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Pursuing a PhD at the Department of History and Cultural Studies

Students and graduates interested in pursuing a doctoral degree at the Department of History and Cultural Studies of Freie Universität Berlin will find general information on this page about the doctoral procedure in accordance with the regulations of the Joint Doctoral Degree Regulations for Dr. phil./PhD of Freie Universität Berlin (Gazette 60/2008 of December 2, 2008). An English translation hereof can be found here. This guide does not claim to be complete.

Please note that new doctoral regulations have been in effect since October 2020.For admission applications submitted as of 22.10.2020, the regulations according to the PhD regulations of the Department of History and Cultural Studies, Gazette 40/2020; English version in progress) apply accordingly.

As of July 15th, 2022, the 1st order amending the doctoral regulations of the Department of History and Cultural Studies of Freie Universität Berlin dated 22.10.2020 was published. (Gazette 30/2022; English version in progress).

As of May 5th, 2023, the 2nd order amending the doctoral regulations of the Department of History and Cultural Studies of Freie Universität Berlin, dated 22.10.2020, was published. (Gazette 14/2023; English version in progress).

In general, you will find all applications and forms for all processes in our download area.

Admission to the PhD procedure
Opening the PhD procedure
Display of the Dissertation
Publication and Submission Obligations
Further Information and Forms

Admission to the PhD procedure

If the admission requirements for a PhD as stipulated in Section 3 of the PhD regulations of the Department of History and Cultural Studies are met and an authorized supervisor has accepted the chosen dissertation topic, an application for admission to the PhD procedure may be submitted to the PhD office. Please note that only applications completed in full and with all the necessary documents attached will be processed. Applications from candidates holding a degree from a German university are processed within approx. four weeks; processing applications from candidates with a degree from a foreign university takes approx. three months. These intervals should be taken into account and applications submitted in good time.

The PhD office will forward the application for admission to the PhD committee which will then decide whether to approve admission. Applicants in receipt of a letter of admission who are not yet members of Freie Universität Berlin must enrol as PhD students within the period stipulated in the letter. Admission is for a period of five years.

PhD candidates should meet with their supervisor early on in order to ascertain whether they fulfil the foreign language requirements necessary for a PhD in their chosen subject as per the rules and regulations governing foreign language skills.

Applicants planning to research for a PhD under the Cotutelle procedure, should first contact the Dahlem Research School before submitting their application to the PhD office.

Opening the PhD procedure

On completion, dissertations are to be submitted to the PhD office together with the form regarding the composition of the PhD commission and a effective certificate of enrolment. The PhD committee will then appoint the dissertation reviewers and the PhD commission. Please also note the latest information on doctorates at the department: HERE

Display of the Dissertation

After receipt of both reviews, the dissertation along with the proposed grade to be awarded is displayed for a period of two weeks (four weeks during semester break). Subsequently, the PhD commission decides whether the dissertation is to be accepted, refused or returned, whether the PhD candidate is to be admitted to the Disputation (defence) and also decides on the grade of the dissertation.

Disputation (Defence)

The PhD candidate is responsible for organising the  Disputation (date, room, technical equipment). The candidate sets the date in consultation with the members of the commission and informs the PhD office. The date of the Disputation is published in the department. After the Disputation, the PhD commission evaluates the candidate's performance and decides on the final grade. The PhD candidate receives an interim certificate containing the title of the dissertation, the individual grades of the dissertation and Disputation as well as the overall grade. This interim certificate does not authorise its holder to use a doctor title. The use of the title "Dr. des." is likewise not permitted according to the stipulations in the applicable doctoral degree regulations.

Publication and Submission Obligations

In accordance with Section 13 of the PhD regulations of the Department of History and Cultural Studies, the dissertation is to be made accessible to the scientific community by duplication and dissemination in an appropriate manner. The PhD candidate is required to obtain approval of the text version prior to printing. Approval will be given by the chairperson of the PhD committee in agreement with the reviewers. Publication and submission must be effected within a period of two years from the date of the Disputation.

The PhD degree certificate will only be issued on notification of fulfilment of the submission obligation. The PhD degree certificate authorises its holder to use the doctor title.