FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply if I do not study/work at a BIGSAS Partner University?

Yes. BIGSAS is open to all applicants who fulfill the application requirements, regardless of their institutional affiliation.

Can I pursue my PhD at BIGSAS and continue my (part-time) job at home?

For some people a part-time solution might be the only possibility to pursue a PhD (e.g. for professional or family reasons). Therefore, we accept part-time solutions in exceptional cases, i.e. that you would have to be in Bayreuth for a minimum of two semesters within the three-year time-to degree (e.g. one semester in the beginning of your PhD and one semester at the end). However, you should mention this point in your application and include an explanation for a part-time solution.

Can I reapply if my application has been rejected?

Yes. When your application was not accepted you may apply one more time.

Can/should I contact Senior Fellows prior to my application?

No. Please send any enquiries to the BIGSAS Administration Team. The team will check your request and process or answer it.

Do I need a certified copy of my diploma/MA certificate?

Yes. Only a certified copy of your diploma/MA certificate is accepted. You should upload a scan together with your other application documents.

Do I need to understand German if I want to apply?

No. In case of admission you will attend a German language class. If you want to apply for a DAAD scholarship you will have to prove your German language skills.

How / by whom should the letters of reference be sent to BIGSAS? Do they have to be translated? In which language?

You need two letters of reference by persons in charge for your academic education. The letters should be written in English, French or German and include name, title, university/institute department and the signature of the author. These persons can send the letter directly to BIGSAS (via mail or e-mail as a scanned pdf-file) or to you. Then, however, you need to upload the scanned version of the signed letter.

How do I get a supervisor for my project?

Having a supervisor for a research project is a pre-condition for admission to BIGSAS. However, you do not have to search for a supervisor yourself. If the Academic Committee assesses your application positively, BIGSAS will try to find one. Nevertheless, you can have a look at the list of Senior Fellows and their research interests. If you have further questions concerning the supervisors, please contact the BIGSAS office.

If I am admitted to BIGSAS - how will my journey to and stay in Bayreuth be financed?

If you are accepted for a Preparatory Course, you will be financed by a BIGSAS Prep Course scholarship of monthly EUR 800. During this period you are supposed to apply for an external scholarship. Of course your supervisor and the BIGSAS Administration Team will assist you.

If you are admitted to BIGSAS you may be granted a start-up funding of monthly EUR 1,000 for a period of up to 12 months. During this period you are supposed to apply for an external scholarship to ensure the continuance of your studies.

In which language can I apply?

You can apply in English, French or German. If your Master’s thesis (or equivalent) is written in any other language, please upload an English or French summary (5 to 10 pages) together with your thesis.

In which language can I submit my dissertation?

In general, you can submit your PhD thesis in English, French or German. Nevertheless, you should also discuss this question with your supervisor.

Is Co-Tutelle possible within BIGSAS?

Yes. If you intend to have a supervisor of your home or another university besides the University of Bayreuth, please contact the BIGSAS Administration Team. We will find out whether such an arrangement is possible.

When and for how long do I have to be present in Bayreuth during the Prep Course and during the PhD programme?

BIGSAS has a structured PhD programme with disciplinary, interdisciplinary and language classes as well as colloquia and other academic events (see Studies Programme and Events). Our graduate school subsists on the participation and contributions of Senior Fellows, Junior Fellows and Postdocs. Therefore, we expect that all BIGSAS fellows are present in Bayreuth except for:

  • Semester breaks

  • Field research

  • Attendance of conference(s)

  • exceptional agreements on part-time PhD

Who can apply for BIGSAS?

You can apply to BIGSAS if you hold a Master’s or equivalent degree in the Humanities with a very good result and if you plan a PhD project on Africa - regardless of nationality, place of residence, age etc.