PhD in Social Sciences at International Graduate School of Social Sciences

The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) invites applications to its Ph.D. program. The program will commence on September 1st, 2012. Successful applicants for the Ph.D. and Post-doc fellowships will pursue a topic in one of BIGSSS` five Thematic Fields. All fellows are expected to choose Bremen as their place of residence. In each of BIGSSS`five Thematic Fields “The Future of Social and Political Integration“ is being examined from a particular perspective. The Thematic Fields are:

  • Thematic Field 1:Global Integration
  • Thematic Field 2:Integration and Diversity in the New Europe
  • Thematic Field 3:Social Integration and the Welfare State
  • Thematic Field 4:Attitude Formation, Value Change and Intercultural Communication
  • Thematic Field 5:Life-Course and Lifespan Dynamics

BIGSSS offers 15 Ph.D. stipends of 1250 Euros/month for 36 months, contingent on successful completion of each year. To support its Ph.D. fellows in achieving early scientific independence, it also provides funds for conducting, presenting and publishing research. There is no separate funding application, because all admitted applicants receive a stipend.


  • An excellent MA degree (or national equivalents like the German “Diplom” or “Magister”) in a discipline pertinent to at least one of BIGSSS` five Thematic fields (see above), i.e. in Political Science (including related degree programs in European Studies or International Relations), Sociology, Psychology, Law, Economics or Mass Communication. The degree must be completed by the end of July of the year of application, which means you may apply before having finished your MA degree.
  • English proficiency as described in the application materials section below.
  • Additionally BIGSSS offers 2 Preparatory Fellowships to particularly talented BA Graduates. To find out more information, please click here.
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BIGSSS believes that diverse backgrounds and ideas are crucial to academic excellence. Therefore, BIGSSS welcomes and promotes diversity and ensures equal opportunity and inclusion for all of its members regardless of ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age or (dis-)ability.

How to apply?
In order to apply, you need to submit following documents:

1. Personal information and statements
1.1 Personal Information Form- Please fill in our Personal Information Form.
1.2 Curriculum Vitae- This should include information on your educational and work history, publications, language abilities and extracurricular interests.
1.3 Statement of Purpose- This should provide a clear picture of your academic and professional interests, background, and career plans. It should also describe how your interests fit in with the BIGSSS Ph.D. program. It is very welcome if you can indicate a particular BIGSSS Faculty member as potential supervisor.
1.4 Statement of Skills and Experience with Methods of Empirical Social Research- Please provide information on your knowledge of research methods (including methods courses taken) (of approx. one page in total). Applicants from disciplines with little or no standard methods training should provide other pertinent information on relevant research skills.

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2. Preliminary Dissertation Proposal
It is not expected that you have an ultimate version of your dissertation proposal upon application. Nonetheless, we ask for a well-developed version of your preliminary dissertation proposal. It should be written in English, encompass between 5 and 15 double-spaced pages and include the following elements:

  1. Summary
  2. State of research (highlighting theoretical and empirical debates on your topic and deficits in the literature that your project would address)
  3. Your research experience/competence in the field
  4. Objectives, methods and work plan (be very specific about the methods used and the stages of the work plan)
  5. Bibliography

3. Certificates
3.1 MA/BA/Diplom/Magister certificates
3.2 Certification of English Proficiency- Scores:

  • TOEFL: paper-based 600, computer-based 250, internet-based 100
  • IELTS: Band 7.5
  • Cambridge Certificate: pass CAE
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Exempt from the English proficiency requirement are applicants who are native speakers of English or who have received either their Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (e.g. passed their A-levels) or earned a higher-educational degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English.
No previous knowledge of German is required.
3.3 University Grade Transcripts
3.4 Two Recent Letters of Recommendation

To find more information about the necessary documents that need to be submitted, please click here.

Please make sure that the referees themselves submit the letters of recommendation and that they include their signature in the scanned in document. Referees should send their letters of recommendation directly to BIGSSS to: Dean of Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS),Postfach 33 04 40, D – 28334 Bremen, Germany or by e-mail to [email protected] no later than 15 March 2012.

In order to apply, please click here to register at University`s website and continue with the application process.

In case of any further questions, please contact the University`s representatives via e-mail to [email protected] or via phone to +49 (0)421 200 3956.

The Official Website


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