At a glance

Expected program duration
3.5 years

Students admitted per year
c. 20-30

Language of instruction

Admission status

Applications for 2020

Applications for 2021
Opens in spring 2020


Internal scholarship applicants
23:59 CEST (UTC/GMT +2)
August 31st, annually

External funding applicants
Deadlines vary


BIGS-DR coordination team
Dr. Günther Manske
Ms. Maike Retat-Amin


Application documents (in order)

1. BIGS-DR Checklist

Complete the checklist and place this page as the first document in your application.

2. Motivation letter

Your motivation letter should be roughly one page in length. Describe your reasons for applying to BIGS-DR, your academic and professional background, why you are well suited to join our program, future career plans, and any other information that may help the selection committee evaluate your aptitude for research.

If you are applying for an external scholarship, this is where you should include information about your foundation or sponsor, including any deadlines or additional requirements they may have.

3. BIGS-DR admissions application

Complete the BIGS-DR admission application and sign the document. The form can only be accepted if it is signed on the last page.

4. Funding/scholarship

If you are applying for our internal scholarship (EPOS/DAAD), please make sure that you meet the requirements. Internal scholarship applicants should follow the BIGS-DR admission requirements and submit their application to BIGS-DR only. The EPOS/DAAD application form should be completed and attached to your application PDF file.

If you are applying with external funding, please make sure that you include the necessary documents and information.

5. Resume or CV

Resumes are required of all applicants.

6. Graduate Research Statement (GRS)

The GRS is a description of your proposed research. The length should not exceed four pages. Please see our guidelines for instructions on composing a well-structured GRS.

7. Master's thesis abstract

Your abstract should not exceed one page.

8. University certificates and transcripts

Starting with the most recent degree, all copies of your university certificates and transcripts should be accompanied by an English translation (does not need to be notarized). Only if admitted, we will request the original documents and certified translations.

9. English proficiency 

Please see our requirements about English proficiency eligibility and proof.

10. Statement from current employer (optional)

If you are currently employed, a statement from your current employer will be helpful in your application for a scholarship. The statement should indicate that your employer is interested in having you pursue doctoral study and is willing to grant you a leave of absence for this purpose.

11. GRE or GMAT (optional)

A successful GRE or GMAT score demonstrates quantitative and analytical aptitude, and may increase your chances of admittance.

12. List of publications (optional)

A list of recent publications demonstrates your capacity for research and scientific enquiry, and may increase your chances of admittance. For applicants whose last degree was not conferred recently, a list of recent publications is required.

Additionally: Two letters of recommendation

We require two letters of recommendation or two BIGS-DR reference forms. They should be send directely to bigs-dr[at] by the referees. For more details about submitting these forms, please see here.

Is my application complete?

Please remember: we only accept applications as single PDF files assembled in the correct order (1-12) outlined above.

We confirm the reception of all application documents. If you have not heard from us within two weeks, please inform us immediately. We are not responsible for any application lost due to technical problems. Please consult our FAQ page if you have any additional questions.