are awarded by the 13 "Begabtenförderungswerke" (Organisations for Providing Scholarships for Outstanding Students). They are supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and concern themselves with top-performing and talented students in all disciplines, including foreign doctoral candidates.
"The organizations for the promotion of talented students reflect the diversity of German society. They depict the various ideological, religious, political, economic or union-oriented currents in Germany.” (Source: BMBF)
A good overview of the various different organisations and the opportunities they offer is featured on the two following websites:

German Research Council (DFG)

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Council) is the central research organisation in Germany. It does not run any research institutes itself, but supports research in universities and public research institutes. These include different funding opportunities for postdoc researchers. Further information:

Research in Germany

This portal is a joint project of the BMBF and the DAAD. It is directed at foreign scientists and provides an overview of the German research and funding landscape, as well as career opportunities in Germany.

Finding a grant: Databases

Various databases help to get an overview of the wide range of Grant and Funding Programmes. Filters allow you to make targeted searches. Here is a selection:

DAAD grant database Database and information about DAAD's funding opportunities - especially for foreign students, graduates, postdocs and university lecturers, and for offers from other selected funding organisations
BMBF grant database Database with comprehensive information about different grants and funding programmes in Germany
myStipendium grant database “Europe’s biggest grant platform" (by their own account) with comprehensive search options and subject-related background information
Deutsches Stiftungszentrum Database of the Stifterverband (association of donors) for the search for research grants and other funding options, as offered by almost 550 foundations. The Stifterverband funds research and higher education on behalf of German business. This includes more than 3,000 companies, foundations, business associations and private individuals.
Local and regional: Offers (from the vicinity) of the University of Rostock

In addition to the large funding programmes, which are aimed at students and academics throughout Germany, there are also special offers at local or regional level. The University of Rostock, for example, has its own funding opportunities - to a limited extent - in the form of the state graduate funding and the graduation scholarship. In addition, there are programmes offered by organisations in the vicinity of the university. An overview:

Offers for all disciplines

State graduate funding programme Grants from the University of Rostock for doctorate preparation
Friedrich- und Irmgard Harms-Stiftung Scholarship for top-performing, advanced students and young scientists with proven needs
Degree completion grant „Stibet“ Grant for international students and doctoral candidates who will complete their studies or their doctorate within a year
Bridging grants and course completion grants Grant for doctoral candidates and postdocs with multiple burdens due to extensive family commitments
HERMES-Forschungsförderung Funding of research trips by young scientists abroad (that are linked with an application for obtaining third-party funds)

Offers for specific disciplines

Doctorate funding in the Philosophy Faculty Special offers for the disciplines within the Philosophy Faculty
Quistorp-Stiftung Grants for doctoral candidates in economics at the University of Rostock
Ev.-Luth. Church Mecklenburg
(in cooperation with the Faculty of Theology)
Doctorate grant for dissertations with thematic reference to the Evangelical Church in Mecklenburg

Grants for Rostock students

„Unsere Besten promovieren in Rostock“ PhD scholarship programme for the best Rostock Master's graduates (no application possible)
Deutschlandstipendium Grant exclusively for students taking undergraduate and postgraduate courses, not for doctoral candidates

General funding offers

KarrierWegeMentoring Funding programme for female researchers (doctoral candidates, postdocs, junior professors, female doctors)
Graduate Academy General funding of junior scientists. See below.

You will find additional overviews of funding opportunities on the university websites:

International: Offers in your home country

Similarly to Germany, there will probably also be grants and funding programmes in your homeland, or similar offers that could provide you with support during your stay in Rostock.

Graduate Academy

The Graduate Academy is an organisation within the University of Rostock. It supports doctoral candidates and postdocs within the framework of their professional qualification. This is carried out via:

  • consultation about scientific activity
  • general networking opportunities
  • funding of scientific exchange
  • opportunity of an interdisciplinary qualification programme
  • financial support for external qualification measures
  • Travel allowances for participation in symposiums

Membership of the Graduate Academy is free.

"Wer den Pfennig nicht ehrt, ist des Talers nicht wert." (German saying) - Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about financing your stay in Rostock.

Also contact us if you run into financial difficulties so that we can look for solutions together.

Interim financial aid for (doctoral) students

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is helping students who are demonstrably in acute need due to the corona pandemic.

Applications for a bridging grant can be submitted online and will be paid out by the Studierendenwerk.

Further information can be found here: Bridging grant.