FAQ UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB courses

When can I apply?

The closing date for applications for the course year 2017/2018 has passed. The application periods for courses in 2018/2019 will be announced in February 2018.
Please note: Unlike in previous years, application periods will be different for each course.

Are the same Short Courses offered every year?

No, the topics of the Short Courses change every year. They largely depend on demand by administration and institutions in developing and emerging countries.

What if a Short Course I am interested in is not offered this year?

Most topics will be offered again at a later point in time. How long you will need to wait depends on the demand for this specific course. In highest demand are courses for water management, waste management and conservation of biodiversity.

Who can apply for a training course on environmental management at CIPSEM?
  • All of our courses are open to participants from developing and emerging countries.
  • Candidates should have a professional background related to environment. We aim to assist professionals from ministries, agencies or local government units and NGOs to improve their knowledge base and skills to actively support the environmentally sound and sustainable development of their countries. Therefore, typical applicants are decision-makers of environmental authorities or NGOs working in the environment sector and natural resources management. The candidate's institution must endorse the application.
  • Applicants should hold at least a first university degree (equivalent to Bachelor).
  • To be selected, applicants should also have at least two years of professional experience in a course related field to be able to contribute to the course and to also learn from each other.
  • The preferable age is between 25 and 45 years, so that applicants have some professional experience, but also a significant part of their professional live still before them.
  • The future professional engagement in fields of sustainable environmental management and sustainable development should be proven.
  • The ability to communicate actively and efficiently in English is mandatory, in order to fully benefit from the courses (all conducted in English) and to contribute to a fruitful exchange. We are looking for individuals, who are eager to share and exchange with fellow participants from all over the world as well as the facilitating experts.

The various courses offered are tailored towards different target groups. Therefore, before applying please check the course description for specific requirements of the course you are interested in.

What if I do not exactly fit to the target groups mentioned in the description of the specific course?

In this case you should explain clearly why you would like to take part in this particular course and state why you really need the training. However, bear in mind that there are hundreds of other applicants competing with you. If necessary please enclose a statement from your working place etc.

A special remark for university researchers and employees: The International Steering Committee assumes this group has many opportunities to acquire the desired specific knowledge through the international contacts of their universities. Nevertheless in exceptional cases fellowships can be granted as well.

To which extend should my institution support my application?

We need to know if your institution is sufficiently backing your application and is also welcoming the knowledge, skills and - likely - the motivational boost you will gain into the institutional environment. 

To complete the application, you will therefore need to

  • Download the nomination form from step 7 in your course application. The form will already be completed with the details you have entered in step 1 of the application.
  • Have the person in charge (the same person mentioned in step 1 of the application) sign the nomination form.
  • Upload a photo or scan of the signed form in step 7 of your application.

Content of the nomination form

The person signing the form certifies that the institution supports the candidate's participation in the programme of study, with the view to enhancing his/her ability to contribute to sustainable development of his/her country in future.

If a fellowship is granted, the nominating institution will:

  • Facilitate the fellow’s departure for the study programme (i.e. not prevent selected fellows from joining the course, allow the fellow to sufficiently focus on the course content etc.);
  • Assist the fellow to meet personal and family responsibilities during the period of the fellowship, if necessary by the continuation of the whole or part of his/her present salary;
  • Ensure the employment of the fellow upon completion of the fellowship.

In the form, the nominating institution is also requested to certify that the candidate possesses suficient knowledge of the English language to successfully follow a postgraduate course held in English which includes attending lectures, writing reports, making oral presentations at seminars etc. 

How to apply and what kind of data and documents are required?

Please go to our online application portal during the application period. After registering with a valid email address, you can log in and start the application process. You will be guided through the following 8 steps:

  • Name, addresses, personal information
  • Educational record
  • Professional experience and training
  • International experience & proficiency in the english language
  • Medical statement
  • Country report: in this part, please describe your countries situation with respect to the course topic, as well as how you and your institutions are involved.
  • Upload of your application documents. The following files are mandatory:
    • Portrait picture, for example passport photograph (PDF or image file).
    • Scan of the form “official nomination” signed by your employer (will be generated based on your input in section 1).
    • A certified copy of your last university degree, including mark sheet/ transcript of records (as one PDF file).
    • Further university certificates (as one PDF file).
    • Latest English test results, unless you are a native speaker, English is an official language in your country, or your academic education was in English. (as one PDF file).
    • Organisational chart indicating your present position in your institution. (PDF or image file).
    • You can also combine further information (e.g. CV, letters of recommendation, other certificates) into another upload (as one PDF file).
  • Submission
How much time does it take to complete the application?

If you have all information including the country report and all necessary documents at hand, simply filling the online form takes around 30-60 min. The information you have entered will be saved after each section, so you do not need to complete your application in a single session.

What to do if I have registered, but do not receive the activation email?

The activation emails are sent immediately. It depends on your email provider how fast they arrive in your inbox. If this takes longer than normal, and you also cannot find the activation email your SPAM folder, please contact us. We can then activate your account manually. 

Which file types can I upload?

In step 7 of the application process, you will be asked to upload a number of files as either image file (for the portrait picture) or PDF (all other files). If you have other file types, please convert them. Various free software is available for such conversions.

I have problems to upload my documents to the application portal – can you help?

In step 7 of the application process you will need to upload all documents that are marked with an asterisk (*, i.e. 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.5, 7.6). 

First, check if your files are in the required format, so either an image file (for the portrait picture) or PDF (all other files).

Please note that uploading each document consists of two steps:

(a) browsing for the file

(b) clicking on the upload button once you see the name of the file in the application form.

If you have done this, and you still cannot continue, make sure that also all other steps are completed. You should see a tick mark next to each step on the top of the application form. You should be good to go now. In case the problem persists, please send a screenshot of what you see in the web browser to CIPSEM, this will help with diagnosis.

Is there a fair chance to be admitted?

Yes, although more than 700 applications are submitted to us every year for only 84 places available, there is a fair chance to be admitted. To avoid frustration, we ask applicants to review their own qualification and professional background very critically to assure that they really belong to the target groups the courses are designed for. (Please check the specific description of the course you are interested in!)

Other important criteria are a good command of the English language, communication facilities (fax or e-mail), number of applicants coming from one region, overall impression of the application (complete documents, official nomination, etc.). Of course timely submission is also crucial.


Unfortunately, there is always a significant amount of submitted applications that cannot be considered because the wrong documents have been uploaded, certificates in languages other than English, French or Spanish have no translation or are not readable, because the nommination form has no official stamp or the like. Also, more than half of the applications that have been started never get completed.

Who is choosing the candidates?

Course fellows are usually selected by an International Course Steering Committee consisting of  representatives of Technische Universität Dresden, The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation.

What criteria are used in the selection?

In a first step "formal criteria" are applied, such as readable and complete application documents  (incl. attachments), good command of the English language, and communication skills.
The applications fullfilling these criteria will be reviewed by the International Steering Committee. In this second step the personal qualification, the professional background are analyzed, also regarding the present and potential future responsibilities.
Finally, based on a short list of high-quality applications, a good regional distribution of fellows is ensured. Only one or two participants from the same country are admitted for any specific course. The various regions of the world will be represented about equally. A balanced representation of men and women in each course is also aimed for. Ultimately, the experts selected to participate in any of our courses should benefit mutually from each others experiences in terms of professional knowledge and skills, but also beyond.

Are CIPSEM alumni eligible to apply?

It is possible to apply again, we had a few cases of alumni being selected for a second course. Please describe your motivation clearly (which you should do in any case). However, well qualified applicants who have not yet participated in a UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB course programme have higher chances of being selected.

What is the status of my application?

If you have completed the submission of your application (step 8 in the application portal), you can be sure your application will be fully considered. You will not receive an additional confirmation email. 

You can, however, at all times follow the status of your application in our application portal. After logging in, you can see the information you have submitted to CIPSEM. You will also see at which time you can expect a notification in case of being selected for participation. 

A screenshot showing where to find your application status after logging in to the application portal. © CIPSEM A screenshot showing where to find your application status after logging in to the application portal. © CIPSEM

Screenshot showing where to find the status of your application after logging in. The notification dates are different for each course.

A screenshot showing where to find your application status after logging in to the application portal.

Screenshot showing where to find the status of your application after logging in. The notification dates are different for each course. © CIPSEM

What is covered by the fellowship?

The fellowship includes:

  • A non-reroutable economy air return ticket from a major international airport in the country of residence to Dresden;
  • Free accommodation in a single study bedroom;
  • Health and accident insurance;
    Please note: The health insurance included in the stipend does NOT cover any costs associated with diseases or injuries present prior to departure. Cost related to pregnancies and childbirth are also not covered.
  • Registration and tuition fees for the course;
  • A ticket for free use of public transport in Dresden city;
  • Allowance of approx. EUR 450.-/month plus money to send home books (varying from course to course), sufficient to cover all basic living expenses during the course (depending on the individual life style).
I have missed the application deadline – now what?

As a rule, we cannot accept requests for application after the deadline because

  • late submissions are very laborious for us
  • there is not much time to review all applications
  • this would not be fair to other applicants or people interested in applying.

If, in an exceptional case, you have almost completed your application online apart from the nomination form because your superior was out of town and could not sign, please email us the missing document within a few days. We will probably still add this to your application.

About this page

Tamara Karp
Last modified: Aug 25, 2016