FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Why did I not receive an email confirmation after applying?

Please check your spam folder in your email account and put bigsas-application@uni-bayreuth.de on the whitelist of your email provider. If you do not receive an email with your account data after 24 hours please use the password recovery option.

I have technical problems while using the online application platform.

We recommend several solutions:

  • Supported web browsers include Internet Explorer 7 and above and Mozilla Firefox.
  • Do not use AOL's internal browser or Opera.
  • You must have Java Script activated and accept pop-up windows.
  • In case of problems, deactivate all web browser add-ons.
  • Please consider the information on our help page which is displayed automatically after every login.

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.

Should I contact Senior Fellows prior to my application?

No. Please send any enquiries to the BIGSAS Administration Team (bigsas-application@uni-bayreuth.de). 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.

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 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.

How can I confirm that I will be funded for the time-to-degree?

The confirmation of funding means a proof of financial resources for the duration of the doctoral studies (three years) which shows that you are able to support yourself. At present, you will have to account for a sum of EUR 8,640.00 at your yearly disposal (please see also: www.study-in.de, www.germany-visa.org and visaguide.world). Otherwise, you will not be successful when applying for a student visa.

There are a number of ways to show that you can finance your studies. The following forms of proof are possible:

  • Your parents can submit documents certifying their income and financial assets.

  • Someone with permanent residence in Germany can guarantee the Alien Registration Office to cover your expenses.

  • A security payment can be deposited into a blocked account.

  • You can present a bank guarantee.

  • You can present a scholarship award notification from a recognised scholarship provider.