Helmut-Schmidt-Programme (DAAD)

The programme supports future leaders from Africa, Latin America, South Asia, Central Asia, South-East Asia, and countries in the Middle East and from Ukraine who strive to promote democracy and social justice.

Scholarship recipients in the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme receive a full scholarship, including a tuition waiver.

The next Helmut-Schmidt-Programme starts in September 2020.
Applications will only be accepted from 1 June to 31 July 2019.

Applicants for the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme choose up to two universities in Germany and apply directly to their universities of choice. Please note that local DAAD offices do not accept applications for the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme.

If the MPP at the Hertie School is among the programmes of your choice for the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme, please apply via our online application portal and direct all questions concerning the application process to the admissions team grad-admissions[at]hertie-school[dot]org.

In case your application is sent to more than two universities or if non-specific priorities are given your application will not be accepted. Only complete applications can be accepted.

“I am grateful for the opportunity afforded to me by the DAAD Helmut Schmidt scholarship to be a member of this community, being continually inspired by the sense of urgency and responsibility towards reshaping our society.”

Joshua Aje (Nigeria), MPP 2020

Admission requirements

The formal admission requirements for the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme at the Hertie School are the following:

  • The Helmut-Schmidt-Programme is open to candidates from Africa, Latin America, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East (see list of countries). The Helmut-Schmidt-Programme is also open to candidates from Ukraine.
  • Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree (BA) or its international equivalent. The last completed degree must not be more than 6 years old.
  • Applicants cannot be considered if they have stayed in Germany for more than 15 months at the time of the application deadline.
  • Prior to the study programmes, all scholarship holders will receive a 5-month-German language course from April to September 2020. The language course is compulsory for all Helmut-Schmidt-programme scholarship recipients and applicants thus need to be able to travel to Germany in April 2020.
  • Unless you are a native speaker or have completed your entire first degree at an English-language university, an official English test is needed for your application. The Hertie School recognizes the Cambridge ESOL qualifications CPE (minimum grade C), CAE (minimum grade B), the IELTS (with an overall score of at least 7.0 and a writing score of at least 7), as well as the TOEFL tests PBT (with a minimum score of at least 600 points), CBT (250 points) and iBT (100 points).

Applications for the MPP at Hertie School are processed online. To fill in our application form and upload all necessary documents, please access the application module via this link.


How to apply

A complete application for the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme encompasses:

  • Hand-signed full curriculum vitae with current date including information about precise field of study and, if applicable, description of job experience;
  • Hand-signed and dated motivation letter (one single letter for all universities in the Helmut-Schmidt-Programme you apply to)  containing  a  precise  description  of  your academic/professional  and  personal  reasons  for choosing those MA-programmes and universities (two pages maximum)
  • Transcripts and diplomas of all attended universities and/or colleges. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree (BA) or its international equivalent. The last completed degree must not be more than 6 years old;
  • English Proficiency Proof Either a letter from the university stating that you have studied at least 6 Semesters at an English speaking institution or a valid English Test Certificate. For more information visit our FAQs;
  • The completed DAAD application form for research grants and study scholarships (please fill in electronically and not written by hand). In the DAAD application form, please clearly indicate which study course is your first and which is your second priority.

In order to complete your application we also require:

  • Two letters of reference, signed and recently dated by university professors or current employers, supplemented by an official letterhead, and stamp.

Current students and applicants who graduated from their most recent degree less than 3 years before applying must submit two academic letters of reference;

Applicants who graduated from their most recent degree 3 to 5 years before applying can supply one professional letter of reference in place of one of your academic references;

Applicants who graduated from their most recent degree more than 5 years before applying may supply two professional letters of reference if no academic references are available.

The letters of reference must be sent to us directly by the referees.


Selection process

The main DAAD criteria for selection are the following:

  • the study results so far,
  • knowledge of English (and German),
  • political and social engagement,
  • a convincing description of the subject-related and personal motivation for the study project in Germany,
  • and the expected benefit when returning to the home country.

The committee selecting the candidates at the end of 2019 consists of professors responsible for the MPP programme and of representatives from DAAD.

All applicants will be informed at the end of the selection process – approximately by the end of December 2019.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do I apply for the DAAD Helmut Schmidt Programme at the Hertie School, and what are the requirements?

Applicants must submit their application via our online portal and choose "MPP" as their programme of choice. Information regarding requirements can be found on the page above.

Applicants should read through the details and requirements of the programme thoroughly before clicking on the "Apply now" button, which redirects you to our application portal. There you will be able to create an account, fill in your information and upload your documents.

Can I submit my application via post or e-mail?

No, all Helmut Schmidt applications must be submitted online via our online portal. We do not accept applications sent by post or e-mail.

I want to apply for the MIA programme at the Hertie School. Does DAAD offer a scholarship for this?

Unfortunately, the DAAD Helmut Schmidt Programme only applies to our MPP programme.

DAAD requires one letter of reference, but the Hertie School requires two. How many letters of reference do I need to submit?

Applicants for the DAAD Helmut Schmidt Programme at the Hertie School must submit two letters of reference. The following rules apply:

Current students and applicants who graduated between 2017 and 2019 must submit two academic letters of reference;

Applicants who graduated between 2015 and 2016 can supply one professional letter of reference in place of one of their academic references;

Applicants who graduated in 2014 or earlier may supply two professional letters of reference if no academic references are available.

How should letters of reference be submitted?

Academic letters of reference should be sent to us via e-mail directly by the referee. There are two options for doing so:

1.       The letter can be sent by e-mail to from the professor’s official university e-mail address. (Please that e-mail accounts with Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc. will not be accepted).

2.       If this is not possible, the letter can be printed out either by the referee or the student and then ink-stamped by the university (with the seal of the university or department) and then e-mailed to us by the applicant as a scanned copy.

Professional letters of reference can be e-mailed to us directly by the referee or applicant (they do not need to be stamped or sent by means of an institutional e-mail address).

Please note that it is your responsibility to remind your referees to send their letters to us. We do not contact referees regarding letters of reference.

My referees cannot submit their letters of reference before the application deadline. Can they submit them afterwards?

It is not a problem if your letters of reference cannot arrive before the deadline, but they should be submitted by your referees as soon as possible, as we cannot begin evaluating your application until all the required documents (including letters of reference) have arrived.

Which English tests and scores are accepted?

We accept the following tests and scores:

  • TOEFL | PBT 600 | CBT 250 | iBT 100
  • Cambridge ESOL | CPE C | CAE B
  • IELTS | Overall = 7.0 | Writing 7.0

I come from an English speaking country or studied using the English language. Do I need to provide an English proficiency test?

If you are an English native speaker or completed your entire undergraduate degree in the English language, you do not have to submit an English proficiency test. You should provide a document from your university stating that this is the case. If your transcript notes the language of instruction, this will also suffice. Applicants who have completed a graduate degree in the English language (but not an undergraduate degree) do not qualify, they must still submit an English proficiency test if they are not a native speaker.

How do I submit my transcripts? Do they have to be certified or apostilled?

Applicants should submit transcripts from all the universities they attended, regardless of whether they graduated or not. Transcripts which are not in English should be translated by a sworn (court registered) translator and uploaded as a scanned copy along with the original. Transcripts already in English can simply be scanned and uploaded. If you are admitted, we will require you to bring your original paper transcripts for verification before you enroll.

What should the letter of motivation include?

In addition to a description of your academic or professional and personal reasons for choosing this scholarship and academic study programme, you should include a brief summary of why you have chosen to apply to the Hertie School and your other preferred universities.

Who should the letters of motivation and letters of reference be addressed to?

Both the letters of reference and motivation should be addressed to the admissions committee.

In the application portal, I am asked to choose a scholarship but I cannot find the DAAD Helmut Schmidt Programme. What should I select?

Applicants should select “Scholarship from third party”.

I am interested in the dual degree programme at the Hertie School. Does the Helmut Schmidt Programme provide a scholarship in this case?

Participants in the DAAD Helmut Schmidt Programme are excluded from the Hertie School’s dual degree programmes. Successful applicants must complete their studies at the Hertie School (or another university which participates in the Helmut Schmidt programme).

I applied to the DAAD Helmut Schmidt and/or the MPP programme last year and want to re-apply this year. However, when I log in to the application portal, I cannot edit or re-submit my application.

In this case, please contact us using the e-mail address below and we will reset your account so you can edit and re-submit your application for this year’s programme. Please do not create a new account.

Are there any additional fees that students have to pay that are not covered by the scholarship?

Each semester, students are required to pay a fee of 95 euros for the Studierendenwerk (which grants you access to student-specific services, discounts, etc. around Berlin) as well as the fee for the semester ticket for public transportation, which is currently 193,80 euros. These two fees are not covered by the DAAD scholarship.

I still have a question!

Please send your inquiry to grad-admissions[at]hertie-school[dot]org.