At a glance

Expected program duration
3-4 years

Students admitted per year
c. 20-30

Language of instruction


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

Other applicants
23:59 CEST (UTC/GMT +2)
August 1st, annually



Dr. Silke Tönsjost
Max Voit


How to apply

Online registration:



Documents to prepare

Before applying online:

Checklist for your application

DAAD-Application information and form

Entry requirements

Academic qualification

We require an excellent master's or equivalent degree with a GPA higher than 3.0 in the American system, a grade higher than 2.0 in the German system or equivalent.

Your last academic degree should have been obtained relatively recently prior to application, maximum 6 years before.  If you have a gap between your previous academic degree and your application to BIGS-DR you need to demonstrate your academic track with a current list of publications.

Innovative research idea

Your application must contain a Graduate Research Statement. The statement (about 4 pages) should describe a development problem you consider interesting and important. Include your main research questions and the proposed methods linked to them and have literature references. Your Graduate Research Statement may relate to ZEF's research areas in a broad sense or may address a topic in another development research area. The selection committee will assess all research statements on the basis of originality, analytical rigor, and relevance.

English proficiency

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to provide evidence of English proficiency. The following documents may be submitted as proof of eligibility:

  • IELTS Academic (minimum band score of 6)
  • TOEFL iBT (minimum of 80 points)
  • Other English language certification tests (CPE, CAE)