Information about doctoral scholarships awarded by BTU

The scholarships awarded by the BTU are regulated by the BTU Scholarship Framework Directive of October 12, 2009 (»BTU-Rahmenrichtlinie Stipendien«). Please note that only the German version of the document is legally binding. The GRS provides on this website answers in English to the most frequently asked questions.

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  • What is regulated by the BTU Scholarship Framework Directive?

    There are several kinds of scholarships, which are offered at BTU, including doctoral scholarships or several scholarships funded by the DAAD for foreign students. The BTU Scholarship Framework Directive contains the general principles and conditions. In particular, the BTU Scholarship Framework Directive constitutes the legal base for awarding scholarships in the context of Clusters of the BTU Graduate Research School (GRS). Scholarships awarded directly by the other organisations, foundations, etc. (e.g. EU, DFG, DAAD) with their own terms of funding are not subject the BTU Scholarship Framework Directive.

  • What is a scholarship?

    A scholarship is a voluntary financial support for young academics (doctoral candidates, post-doctoral candidates), students and artists. It aims particularly to support the scholarship holder in his/her education or further and advanced training. Thereby it shall make gainful employment dispensable and cover the cost-of-living. Hence, a scholarship is clearly not an occupation confined by instructions or an amount of time with a certain payment in return, thus it does not constitute a working condition or an employment status. There is no legal entitlement for being awarded a scholarship.

  • When is a scholarship exempted from tax?

    Generally, scholarships for the support of research or academic and artistic training are tax-exempt according to German income tax law (“Einkommensteuergesetz”) § 3 No. 44 in connection with § 5 (1) No. 9 of the coporate tax law (“Körperschaftssteuergesetz”).

    The precondition for the exemption is that ...

    • the scholarship does not exceed the needed amount necessary for the fulfilment of the research assignment or the covering of the cost of living and is awarded within the framework directive of the donor.
    • the scholarship holder is not obliged to perform certain academic or artistic services in the context of the scholarship.
  • Are scholarships subject to social security contributions?

    No. According to German Social Legislation (SGB IV) scholarships are not considered as salary, they are thus not liable for social security contributions. It is advisable that scholarship holders to take out a health insurance. In this case it is also advisable that scholarship holders enrol as doctoral students at BTU to benefit from reductions the health insurance companies offer for students. If you need help finding a health insurance company please contact Student Services (domestic students) or the International Relations Office (international students).

  • What do you have to take into consideration if you have income from other employment?

    In case of gross earnings of gainful employment exceeding the non-taxable basic amount according to German tax law (§ 32a “Einkommenssteuergesetz”) these will be deducted to the scholarship. The basic tax-free amount (“Grundfreibetrag”) is 8,820.00 EUR per year.*The scholarship holders are obliged to inform the GRS about every type of income which exceeds the basic tax-free amount.

    * This amount refers to the fiscal year 2017. If you need more information please contact the competent tax office.

  • Is it possible to take up an employment in addition to the scholarship?

    Employments are not generally forbidden in addition to the scholarship, but it must be pointed out that income, which exceeds the annual basic tax-free amount will cause a reduction of the scholarship (see above). In General, the university’s management will not award a scholarship in addition to an employment at BTU. The only exception is if scholarship holders work as research or teaching assistant (“Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft”) at BTU. However, according to § 6 (6) of the BTU Scholarship Framework Directive shall not exceed 8 hours/week. The scholarship holders are obliged to inform the GRS about any employment contract with BTU.

  • Is it possible to receive several scholarships at the same time?

    No, in addition to a scholarship according to this framework directive no further scholarship may be taken up. 

  • Is it possible to pause or extend the scholarship for personal reasons?


    The scholarship will be paid for a period of up to six weeks in case of sick leave caused by illness or accident. Please note that the sick leave will not exceed the granted duration of the scholarship. An adequate medical sick certificate has to be presented to the GRS. If the sick leave exceeds six weeks the BTU has to suspend the payment of the scholarship.

    Maternity protection:

    On the condition that sufficient funds are available, the BTU Scholarship Framework Directive allows pregnant women and young mothers to pause within the term of the maternity protection (generally 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after childbirth). The scholarship holder may request either the continuation of payment of the scholarship for the duration of the intermission or the extension of the scholarship for the total duration of the intermission.

    Other reasons:

    Also for other reasons, e.g. caring for relatives, childcare or also reasons which support the academic progress or education (e.g. studies abroad, internships and the like) it is possible to pause or extend the scholarship on the grounds of an application of the scholarship holder. Also this option is available only on the condition that sufficient funds are available.