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Information for Current Fellows

Please follow these steps chronologically and fill in the application forms!

  1. Application for Travel Funding
  2. Approval of travel funding
  3. Application for Pre-Payment
  4. Travel
  5. Application for Reimbursement

If you need help, please read our Guidelines for Reimbursement carefully! Each step will be explained there! If you have further questions, please contact the office for help.

If we have filled all permanent positions for the upcoming semester and you have not signed up for a permanent space, you can book a table through our Flexible Desk booking system: 


Please note that you need to establish a VPN connection with FU Berlin before you can open the booking platform. 

First, please go to the entrance, and hold your transponder on the reader next to the door. Then try again. 

If it still does not work, your transponder might have expired. Please contact our office at office@bgsmcs.fu-berlin.de for help.

Please consider our guidelines for proofreading support.


Please make sure to follow the updated relevant information and guidance on the website of the PhD office of your department.

We highly recommend to schedule an appointment for your thesis defense at least 2 months ahead. You will need to contact all members of your committee and find a date that suits all. Please let us know once you have fixed a date, and if you want to book the lecture hall at the Graduate School for this purpose.

As of September 2021, it is possible to have your dissertation defense online only, in person, and in hybrid mode (meaning that part of the commission is there in person, and the rest is joining online). Please ask the PhD office of your department for updated information, as these change frequently. When preparing for an online dissertation defense, we highly recommend to schedule an additional appointment with your commission to test the technical setup (15 minutes should do).

The doctoral certificates are issued by the PhD offices at your first supervisor's department / faculty ("Fachbereich" / "Fakultät"). You need to publish your thesis, and you need to get the transcript and certificate from our programme before the certificate can be issued. It is usually possible to get an official confirmation after your dissertation defense from the PhD office, which you can use for applications.

You need to submit a credit point sheet for every activity in the modules of our curriculum to our office. We will then add the credit points, create a transcript, and the certificate. Please consider sending us your transcript at least 6-8 weeks before you need these documents. You can contact our office for support with this.

Information for Prospective Students (application / admission)

We will occasionally admit visiting doctoral researchers with external funding. It is important that your dissertation project matches the research areas of the graduate school.

Visiting students do not have to apply via the online portal. Please contact the managing director with your request for affiliation, and include a project exposé, a letter of motivation, a CV, and a statement about the funding of your visiting stay. We do not have visiting fellowships at the moment. Accepted visiting doctoral researchers will have access to the facilities and activities of the Graduate School.

We announce the availability of scholarships with the call for applications on our website. We do not have any scholarships for incoming visiting fellows.

Yes. We highly recommend to submit scholarship applications with funding organisations, and to apply for admission in our programme. Please note that we only accept fellows who have been granted institutional funding.

We usually publish a new call for applications for admission in the second half of September every year. The call is published on our website, through social media, and mailing lists.

You have to submit your application via our online application platform. We will not consider applications that you send us via Email.

Our application portal is open of six weeks after the call for applications has been published. We will inform you about the outcome of the admission process until the end of February in the year after the application process has started.

If you cannot submit your MA degree with your application package either because you have not received the document yet but expect it to arrive shortly, or because you are in the final stage of your exams or thesis, you may hand in your application anyway. You will need to upload an official confirmation from your university stating that you will receive your M.A. certificate until the end of May in the year of admission. The admission and grants committee will decide whether your (incomplete) application can be assessed as qualified. Your application cannot be considered if your degree will be awarded later.

Probably not. Applicants with a degree in science or with a Master of Business Administration are not eligible to apply. We are looking for applicants from the social sciences and humanities. We are currently offering supervision for doctoral degrees in the following disciplines:

  • Arabic Studies;
  • Asian and African Studies;
  • Central Asian Studies;
  • History;
  • Human Geography;
  • Iranian Studies;
  • Islamic Studies;
  • Political Science;
  • Semitic Studies;
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology;
  • South and Southeast Asian Studies;
  • South East European History.

Doctoral fellows at BGSMCS are concurrently enrolled in a university department, either at Freie Universität Berlin or at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, depending on the discipline and your first supervisor’s affiliation. This means that the supervisors can only accept doctoral researchers pursuing a degree in the discipline that they are currently working in. E.g., a professor in Islamic Studies can usually not supervise a doctoral fellow pursing a degree in political science etc.

Please understand that we cannot determine your eligibility for admission for a specific discipline before you have submitted your application package. It is important that the choice of discipline (which is connected to your preferred supervisor) should relate to your previous academic achievements AND to your planned doctoral research. The consideration of the following three points can help you to better assess your eligibility for a specific discipline:
Check if you have learned the relevant methodological and theoretical skills to pursue a doctoral degree in the discipline that you choose.

Consider the research that our supervisors are engaged in to determine whether your planned doctoral research falls within their area of interest and expertise.

Consider the department websites for information about the courses our supervisors teach on the B.A. and M.A. level.

  • Outline of the dissertation project (up to 6 pages, with a brief summary, to be entered into the online application form);
  • Curriculum vitae (pdf file);
  • Certified copies of degrees received (pdf file);
  • Proof of proficiency in English – at least C1 CFER. Native speakers of English or applicants who have graduated from an English-speaking university in a country with English as an official language are exempt from this verification (pdf file);
  • Evidence of proficiency in the language(s) relevant to the dissertation project (pdf file);
  • One letter of recommendation must be uploaded by the applicant’s referees directly to the application platform (signed and stamped on official paper).
  • C1 CFER;
  • ETS TOEFL certificate (minimum score of 600 for the paper-based test, 250 for the computer-based test, and 100 for the internet-based test);
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, CPE (any grade);
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, CAE (grade A or B);
  • IELTS test (level 7.0);

You may be excempt from this verification, if
a) you are native English speaker, or
b) have graduated from an English speaking university in a country with English as an official language.

There are no other exemptions.

No, you don’t need German language skills. However, we highly recommend to learn some German when you are admitted to the programme.

Please take a look at the homepages of the professors to find more detailed information on their research interests / areas and publications. You’ll find the names of all our current supervisors and the links to their websites listed here.

You do not need to contact the supervisors before submitting your application. Please make sure to choose a supervisor from our list who has expertise in the research area of your dissertation project and who is working in your discipline. This is important because in Germany, professors working in political science often cannot supervise PhD projects in history, for example. Please also make sure that your research matches the research interests / areas of our supervisors. The final decision on your supervisory team will be made when you have started the programme in Berlin.

You will graduate in the discipline of your first supervisor. If necessary, we will check in advance whether changing the discipline is possible with reference to the university’s regulations.

You will graduate from your first supervisor’s university, either from Freie Universität Berlin or from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

Currently, the monthly stipend is approximately EUR 1,500. Parents living with their children can receive a family allowance upon application. Shared rooms can be found from about 500,- EUR. For a single apartment, one must currently expect at least 800,- EUR. Scholarships are exempt from income tax in Germany. In addition to the rent, you have to pay about 230,- EUR for public health insurance (or less for private insurance).

The university has a family support office that can help you to apply for vouchers for the kindergarten, and to find a place in a kindergarten. We do not have a spouse programme for doctoral or postdoctoral researchers.

If you become a mother or a father during your time at the Graduate School, you can apply for a one-year extension of your scholarship, which will be granted if funds are available.

The regular funding period is 36 months. Depending on the availability of funds, and on the conditions of our donors, extensions can be granted. You can continue your doctoral project at the Graduate School even if the funding has ended.

A repeated application is only possible with a thoroughly revised outline of the dissertation project.

Applicants holding a PhD degree are not eligible for a scholarship. They can only be accepted with their own funding.

Recently accepted students

Yes, these include:

  • Passport or equivalent identity documents for yourself and any family members coming with you. Please note that these documents should be valid for your entire stay in Germany;
  • Birth certificate(s) and certified translations in German or English for yourself and any family members coming with you;
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable, and certified translations in German or English;
  • Several (biometric) passport photos;
  • Certified copies of your degree certificate (in German or English). For enrollment at the university you will need to present certified copies of your highschool graduation certificate and other university degree certificates, in German or English;
  • Proof of admission/ acceptance by your department/ Letter of invitation from the university or institute. This may also be your supervisor’s letter of acceptance of your research project or the fellowship award letter;


1. Connect to the FU network

  • When you’re at the Graduate School or on the campus of Freie Universität Berlin or Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, you have WiFi access through the eduroam-network. See the zedat website about eduroam for more information: https://www.zedat.fu-berlin.de/WLAN
  • When you’re not on the campus, you can connect tot he network by establishing a VPN connection. VPN for Mac OS X | VPN for Windows)

2. Connect to network folders

  • Mac OS X: 
    Open the "Finder". Select "Go To" and click on "Connect with server". 
    Enter one of the following addresses and loging with your zedat credentials (username@fu-berlin.de+ password):

  1. smb://datastore.fu-berlin.de/BGSMCS/   (for access to the "SHARE-ALL"-folder)
  2. smb://user.fu-berlin.de/HOME/   (for access to your personal folder)

  • Windows: 
    Open "Explorer", select "Computer" and click "Connect with server". 

  • Enter one of the following addresses and loging with your zedat credentials (username@fu-berlin.de+ password):

  1. smb://datastore.fu-berlin.de/BGSMCS/   (for access to the "SHARE-ALL"-folder)
  2. smb://user.fu-berlin.de/HOME/   (for access to your personal folder)
  1. Open: http://exchange.fu-berlin.de
  2. Domain\Username: FU-Berlin\Benutzername
    Password: Enter your Zedat user password

You can use the bookeye scanner in the basement any time. You will need a USB flash drive to save your scans. The scanner has a manual installed, which you can access in many languages.