Universität Bonn

BIGS offers support, resources and very practical help to doctoral students. We will here answer the most common questions of interested students. This way you get an idea of what BIGS can do for you and why you will want to choose Bonn for your doctoral studies.

If you are coming to Germany from outside the EU you will need a visa and, depending on your funding, a working permit. This has to be taken care of after you are accepted at BIGS.

Once you arrive in Germany you will need to register at the city of Bonn and receive your tax ID number.

If you have a contract and have a five day work week, you get 30 days paid vacation time per year. If you get sick and need to stay away from work for more than three days, you need to hand in a doctor´s note.

The cost of living in Bonn that needs to be covered by your salary can be estimated at

  • Housing: 800 €
  • Food: 300 €
  • Clothes etc: 100 €
  • Books etc: 60 €
  • Other: 150 €

This amounts to 1430 € per month.

Once a semester you also need to pay the semester fee of 325 €, which does not only cover the university admission but also public transport on buses, trams and local trains not only in Bonn but all of North-Rhine Westfalia. It also makes you eligible for many discount rates at museums, zoos and other places.

A Hausdorff Doctoral Position are remunerated after TV-L West, 75% E13.

What does that mean?

You will receive about 3150 € gross per month, which translates to about 2040 € net per month for single persons without children.

Already included in this salary is

  • Health insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Pension insurance
  • Unemployment insurance

Within Europe the pension insurance can be transferred to another country.

While we do not have set aside dorm spaces for doctoral students,  we can give you lists of private dorms. We can, in case of funding through BIGS, provide you with a statement of your expected salary which might be helpful when you try to secure a private rental. We can also explain the difference between furnished and unfurnished rooms, cold rent and warm rent, so you know exactly what you are looking at.

You should start looking for accommodations as soon as you know you are coming to Bonn. The market will be very busy before the start of a new semester.

The doctoral courses will all be held in English and all members of the math community are used to using English as a working language, so you do not need to know German to study in Bonn.

Nevertheless, a bit of German can come in handy in your day to day life.

Each year in September/October we offer a German course for new students from abroad. BIGS covers the tutor, students just need to buy the course book to get an intense training.This does not only provide basic language skills but also the possibility to meet up and get to know each other and start networking.

There are also other options to take German classes at the University of Bonn or other language schools aorund town.

Depending on the individual situation there are several offices of the university that can get support persons with disabilities or other special needs. Please contact us if you have questions or needs in this regard.

The mathematical institutes are mostly located on the Campus Poppelsdorf. The campus is a for Bonn typical mix of old buildings like the mathematics center form 1916 and very modern ones that have just been finished or are even still being built, to accommodate the growing faculty of mathematics and natural sciences.

The canteen (Mensa) is in easy walking distance. This is where you can get cheap meals and where many working groups have lunches together.

The botanical gardens are close by and buses go from and to the main station about every five minutes during the day. This combines the advantages of excellent networking opportunities and mobility.

On Sundays and holidays banks, offices and most shops are closed. Keep this in mind especially when planning your arrival. Also, train schedules are different on Sundays and holidays.

Not all places accept credit cards – it is useful to always carry some cash with you.

In most cases it should be easy to find a person that speaks English, which will make the start much easier.

Tipping is customary if you are happy with the service, but not mandatory. An tip of 10 % is considered average to good.

If something has a price tag in a shop, that is the price you pay. There is no tax added at checkout.

There are several options to make sure that you are only on your own if you want to be.

International Office

The International Office can help you with all things concerning coming to Bonn from abroad.


Pro-Motion offers a peer Monitoring Program, career entry workshops/ writing retreats, a welcome meeting for new international doctoral students, a PhD Café, a pro-Buddy program, assistance with government authorities (upon request) as well as German courses.

Student Council

The student council aims to represent the interest of all students in mathematics. They are a first point of contact and organize events like the Math Dance, game nights and carerr tea times. This should give you many opportunities to mingle with other math students.

There are many events organized by the university that you can attend.

Two offers that could be of special interest are:

Doctorate plus

Offered by the Bonn Graduate Center and its cooperation partners, the courses will help you improve your leadership, management and networking abilities – giving you a competitive advantage in the job market whether you are pursuing a career within or outside academia.

University sports

If you also want to do something for your physical fitness you can partake in a lot of different courses here.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Daniela Schmidt

Getting your PhD at BIGS

We want you to be able to concentrate on your doctorate. Doing so in a new environment can be exciting - if someone has your back. At BIGS, we do.

The BIGS administration helps you to prepare the doctorate application paperwork from telling you what exactly is needed to handing everything in on time.

  • You will be able to pick a mentor in addition to your PhD advisor, to serve as additional contact and support person.
  • You will be able to apply for travel funds to participate in conferences.
  • You will be able to participate in the BIGS programs.
  • You will have administrative support from the respective mathematical institute as well as of the BIGS administration.

Check out our programs to see what we have in store for you.

BIGS Support Team

Karen Bingel

BIGS Administrator


+49 228  73-7788



Office 0.004
Endenicher Allee 62
53115 Bonn

Anna Klinov

BIGS Administrator and Early Career Support


+49 228 73-62223



Office 0.004
Endenicher Allee 62
53115 Bonn

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