Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences Regular Membership - Starter Scholarships, Germany

Publish Date: Dec 22, 2015

Deadline: Mar 31, 2016

Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences Regular Membership - Starter Scholarships

What is a starter scholarship?

  • The Starter Scholarship is awarded for a one year period only, during which the recipients are expected to develop an excellent research proposal that will be used to apply for further funding, e.g. for scholarships from the many German sponsorship organisations or the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
  • The starter scholarship amounts to 1,468 EUR per month.
  • The scholarship holders will receive a great amount of support throughout their Starter Scholarship to help them identify further funding opportunities. This support will be in the form of workshops, mentoring, advisory services and access to a rich research community.
  • In addition, scholarship holders are provided with office space, necessary equipment and funds for conference travel.
  • Once having secured further funding for the next 2-3 years, candidates remain regular members of BAGSS and continue working in Bamberg under the supervision of their initial professors.

Who is eligible for a starter scholarship?

BAGSS welcomes applications from the following:

  • Highly qualified graduates in the fields of Sociology, Psychology, Education, Political Science, Labour and Educational Economics and Demography. Qualified graduates of related subjects with a strong Social Science background are also encouraged to apply.
  • Candidates holding a Master's degree (or equivalent) in one of the aforementioned subjects or be very close to completion. (The degree must be completed by the time of admission to BAGSS. The next admission date is April 1, 2016).
  • Candidates with an excellent command of English. If English is not your native tongue, you will need to provide proof of English language proficiency.
  • Candidates whose proposed doctoral research topic fits thematically with at least one of the four academic pillars of BAGSS.

BAGSS is firmly committed to the goal of diversity and equal opportunities. We emphatically encourage applications from all backgrounds. The University of Bamberg is a certified family-friendly University which offers comprehensive advice on reconciling family and work life.

What candidates and projects are we looking for?

The selection procedure for the starter scholarships - and therefore an admission to BAGSS - is a highly competitive process with appropriate consideration for diversity and equal opportunities. The two main criteria are the candidate's proven record of academic excellence on the one hand, and BAGSS' ability to ensure competent, research-led supervision on the other.
We are interested in projects that fit with at least one of our School's four Pillars. Proposals cutting across two (or more) Pillars are equally welcomed. We also take into account proposals that do not tally exactly with the Pillar profiles, but are very closely related. An overview of the topics that can be supervised by our faculty can be found  here.

Selection criteria

Criteria applied in the selection procedure for the regular membership at BAGSS, i.e. for admission to BAGSS, project supervision and the award of scholarships is as follows:

  • A complete, formally correct application has been submitted by the advertised deadline and in the required fashion.
  • The statutory criteria for admission to doctoral studies at Bavarian universities are met.
  • The research topic for the doctoral thesis, as proposed in the application, matches the academic profile of BAGSS (the Four Pillars).
  • At least one faculty member of BAGSS, who is qualified to examine the doctoral theses, agrees to supervise the suggested thesis topic.
  • The complete application has been judged as excellent by a panel of academic assessors from the Graduate School in competition with other applications.


Should one of the above-mentioned criteria not be met due to a disability eligible under the provision of the relevant German legislation (the IX. Sozialgesetzbuch), candidates may apply to have their special circumstances considered.
Should you require advice on the statutory rules, please contact miriam.schneider(at) In your email please include the reference – ‘Statutory rules – disabilities’ or ‘Statutory Criteria – Admission to doctoral studies’ (bullet point #2 above) in the subject line.

When to apply

Applications for the scholarship year April 2016 - March 2017 are accepted from September 1, 2015, until October 31, 2015.

Applications from candidates who have secured their own funding (e.g. scholarship from external institution) are accepted throughout the whole year.

What application materials are required?

In order to be considered for a starter scholarship, or for the regular membership having secured your own funding, your application must include the following documents:

  1. A cover letter of not more than 1½ pages (Arial, size 11, 1.5 line spacing). Please use this letter also to briefly indicate which BAGSS Pillar(s) suit(s) your research interest best and name at least one BAGSS faculty member who could serve as a supervisor for your project. If you already have been granted funding for your doctoral studies from another institution and, thus, do not need financial support from BAGSS, please note this in your letter as well.
  2. Your CV (including full contact information).
  3. At least one, but not more than two short proposals for projects which you would like to work on as your doctoral thesis. Each proposal should be described separately, on at most 5 pages (Arial, size 11, 1.5 line spacing). Please note: The proposal is supposed to provide a preliminary sketch of your doctoral research only. It may be revised substantially during your first semester at BAGSS. At the same time, the proposal gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your potential for developing and carrying out an innovative project.  
  4. A scan of all your university academic degree certificate(s) and university grade transcripts. Please provide an English translation if these documents have not been issued in English or German. 
  5. A concise statement on your knowledge of social science research methods. This short, self-written description (not more than a half page, Arial, size 11, 1.5 line spacing) should contain information on your methodological training or practical experience in applying methods.
  6. In our online application from, you will be asked to name two referees, whom BAGSS could contact for a reference regarding your academic performance. You are required to ask the possible referees for their agreement before naming them in the application form and submitting their contact details (mail address and phone number).
  7. Only for applicants funded by an external institution: evidence that funding has been granted.

Please do not attach any documents other than those requested, otherwise your application will not be accepted.

All application materials must be submitted in English (except for certificates, transcripts, and letters of recommendation which may also be provided in German).

Shortlisted candidates will be asked to provide us with the original or certified copies of their CV, certificates/transcripts and, in case you are not a native speaker, documentation of English proficiency. English proficiency can be documented through

  • one of the following English tests: UNIcert III (pass), CAE (pass), TOEFL (minimum score of 95), IELTS (minimum band score of 7) – please attach a copy of the official test results;
  • or an academic degree completed entirely in English, i.e. with a final thesis written in English. If your degree certificate and transcripts are not clear in that regard, please provide a confirmation letter of English proficiency from the degree-granting institution.

How to submit your application

If you wish to apply for a starter scholarship:
All documents, except for the letters of recommendation, need to be submitted as a single PDF (max. 30 MB).

In this single PDF file, you must arrange your documents in the following order:
1.    Cover Letter
2.    CV
3.    Research Proposal(s)
4.    Academic degree certificates and university grade transcripts
5.    Statement of knowledge of research methods

Applications that are not submitted in this order will not be accepted.

Free software for creating PDFs and merging them into a single document is available  here.
Please use your surname to name your application file (SURNAME.pdf; make sure to avoid special characters).

Please submit the completed file here. In case of technical problems, please contact us.

If you wish to apply for the regular membership while having secured own funding:
Please create a PDF file as described above, but also attach proof of funding as the last document. Please submit your application file via mail to the address: admissions.bagss(at)

What happens after I submitted my application?

  • We will send you a notification of receipt shortly after you submitted your application.

  • The BAGSS Executive Committee will review all applications that meet the formal requirements. The first review should have taken place by early December 2015.

  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited to take part in an interview. Interviews are scheduled to take place in Bamberg in December 2015. In exceptional cases, a video conference may suffice. All candidates will be informed about the final decision before the end of the year 2015.

  • The summer term 2016 will start on April 1, 2016.

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