BIGSSS Research Training Group

Social Dynamics of the Self (SELF)

The DFG-funded Research Training Group (RTG) 2513 “Social Dynamics of the Self” (SELF) is BIGSSS' newest PhD program in the social sciences.

Social Dynamics of the Self: Thematic Scope

Since the self and society make each other up in an ongoing cycle of mutual constitution, they need to be studied simultaneously and in concert. SELF focuses on investigating the interactions between individuals and their social environment, providing a platform for early-career researchers from various social science disciplines to study the self’s embeddedness in diverse social systems, ranging in complexity and dynamically changing over time. The research program  is characterized by interdisciplinarity, combining research perspectives particularly from psychology, sociology and political science. Research questions addressed in SELF dissertation projects should broadly correspond to the research program's seven project lines:

  1. Cultures of honor
  2. Intergenerational identity development
  3. Self-efficacy, health and well-being
  4. Conflict between family and work roles
  5. Social participation and (early) retirement
  6. Individualization and social morality
  7. Collective identities in transition


Doctoral Education at the RTG within BIGSSS

The RTG's English-language qualification program at BIGSSS includes a 36-month structured curriculum. It follows the principles of demand-tailored education, close supervision, progress monitoring, and effective funding. Doing a PhD at BIGSSS also means deciding for a program at an international graduate school which relies on the active engagement of its fellows in peer exchange, events and office life.

As an inter-university institution, BIGSSS is located at the University of Bremen and Constructor University. Successful SELF applicants receive work contracts, workspace and IT infrastructure at one of the two universities. To support early scientific independence, BIGSSS provides additional funds for conducting, presenting and publishing research. Courses and events take place on both campuses and PhD fellows are encouraged to engage with scholars from all of Bremen's social science research institutes.


PhD Training

Find out more about the doctoral curriculum and PhD milestones and supervision in the SELF PhD Program.

Find a current and previous semester plans here


All calls for application for the RTG SELF PhD Program are closed.

Please check our other Regular PhD Programs or find out if you qualify for the BIGSSS Affiliated or Adjunct PhD Program!