Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft
Frist: 31.01.2020

CfA – Structured PhD Programme at the Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies (BGTS), Berlin

Call for Applications 2019

Structured PhD Programme
at the Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies (BGTS)

Starting date of programme: 3 year full-time PhD programme starting September 2020 in Berlin Starting date for applications (platform opening): 2 December 2019
Deadline for submitting applications: 31 January 2020 (4 January 2020 for Chinese applicants)

The Cluster of Excellence and the Graduate School

The Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies (BGTS) is the full-time PhD programme 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 and others. The BGTS offers a rigorous and dynamic English-language PhD programme for exceptionally talented and motivated graduate students in the field of global and transregional studies, bringing together a broad spectrum of disciplines and methodological approaches.

The PhD programme

The three-year English language doctoral programme at the BGTS provides state-of-the-art theory classes, solid training in research methods and research design, soft skills courses, and individual supervision. The programme focuses on contemporary contestations of the liberal script from historical, global, and comparative perspectives with a particular interest in global and transregional processes. Apart from social science and historical approaches, we explicitly encourage students of area studies, gender studies, philosophy, and education studies to submit their proposals. Research at the BGTS focuses on the structures, risks, and opportunities of cross-regional interaction at various levels and we particularly welcome critical perspectives. PhD researchers with excellent university degrees should be knowledgeable with regard to the various theoretical and methodological approaches in the disciplines relevant to the cluster. They should be open to interdisciplinary collaboration. We also expect excellent command of English in writing and speaking. Find out more about SCRIPTS’s overall research agenda here. Applicants should also familiarise themselves with the research interests of BGTS faculty members and indicate one or several potential supervisors in their application.

SCRIPTS’ Research Units

Four PhD positions (E13, 65%) are funded by the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS), linked to its four respective Research Units (RU): Borders, Orders, (Re-)Allocation and Temporality. PhD researchers are expected to participate in regular meetings and events of the Research Units and to contribute to the dissemination of research results through publications and participation in workshops and conferences Applicants should express their interest in the topics of their preferred Research Unit.

RU Borders

RU Borders looks for PhD projects concerning challenges to territoriality and citizenship through processes of globalization, regionalization, (de)imperialization, technological change, and other factors (endogenous, exogenous); contestations and transformations of “the liberal border script” and its principles (e.g. national sovereignty, cultural diversity, personal and economic freedom and mobility) in comparative and historical perspective.

RU Orders

RU Orders is interested in PhD projects on contestations of the liberal order script including state- structures, rights, and political rule. In particular, the RU investigates objections to the notion that democratic procedures produce equality in the capacity of individuals to influence political choices as well as the promotion of exclusionary understandings of human rights. It also examines resistance to institutions of global governance.

RU (Re-)Allocation

RU (Re-) Allocation looks for PhD projects related to welfare and social security with a focus on the global south, preferably Africa or South Asia; to liberal market economies, (re-)allocation processes (such as progressive taxation) and the creation of inequality; interdependences of inequalities within the liberal market economy; to contestations of the liberal script through a combination of inequalities and other pressures such as climate change, demographic change, and (forced) migration.

RU Temporality

The RU Temporality is interested in PhD projects related to time-related challenges to the liberal script; in challenges to the liberal script from a historical perspective; understandings of temporality and progress and their influence on how actors allocate time to market and non-market activities; tensions between future-oriented values against present-oriented norms with regard to, e.g., work-life- balance.

Funding through (external) scholarships

  • Two scholarships for students with Chinese citizenship are funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC).
  • As there is only a limited number of PhD positions available, candidates who are not offered a scholarship can be admitted to the programme provided that they secure their own external funding. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to apply to other sponsors/foundations at the same time of your BGTS application.

Requirements for application

  • Excellent Master’s degree, qualifying for PhD studies in the social sciences, history, economics, law, or area studies;
  • proof of C1-level English language skills or the equivalent;
  • most recent CV;
  • letter of motivation (600 words maximum);
  • research proposal (5,000 words maximum) with a timeline for your project;
  • two letters of reference from professors at universities or research institutions.


Application procedure

All applicants, except those from China, are required to apply online. The application platform opens on 2 December 2019.

Applicants from China must submit their application via the Bejing Office of the Freie Universität Berlin until 4 January 2020 ( Please note that candidates selected for a nomination for a CSC scholarship have to submit another application to the respective funding organisation, which makes the final decision.

For more information about the BGTS and the application procedure, please visit: www.scripts-