University of Bonn ZEF’s Doctoral Studies Programe, Germany

Publish Date: Apr 09, 2016

Deadline: Aug 31, 2016

University of Bonn ZEF’s Doctoral Studies Programe

ZEF's doctoral studies program aims at attracting young scientists from all over the world with an outstanding master’s or equivalent degree in economics, social sciences, sociology, political science, economics, development economics, agricultural and resource economics, agronomy, biology, ecology, forestry, mathematics or earth sciences. Candidates preferably have work experience in national or international research institutions, governments, or the private sector. Interest in interdisciplinary research is a prerequisite.

What are the main selection criteria?

- Academic qualification: an excellent master or equivalent degree: G.P.A. higher than 3.0 in the American system, or a grade higher than 2.0 in the German system or equivalent.

-  Innovative research ideas: Your application must contain a Graduate Research Statement. The statement should describe a development problem you consider interesting and important; include your main research questions and the proposed methods linked to them; and have literature references. The statement should have a maximum of 4 pages. Your Graduate Research Statement may relate to ZEF's research areas in a broad sense of may address a topic in another development research area. The selection committee will assess all research statements on the basis of orgininality, analytical rigor, and relevance.

- ZEF's doctoral program is conducted in English. We therefore require the following English language skills: IELTS (band 6) certificate or TOEFL (minimum score: 550 paper based, 213 computer-based, 80 internet-based). Students can attend a two-month German language course prior to the study program.

- There is no age limit for applying to the doctoral program at ZEF. However, your last academic degree should be obtained less than six years ago.

How do I apply?

Applying to the ZEF Doctoral Studies Program involves two steps:

Step 1: Online registration: First of all you have to register online (click here). During the online registration you will be asked to enter your personal data and information. After you have completed your online registration you will receive a confirmation per e-mail, containing  your personal registration number and all further necessary information for your application. Please use this number in any communication with us.

Step 2: Application for admission: Please note that your online registration helps to accelerate the selection and admission procedure, it is NOT a substitute for the required documents to be sent by e mail to the program's office. (docp.zef(at) Please follow the instructions (link).

A prerequisite for applying for a DAAD scholarship is having at least two years of relevant professional experience.

Special prerequisites and requirements for DAAD scholarship applications from Nigeria, Cameroon, and China:

Applications from Nigeria, Cameroon, and China, must be submitted via the German Embassy, where the academic certificates have to be verified. Please follow the links to find the German Embassies .

-          Nigeria: German Embassy in Abuja, Consulate General in Lagos

-          Cameroon: German Embassy in Yaoundé

-          China: Academic Evaluation Centre of the German Embassy in Beijing

When is the annual application deadline?

You may submit your complete application documents at any time, particularly
if you already have a scholarship or if you want to apply for a scholarship
not provided by DAAD. DAAD and other funders have their own deadlines,
so don't forget to inform yourself accordingly!

ZEF's Doctoral Studies Program starts on October 1, annually.

Please note that we do not accept anymore applications for DAAD scholarships for the intake 2016. The deadline has ended on August 31, 2015.

In Febuary 2016, we accept applications for DAAD scholarships for the intake in October 2017. The deadline is August 31, 2016.

Where do I apply?

Please register online at before sending your application in a digital form to:


Follow the instructions "How to prepare your application?"

Contact and more information

Please contact the doctoral program management team in case you have any questions not answered on this page:

Dr. Günther Manske (academic coordinator) and Maike Retat-Amin (assistance),
Email: docp.zef(at)

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