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Doing your PhD at the BGSMCS

Academic Calendar


The Graduate School offers a research-oriented, structured curriculum that aims to achieve a balance between specialisation in a given field of study and in-depth multidisciplinary training (“discipline- based multidisciplinarity”).

Requirements are exacting: You have to come to the School with an excellent record of academic achievement in their chosen field of study, adequate preparation in the required languages, and knowledge of the region, country, or community they wish to study. We offer to expand your theoretical and methodological proficiency, and to enhance and, if necessary, extend your linguistic skills. Moreover, we introduce you to the wider academic field locally, nationally, and internationally, and whenever possible, facilitate their access to practitioners in non-university institutions, from museums and ministries to the media, publishing houses, and think tanks. All elements of the research training programme have been tried and tested over the past years, and, where necessary, adjusted to the demands and needs of the doctoral researchers.

Our study programme includes:

  • Colloquia
  • Research seminars and workshops
  • Language training and soft skills courses
  • Regular meetings with your supervisors
  • Financial support for research and conference travel
  • A workspace at the Graduate School

Doctoral fellows are required to accumulate a total number of 180 credit points (CP) by attending mandatory and optional courses (30 CP) and completing their doctoral theses (150 CP). Mandatory courses include the induction week, a theory and methods seminar, and two research colloquia, pre- and post-field and archival workshops, as well as a number of transferable skills courses. Optional courses include language classes and workshops as well as lectures and research seminars offered by other academic institutions in Berlin or at other German and foreign universities. In addition, doctoral fellows are encouraged to publish articles, to teach or co-teach classes, to do an internship relevant to their future professional careers, or to present their research at international workshops and conferences, all within reasonable limits.

Overview of the course of studies

Overview of the course of studies

The course of studies over four years has different focuses:

1st year: Enhance your theoretical and methodological skills and hone your research questions.
2nd year: Conduct research in the field, archives, and libraries.

3rd year: Begin the writing process, discuss your work in colloquia and at conferences.

4th year: Write your doctoral thesis.

All members of the Graduate School are obliged to follow the guidelines of Freie Universität for safeguarding good scientific practice in order to ensure research integrity. More information on this may be found here.

"To study at BGSMCS has enriched my life and enhanced my career."

Our programme offers excellent academic training and supervision, support structures for professional and personal development, and membership in a diverse and international group of doctoral researchers. Our graduates work in academica, political and cultural institutions, and civil society organisations.
Here is how our doctoral students summarise their experience.