Doctoral Curriculum

How is the GloWel & GSPSC PhD Program structured?

The curriculum represents a 48-month educational program leading to the doctorate. The BIGSSS curriculum is based on models of advanced tertiary education and follows a demand-tailored approach. BIGSSS fellows take a mandatory series of courses, incl. research colloquia, as well as theory, methods and transferable skills courses that are mainly tailored to their research interests. BIGSSS curricula employ a system of credit points (ECTS).

Prior to the first year, fellows attend a Preparatory Forum in Social Science Methodology. The forum lasts for a period of two-three weeks when new fellows participate in various methods modules (5-10) allowing them to see their research question under different methodological perspectives and become familiar with each other’s research interests, a prerequisite for the interdisciplinary orientation of BIGSSS. During the first semester doctoral fellows attend the Proposal Workshop, the Core Theory Seminar, and the Doctoral Colloquium.

The proposal workshop is organized by the responsible Academic Coordinator who helps fellows to refine their proposal and prepare it for the defense that takes place early in the second semester. The doctoral colloquia offer a chance for fellows to present the newest results of their dissertation project or a challenge they are currently facing. The doctoral colloquium is a feature of the curriculum for all semesters as is the Lecture Series/Jour Fixe where leading academics speak on topics of interest across the broad spectrum of BIGSSS. In the second and third semester, the curriculum becomes more demand-tailored and fellows can choose methods courses according to their needs.

The second semester is marked by a retreat, a two-day event where all fellows present their dissertation projects to a cross-disciplinary audience. Before the end of each year fellows undergo a Progress Assessment Colloquium.


During the second year the course load is lighter, as fellows are fully engaged in their research by then. Transferable skills courses on writing and teaching as well as various workshops to foster professional development are offered continuously.

Courses of the current semester can be downloaded in the grey box on the BIGSSS start page. Alternatively, you can access them in the course catalogue of the University of Bremen and Constructor University Campusnet.