Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Who can apply?

Graduates of any university who hold a master degree, Magister, Staatsexamen or Diplom as well as graduates with comparable international qualifications are eligible to apply. A very good overall grade is expected. In addition, the suggested research project should, of course, be related to East or Southeast Europe, to one of our three research areas, and to a discipline in which supervision can be offered by the Graduate School's Principal Investigators.

You can check which international qualifications are accepted as equivalent to European master's degree in database anabin of the Conference of Ministers of Education of the German "Länder" (KMK).

Please note: A bachelor degree is not sufficient as the skills required for a doctoral programme in this field can usually be acquired only over a longer period of study.

There is no age restriction.

How and by what criteria candidates are selected?

Decisive is the quality of the application. Besides the relevance and comprehensibility of the topic (interest, key questions, problem awareness, relevance), of theory and methodology (including the key research literature and primary sources), the originality of the proposed project is important.

After the end of the application period, all applications received will be examined for their formal suitability (in accordance with the formal application requirements).

The Admission Board then evaluates all submitted applications and decides on a short-list of eligible candidates. Handicapped/disabled applicants will be preferred if equally qualified.

For those applicants who are short-listed, the Admission Board will ask your reference persons for a recommendation. Their letters should indicate when and under what circumstances they got you to know and how your undergraduate studies have developed. If possible, they should also give an assessment of the project you propose.

Selected applicants will then be invited for an interview in Munich to give further information about their project and to answer questions about it. Usually, two applicants will be invited for each position and each scholarship to be awarded.

After completion of all discussions, the Admission Board will decide on which candidates are to be admitted to the Graduate School.

Is it possible to apply with a Bachelor degree?

No, only Graduates who hold a master degree, Magister, Staatsexamen or Diplom or a comparable international qualification are eligible to apply.

Doctoral programmes in the field of East and Southeast European Studies require proficiency in the relevant languages, a sound ability to apply theory and methodology and considerable research experience, all of which even highly gifted students need time to acquire.

Usually, research-based master programmes such as the Elite Graduate Program for East European Studies at the LMU Munich and University of Regensburg or the East-West Studies programme at the University of Regensburg offer good preparation for our doctoral programme.

I completed my master programme long time ago. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply. The date of graduation is not relevant for the application.

My Master thesis is not in German or English. Can I still apply?

Yes, this is possible. However, we need a written summary (200 words maximum) of your thesis either in German or English.

Please note that your doctoral thesis at the Graduate School must be written in German or English.

The application portal requires that I upload my bachelor degree but I do not possess one. What do I do?

If you hold no bachelor degree, but already a Diplom or Magister certificate or an equivalent international qualification, please upload a declaration stating this very fact.

In Germany, usually, a B.A. degree is the precondition for beginning with a master's programme.

I do not have my Master degree yet. What do I do?

If you have not obtained your master certificate and a transcript of records before the application deadline, you can still apply. In this case you should attach a letter of confirmation from your MA supervisor to the application documents, stating that you have already submitted your master thesis and it will most likely receive a very good grade.

However, since the master certificate and the transcript are formal requirements of the application for a PhD at the Graduate School, it is important that we receive them no later than early September per email. If you are unable to do so, your application cannot be further considered.

Please note: Foreign certificates and transcripts must be translated into German or English and must be notarised.

In the event of a successful application, you are also expected to show the original documents to the university for enrolment.

I have a degree in a subject that is not included in the disciplines of the Graduate School. Can I still apply?

Where appropriate, we will consider applications of students with a master degree in subjects that are not included in the disciplines of the Graduate School if they are related to the ones represented at our School. However the research project must be suitable to our research profile. Thus, you should have a convincing letter of motivation and a elaborated exposé of the planned Ph.D. project.

I have already been working on my doctoral project for some time. Can I still apply?

Yes. The total time spent on the doctorate should however not exceed 4.5 years. The Graduate School can regularly only financially support doctoral candidates for a period of 3,5 years.

Please note that we cannot accept Ph.D. students who intent to keep enrolled at any other university than the LMU Munich or the University of Regensburg. In addition, you should not have received any other financial support from public or publicly funded institutions for your doctoral project.

I already have a doctorate but would like to complete a second one. Is this possible at the Graduate School?

Our primary objective is to support junior academics. The reasons for applying for a second PhD need to be very well explained.

I previously applied to the GS and was not accepted. Is it possible to reapply?

Yes, of course. That is possible.

Can I send my application via regular mail?

No, please upload your application and the necessary attachments to the online-application platform only! Do NOT send any documents via mail, neither regular nor electronic.

Which academic title can I obtain at the Graduate School?

In most cases (i.e. in the humanities) you will be awarded the academic title "Dr. phil." upon successful completion of the doctoral programme. This also applies to doctoral dissertations written in the field of cultural anthropology, which are supervised at the University of Regensburg.

In the field of sociology, LMU München awards the title "Dr. rer. soc.".

The title of "Dr. iur." can be obtained at the University of Regensburg completing a Ph.D. in Public Law. Usually, this requires the candidate to have successfully completed the state examination. For further information consult §5,2 the doctoral regulations (.pdf) of the Faculty of Law at the University of Regensburg.

Which languages are required? Do I need to upload language certificates?

The curriculum of the Graduate School is bilingual: The working languages are German and English. Therefore, very good knowledge is expected in at least one of the two languages.

As a matter of fact, you should have sufficient knowledge in the languages required for successfully conducting the studies for your doctoral project.

For the application procedure, however, language certificates are not required.

If your knowledge of either the German or the English language is not sufficient to participate actively in academic discussion when by the time of your application, we expect you to take appropriate language courses in the first semesters after admission to improve the respective language skills. The same applies to the knowledge of all the languages required for successfully completing your doctoral project.

Which language are teaching events held in?

The Graduate School has two working languages: German and English. The curriculum is bilingual; hence, students are expected to be able to take part in academic discussion in both German and English - it is possible to improve respective language skills individually in the first semesters.

What is the difference between a research assistant position (Stelle) and a scholarship (Stipendium)? Do I have to apply for one of the two options?

 Those holding a doctoral position as research assistant (Promotionsstelle) - besides their duty to write a doctoral thesis - will have to teach at either LMU Munich or the University of Regensburg once a week during the semester. They will receive a salary subject to tax and social insurance contributions in accordance to level E 13 (65 %) of the Collective Agreement for Public Service of the German Länder, TV-L (the starting monthly salary would be roughly 1,514 EUR after taxes).

Those holding a scholarship (Promotionsstipendium) have no teaching obligation and will receive a tax-free grant in accordance to German Research Foundation's maximum allowance of 1,365 EUR per month (plus an additional allowance for materials of 103 EUR per month). All types of insurance, including health insurance, are subject to individual organisation by the grant holder.

The decision on whether to award a position or a scholarship to an applicant is the responsibility of the admission board. But you may express your preference in the letter of motivation.

Do I have to participate in the preparatory workshop?

Participation in the workshop Preparing for a Doctoral Project is not obligatory!

The workshop is an offer to non-German students who want to work on their dissertation project with our Postdocs and to get acquainted with the application procedure for admission to a German University.

What is a University Entrance Qualification?

The "University Entrance Qualification" is your high school diploma.

Please, note that German university administrations expect you to hand in a copy of this diploma for your enrolement and for registering at the examination office (notwithstanding the fact that you have already obtained a B.A. and a M.A.). Thus, we ask you to upload the respective certificates for you application.

What is a letter of motivation?

The letter of motivation is an important component of your application. Here you will have the chance to outline your previous experiences, the motivation to do a PhD and why your project is suitable for the Graduate School.

Are there any guidelines for the Abstract of the Master thesis?

The Abstract of your Master thesis has to be written in German or English and should not exceed 200 words. Please outline briefly the studied topic, the key research questions, the methods, and the results.

Are there any guidelines for the exposé of the Ph.D. project?

The exposé of your Ph.D. project not exceed six pages (excluding the bibliography). Please give a summary of what you are about to study and point out that it will be an innovative, original, and theoretically sophisticated contribution to the studied field.

To whom should I address the letter of motivation?

The addressee is the admission board.

Regarding the letter of recommendation, are there any official forms my referees need to complete? Should they send it immediately?

No, there are no official forms your former academic teachers (they need to have a Ph.D., but do not necessarily need to be professors) must complete. In the online application form you will be asked to name two referees who can assess your academic abilities, and possibly your final thesis and doctoral project.

Please do not submit any letters of recommendation in advance, nor ask your reference persons to send us such information before we ask them to so. If your application is short-listed, the Graduate School will contact your referees to provide a reference for you.

Please make sure that your referees are available by phone or email from 1 to 30 September. Only, if this should prove to be impossible, are kindly ask them to send us their reference via email in advance.

Do I have to live in Munich or Regensburg to complete the doctoral programme at the Graduate School of East and Southeast European Studies?

Anyone can apply: international applicants are not only welcome, they are sought-after. If an application is successful and a doctoral programme is begun at the Graduate School of East and Southeast European Studies, it will be necessary to take part in regular events as well as the qualification programme at the Graduate School. In most cases, this means living in either Munich or Regensburg. We regularly work, study and discuss together and each doctoral project profits enormously from this! Munich and Regensburg are also both towns well known for their high quality of life.

The system does not allow me to submit my application. What can I do?

If you are not able to submit your application, then it might be incomplete. Please make sure you have uploaded all the necessary documents.

I have missed the application deadline. What can I do?

In this case you will have to wait and apply in the following year.

Should I get in touch with a potential supervisor at the Graduate School?

You can contact your potential/prospective supervisor from among our group of principal investigators before you apply. If the respective professor has time she/he will respond to you.

However, getting in touch with a supervisor is no prerequisite for a successful application.

Can I choose between the two locations (Munich or Regensburg)?

The location depends on where the supervisor of the doctoral project is based.

Which other doctoral programmes and funding opportunities do the LMU Munich and the Universität Regensburg offer?

More information on funding at the LMU can be found at the Graduate Center, which also organises events, training and assistance for doctoral students.

An overview of funding at the Universität Regensburg can be found here.

Furthermore, Bayhost offers scholarships for graduates from Central-, Eastern- and Southeastern Europe at all Bavarian universities.

Do I have to enrol and register as a doctoral student at the LMU Munich/Universität Regensburg?

In order to complete a doctoral programme at the LMU Munich, candidates must have been enroled at LMU Munich for at least three semesters. The exact date when enrolment should take place is less important; this can be done when you have already started with the Graduate School's programme. In addition, you will need to register at the Examination Office before handing in the thesis.

Enrolment is not officially required by the the University of Regensburg; it is, however, recommended.

We will assist you in theses matters when you have been accepted to join the Graduate School.[nbsp]

For further information on enrolement and registration please see the leaflet "Doctoral Studies at LMU Munich" (pdf) and the "Guide to doctoral studies for international students at LMU Munich" (pdf) respectively the "Leitfaden zum Promotionsstudium für ausländische Studierende an der Universität München" (pdf). Please, check also the website of LMU's Graduate Center.

The University of Regensburg provides "Information for Ph.D. Students" at the website of its Welcome Center.

I would like to withdraw my application and have my documents returned. How should I proceed?

Please write to the administration office. We will delete the documents immediately (please note: at the end of the application procedure all applications will be deleted anyway). Thus, since you have submitted digital documents online, it is dispensable to return them to you.

Do I need a visa to travel to Regensburg or Munich?

Information on present entry and visa regulations for visiting Germany is available on the German Federal Foreign Office website.

Will my travel costs be reimbursed when I come for interview?

Yes, normally we reimburse travel costs.

What should I expect during the interview?

The interview will last about 20 minutes.

You will be interviewed by the admission board members including the two Speakers of our Graduate School and their deputies, two additional members of the teaching staff, the equal opportunities officer and the postdoc representative. They will ask you questions about your studies and your planned doctoral project in German and English.

I have been invited to attend the interview but I am unable to come. Is it possible to change the date or to conduct the interview via telephone?

It is unfortunately not possible to change the date of the interview. However, in exceptional circumstances, we can arrange a telephone interview.

When will I be informed about the outcome of my application?

The admission committee will decide on which candidates will be invited for an interview. If you are invited, we will inform you as sson as possible. Interviews will take place in Munich in early October. Final decisions will be made in mid-October.

Please note, we cannot notify any applicant of the status of their application until the whole procedure has been completed. Therefore, we ask candidates not to make enquires before this has happened.