Location : With a student population of 32,500, including around 4,000 international students, the University of Bonn is not only one of the largest institutions in Germany, but also an institution rich with tradition. Proof of its international reputation can be found in its partnerships with the most distinguished universities in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. The city of Bonn can look back upon a history of more than 2,000 years. In its role as a Federal City, Bonn is home to the headquarters of several international organizations.
The Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn, Germany, offers a doctoral studies program which is taught in English. The program is an initiative to provide high qualifications to young scientists with an outstanding master’s or equivalent degree in economics, social sciences, sociology, political science, development economics, agricultural and resource economics, agronomy, biology, ecology, forestry, mathematics or earth sciences.
Course focus :
ZEF and its doctoral program apply an interdisciplinary approach to research when it comes to development issues, but also train skills in specific and individual disciplines. Combining theories, methods, and practical experiences in the areas of social, economic, and ecological change enable students to explore new fields and promote competitiveness in the international job market.
The intensive course program consists of about 800 teaching hours per year. The courses are conducted by ZEF’s senior researchers, guest professors, and professors from other faculties at the University of Bonn. Leading international researchers conduct research and teach in ZEF’s doctoral studies program. These courses include the classical fields of environmental disciplines within natural sciences, as well as the economic, political, and socio-cultural dimensions of development. Students are required to finalize two course modules and pass their exams prior to undertaking their field research.
After completing their 6-9 months of course work at ZEF, doctoral students conduct 6-12 months of practical field research in a developing country or a development-related institution. After returning to ZEF, students complete their thesis, which takes on average of about another year.
Students who finish and defend their thesis successfully will obtain a doctoral degree in sociology, political science, social anthropology, economics, agricultural economics, agriculture, forestry, mathematics or natural science. The degrees are granted by the respective univer- 26 sity faculty, which is usually the faculty of the first supervisor.
Students may pursue their doctoral study under direct supervision by ZEF professors or be associated with ZEF while being supervised elsewhere. Arrangements within the selected German university are made to ensure that each student is accepted by a distinguished advisor and is suitable to their faculty. The majority of doctoral students are supervised by professors of the University of Bonn. The doctoral degree may also be obtained within “sandwich programs” from other qualified universities in Europe or overseas.
The Center for Development Research (ZEF) is a multi-facultative and interdisciplinary institution with three departments:
By pooling the expertise of the three departments, this three-year doctoral program enables students to take advantage of ZEF´s exceptional strength in interdisciplinary development research and cooperation with national and international institutions.
ZEF’s six core research areas take the 17 goals of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Agenda into account. In this regard, the six core research areas ensure a full thematic integration of ZEF’s scientific program and contribute in a sustainable way to the Center’s global research and development objectives: global change, poverty reduction, justice, maintaining diversity, risk management, and development.
The manifold aspects of global change such as continued human population growth, climate change, and geopolitical developments build an overarching frame under which the research agenda has been developed. As such, each of the six core research areas relates to the over sustainable development agenda, while accentuating a specific bundle of topics on which a particular focus is set. All areas are closely interlinked and overlap thematically:
These aspects have major implications for rural development and are used to facilitate sustainable development projects and research. More details are available at www.zef.de.
Entry requirements : Admissions applications involves two steps:
A few important considerations when applying are:
• The language of application must be in English and should include the following documents: a one-page motivation letter, the ZEF application form, an abstract of the master or diploma thesis, funding and/or scholarship application or award, a curriculum vitae, a graduate research statement, and copies of all relevant certificates or degrees. The documents should be compiled into a single PDF file and emailed to the doctoral program’s office. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
• The graduate research statement is one of the most important selection criteria. The statement should describe a development program that you consider interesting, important, and relevant. Include your main research question, the proposed methods that are linked to them, and integrate literature references. The statement should not exceed four pages. The graduate research statement should relate broadly to ZEF’s research areas and thematics, or may also address a topic in another area of development research. The selection committee will assess all research statements on the basis of originality, analytic rigor, and relevance.
• A successful application requires an excellent master’s or equivalent degree (GPA higher than 3.0 in the American system, a grade better than 2.0 in the German system or equivalent) in economics, political science, agricultural and resource economics, engineering, geography, 28 mathematics, natural science or agriculture.
English language requirement: IELTS (Band 6) certificate or TOEFL (minimum score: 550 PBT, 213 CBT, 80 iBT). For DAAD applicants:
• The completed application must include the official DAAD application form.
• Two years of work experience prior to applying are required.
Degree awarded : In consultation with ZEF, the doctoral thesis may be submitted to any cooperating faculty in Germany or abroad (as “sandwich models”). The doctoral degrees may be in social science, economics, agricultural economics, agriculture or natural science. The course begins every year in August (German language course, optional) or October (course program).
Course begins: Course modules start in October, yearly.
Course duration : Although the individual phases of the doctoral study may vary according to discipline and subject, the total duration for writing is fixed. The doctoral thesis must be accomplished within 38 months.
Application deadline: The application deadline for DAAD scholarships for courses starting in the following year is August 31stDossier de candidature