FAQ - BGTS Application

  • Certificates and transcripts of your bachelor’s and master’s degree qualifying you for PhD studies in political science, international relations, sociology, economics, law, or related disciplines
  • Proof of C1-level English language skills or the equivalent (see specification here)
  • An up-to-date CV
  • A short letter of motivation (600 words maximum)
  • A research proposal (5,000 words maximum) with a timetable for your project
  • Two letters of reference from professors at universities or research institutions

As we cannot give any feedback on application materials before they have been submitted, we encourage everyone to apply. Please consult the profiles of our faculty members to see whether your research topic suits the research interests of the BGTS faculty members.

No. Letters of recommendation are an important part of your application documents. Without them, your application will be considered incomplete. The same applies if you are not able to obtain letters of recommendation by the end of the deadline for whatever reason.

Please make sure to provide a valid E-Mail address for each of your refrees.

After you have submitted your application, your referees will receive an automated E-Mail with a link which they can use to upload their letters of reference for you.

No. Given the high number of applicants we receive each year, it is not possible to receive any feedback on research proposals, other application documents or the quality of previously submitted applications or materials that are planned to be submitted. Therefore, please refrain from contacting faculty members to seek any feedback.

Applications for the academic year starting in September begin in December of the previous year. Candidates should use our online portal to submit their supporting documents.

No. The selection committee will start the revision process once all applications have been submitted after the end of the deadline.

If you have applied to the BGTS previously and wish to do so again, please use a different E-Mail address to create a new account on our application platform.

All documents must be submitted in English, except master’s degree diplomas and reference letters, which may be submitted in German.

Please try to decrease the size of your application files. You can save the file at a lower quality or use compression software/ websites. Please refrain from sending your documents to us as we can’t upload them for you. Uploading is possible in JPEG, PDF, DOC, or RTF formats with a maximum size of 2 MB per file and 20 MB total.

If your previous studies added up to less than 300 ECTS, for example, if you have done a master’s with 90 ECTS instead of 120 ECTS, we will check the eligibility for you after you have applied.

If you haven’t completed your master’s degree at the time of application, you may still apply, but you must provide official documentation (e.g. academic transcript and official diploma) of your successful completion of a master’s degree before enrolling in the PhD programme.If your official diploma is not ready at the time your application, you are required to send some proof of your academic performance (e.g. a current transcript) instead. Then, please send us a letter from your university as soon as you have completed your master’s degree, confirming the completion of your studies. This letter will allow you to provisionally enroll at the BGTS while awaiting your official degree diploma.

Please read the “How to write your research proposal” section in the application tab.

No. The courses offered at the BGTS are only open to PhD students of the program.

Yes, please submit test results for IELTS or TOEFL. The BGTS does not accept work experience as proof of English proficiency. Only those whose Master’s studies were conducted entirely in English do not have to submit test results.

The expected level of English proficiency is C1 (or better) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which translates into other tests as follows (scores indicated are minimums):

  •    IELTS: 8.0
  •    TOEFL PBT: 603/677
  •    TOEFL CBT: 263/300
  •    TOEFL IBT: 110/120
  •    TOEIC: 785

Yes, the BGTS offers a limited number of scholarships to applicants with an outstanding academic background. Candidates wishing to be considered for a scholarship should state so in their letters of motivation.

No. The program at the BGTS is offered on a full-time basis, leaving no time for additional work on any basis. Candidates must apply for scholarships to secure funding for their time of study.

If you want to make changes to your application (i.e. upload a more recent version of your research proposal), you can still do so if you have not submitted your application yet.


Please make sure that your documents are complete and your information is correct before you make a final submission of your application!

When creating a new account to apply to BGTS, in the field asking for qaffiliation, you may choose "Freie Universität Berlin".

The affiliation refers to the institution you are applying to for a PhD, not your current or former institution of study. If you are still unsure, you may also chose "other" at the end of the drop-down list.

In order to find out if your research question is a thematic fit for SCRIPTS, you should familiarize yourself with the research interests of the BGTS core faculty members. You can chose potential supervisors from the list here.

Please note that professors who are not members of the BGTS faculty cannot be chosen as potential supervisors.

Please do not contact potential supervisors before you submit your application! You may identify your supervisors of choice in your written application. The final decision will be taken by the selection committee.