Graduate School BIGSSS

Logo of the BIGSSS

The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences is one of the interdisciplinary graduate schools already funded within the context of the Excellence Initiative. BIGSSS was founded in 2007 together with Jacobs University. It offers an outstanding doctoral program in the area of the social sciences.

Founded upon the core disciplines of political science, sociology and psychology (but also integrating bordering disciplines) and supported by a solid foundation in social-science methodology, BIGSSS offers advanced interdisciplinary training, thus preparing fellows for leading professional positions inside and outside of academia, both nationally and internationally.

BIGSSS' graduate education and research is built around thematic fields which are integrated by the umbrella theme “Changing Patterns of Social and Political Integration“. The umbrella theme is used to achieve the degree of coherence necessary for fruitful cross-fertilization. The three thematic fields are: “Global Governance and Regional Integration“, “Welfare State, Inequality and Quality of Life, and “Changing Lives in Changing Socio-Cultural Contexts“.

Flanked by related research-based Master’s programs at the two participating universities, BIGSSS provides its PhD students with a training that equips them for national and international leadership positions, both within as well as outside academia. To a great extent, the BIGSSS educational concept rests on experiences made with graduate schools at North American research universities. Besides an outstanding program delivered for the most part in English, making it highly attractive for international students, the focus is on providing improved structures to support doctoral studies. Hence, a PhD student at BIGSSS is not supervised by just one person, but by an advisory committee comprising up to three professors, who become involved in the doctoral project from the very outset. Another important element of the program is that PhD students are able to gain valuable teaching experience. In addition to all this, BIGSSS has a comprehensive offer of extra-curricular courses such as seminars for training didactic skills, special courses on methodology, soft-skills and career path counseling.