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Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies - BIGSAS

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Doctoral Programme

Programme structure in BIGSAS

Successfully completing a doctorate within three to four years including field research is a challenge that requires good planning, discipline, time and inspiration. BIGSAS offers a structured programme and research with multidisciplinary mentorship. The 'Mentoring Group' comprises one supervisor and two mentors.

The programme enables the doctoral candidates, the Junior Fellows, not only to write their thesis within the time-to-degree, but also to enhance their research skills through theoretical and methodological courses as well as in discussions with their supervisors, mentors, fellow students and guest professors. This lively exchange of thoughts and ideas is enriched by and based on the cultural diversity found at BIGSAS.

Each Junior Fellow together with the supervisor and the mentors develops an Individual Research and Training Plan (IRTP). Since doctoral candidates are expected to quickly become familiar with the international academia, they are encouraged to participate in international conferences and to publish research-related articles in academic journals. The participation in workshops, summer schools and colloquia, in self-organised Work Groups and additional courses allows them to discuss and to develop their research topics and to gain further academic skills.

Supportive Features and Offers

Supportive Features and OffersHide

International Academic Orientation

Junior Fellows benefit from courses and lectures given by internationally renowned guest professors and outstanding writers, musicians and artists. They are also encouraged to invite academics they would like to discuss or work with.

Work Groups

A Work Group is meant to be a forum of discussion. Its organisation is up to the Junior Fellows. They choose the topics and the thematic or methodological orientation - it all depends on their interests and needs. The format is open as well as the frequency of meetings. Special funds for the invitation of guests are available. Junior Fellows at any stage of their work, who are interested in a common topic may gather to exchange thoughts about it. Find out more about Work Groups here.

Research Support

BIGSAS supports the field research of Junior Fellows as well as their active participation in an international conference and a summer school with financial means upon application.

Gender and Diversity Programme

The BIGSAS Gender and Diversity Programme aims to specifically support and promote female and parent scholars in the academic community and to create a family-friendly work environment. Moreover, it offers a coaching programme for doctoral candidates. Parents are supported in choosing appropriate child care services. There is also the possibility to apply for financial support for individual short-term child care services at the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence. Find out more about the Gender and Diversity Programme here.

Language Courses

German language skills are not a requirement for admission. Yet once admitted to BIGSAS, we recommend that all Junior Fellows acquire basic German language skills to enable them to get around in Germany. The University of Bayreuth offers German and English language courses as well as courses in African languages through the Sprachenzentrum. The Institute for International Communication and Foreign Cultural Exchange (IIK) in Bayreuth offers German courses as well.

Courses on Demand

Additional courses may be requested by a group of at least four Junior Fellows and refer to transferable skills. Please contact the BIGSAS administration team if you would like to learn about the application process.

Publication of Dissertations

For Junior Fellows who have completed their doctorate, BIGSAS partly covers the costs for the publication of their dissertation provided that their final grade is at least magna cum laude (very good).


BIGSAS provides five offices (each having two workstations) equipped with a desk, computer and monitor for the Junior Fellows in the building at Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 3 (GSP) upon application for three months in a row. The permanent workstations are primarily intended to provide a silent surrounding for Junior Fellows in an advanced or in the final stage of dissertation writing. The main criterion for the selection is therefore the planned submission date according to the IRTP.

Doctoral Regulations of BIGSAS

Doctoral RegulationsHide

The Doctoral Regulations of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS) include important information about being in the doctoral programme at BIGSAS, e.g. admission to BIGSAS, supervision of the Junior Fellows or submission of the dissertation. At the moment there are two valid versions of the doctoral regulations. We provide the doctoral regulations in different languages, however the German text is the legally binding version.

BIGSAS Doctoral Regulations, issued 15 September 2017

BIGSAS Doctoral Regulations, issued 15 February 2021

Supervision Agreement acc. to § 4 of the BIGSAS Doctoral Regulations, issued 15 February 2021

  • Template in English (docx)
  • Template in German (docx)

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