Students & Scholars at Risk

Hilde Domin Program

The DAAD's Hilde Domin Program, funded by the Foreign Office, supports students and graduates who cannot continue with their studies or research in their home countries because they face threat or persecution. The goal of this funding line is to enable students and graduates in danger to begin or continue their studies or doctoral work in safety at a German university.

Students and doctoral candidates worldwide* who are at risk of being formally or de facto denied educational rights in their country of origin, due to their ethnic, sexual, gender or religious identity and/or their political or civic engagement. By definition of the DAAD, political, civic and similar engagement encompasses either the participation in groups or individual actions based on liberal and democratic principles aspiring to contribute to a positive social change in communities.

*Except for the following countries: EU/EEA/EFTA countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the United Kingdom.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Submit the supporting documents required for the application to Aalen University by the deadline.
  2. If you are not yet enrolled at Aalen University, apply at the same time for a university place (you can find information from the Admissions Office).
  3. Aalen University will review the funding documents and nominate suitable candidates to the DAAD.
  4. The DAAD then contacts suitable candidates and sends them an invitation to apply.
  5. The candidates need to apply for funding directly from the DAAD by the deadline.
  6. The DAAD then accepts or rejects the candidates accordingly.


In addition to the application form, the applicants must submit the following documents as relevant for their student status and intended level of study:

Prospective students

  • Bachelor’s degree:
    • proof of higher education entrance eligibility
    • curriculum vitae
    • proof of language skills (for the degree program in question)
    • letter of motivation (explanation of professional and personal motives for studying at Aalen University as well as the personal risk / danger)
  • Master’s degree:
    • bachelor’s diploma (or equivalent)
    • curriculum vitae
    • proof of language skills (for the degree program in question)
    • letter of motivation (explanation of professional and personal motives for studying at Aalen University as well as the personal risk / danger)
  • Doctoral studies:
    • master’s diploma (or equivalent)
    • curriculum vitae
    • proof of language skills (for the degree program in question)
    • letter of motivation (explanation of professional and personal motives for studying at Aalen University as well as the personal risk / danger)
    • confirmation of supervisor

Enrolled students

  • Bachelor:
    • current proof of enrollment
    • higher education entrance eligibility
    • if available: current transcript of records
    • letter of motivation (explanation of personal risk / danger)
  • Master’s degree:
    • current proof of enrollment
    • bachelor’s diploma (or equivalent)
    • if available: current transcript of records
    • letter of motivation (explanation of personal risk / danger)
  • Doctoral studies:
    • proof of admission to doctoral studies
    • current proof of enrollment
    • master’s diploma (or equivalent)
    • letter of motivation (explanation of personal risk / danger)

Send your supporting documents in full as a single PDF to scholars@hs-aalen.de.

Aalen University will send a list of qualified nominees to the DAAD by the deadline. Once the DAAD has reviewed the material, they will send suitable candidates an invitation to apply for funding via the DAAD application portal.

Please note: If you are not enrolled at Aalen University, you must apply for a university place at Aalen University in addition to applying for funding.

Personal Details of the applicant

If yes

If no

For doctoral researchers/prospective doctoral candidates

The following documents need to be submitted via e-mail:
☐ The candidate’s curriculum vitae in tabular form
☐ Higher education entrance eligibility or bachelor’s certifcate or master’s certifcate (or equivalent)
☐ motivational letter (incl. information about your motives for studies at Aalen University and your current risk status)
☐ Only for prospective students: Language certifcate (according to the requirements for your desired degree program)
☐ Only for prospective PhD students: approval of your prospective academic supervisor
☐ Only for currently enrolled students (at AAU): current proof of enrollment
☐ Only for currently enrolled PhD students: admission to your PhD studies
Send your supporting documents after recieving an e-mail copy of the registration in full as a single PDF to scholars@hs-aalen.de.

Aalen University nominates and the DAAD selects candidates on the basis of the following criteria:

  • personal risk / danger
  • academic achievements
  • academic potential

Further selection criteria are considered:

  • German or English language skills
  • intercultural experience
  • motivation for wishing to study at Aalen University

Funding covers, among other things,

  • a monthly stipend
  • health insurance
  • travel subsidies
  • costs of German courses
  • further benefits

See the pages of the DAAD Hilde Domin Program for more information.

Philipp Schwartz Initiative for Researchers at Risk

Due to his Jewish faith, the Austrian pathologist Philipp Schwartz lost his professorship in Frankfurt in 1933. He emigrated to Switzerland and founded the “Notgemeinschaft deutscher Wissenschaftler im Ausland” – Emergency Society of German Scholars Abroad. In 2015, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Federal Foreign Office chose to name the programme they launched after him: the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. The programme allows researchers who are subject to significant and continuous personal threat in their country of origin to continue their work at German universities and research institutions.

further information can be found at the page of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative and by contacting scholars@hs-aalen.de

Organisation Scholars at Risk - German Network

The German Section of the global Scholars at Risk Network is composed of German universities, research institutions and science organisations that campaign to support and offer sanctuary to researchers under threat as well as to protect academic freedom. 

More information can be found at the website of the Humboldt Forum here: https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/en/explore/organisation/scholars-at-risk-network-germany-section