Funding your research

BIGS-DR raises no tuition for the doctoral program. However, you need approximately 900 Euros per month for a decent living in Germany, so adequate research funds totaling 20,000 Euros must be secured.

Funding options:


Options for scholarships depend on your origin, discipline and research area:

Scholarships via BIGS-DR (Deadline: August 31st annually)

Candidates developing countries and emerging economies (list of eligible countries) can apply for a scholarship provided by the Development-Related Postgraduate Course program (EPOS) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). A number of these DAAD scholarships are sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and available via BIGS-DR. A prerequisite for applying is having at least two years of relevant professional experience. Please see the list of required application documents. The application deadline is August 31st every year, for the intake in October of the subsequent year.

Special prerequisites and requirements for DAAD scholarship applicants from Cameroon and China:

Applications from China must be submitted via the Academic Evaluation Centre of the German Embassy in Beijing, where the academic certificates have to be verified.


Other DAAD/Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarships (Deadline: varies)

The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs has bilateral agreements with many countries on DAAD scholarships, for example on "Government Scholarships". These DAAD scholarships may be of interest for candidates from countries which are not officially considered developing countries, such as the GUS and Europe. Typically, applicants should aim to apply simultaneously for scholarships and for the doctoral program. The University of Bonn may issue a conditional letter of acceptance to students who require a confirmation from the university in order to grant the scholarship. Please ask the German embassy in your country for details and the deadline for applications.

Other sponsors (Deadline: varies)

You can also apply for a scholarship from any other foundation or sponsor. The procedure is the same as above. Applicants should apply simultaneously for scholarships and for the doctoral program and provide a copy of the scholarship information to BIGS-DR. Be sure to indicate in your application (motivation letter or attachment) if the foundation or sponsor has a deadline. Keep in mind that we need at least four weeks to decide upon your supervision. The University of Bonn may issue a conditional letter of acceptance to students who require a confirmation from the university in order to grant the scholarship. In your application documents, please include:

  • A letter of award from the foundation or sponsor, or
  • Information about the foundation or sponsor for which you have already applied, or contact that you have made. Information should include: amount of funding, duration of funding, expense breakdown, and any further information that details the foundation.

Vacancies at ZEF

You may also apply for a vacancy for a doctoral position in one of ZEF's projects. In this case, the topic, region, and discipline of the research are set by the project. You can apply only for vacancies announced on ZEF's website (see vacancies). Please submit the list of required application documents directly to BIGS-DR. The deadlines are mentioned in the respective vacancies.


BIGS-DR will also considers qualified candidates with funds of their own. If you plan to study with your own funds, you may submit an application at any time (no. 1-11 on the list of required application documents). Proof of self-funding can be determined by including a bank statement in your application.