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


Selection process


Once applicants complete their online registration, they will receive an email confirmation with their registration number. Once applicants submit their application PDF file via email, we will send an email that has confirmed the receipt of the file. This does not mean that the application is complete.


BIGS-DR staff members screen application PDF files for academic qualification, quality of the research proposal, and recommendations. Applicants are then informed via email if their application is complete. A shortlist of candidates is then compiled. Some of the shortlisted candidates are then interviewed at ZEF, or alternatively, via phone or internet.

Plagiarism check

All Graduate Research Statements (GRS) of shortlisted candidates are checked for citation and potential plagiarism.

Selection committee

The selection committee consists of three ZEF directors and delegates from DAAD, and they will decide upon the candidates for the internal scholarship. All externally funded applications are reviewed by individual departments to determine the research scope and supervision capacity.

Waiting list

Qualified candidates who cannot be offered a scholarship will be placed on a waiting list and/or recieve a conditional letter of acceptance to assist them in seeking external financial assistance. Candidates on the waiting list may be accepted in the event there is an availability in the program.

A note on plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's (or even your own) work or ideas without acknowledment. Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional. This type of behavior is intellectually dishonest and violates the ethics of academic professionalism. In order to prevent plagiarism in the selection and admission process, shortlisted candidates are obliged to submit a softcopy of their research plan for us to perform a plagiarism check.

Is my application complete?

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.