At a glance

Expected program duration
3-4 years

Students admitted per year
c. 20-30

Language of instruction

Admission status

Applications for 2022


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

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

Review time for applications
takes up to three month


Dr. Silke Tönsjost
Max Voit


Innovative research idea

Your application must contain a Graduate Research Statement. The statement 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. The statement should be a maximum of four pages. 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.

FAQ: Graduate Research Statement

Can I send documents for review to determine eligibility?

To guarantee fairness, we do not preview application documents or writing samples. We do not accept single documents unless specifically requested. All documents should be compiled in your application PDF file in our registration portal..

Do I need to contact professors and supervisors before I apply?

When you apply to BIGS-DR, no prior contact with a faculty member or ZEF senior researchers is necessary. Once you are admitted to the program, BIGS-DR will assist you in finding the right supervisor.

Entry requirements: English proficiency