Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS)

Details of Application

Please read the following information carefully prior to starting the application software.

General Advice

The online application process can be interrupted. You do not need to complete the application form at once, but much rather have the option to log in several times. The application software is configured to save your data as you enter it. In case the field is required, a check-mark will appear once the input has been saved. Additional documents can be uploaded as either PDF or JPEG files. Should you have several documents for one category, please merge them into one file (3 MB max.). Please note that the uploaded file will appear in your user profile only after you reloaded the page by clicking the reload button in your browser.


Applicants are required to submit proof of their English proficiency. C1-level English language skills or equivalent (IELTS: 7; TOEFL: 90) are required. For TOEFL, IELTS, CAE a copy of the personal score report must be attached or sent directly to the BGSS by the examination office. Scores must have been officially reported and accomplished within the last two years. Successful completion of a C1-level English course within the last two years will suffice, if proof (e.g. a certificate) is included.
English native speakers, applicants who obtained their High School Diploma (e.g. passed their A-levels), or studied for at least one academic year at an English speaking higher-educational institution, are exempt from this requirement, if they include sufficient proof.
German proficiency is not an entrance requirement. However, doctoral candidates are encouraged to study German.


Please include educational institutions and programs relevant to your application for the Doctoral Program, beginning with the most recent. Digital copies of transcripts and certificates must be uploaded. If transcripts are not finalized, please submit an up to date preliminary transcript (incl. your GPA) and send the final transcript as soon as it is available. If the transcripts are issued in a language other than English or German, please provide a translation. Please provide a translation of the grading system as well. You will be asked to hand in certified copies of your documents, should you be invited for an interview.

Statement of Purpose (500 words maximum)

The statement of purpose, written in English, is an integral part of the application. It should explain why the applicant deems our doctoral program appropriate for his or her particular background and career goals, and should provide detail on the applicant’s research foci. It should be clear, concise, and competently presented as regards style and format.

Curriculum Vitae

The C.V. is to include information on the applicant’s educational and professional experience, language skills and extracurricular interests.

Exposé of Doctoral Project (5-10 pages)

At this early stage, applicants are not expected to have a definitive version of his or her dissertation plan. Nevertheless, the exposé, written in English, should be clearly structured with a precise and elaborate research question. Please include the following elements:
• Summary
• Research questions, hypothesis and objectives
• State of research (presenting theoretical and empirical debates on the chosen topic as well as deficiencies in the literature that the research project will address)
• Methodological approach
• Bibliography (list of the most relevant references)
• Work plan (maximum one page time schedule for the project)


All applications to BGSS International Doctoral Program must be submitted electronically through this website. You can register and submit your application on an ongoing basis. Please do not upload PDF documents with write protection, they cause problems in the database!

Our office will only be able to process and consider your application if you submit it by clicking on the “Submit Application” button after completing your application.

For questions please contact bgss (at)