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Funded master's programs in Germany

  1. Jun 12, 2014 #1
    I'm graduating with a bachelors soon, and was talking to a professor about grad school and he wanted to get me into one in Germany. He has a colleague doing what I want to do who has some positions available. The only thing is he was saying in America it goes bachelors->PhD, sometimes with a detour for masters. In Germany it goes bachelors->masters->PhD. At the university he was telling me about, I looked and it said Masters programs were (basically) free. I know PhDs are funded. But are masters funded at all? Could I TA?

    I don't really have the resources to move to another country if it's not funded. I know it's free, but I don't really have the money to live. I don't really want to go to another country if I could go somewhere here and get a stipend. Is it possible to get a stipend for a master's in Germany?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2014 #2
    I had never heard of a master's program where you get funding. Doing teaching for pocket money is possible but may be a problem if you don't speak German: The English-speaking courses tend to be taken by ("created for" may actually describe the situation better) non-German speaking PhD students or post-docs. Also, the TA salary alone will not suffice to make a living. There are a variety of stipends given out by a variety of groups, including companies, political parties, churches and the state. Apart from that I do not know how many of them would give a stipend to a non-German who just moved to Germany the other main problem is that one usually does not know about them.

    If the sole reason going to Germany to do a masters is that someone has open PhD positions now then I would not recommend doing so: How do you know there will be open PhD positions in two years? My recommendation would be to get into the contact with the professor in question and ask him if he can already give you a paid position now to start with potential PhD work alongside doing your master's. If he/she really looks for good people and you are a promising candidate then that seems like a win-win situation. Such cases are not unheard of.
  4. Jun 12, 2014 #3
    That's what my advisor was saying. My advisor really really likes me, told me he was going to put in a very good word (the professor is his friend so a good word from him means a lot, plus my advisor has a ton of concrete evidence for me being a good candidate) and put us in contact. My advisor was talking about seeing if his friend could offer me a paid position.

    So it's not unheard of to do both a PhD and masters at the same time?
  5. Jun 12, 2014 #4
    No, it's not unheard of. I realized it this morning after posting: You are probably having the wrong perspective on the issue (as did I when first responding, because I was influenced by your question).

    Technically, you are not paid as a PhD student. Strictly speaking, you have a contract as a scientific employee of the university. Registering as a PhD student is not required for this (*). It is definitely possible to be employed as a scientific assistant with only a bachelor's in other research institutes that have the same contract laws as universities (public service). The salary may be a bit lower, but still enough to make a decent living. That of course doesn't rule out the chance that the university administration sais "no" for some reason. But I see no reason to.

    (*) And having a contract with the university is not required to register as a PhD student, either. That case is in fact quite common for a variety of reasons.
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