ZEF Doctoral Studies Program

The ZEF Doctoral Studies Program is designed to give particular consideration to the academic needs of students from developing countries. ZEF provides intense study counseling and academic support services by tutors and mentors. Guided by ZEF, and following consultations with a potential thesis supervisor identified by ZEF, the doctoral thesis is submitted to a cooperating faculty in Germany or abroad.

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DURATION:
38 months

Universität Bonn

Location With a student population of 29,200, including 3,700 international students, the University of Bonn is not only one of the largest in Germany but also an institution rich in tradition. Proof of its international reputation is to 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 new role as Federal City, Bonn has become headquarters for a large number of international institutions.

The Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn, Germany, offers a Doctoral Studies Program in English. The Program is an initiative to provide a high-qualification to young scientists 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.

Course focus The ZEF Doctoral Studies Program is designed to give particular consideration to the academic needs of students from developing countries. ZEF provides intense study counseling and academic support services by tutors and mentors. Guided by ZEF, and following consultations with a potential thesis supervisor identified by ZEF, the doctoral thesis is submitted to a cooperating faculty in Germany or abroad. The doctoral degrees may be in Social or Political Science, Economics, Agricultural Economics, Agriculture or Natural Science.

In general, the Doctoral Program has a clearly defined length of 38 months. Although the program is exclusively in English, it starts with an intense German language course (duration 2 months) to facilitate living in Germany. After an initial phase of 6 to 12 months for preparation with a tightly organized course program, the doctoral candidates conduct their research at their specific locations abroad, usually in their home country, in an environment with qualified advisors and supervisors. After their empirical research (normally one to two years), the candidates return to ZEF for the writeup of their thesis. Although the individual phases of the doctoral study may vary according to discipline and subject, the complete duration is fixed. The doctoral thesis must be accomplished within 38 months.

The limited number of participants (max. 35 students) in the courses allows for intensive interaction. The students learn to work in teams and to identify and analyze problems of development and elaborate possible solutions.

The Center for Development Research (ZEF) is a multi-facultative and interdisciplinary institution with three departments:

  1. Political and Cultural Change, Director: Prof. Dr. Solvay Gerke
  2. Economic and Technological Change, Director: Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun
  3. Ecology and Resource Management, Director: Prof. Dr. Paul L.G. Vlek

By pooling the expertise of the three departments, this three-year Doctoral Program enables the students to take advantage of ZEF´s exceptional strength in interdisciplinary development research and cooperation with national and international institutions.

The doctoral research areas: The research plan to be submitted by candidates should be formulated in reference to the core research themes of ZEF and its constituent departments (see below). In exceptional cases, ZEF may also consider proposed projects for a doctoral degree that lie outside these themes.

ZEF‘s cross-cutting research areas are: Governance, Water resources, Land use and food security; Renewable energy; Environmental and climate change; Mobility and migration. The research areas of the three departments are (1) Science policy and knowledge; Institutions; Social and cultural change and adaption; (2) Growth, inequality and poverty; Global development and trade; Economic change and vulnerability; (3) Ecosystem services; Sustainable use of biological resources; Biodiversity. More details are available at www.zef.de

Target group The targeted group of participants are students around the world with outstanding Master (first or upper second class honors) or equivalent degrees acquired in their home countries or from elsewhere; young scientists from universities or already employed in national or international research institutions, government, or the private sector with an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving.

Since its inception in 1999, 5472 PhD students from 84 countries have participated in the ZEF Doctoral Studies Program, and 246 of them have completed their doctoral theses at ZEF, 97 of them external doctoral students. Currently 136 students are enrolled in the program.

Course language English
Entry requirements
  • A successful application requires an excellent Master or equivalent degree (GPA higher than 3.0 in the American system, grade better than 2.0 in the German system or equivalent) in Economics, Political Science, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Engineering, Geography, Mathematics, Natural Science or Agriculture.
  • Prior to sending the application documents and filling out the application form, each applicant must register online at www.zef.de. During online registration you will be asked to enter your personal data and information. After successful submission of your online registration, you will receive a confirmation by e-mail. This e-mail message contains your registration number and all necessary information required for your application. Please note that your online registration helps accelerate the selection and admission procedure, it is NOT a substitute for the required documents to be sent by air or surface mail to the program coordinator’s office.
  • The application has to be written in English and must include: in addition to the official DAAD application form, a particular course application form available at www.zef.de, a letter of application (one page), an abstract of the Master or Diploma thesis in English, as well as information on any previous study or research work considered to be significant for the application, a draft doctoral research proposal (about 10 pages) fitting to the core doctoral research themes of ZEF, its major research projects and its corresponding departments (see at http://www.zef.de/researchareas.html, letters of recommendation and completed reference forms from two professors or supervisors,
  • a curriculum vitae and copies of all relevant certificates of degrees obtained). Incomplete applications are not considered.

DAAD applicants

  • The complete application including the official DAAD application form must be sent to ZEF. Certified proficiency in English – TOEFL (minimum 550 points or internet-based test: 80 points) or IELTS (Band 6.0) – certificate
  • Two years of work experience prior to the application are required
  • Age limit: 32 years for resident scholarships and for the sandwich scholarships
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. 2 months (German language course starts on 1 August, yearly.)
Course Duration In general, the Doctoral Program has a clearly defined length. After an initial phase of six to twelve months for preparation with a tightly organized course program, the doctoral candidates conduct their research at their specific location abroad, in an environment with quality advisors and supervisors. After their empirical research (normally one to two years), the candidates return to ZEF for the write-up of their thesis. Although the individual phases of the doctoral thesis might vary according to discipline and subject, the complete duration is fixed. The doctoral thesis must be accomplished within 38 months (including the German language course).
Duration of German language course prior to beginning of programme Although the program is exclusively in English, it starts with a German language course (duration two months) to facilitate living in Germany.
Remarks
  • The ZEF Doctoral Studies Program is designed to give particular consideration to the academic needs of students from developing countries. ZEF provides intense study counseling and academic support services by tutors and mentors.
  • The limited number of participants (30 to 35 students) in the courses allows for intensive interaction. The students learn to work in teams and to identify and analyze problems of development and elaborate possible solutions.
  • Appropriate financial support for the research agreed upon will be made available from donors and ZEF resources.

Center for Development Research (ZEF)

ZEF Doctoral Studies Program
Dr. Günther Manske
Walter-Flex-Str. 3
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 (0)228 / 73-1794
Fax: +49 (0)228 / 73-1889