BIGSSS Academic Program


 The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) is one of Germany’s leading schools of doctoral training in the social sciences. Having started with just a handful of fellows in 2002, our school hosts more than 70 international PhD fellows today. So, if you are a member of this growing BIGSSS community: good to see you! Should you 'meet' us for the very first time: we hope that this website will help you in getting to know more about both BIGSSS and its academic mission.

 BIGSSS integrates excellent areas of graduate education and research at the University of Bremen and Jacobs University into a synergetic inter-university institution designed to be an internationally competitive model of graduate education.

BIGSSS Academic Program:

DAAD Graduate School Scholarship Program:

Who Can Apply?
  • You are an international applicant, proficient in English language (speaking & writing). We particularly encourage applications from the Global South. 
  • You must not have resided in Germany any time after February 15, 2021. 
  • Your MA degree must be completed and the validation of the degree must be available by May 15, 2022, which means you may apply before having finished your MA degree.
  •  At the time of application, your last final exam must have taken place no longer than 6 years ago. 
  • You have an excellent MA degree (or national equivalents) in Sociology, Political Science, Psychology or related social science disciplines e.g. Law, Economics or Media Sciences. 
  • Your dissertation project in the field “Global Inequality, the Middle Classes and the Welfare State“” aligns with the research focus of one or several of our program PIs.

Successful applicants will be offered a full PhD scholarship, funded by the GloWel programme of the DAAD. The Scholarship Programme is providing the following benefits:
  • a stipend of 1,200 EUR monthly, for a maximum of 48 months, 
  • additional travel allowance for stays abroad and research trips, 
  • complete medical insurance plus a combined liability and accident insurance, 
  • support with research expenses, 
  • if necessary and applicable, additional family allowances (eg. rent) and 
  • a German language course at Bremen.

BIGSSS-departs PhD Program:

 BIGSSS-departs is a 42-month structured PhD program which provides close supervision of dissertation work accompanied by a demand-tailored doctoral curriculum. BIGSSS-departs is one of our full-time PhD programs in which fellows commit themselves to their own dissertation projects and the full academic program of the BIGSSS curriculum. It supports doctoral fellows in achieving early scientific independence, and provides funds for conducting, presenting, and publishing their research.

 BIGSSS-departs Fellows pursue a freely chosen dissertation project in one of BIGSSS’ three thematic fields:
  • Global Governance and Regional Integration 
  • Welfare State, Inequality, and Quality of Life 
  • Changing Lives in Changing Socio-Cultural Contexts
BIGSSS Affiliated PhD Program:

 BIGSSS offers an Affiliated PhD Program to doctoral candidates who already work in third-party funded or professorial research projects in the social scien­ces at the University of Bremen or Jacobs University. Affiliated fellows asign their doctoral research projects to one of BIGSSS' three Thematic Fields. They take part in the BIGSSS curriculum with a reduced work load and complete several PhD Milestones.

BIGSSS Adjunct PhD Program:

 BIGSSS offers an Adjunct PhD Program to doctoral candidates who are supervised by BIGSSS Faculty members and work in the Bremen Social Sciences. Adjunct fellows participate in BIGSSS’ demand tailored courses and transferable skills workshops.

Eligibility and Application:

 Doctoral candidates who work in the Bremen Social Sciences and have a BIGSSS faculty member as supervisor are eligible for applying as BIGSSS adjunct fellow.

 Also, in order to allow all of our fellows to engage into mutual discussions with other fellows and BIGSSS faculty and staff, English language proficiency at the level of C1 is required. However, the PhD thesis may be written in English or German.

BIGSSS Affiliated Postdoc Program:

Admissions to the BIGSSS Affiliated Postdoc Program

If you are interested in a BIGSSS Affiliated Postdoc fellowship, please submit the following documents:

1) A COVER LETTER, stating your motivation for an affiliation with BIGSSS

2) A list of your PUBLICATIONS


 Please send your application documents via email to our Director of Studies ( There are no fixed application deadlines. The start of your Affiliated Postdoc Fellowship is flexible.



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