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FAQ for considering a doctorate

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The Department of History and Cultural Studies offers the possibility of individual and structured doctoral studies. For an individual doctorate, you need to contact potential supervisors directly and discuss the possibility of taking up a doctorate with them. For a structured doctorate, you must apply to graduate programs for acceptance into their study program. In structured programs, the selection committee assigns supervisors during the selection process. Once accepted by a supervisor or accepted into a structured program, it is necessary to apply for admission to the doctoral program. Once admitted, you must enroll as a doctoral student. When submitting your dissertation, you must provide information about the committee's composition; details are regulated in the doctoral regulations of the departments.

The formal requirements are specified by the respective doctoral regulations - in general, you should have completed your studies with at least a good grade. You should be able to demonstrate English language skills at the level C1 of the CEFR. When you are admitted to a doctoral program, the programs will check whether your qualifying degree fulfills the professional requirements for a doctorate in your desired discipline. Accepted candidates usually have obtained a corresponding degree in the discipline of their doctorate. In case of doubt, a look at the M.A. study regulations of the respective subjects can help you check whether the degree meets these requirements. You can contact the doctoral office or the graduate programs directly for further questions.

You can do a doctorate with a BA degree in Fast Track - however, you must have completed your studies with the highest grade and fulfill further requirements of the doctoral regulations. In structured programs, the study regulations may stipulate further requirements, such as a period of study abroad.

programs, places in the program are usually announced publicly about a year before the start of each program. You can find more information at the respective program websites. In structured programs, invitations for acceptance to the program will be given first, on the condition that the later application for admission to the doctoral procedure is successful.

Should you want to pursue an individual doctorate, you can register for the procedure at the respective doctoral (PhD) office after having found a supervisor. Admitted doctoral students must usually register as doctoral students.

For more information, see the FAQ pages for the graduate programs:

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Dissertation Topic, Subject(s) and Supervisors

Yes, a dissertation in the humanities and social sciences is an independent achievement for Early Career Researchers. Topics are usually not assigned but developed by the candidates themselves. You cannot begin a doctoral program without your own research project and a research hypothesis. Members of the university will not help you develop a synopsis in terms of content. However, you can find helpful information on the format and content of a research proposal online or in the FAQ of the graduate programs.

At the Department of History and Cultural Studies, doctoral procedures are possible in the following subjects:

Ancient American Studies/Cultural Anthropology,
Ancient Oriental Studies,
Arabic Studies,
Chinese Studies,
Didactics of History,
Iranian studies,
Islamic studies,
Japanese Studies,
Jewish Studies,
Classical Archaeology,
Korean Studies,
Art History of Europe and America, East Asia, Africa, Prehistoric Archaeology,
Religious Studies,
Semitic studies,
Near Eastern Archaeology

Structured programs involve subjects from several departments, including history and cultural studies, political and social sciences, economics, philosophy and humanities, and law. Some structured doctoral programs also involve faculties of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Please note that your first supervisor must be a professor in the department in which you are doing your doctorate. This means that your first supervisor must be a senior researcher in the subject of your doctorate. A selection committee decides on initial supervisors or supervisory teams of up to three persons in the structured doctoral programs. Further suitable supervisors can be selected in the course of the doctoral studies. The first supervisor is usually also requested as a reviewer for the dissertation.

Financing your PhD and Family Matters

There are several ways to finance a doctorate. Most doctoral researchers are either employed as research assistants in research projects, at institutes or supported by scholarships. Structured doctoral programs usually only offer full-time doctoral study programs. For further information on funding opportunities, please have a look at the following website:

Information on PhD scholarships

Many doctoral researchers live with their families and  do care work. Programs often grant extension periods for scholarships and positions, and at Freie Universität, it is possible to ask for childcare during courses or public events. The Dual Career Service also provides supplementing offers for emergency childcare.

Further links:

Women*s representative

Support for International Early Career Researchers

Information for doctoral researchers who want to go abroad and for doctoral researchers who want to come to Freie Universität Berlin from abroad can be found on the pages of the Center for international Cooperation and the Dahlem Research School. Once a year, the International Week at Freie Universität also provides compiled information with a "Go Out Day".