Doctoral Curriculum of the BIGSSS Regular PhD Program
The curriculum represents the three-year 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 soft-skills courses that are mainly tailored to their research interests. All 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 (about 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.
These courses are field-specific. Proposal workshops are organized by the responsible field 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 six semesters as is the Lecture Series 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 theory and methods courses according to their needs.
The second semester is marked by the Summer Retreat, a two-day event where all fellows present their dissertation projects to a cross-disciplinary audience. Before the end of the second and third year students 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.
BIGSSS Course Schedule
You'll find the current course schedules of all Thematic Fields in the grey box on the BIGSSS start page.