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About the PhDnet

The PhDnet “Literary and Cultural Studies” offers a clearly structured three-year doctoral programme of high academic standard and with a distinctively international orientation.

PhDnet: Cutting-edge Research in an International Context

As part of the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), the European PhDnet “Literary and Cultural Studies” at Justus Liebig University (JLU) Giessen constitutes an international network between JLU, the doctoral programme for philosophy, arts and society at the University of Helsinki and the doctoral programmes in literary and cultural studies at the University of Bergamo, the Catholic University of Lisbon, the University of Stockholm and the University of Graz.

Members of the PhDnet pursue their doctoral studies at JLU and one of the five partner institutions, where their projects are jointly supervised. Moreover, they are awarded bi-national degrees. The PhDnet “Literary and Cultural Studies” offers a clearly structured three-year doctoral programme of high academic standard and with a distinctively international orientation. Joint events (symposia, conferences, master classes) implement the tight network structures envisioned in the PhDnet. Thus, the PhDnet curriculum provides a range of courses designed specifically for the needs of international doctoral researchers. This study programme ensures the academic quality of the PhD while at the same time reducing the time needed to obtain the degree to three years.

Cotutelle: How to Obtain a Binational Degree

The Bologna process and the general internationalisation of the Higher Education sector will contribute to the Cotutelle’s rising importance. Within structured PhD programmes, Cotutelles are becoming an important factor in establishing collaboration between Graduate Centres. Cotutelles thus constitute a valuable contribution to the internationalisation of PhD programmes.

The PhDnet offers its members the opportunity to obtain their doctorate within a Cotutelle-framework. Doctoral degrees are thus jointly awarded by JLU and one of the five partner universities in Bergamo, Helsinki, Lisbon, Stockholm and Graz.

The universities share supervision and examination responsibilities and recognize course requirements and examinations that have been completed at the partner institution.

Cotutelles offer great advantages for doctoral researchers

  • who aim at establishing and assuring professional connections to both countries,
  • who have not yet decided on which country they would like to work in,
  • who plan on embarking on careers in international contexts,
  • whose research is closely connected to another country.


Supervision by a professor in Germany and at a partner university abroad enables doctoral researchers to closely engage with the respective research cultures and Higher Education systems. Hence, they gain further transferable skills, which stretch far beyond improved foreign language abilities and intercultural competences. We expect transnational PhD programmes to open up new career opportunities to graduates.