If you are a student from a developing country interested in studying at the University of Stuttgart, you should take a look at two of its master’s programmes which are fully funded by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) – one of the world’s largest funding organisations for the international exchange of students and researchers. The master’s in ‘Infrastructure Planning’ and ‘Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design’ are the two programmes at the university supported under DAAD funding scheme called ‘Development-Related Postgraduate Courses’.
This funding scheme seeks candidates who have relevant academic and professional experience to succeed in these master’s programmes as well as demonstrative motivation to use the new knowledge and skills to support development. Given the lack of opportunities available to women and members of disadvantaged groups, this scheme especially targets them for admission.
Infrastructure Planning programme
Responding to the growing demand for professionals who can efficiently conceive, plan and execute infrastructure projects such as waste management, transportation and road networks, this programme seeks to train students for challenges of development work in today’s super connected world. Offered since 1983, this program takes an interdisciplinary approach to planning in an transnational context, to be in line with the increasing practise of building mega projects with multiple international partners.
The programme draws faculty members from various institutions with work experience spanning several years. To ensure good academic quality, the number of students per year is usually limited to 35 only. The two-year programme starts off with basic courses to create common knowledge among the diverse group of students and moves towards advanced courses with specific focus in following semesters. The programme is concluded with a master’s thesis which most of the time takes a deep look at problems in the developing world. Some of the courses students study during their four semesters at the University of Stuttgart include Statistics and GIS; Ecological Aspects of Infrastructure Planning and; Planning, Financing, Tendering and Contracting.
Given the specific nature of the programme, the master’s course seeks candidates from the field of civil engineering, architecture and urban planning. However, students from related fields with interest in the subject are also welcomed to apply. The entry requirements include a bachelor’ degree and at least two years of work experience. This requirement is only for those interested in getting a scholarship by DAAD; for self-finance students, there is no work experience requirement.
As the programme has an international focus, it is taught in English language and fluency in written and spoken English is necessary. Results of standardised language tests are required as part of the admission documents.
The programme starts in October every year and the application deadline is September of the previous year. The degree awarded at the end of the two-year course is called Master’s of Science.
The IUSD master’s programme is a collaboration between the University of Stuttgart in Germany and Ain Shams University in Egypt. It is a double-degree program where students spend their first year of studies in Stuttgart and second year in Cairo. IUSD is also offered as a single degree programme and is held in Germany and Egypt separately but it is not funded by DAAD; the scholarship is only available for double-degree programme.
As expressed in the title of the master’s course, IUSD aims to train urban professionals in taking a holistic approach so that they can tackle complex environmental, cultural and governance challenges in an integrated and sustainable manner. With intakes comprised of students from around the world, the programme has a very international outlook which allows it to study and discuss problems from the real world in the company of people directly affected by them.
With the aim of being a interdisciplinary program, IUSD attracts students from a variety of fields such as architecture, anthropology and communications. However, relevant urban experience and interest is important in securing a spot in the programme.
The two-year program begins in the middle of October every year, with application deadline in mid-February of the same year.
A few things to keep in mind if you are selected as a DAAD scholar is that you have to take a mandatory German language course before you start your master’s program. This includes an online course before arrival in Germany and an in-person course in Germany. While it may seem daunting and unnecessary since the programme is taught in English, past scholarship-holders have expressed high-level of satisfaction as this helps newcomers with settling in smoothly.
Another thing to remember is that the state of Baden-Württemberg, where University of Stuttgart is located, asks international students to pay tuition fee worth around 1500 euros. DAAD scholars are not affected by this rule, however, they still have to pay an administrative and social fee of about 170 euros per semester from their stipend.
Speaking of which, DAAD master’s scholars get around 750 euros in monthly stipend plus coverage for travel to and from home country, research allowance, rent subsidy if the rent exceeds a certain percentage of total stipend and health insurance.