Search form

Changing Lives in Changing Socio-Cultural Contexts (BIGSSS)

PhD Graduate Program

Research in this program falls into three groups:

  • Global societal changes and individuals’ changing self-concepts, attitudes, behaviors, and values — all of which shape interactions between individuals and individuals' life courses.
  • Current demographic trends, changing labor markets, and changing social welfare regimes as well as individuals’ educational and work biographies
  • The demands and opportunities in changing modern societies and the (re-)organization as well as stability of living arrangements and family relationships, accompanied by changing gender-related attitudes, values, life priorities, and life plans.
To understand changing patterns of societal integration, we have to analyze the complex interplay of social structures, culture, and individuals’ attitudes and behaviors across time. This means to examine the changing dynamics of individual lives against a backdrop of political and social integration. Within Field C, this is done by looking at the interplay of individual attitudes, capabilities, and behavior and changing demographics, social structures, cultures, and institutions. This study of macro-micro interrelations requires dynamic individual-level analyses, embedded in multi-level models of social processes. Advanced sociological life-course and psychological lifespan research are powerful approaches to achieve this goal.
Field Chair: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kühnen
Field Coordinator: Dr. Franziska Deutsch
BIGSSS is structured in three thematic fields:

Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences integrates excellent areas of graduate education and research at the University of Bremen and Jacobs University into a synergetic inter-university institution designed to become an internationally competitive model of graduate education. BIGSSS’ guiding principles are education to excellence, quality assurance, and effective funding. It is supported by the German Excellence Initiative.


If you are interested in becoming a BIGSSS Predoctoral, PhD or a Post-Doctoral Fellow, please see the BIGSSS website to find all the essential information on admission requirements, financial support and application materials.

For more information regarding admissions to BIGSSS you may also contact our Admissions Officer:

admissions-officer [at]
+49 (0) 421 200 3956