How to Apply for the Regular PhD Program in Thematic Field C

If you are interested in becoming a BIGSSS Regular PhD fellow, please take a look at the following guidelines to find all the essential information on open calls, admission requirements, application materials and FAQ.



We currently have no open calls for our BIGSSS Regular PhD Program. Please check back.


Application Requirements

BIGSSS invites applications from candidates with

  • an excellent MA degree (or national equivalents like the German "Diplom" or "Magister") in a discipline pertinent to BIGSSS' Thematic Field C, i.e. in Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, or related social science disciplines e.g. Law, Economics or Mass Communication. The degree must be completed by May 31 of the year of the program start, which means you may apply before having finished your MA degree.
  • English proficiency as described in the application materials section below.


General Application Guidelines - Please read carefully

Please submit your application for a BIGSSS Regular PhD Fellowship in Thematic Field C electronically via our Regular PhD & Postdoc admissions system.

Please note that the program commences every year on September 1st. The Regular PhD & Postdoc admissions system for the Regular PhD program opens on November 7th. The application deadline for the Regular PhD program is January 31st in order to be considered for the program starting in the fall of the same year. All deadlines refer to the date of receipt of the application, not the mailing date.

You will find a list of what your application should include below.

Our online admissions system will only accept documents in pdf-format. You can download a free version of PDFCreator.

If you have any questions regarding the admissions process, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions section below after carefully reading the website or contact our Admissions Officer (


Application Materials

Please make sure to submit all required application materials in your online application.

Checklist of application materials for a BIGSSS Regular PhD Fellowship:

  1. Personal Information form (to be completed in the online admissions system)
  2. Curriculum Vitae (free text - PDF)
  3. Preliminary Dissertation Proposal (free text - PDF)
  4. One-page Proposal Abstract (free text - PDF)
  5. Statement of Purpose (free text - PDF)
  6. Statement of Skills and Experience with Methods of Empirical Social Research (free text - PDF)
  7. MA/BA/Diplom/Magister Certificates (scan - PDF)
  8. University Grade Transcripts (scan - PDF)
  9. Certification of English Proficiency (we accept TOEFL, iELTS, CAE/CPE (Cambridge Exams)) (scan - PDF)
  10. Two Recent Letters of Recommendation (to be submitted by referees via the online admissions system)
  11. Optional: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (scan - PDF)

Please make sure to download and read the complete list of application materials for the BIGSSS Regular PhD Program, including all detailed descriptions and guidelines!

All application materials must be submitted via our Regular PhD & Postdoc admissions system only.



You will find answers to the frequently asked questions regarding the admissions process in our list of FAQ. Please read them carefully before submitting your application in the online admissions system.

Online Admissions System

If you would like to apply for the BIGSSS Regular PhD Program, please use our Regular PhD & Postdoc admissions system.

Anti-Discrimination at BIGSSS

BIGSSS welcomes diversity and promotes equal opportunities.