Global and Transregional Studies (Ph.D.) at Freie Universität Berlin

Freie Universität Berlin 6 Semesters
Germany Full Time
PhD in Social Sciences Onsite

The Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies (BGTS) is the full-time doctoral program 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).

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.

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Course Details:

Your time at BGTS will seem relatively brief – our intensive three-year (180 CP) program balances independent research with a structured curriculum. Unlike traditional doctoral education in Germany, our students have the unique opportunity to take part in content-oriented survey courses, colloquia on research methods, and tailored multidisciplinary skills workshops to gain a sharper academic focus. A team of three supervisors, comprising members of the BGTS faculty as well as external and international supervisors, supports each Ph.D. candidate during his or her studies.

The Ph.D. program consists of three years of study starting in September of each year. In total, students earn 180 credit points during the course of three years. The bulk of the workload for candidates will take the form of independent thesis research. In addition to 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.


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.

Teaching Language:


Costs/Tuition Fees:

Free of Cost

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 PhD programme 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.

Apart from that, Freie Universtität Berlin is extremely international. It has co-operations with universities in many different countries and maintains offices in Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, New Delhi, New York, Moscow, and São Paulo. Twenty percent of the students come from abroad, as do 33 percent of the doctoral students. Therefore, you will meet people from all over the world when you study at Freie Universität Berlin.

Application Deadline:

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

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