Berlin Doctoral Program in History and Law (BDPHL)

Freie Universität Berlin 6 semesters
Germany Full Time
PhD in History and Law Onsitr

The Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies (BGTS) is the full-time doctoral programme of the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS) at Freie Universität Berlin in cooperation with Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Hertie School of Governance, Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) and Zentrum für Osteuropa- und Internationale Studien (ZOiS).

Course Details:

The BGTS offers a rigorous and dynamic English-language program for exceptionally talented and motivated graduate students in the field of global and transregional studies, bringing together a broad spectrum of disciplines, from the social sciences to area studies to history.

The program focuses on contemporary controversies about liberal orders from a historical, global, and comparative perspective. It is particularly focused on global and transregional processes analyzed by social science or historical methods. Research at the BGTS focuses on the structures, risks, and opportunities of cross-regional interaction at various levels. Research areas include the causes and consequences of contestations of the liberal script, alternatives to the liberal model, and implications of the contestations for politics, societies, and individuals in the 21st century.

The doctoral program consists of three years of study, starting in September of each year. The bulk of the candidates’ workload will take the form of independent thesis research. Apart from this, all candidates are required to successfully complete content-oriented survey courses, colloquia on research methods, and multidisciplinary skills workshops. Candidates will also be required to present the results of their research regularly at research colloquia and at academic conferences.


Department of Political and Social Sciences

Enrollment Requirements:

Anyone who has completed a Master’s degree in social sciences, area studies and history as well as economics and law (usually comprising a total of 300 European Credit Transfer System [ECTS] credits including the Bachelor’s degree) is eligible to apply. The term “social sciences” refers to political science and sociology. The program is open to applicants of all nationalities and shows no preference to EU citizens.

Your final grade point average should be at least 2.4 (according to the German grade system), in other words, “good”. In ECTS terms this corresponds to a “B” average, starting at 79%. As grading systems vary from country to country, the grade point average is only one factor among many upon which selection is based.

If you haven’t completed your Master’s degree program at the time of application, you may still apply, but you must provide official documentation (e.g., academic transcript and official diploma) of your successful completion of a Master’s degree before enrolling in the Ph.D. program.

If your official diploma is not ready at the time of your application, you are required to send some proof of your academic performance (e.g., a current transcript) instead. After this, please send us a letter from your university as soon as you have completed your Master’s degree, confirming the completion of your studies. This letter will allow you to provisionally enroll at BGTS while awaiting your official degree diploma.


Teaching Language:


Costs/Tuition Fees:

Free of Cost

Level/Field(s) of Study:

PhD in Social Sciences, Area Studies, History, Law, Economics

Degree Level:


Language Requirements:

The expected level of English proficiency is C1 (or better) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which translates into other tests as follows (scores indicated are minimums):

  • IELTS: 8.0
  • TOEFL PBT: 603/677
  • TOEFL CBT: 263/300
  • TOEFL iBT: 110/120
  • TOEIC: 785

If you are not a native English speaker or if the language of instruction at your previous university was not English, we will ask you to provide evidence of strong English language skills. Please include English language test results in your application if this applies to you. English language tests should not be more than two years old at the time of your application to the BGTS and should be uploaded in your online application form as a PDF or JPEG document.

The Ph.D. program at the BGTS does not require German language skills. However, we recommend that you study German during your time with us. This will help you in your daily life in Berlin, including communicating with others at the university. German language courses for international doctoral candidates are offered by the Dahlem Research School at Freie Universität Berlin.

About the University/Institution:

Freie Universität Berlin is one of Germany’s eleven Universities of Excellence and as such among the best universities in the country. Nationally and internationally, it is a leading research institution. Students directly profit from a strong focus on research. You can choose from more than 180 subject areas. No matter which area you are interested in, be it Archaeology, Jewish Studies, Law or Psychology, you will find your subject at Freie Universität Berlin.

Application Deadline:

Application: 31 January for the following winter semester (September)

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