International Programmes 2022/2023

Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS) Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies

University of Bayreuth • Bayreuth

Dr phil and Dr rer nat
In cooperation with

Teaching language
  • English
  • French

Courses are held in English (90%) and French (10%).

Full-time / part-time
  • part-time (study alongside work)
Programme duration
7 semesters
Only for doctoral programmes: any time
Additional information on beginning, duration and mode of study

The doctoral programme can be started throughout the year in consultation with the supervisor and must be completed within three to four years.

BIGSAS has a structured doctoral programme with disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses as well as colloquia and other academic events, which means our graduate school subsists on the participation and contributions of members and junior fellows. Therefore, we expect that all doctoral candidates are present in Bayreuth except for special occasions such as semester breaks, field research or the attendance of conferences.

Application deadline


Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

BIGSAS is part of the Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 – "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies" – at the University of Bayreuth, and it brings together excellent junior scholars in a structured and innovative doctoral programme in the field of African Studies. Through the close collaboration with six partner universities in different regions of the African continent, it strengthens African and European academic networks. The doctoral training is based on research in a vital interdisciplinary environment with group mentorships, individual research training plans, specialist training (focusing on academic as well as transferable skills), early integration into the international academic community, and individual career planning.

Within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence "Africa Multiple", four independent Junior Research Groups (JRG) have been established. These consist of one postdoctoral scholar, as group leader, and two doctoral students, recruited and supervised by the postdoctoral group leader who work on a joint project for a four-year funding period.

Course organisation

Carrying out and successfully completing a doctorate within three to four years including field research is undoubtedly 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 theses 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 highly enriched by and based on the cultural diversity to be 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 working groups and additional courses allows them to discuss and to develop their research topics and to gain further academic skills.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Integrated study abroad unit(s)
  • Specialist literature in other languages
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
  • International comparisons and thematic reference to the international context
  • Content-related regional focus
Integrated study abroad unit(s)

The doctoral studies at BIGSAS include periods of field work abroad, conference participation, and summer school participation.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

In Germany, students at all higher education institutions pay a semester contribution. This payment (University of Bayreuth: 116.03 EUR per semester) has nothing to do with tuition fees; rather, it covers your contributions to student services and the student government. At the University of Bayreuth (which combines the campus in Bayreuth and our Faculty VII located in Kulmbach), it includes a "semester ticket" that allows you to use public transport in the region.

Costs of living

The cost of living in Germany, e.g. accommodation, food, clothing and recreational activities, is about average compared to other European countries. Living expenses are significantly lower than in countries like Denmark, Luxembourg or Switzerland, but they are rather high compared to countries like Poland, the Czech Republic or Italy. Compared to other large German cities, such as Munich, Berlin or Hamburg, Bayreuth's low cost of living and affordable housing make the city and the region particularly attractive to young people and families. The DAAD website will tell you what living expenses to expect in Germany:

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

Scholarships for international students: International students and doctoral researchers have the opportunity to apply to the International Office for a study grant. Limited funding from the State of Bavaria and the DAAD is available for this purpose. The application deadline for the winter semester is 31 August and for the summer semester 28 February. All grants can be awarded for up to two semesters.

Unfortunately, first-semester students cannot be funded, i.e. applications cannot be submitted until the second semester of study for funding starting in the third semester of study. Above all, academic achievements from the previous semester are decisive for the evaluation of the application.

Academic admission requirements

BIGSAS invites applications from candidates whose dissertation projects fit into the field of African Studies. Applicants must have a Master's or an equivalent degree in one of disciplines represented at the graduate school with a very good result. Applications may be sent in English, German, or French. The working language of BIGSAS is English.

Language requirements

Applicants need to have excellent skills in English.

Application deadline


Submit application to

Possibility of finding part-time employment

There are many ways for international students to earn money while they study, but there are some restrictions. For more detailed information, please visit the DAAD website.

The University of Bayreuth’s Career Services team provides a central interface between student and professional life. The team offers guidance and support to students of all subjects with regard to starting their careers.

For information regarding the Corona virus, please visit our website and also see


Accommodation for students
Bayreuth and Kulmbach have a number of student dormitories (both private dormitories and dormitories offered by the Association for Student Affairs) and a vast array of private rooms available. Under no circumstances should you assume that you will be assigned a room in the student dormitories! You will need to actively search for a room on your own – either in a private dormitory or on the private market.

More information regarding accommodation for students is available here: Please also read the DAAD’s information.

Accommodation for international guests
All other international guests are requested to register via the Welcome Services Database (WelSe).

Accommodation for short visits
For short visits, we recommend searching for accommodation on Airbnb. In addition, a limited number of apartments are available in the Alexander von Humboldt Guest House.

Structured research and supervision
Research training / discussion
Career advisory service

Career advisory services are provided by other university departments.

Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Accompanying programme
  • Visa matters
  • Pick-up service
General services and support for international students and doctoral candidates

Administrative support, IT support via the IT Service Centre of the university, gender and diversity programme, individual coaching

Supervisor-student ratio

University of Bayreuth

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The University of Bayreuth is one of the most successful young universities in Germany. © University of Bayreuth

International, innovative, and interdisciplinary in research and teaching

Top-notch research, state-of-the-art teaching methods, international influences, diversity, and a springboard to a successful career – these are all things the University of Bayreuth stands for.

The University of Bayreuth is a dynamic campus university with currently about 13,000 students. Beyond the interdisciplinary research focus and excellence in teaching, the university has a clear vision of social responsibility and entrepreneurship. In the middle of Kulmbach, our new satellite campus unites the perspectives of natural science, economics, law, social sciences, and behavioural science in one place in a way that has not yet been seen in Germany.

We have a close network of strategically selected, international research partners, and we have strategic partnerships with universities around the globe. A wide range of innovative BA, MA and PhD programmes as well as our international summer schools are conducted in English. There are presently around 1,770 international students from more than 100 countries on the Bayreuth and Kulmbach campuses. Focus areas in research include Nonlinear Dynamics, Polymer and Colloid Science, Molecular Biosciences, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, New Materials, African Studies, High Pressure and High Temperature Research, Cultural Encounters and Transcultural Processes, Innovation and Consumer Protection, Food and Health Sciences, Energy Research and Energy Technology, Governance and Responsibility.

Our university has an outstanding staff-to-student ratio. Our high performance levels, multidisciplinary collaborations and scientific excellence result in high ranking positions. In the 2021 THE ranking of “475 under 50”, the University of Bayreuth once again achieved a top position among the best universities in Germany. We have proven expertise in campus and curriculum internationalisation, which is confirmed by the results of the extended internationalisation audit conducted by the German Rectors’ Conference, a close and successful project cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a number of Alexander von Humboldt Awards for our international management and service.

Welcome to our one-of-a-kind campus in Bavaria!
It is both the heart of our university and a source of inspiration. It is where friendships are made, collaboration is initiated, and ideas are conceived, ensuring that our university remains a beacon of innovation. Scientific exchange profits tremendously from the wide variety of disciplines our communicative campus brings together.

Be sure that there is a comprehensive and high-quality range of courses in all degree programmes that will enable students to successfully begin and continue their studies – on campus or online.

75 Current number of doctoral students
171 Current number of alumni

University location

Welcome to Bavaria!
Seventy-six thousand people from 145 nations chose the city of Bayreuth as their new home, and those numbers are steadily rising. Because of its 13,000 students, Bayreuth is the third-youngest city in Germany. Living here means not getting stuck in traffic jams every morning. The short distances in Bayreuth allow you to leave your car at home and to walk or ride your bike to work and to campus.

Career & Networking
The Welcome Service at the University of Bayreuth is here to assist you with any questions regarding living and working in the region of Bayreuth. The team of our International Office provides guidance and support for all international students, scholars, and their families before, during and after their stay at the University of Bayreuth. The aim is to ensure a quick, trouble-free and thus successful start as well as an unforgettable stay on our friendly campus in Bayreuth and Kulmbach.

A good climate for your entrepreneurial spirit
The University of Bayreuth takes its role as a regional motor of innovation very seriously. The Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation was set up to help students gain the necessary qualifications in the area of entrepreneurial and innovative thinking and acting. In doing so, we nurture our students’ willingness and ability to start their own companies. Our Adviser for Start-Ups provides start-ups and prospective start-ups with confidential guidance and support. Strong innovation and research institutions combined with high-performance medium-sized companies make for a steady rise in workforce and a guarantee for job security.

Your new home away from home
Bayreuth and Kulmbach offer a fast variety of childcare services as well as affordable living space. Step outside your front door and enjoy the recreational activities. Scenic northern Bavaria is great for sports activities: cycling, hiking, mountain-climbing, canoeing, rafting, and skiing are all excellent ways to enrich your leisure time. However, if you do happen to crave the feel of a bigger city now and then, Nuremberg is only a one-hour train ride away and Munich is only two-and-a-half hours away. You can reach Berlin in four hours by car or bus and Leipzig in half that time.

Have a great start. We look forward to meeting you!