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Bielefeld Graduate School
in History and Sociology
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FAQ on Visiting Fellowships

Frequently asked questions on:

Your stay at the BGHS

Am I required to work on my current dissertation research topic, or may I focus on another research question?
The main focus of your stay should be your doctoral project. You should of course profit from the interdisciplinary research environment of the BGHS, which may result in shift of focus for or some degree of modification or augmentation of your project.

The description of the Visiting Fellowship states that no prolonged archival or research trips outside of Bielefeld should take place. What is the definition of "prolonged"?
You should spend around 80% of the Visiting Fellowship period at the BGHS. Research and archival trips are of course possible in the remaining time. However the BGHS does not cover any travel costs for these trips.

Is a Visiting Fellowship linked to matriculation into a doctoral programme in History or Sociology?
No. You will be registered as a guest, but not matriculated into a doctoral programme at Bielefeld University. You are however encouraged to participate in the BGHS study programme.

If I am accepted as a Visiting Fellow, how will arrangements be made concerning accommodation, visa, etc.?
If you become a BGHS Visiting Fellow, the main office of the BGHS and Bielefeld University Welcome Centre will aid you in all practical affairs. If applicable, please contact a German embassy or consulate in your home country to clarify which formalities must be complied with.

Research contacts at Bielefeld University

How can I find researchers at Bielefeld University who are interesting for my academic network?
We recommend you to study the BGHS areas of research, where you will find doctoral researchers and professors whose work may be relevant to your research.

What is important when getting in touch with potential research contacts?
First gather ample information about the research associates, doctoral researchers and professors (for example from their websites). The research interests of your contacts should fit well with the subject of your dissertation project.

Should I write to research contacts with whom I would like to network in Bielefeld before or after applying for a fellowship?
Before applying for a fellowship you only need to name potential research contacts at Bielefeld University in your application. Should you receive a fellowship you can make the appropriate contacts then. The BGHS office is happy to assist you in these efforts. Please make sure the research interests of our faculty members fit your doctoral project before naming them in your application.

Degrees and language skills

I have already handed in my dissertation or will do so before the Visiting Fellowship begins. May I still apply?
No. Visiting Fellowships are meant to bring new impulses and ideas to the dissertation projects of our fellows through the interdisciplinary research environment of the BGHS.

I have completed my doctoral degree. May I still apply?
No. Visiting Fellowships are solely to support doctoral researchers and are not post-doc endowments.

I just finished my MA, but I will be matriculated in a doctoral programme when the Visiting Fellowship begins. May I apply?
Visiting Fellowships are also meant to promote the interdisciplinary discussion of your research results. For this reason you should not apply before the second year of work on your dissertation.

I am a German citizen, but I attended a Master's programme at a foreign university and am currently matriculated in a doctoral programme abroad. May I apply as a Visiting Fellow?
Yes. You may apply if you received your MA degree from a foreign university and are now enrolled in a doctoral programme abroad.

I completed my MA in Germany, but I am currently enrolled in a doctoral programme abroad. May I apply as a Visiting Fellow?

I am not a German citizen, but I am currently enrolled in a doctoral programme at a German university. May I apply as a Visiting Fellow?

I speak no/very poor German. May I still apply? Are there language tests or minimum requirements?
You should be fluent in either German or English so that you can participate fully in Bielefeld University's academic community. The BGHS does not however require any language certificates as proof of your knowledge of either German or English.

Application documents

Which documents do I need to send in with my application?
You will find a list of the required application documents here. Please note that we only process applications, which are complete and reach us via our online application portal.

How do I create one PDF file from many documents?
You will find instructions for creating one PDF file here.

Do I have to introduce my dissertation project as a whole in my research proposal, or only the research I plan to conduct during my stay in Bielefeld?
Please introduce both your research project as a whole as well as the work you plan to do as a Visiting Fellow in Bielefeld.

Who should write a recommendation? Does it have to be my dissertation advisor? Can I also send in more than one recommendation or is one sufficient?
Please send in one letter of recommendation with your application. This recommendation should be written by your advisor.

Should letters of recommendation be sent separately or can they be integrated into the PDF file?
You can include your letter of recommendation in the file containing your application documents. Or your advisor can mail his or her letter of recommendation directly to the BGHS at

Does the deadline for the application documents also apply to the letter of recommendation?
Yes. Your application will not be considered without a letter of recommendation.

Which information do I need to include in my CV?
Please take a look at our guidelines.

Financial support

What is the amount of the additional payment if I have a child or children?
You will receive an additional payment of EUR 400 for the first child and EUR 100 for every child thereafter.

Is follow-up funding foreseen within Visiting Fellowships?
No. Visiting Fellowships are granted for a period of four months and cannot be extended.

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