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FAQ on Applications

See here for answers to the most common enquiries concerning applications for membership at the GCSC.

Application requirements

Are international postgraduate researchers eligible for scholarships?
  • Yes! We welcome and encourage applications from around the world. For more specific information see information for international applicants and services for international members.

I took a one-year research-track MA. Am I eligible to apply?
  • In most cases, only two-year research-track programmes will be considered equivalent to a German MA degree. Graduates of one-year programmes might be asked to complete extra coursework prior to starting with their doctorate. Please contact the GCSC staff should you feel unsure about your degree.

I already hold a doctorate, but would like to gain a second PhD. Will the centre support me?
  • German universities do not grant doctorates to candidates already holding a PhD in the same discipline (e.g. the humanities). For this reason, we cannot accept applications for doctoral scholarships from candidates who already hold a PhD.

 

I already started my PhD. Am I eligible for your program?

  • We only accept applicants who have not yet worked towards their PhD for more than one year (by the application deadline).

 

Does the GCSC require me to choose a certain topic for my research project when applying for a scholarship?
  • In order to benefit from our high-profile interdisciplinary research environment, your research project should contribute to at least one of our eight research areas. However, we refrain from imposing thematic restrictions on research proposals. Instead, we encourage talented postgraduate students to join the GCSC and thereby to contribute to its diversified research profile and allow their own research to be stimulated by constant exchange with other fellows and senior researchers.

In the application I am asked to specify the 'Academic Discipline of the PhD Thesis'. Due to the transdisciplinary nature of my project, I am not sure which academic discipline to choose.
  • Since we welcome interdisciplinary projects, you may locate your research project within one or more of our academic subjects and research areas. However, please make sure that your research proposal includes an explanation of how the project fits into the relevant disciplines and the GCSC's research profile.

In the application I am asked to specify the 'Academic Discipline of the Doctoral / PhD Thesis'. Am I eligible for membership at the GCSC if the discipline that I have my degree in is not taught at Justus-Liebig-University?
  • The GCSC offers young researchers an interdisciplinary research environment with scholars from the JLU and other national and international institutions. If your research project fits into the GCSC’s research profile, you are very welcome to apply for membership. We will be happy to look for the adequate subject available in Giessen where your research can be located and will always try and find individual solutions suited to the candidate’s needs.

If I want to apply for membership, is it possible to apply first and enrol at Justus-Liebig University later?
  • Yes, this is possible. Once you are accepted at the GCSC, you will have to apply for admission at the department you wish to be affiliated with (Academic Examination Office) and enrol as a PhD student at JLU (for more information see here). The enrolment fee is about € 300 (including the students’ semester ticket for free public transport in Hesse for up to six month).

 

I don’t have a supervisor at JLU. May I apply for the scholarship PhD programme?
  • Yes. PhD supervisors from among the GCSC faculty may be chosen by the applicants before or after their admission. It will be part of the application procedure to verify if your chosen faculty member is willing to supervise your thesis. You do not have to contact potential supervisors beforehand, but are of course free to do so if you want to get in touch before filing your application.

 

Should I contact potential supervisors in advance?
  • There is no need for you to discuss your project with a potential supervisor before being admitted here at the GCSC. We would, however, ask you to list members of the faculty you would like to see on your advisory board. Once we have reviewed and approved of your application, we will put you in touch with relevant faculty to negotiate supervision details and the finer details of your future collaboration.

Are only professors eligible to submit references?
  • We would ask you to submit at least one reference by a full professor (i.e. holding a chair). Your second referee should hold a doctorate (i.e. readers, lecturers, assistant and associate professors) and have taught you at university level. References may be forwarded by the applicant or sent by the person providing the reference.

 

Can I apply for a scholarship even though I have not yet finished my undergraduate thesis?
  • Your application for a doctoral post can only be considered if you have finished your M.A.- thesis and you will have obtained your M.A. degree by 1 October 2019 (beginning of the scholarship). If you cannot yet present any official transcript / M.A. degree certificate, we need a letter of your supervisor confirming that you will have received your degree by 1 October 2019. This confirmation has to reach us in the second round (before March 8, 2019). We will also ask you to submit your exam certificates as soon as possible before 1 October 2019.

Should the primary supervisor (or both supervisors) be affiliated with the GCSC and Giessen University? If I already have a supervisor at another university, can I still apply at the GCSC?
  • Yes, you may choose your second examiner / supervisor from another institution in Germany or abroad. We do, however, require your first supervisor to be based at Gießen University. Remember that there is no need to contact potential supervisors prior to applying at the GCSC, as we'll gladly put you in touch with suitable supervisors once you've been accepted to the programme.

 

I am about to finish my M.A., but will not have done so by the application deadline. Am I still eligible to apply?
  • You are eligible to apply provided that you will have finished your degree by October 2019 at the latest. We would ask you to have your referees comment on your academic work so far and to submit an up-to-date transcript of the courses taken so far.

 

Are there age restrictions for GCSC membership and scholarships?
  • GCSC considers applications from candidates of all ages. Please note, though, that you must have graduated from your master programme no longer than two years ago. Furthermore you should not have been working in a non-academic context for a significant period.
  • You are invited to let us know about periods of parental leave, chronic or severe illness, and  periods of time spent caring for relatives, etc. If for these reasons you have not been able to prepare an application during the two years following your university degree, these periods will not be taken into account

Language Issues

Can I submit my application in English?
  • You may write your application in English or German. If you are called for an interview, you may present your research in either language.

My MA thesis was written in a language other than English or German. Am I still eligible to apply?
  • At stage two of the application process, please provide us with a copy of your original thesis as well as a summary of about two pages written in English or German. This summary should provide information on the major research questions, the methods and models applied, as well as the results achieved. Additionally, we would ask you to provide a translated version of the table of contents.

Do I need to sit language exams, such as TOEFL or TestDaF, before applying?
  • We do not require you to sit foreign language examinations.

Is knowledge of German imperative for participation in the GCSC Research Training Programme?
  • Courses at the GCSC are taught in English and in German and you should be fluent in either of these languages when you start your PhD at the GCSC. According to the doctoral degree regulations, doctoral students are asked to obtain a German language proficiency certificate by the end of their graduate studies at the GCSC. At JLU, German language courses for doctoral students are offered on a regular basis, which allows you to obtain the certificate within one year. However, we would warmly advise you to acquire a basic knowledge of the German language before coming to Giessen.

Application Procedure

Doctoral Scholarships: At stage two of the application process, I have to submit a research proposal of no more than 10 pages. Which information should this proposal contain?
  • The research proposal should follow these five academic guidelines:
  1. Objective: Define what it is you would like to know. Furthermore, clarify why certain aspects of your research are of special interest. Define the key questions for your next step.
  2. Methods: Describe how you would like to proceed. Also explain how you are going to use prescribed methods of your discipline and why these methods are especially helpful for your dissertation project.
  3. Theories and Terms: Clarify what principles you’re orienting yourself by. On which general statements from select representatives of your discipline would you like to base your thoughts? When possible, apply current terminology to your explanation.
  4. Materials/Objects: Describe what material you’ll be analyzing and depicting. Briefly present the texts, dates or sources and clarify why these materials are relevant to your work. Are these sources easily accesed, or do you foresee archival research as a means to reach certain sources?
  5. Hypothesis: Explain what you hope to find out. Are there already hunches in the research or do you already have presumptions with which you would like to support your work?

Which information should the references contain? Should my referees comment on my research proposal?
  • Formally, references should be submitted on official letterhead paper and contain your referee’s contact details, as well as information on the nature of your relationship. We do not require your references to comment on the project you are proposing. Rather, your references should give us a clear idea of your academic as well as personal skills and standing in class.

If invited to submit further application material at stage two of the application process, can I submit my application by email?
  • Please click here for instructions.

Do I need to submit certified copies of all my certificates?
  • When applying for post, we would ask you to submit certified copies of all your certificates and diplomas at stage two of the application process.

 

I will only finish my thesis in summer. Which documents should I submit for stage two of the application process?
  • Please submit sample chapters and the table of contents of your thesis. In addition, we invite you to submit further pieces of academic writing that you consider representative of your approach and style.

 

Additional Information

How much does the doctoral scholarship amount to?
  • The doctoral scholarships include a monthly stipend of approximately € 1,468.

 

How does the GCSC deal with underrepresented groups and potential evaluation bias during the application process?

  • The scholarships and memberships of the centre are awarded to applicants on the basis of the excellence and quality of their application. All applications are treated equally with regard to gender, ability and disability, sexual identity, nationality, ethnicity, religion, age, social background, possible care obligations, and any other factors. A member of the Equal Opportunities Committee is involved in all stages of the application process. The Equal Opportunities Committee can be contacted confidentially in advance of or during any application should you have any concerns or questions in respect of equal opportunities.