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Information for International Applicants

At the GCSC, candidates can either apply for membership or fellowship. The GCSC welcomes applications from international students who graduated with excellent marks from two-year research-track master's programmes in one of the GCSC’s academic subjects or in cultural studies. Our members participate to the GCSC curriculum, contribute to our Research Areas, benefit from our Teaching Centre and Career Service and are embedded in our international network. This enables them to complete high-quality PhD projects in three years.

Each German university has its own regulations for completing a PhD. The GCSC is the International Graduate Centre for academic disciplines in the study of culture at Justus-Liebig-University Giessen (JLU) and therefore follows JLU’s regulations for PhD studies. Members of the GCSC will have to consider these regulations depending on their faculty, the Social Sciences and Cultural Studies (FB 03), History and Cultural Studies (FB 04) or Language, Literature, Culture (FB 05) and will need to follow the formal procedures, such as matriculation at the registrar’s office and application for admission as a doctoral candidate at the respective faculty. The application for membership and scholarships at the GCSC is a separate process.

Application for Fellowship / Membership at the GCSC: Criteria

We apply the same eligibility criteria to German and international applicants: you should have received a master’s degree in a relevant discipline with distinction and are proposing a dissertation project which contributes to the GCSC’s research profile and which can be supervised at Justus-Liebig-University. Please find further information on eligibility criteria and the application procedure here.

Each year, the GCSC grants up to 11 scholarships to new members. We strongly recommend, however, that especially international applicants also search and apply for alternative funding options parallel to their application at the GCSC. Therefore, please consider applying for a Research Grant for Doctoral Studies in Germany sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) or comparable funding institutions from your home countries.

Should you not be eligible to apply for GCSC membership, you may still pursue a PhD project at the University of Giessen. Please find further information on the web pages of the university’s International Office.

Once you have been matriculated as a PhD student of Justus-Liebig-University in faculty 03, 04 or 05, you are automatically granted the status of member of the Giessen Graduate Centre for Cultural Studies, which cooperates closely with the GCSC.

Equivalence of International University Degrees

The GCSC’S staff and the Selection Committee will make a preliminary assessment of the equivalence of international university degrees during the application review process for complete applications only. In many cases, an official examination of your degrees’ equivalence can be carried out by the university’s examination offices only after you have already been admitted to the programme. Therefore, please understand that we cannot make definitive statements about your degree’s equivalence before you have submitted your application.

Support for GCSC Members in Scholarship Applications

The GCSC supports its members without a GCSC scholarship in applying for scholarships from other institutions. Please understand, though, that we cannot issue preliminary membership confirmations to applicants.

Language Requirements

The GCSC’s working languages are German and English. You may submit your application in either of the two languages. We do not require language certificates in the application for the GCSC, please note, though, that you will need to submit proof of language skills to your respective examination office at the University of Giessen once you have been admitted to the GCSC.

In most disciplines, you will need to show proof of language skills in at least two foreign languages (German may be counted as a foreign language for those students with other native tongues). Some disciplines have very specific language requirements. Please consult the regulations of your faculty 03, 04 or 05 for further information.

Language of Your Dissertation

In most disciplines you may write your dissertation in English or German. The faculty’s committee for PhD regulations can allow further dissertation working languages in certain disciplines (e.g. for Romance studies: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese).

Language Courses

In case the language of your dissertation in not German, you will have to show proof of sufficient German language skills (level B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) upon matriculation. You may submit these documents during the course of study. We recommend that you start acquiring basic knowledge of German before starting your PhD with us. International members of the GCSC may apply for funding for participation in German language courses.

The International Office of Justus-Liebig-University offers intensive and evening courses at all levels. Furthermore, you have the possibility of participating in a preparatory language course in the summer before starting your PhD.

As soon as you have been admitted as a member or fellow of the GCSC, you may apply for the centre’s services.