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FAQ

First steps before and after your arrival in Bonn

The Welcome Center of University of Bonn offers information on the first steps to take before and after your arrival in Bonn (here we only list issues that apply to everyone coming from abroad):

  • Before your arrival: important formalities, visa and entry, accommodation, important documents, funding, how to get to Bonn

  • After your arrival: Registration with the local Residents' Registration Office, residence title, health insurance, bank account, emergency and health, public transport etc.

The International Office of Bonn University offers information and events for international PhD students:

 

Enrollment as a PhD student


Acceptance at BIGS-OAS does not include your official enrollment as a PhD candidate at the University of Bonn. This process needs to be done separately at the registrar’s office of the Faculty of Humanities and then at the registrar’s office of the university.

  • Approval of your foreign MA certificate: before you can enroll as a PhD candidate you have to send your scanned MA degree (if not in English or German, please add a translation stamped by an official translator and certified) as well as a letter of request. The letter of request, addressed to the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities (Prof. Dr. Andreas Bartels), must indicate that you would like to pursue your PhD at the University of Bonn, Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies/Department XYZ, with Prof. Dr. XYZ. With this letter, you should also ask for approval of your previous university degrees.

  • Please send the letter of request, as well as your scanned documents, to Ms. Piel ([Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]). Her officewill send your documents to the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany, and once your degree(s) is approved by this institution you can enroll officially.

  • Enrollment at the faculty: please hand in the application for admission, the supervision agreement between you and your first supervisor, original (or copy) of your MA degree.

  • Enrollment at the university: After you obtained the admission at the Faculty of Humanities you can go to the students’ registrar’s office in order to enroll.

 

Enrolment at the University of Bonn as an international PhD student

The acceptance at BIGS-OAS does not include your official enrolment as a PhD candidate at the University of Bonn. This process needs to be done separately at the office of the Faculty of Humanities and then at the registrar’s office of the university. 

1st step: Approval of your foreign MA certificate, Enrolment at the Faculty of Humanities

Before you can enrol as a PhD candidate you have to send your scanned MA degree (if not in English or German, please add a translation stamped by an official translator and certified) as well as a letter of request.

The letter of request, addressed at the dean of the Faculty of Humanities (Prof. Dr. Andreas Bartels), must contain that you would like to do your PhD at the University of Bonn, Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies/Department XYZ, with Prof. Dr. XYZ. With this writing you further would like to ask for approval of your MA certificate.

Please send the letter of request as well as your scanned documents to Ms. Piel ([Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]). Her office will send your documents to the Central Office for Foreign Education of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Please send also the following documents to Ms. Piel:

 

2nd step: Enrolment at the registrar’s office of the University of Bonn

You may need the following documents for the enrolment at the registrar's office of the University of Bonn 

If you have any questions or need help regarding the enrolment, do not hesitate to contact our coordinator Mona Jahangiri (bigsoas[at]uni-bonn.de)
 

Funding opportunities

Funding Institutions in Germany


Useful websites

 

 

FAQs about BIGS-OAS answered by BIGS-OAS students

What is the BIGS-OAS? Who are we?

  • The Bonn International Graduate School - Oriental and Asian Studies (BIGS-OAS) was established in order to support students during their time as a PhD candidate. It is by NO means a continuation of any already completed studies and NOT comparable to any BA or MA program.

  • The BIGS-OAS as a graduate school cannot offer any general funding. However, two scholarships (800€/month each) are tendered each year.

  • The BIGS-OAS, especially in the person of the peer group leader, offers support in acquiring adequate funding. To ensure the funding of each BIGS-OAS student is the anticipated objective of the first year.

  • The BIGS-OAS offers advice and support, but it does not regulate.

  • The seminars offered by the BIGS-OAS impart methodical expertise that goes beyond each students’ own field of interest.

  • The BIGS-OAS is intercultural and interdisciplinary:

--> The application of theoretical concepts and methods of the humanities and social sciences constitutes the framework of our research.

--> Topics include the study of the social order, history and culture of the societies of Asia and reflections on the European position concerning other (Asian) areas of the world as well as research on the challenges and impact of processes of globalization.


What are the advantages of the BIGS-OAS as a graduate school compared to individual doctoral studies

  • Content-related exchange and private interconnectedness  regular, informal gatherings take place after every seminar on a Friday.

  • Mutual support

  • Working together as a group representing research interests that are very different from each other allows for new insights.

  • International PhD candidates are offered mentoring in an “International Peer Group“.

  • There are many possibilities to practice the presentation of the results of your research, be it on the Dies Academicus , as a lecture or within the scope of other academic events.

  • There are various people you can address concerning different topics:

--> An important person is the BIGS-OAS coordinator - He or she will help you with all kinds of problems during your doctoral studies.

--> Other important contacts are the head of year and the spokesperson of your class

--> Counseling concerning the compatibility of doctoral studies and children can also be arranged (PhD candidates with children will talk about their experiences)


What does the BIGS-OAS expect from its students?

  • Language skills, as far as they are relevant for the research.

  • Regular feedback on the progress of their work, concerning the doctorate supervisors as well as the head of year.

  • Preparation for all seminars. The expenditure of time can vary, depending on the seminar. Especially for PhD candidates who finance themselves by working in a non-university environment this requires additional time, and students might have to take some days of vacation in order to participate.

  • Active participation during the seminars and their preparation. This is the only way that there can be a successful exchange of ideas and approaches. The BIGS-OAS allows for many new insights, which can only be possible if the seminars are well prepared by the students. This preparation often consists of working on several texts and giving a short presentation. The seminars themselves are usually being held on the weekend (Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday) and in general take the whole day.

  • Personal involvement beyond the scope of “compulsory events” and the willingness to share knowledge and personal experiences with other BIGS-OAS students (concerning funding possibilities etc.)

  • Self-initiative concerning questions - Please be sure to also approach other PhD candidates if you have any questions or concerns!

  • Giving scientific presentations intended for a non-academic audience. Presenting your topic at the Dies Academicus is mandatory.

 

Support during your doctorate phase – Who will help you with which concerns?

Before applying at the BIGS-OAS, PhD candidates should contact their chosen doctorate supervisor. Both parties are thus able to get an idea of the respective other and of how they can work together.

The supervisor, be it the head of year or the doctorate supervisor, should always give students the possibility to talk to them about their thesis and emerging problems. You are encouraged to ask for an appointment or a quick conversation!

You are responsible for writing your thesis. There is no general schedule, every PhD student has to work individually. The “BIGS-model” can serve as a guideline, but you should adapt it to your own special case.

Children are always welcome during meetings, seminars etc!

The BIGS-OAS highly encourages the exchange of knowledge among PhD candidates from all classes!

  • BIGS-OAS peer group leader and class

--> Give additional feedback concerning the exposé and the DIES
--> The peer group leader and your class do not replace the individual supervision and support that should be offered by the doctorate supervisor.
--> Promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge within the class
--> Inform students about general possibilities of external funding
--> Share informal knowledge
--> Mediate in situations of conflict
--> Give realistic insights into the general circumstances (funding etc.)
--> Making sure to communicate that there is no general schedule which guarantees completion of a thesis
--> Motivate the students

  • International BIGS-OAS group

--> Provides assistance to get you started in Bonn
--> Helps to find the right contacts when you need information
--> Helps to understand the German educational system at university level and the specific characteristics of scientific work here
--> Please communicate any problems and questions you might have, so that those responsible at BIGS-OAS can help you!

  • Doctorate supervisors

--> Inform each PhD candidate about specific possibilities of funding related to his or her field of research
--> Give content-related support
--> Ensure a possibility for the student to check on his/her own progress - presentation of and discussion on his or her work on a regular basis
--> Appointments - You and your doctorate supervisor should arrange regular meetings according to your own specific needs
--> Offer a colloquium
--> Help to expand the students’ academic network
--> There should be an initial talk on your personal situation in order to anticipate any possible problems, and to better fit the doctoral phase to your personal needs and interests.
--> In the event of a more in-depth conflict with your doctorate supervisors, the peer group leader, the ombuds(wo)man (at present Ms. Veit), the spokesperson of your class and the BIGS-OAS coordinator are there to help solving it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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