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

Applications for 2022
Will open in spring 2021


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

External funding applicants
Review time for applications
takes up to three month


BIGS-DR coordination team
Dr. Günther Manske
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 about GRS

Where can I find information about the current research at ZEF?

Feel free to browse through our research & capacity development page, which highlights current themes and projects. Institute publications are all listed under our publications tab.

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 and email to us.

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