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The PhD program aims to provide candidates with a selection of courses serving to develop professional and interdisciplinary skills, and preparing graduates for future careers in academic as well as non-academic fields.

The courses offered aim to:

  •  provide specialization within the field
  •  further develop methodological knowledge
  •  further develop theoretical knowledge
  •  provide an interdisciplinary focus

The program offers a maximum of flexibility over the course of the six semesters, so as to accommodate projects which extend over a period of several weeks or months, as well as visits to foreign archives.


Candidates will receive a certificate of their participation in the program once they have successfully completed and defended their thesis. The certificate lists the courses, conferences, and key skills workshops attended by the candidate. In order to receive the certificate, candidates will have to successfully participate in a certain number of courses:

1. Each semester participation in a colloquium or 'Oberseminar' (we recommend participation in a seminar led by the supervisor of the thesis).

2. Participation in four additional classes. These can either be master courses/graduate classes in the PhD candidate's research field offered by the America Institute or key skills workshops offered by:

3. Participation in two postgraduate workshops organized by the candidates themselves and one (international) conference. At least at one of these events candidates are supposed to present their project.

Given that the doctoral dissertation lies at the heart of the program, all candidates are given the freedom to schedule courses to adapt to their needs based on the following table:


Type of course1st term2nd term3rd term4th term5th term6th term
Colloquium or 'Oberseminar' X X X X X X  
Graduate class or Key skills workshop X (1) X (1) X (1) X (1)
Postgraduate workshop   X (1) (2)   X (1) (2)    
Conference     X (1) (2)    
Research abroad X (1) (3)      

Project schedule, conceptualizing,

accessing source material 

Research, outline/preliminary table of contents, planning

Research, outline/preliminary table of contents, planning


final research

Final outline,

first chapter due

Handing-in of dissertation

  • (1): Semester interchangeable
  • (2): Candidates present their project at one of these workshops/conferences
  • (3): Optional