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The Study of Culture at the Centre

The Study of Culture at the Centre

Being at the Centre

In Giessen you and your work take centre stage. The Graduate Centre offers you exactly what you need: plenty of freedom with tailor-made support.

Scholarship comes from people. That is why a Graduate Centre is not first and foremost a building or a structure; rather, the Centre is the people who are writing their doctorate here, who are getting involved, researching and teaching, discussing and debating, who are poring over texts and honing sentences. Therefore, you are at the centre of our Centre. A lot of people and a unique supervision concept are there for you, so that you can give your best. Your supervisors, many other dedicated professors and post-docs, top-class visiting fellows, the Graduate Centre team, and, of course, all the other doctoral students – at the Centre you will always be able to find support when you need it. Our structures follow this maxim, too; they offer guidance but allow the freedom that excellent research needs.
Therefore, we are not a school, but a centre – with you at its heart.

Benefiting from a Pioneering Model

Always ahead of the times: Founded in 2001 and frequently praised as a pioneering model, Giessen still enjoys the edge that experience gives it today.

In Giessen we recognised the signs of the times early. Many doctoral students had long wished for a tailor-made programme that supported them through the particular challenges of a doctorate, and gave them the opportunity to work in a team environment. The Justus-Liebig-University reacted by founding the Giessener Graduiertenzentrum Kulturwissenschaften (GGK) in 2001. It was the first university in Germany with a comprehensive and integrated doctoral programme in the humanities and social sciences. The starting point was always a clear orientation towards the wishes and needs of doctoral students, who were able to take part in the development stage through surveys and workshops. Positive external evaluations and awards prove the success of this flagship institution, which has frequently been praised as a pioneering model for reforms in postgraduate research training. With nearly ten years' experience behind it, the Graduate Centre has continued to develop, improve and expand.
And we won't stop learning in the future, either – you, too, can profit from the experience of the original!

A Doctorate with a System

A clear direction brings the necessary energy: Supported by our holistic and systematic research training programme, you can gain your doctorate in three years.

Doctoral students are not amateurs. And yet, a doctorate presents you with many new challenges. The Graduate Centre offers specific courses for every phase of the doctorate, and a systematic programme of workshops and events provides tailor-made support: From foundation courses to preparing for your defence, our research training programme offers you practical help in organising, planning and carrying out your doctoral research. Practical courses explain the finer points of academic writing, for example, or help you to prepare for your first international conference. Research workshops and Master Classes with renowned international scholars ensure that you are up to date with current research in the study of culture, and give you the chance to discuss your ideas with leading academics. This also benefits your doctoral project, which always comes first: Constructive feedback from supervisors, post-docs and your peers can be gained in the colloquia, and, moreover, for any question you may have it is easy to find the right person to ask. Mentoring by professors, post-docs and other doctoral students provides valuable support.
This holistic and systematic concept of supervision ensures that you can gain your doctorate successfully and quickly.

Contributing to Cutting-Edge Research

From the first day on, the GCSC and the University of Giessen offer you the chance to be an active participant in a research-intensive environment. We believe that flat hierarchies help to make outstanding research possible.

Young academics are innovators who are often pursuing particularly exciting and productive research projects. Thus, it goes without saying that you, as a young academic, will be taken seriously as an equal partner from day one. In the Graduate Centre's working groups, doctoral students work with post-docs and professors to develop interdisciplinary research projects and learn from one another. In these projects we also emphasise the productivity of a varied theoretical and methodological pluralism over developing particular disciplinary schools. And with its main focus on the study of culture, the Justus-Liebig-University also offers you a very attractive research-intensive environment. Research centres in the study of culture such as the Giessen Center for Eastern European Studies (GiZo), the Center for Media and Interactivity (ZMI) and the Herder-Institute in Marburg are looking forward to you getting involved, as well as the Giessen-based German Research Council's research training group 'Transnational Media Events' and the state of Hesse's LOEWE Excellence Center 'Cultural Techniques and their Mediatization'.
This philosophy of active participation of doctoral students has a long tradition in Giessen: Justus Liebig knew that the best way of promoting young academics was training through research.

A Doctorate with Conference and Publication Experience

Gaining experience at conferences and in publishing your work is crucial for young academics, since this is what makes your work visible. Giessen makes it possible for you to take this first step early on.

Successful research is a result of exchange, and needs critical discourse. Therefore, one of the researcher's most important tasks is to present his or her findings to the public – at conferences and symposia and in academic publications. This can often be a great challenge, and at the same time one of the most rewarding experiences: holding that first article in your hands, receiving praise after a lecture. Such a success motivates you for the next stage of your research project. In Giessen comprehensive assistance in presenting your work is available through the numerous workshops, personal guidance and coaching sessions for academic writing and presenting at conferences. You can use our e-journal, KULT_online, for your first experience of being published, and you will be able to gain conference experience at one of our many Giessen symposia and summer schools. And when you want to travel to your first external conference, we will not only provide advice, but in many cases we can cover the travel costs as well.
By doing a doctorate in Giessen, you can make great contacts and a good name for yourself early on.

A Doctorate in the Champions League

As the initiator of international networks, today’s Graduate Centre is at the hub of a number of trans-European and worldwide collaborations and networks.

Really outstanding scholarship needs international dialogue. Therefore, we started early in Giessen to make international contacts and set up collaborations. Every year, together with our many partners from well-established, top-ranking European and American universities, we organise several international summer schools and conferences for doctoral students, offer ex change programmes for young academics and invite renowned visiting fellows to Giessen. In addition, a growing number of our doctoral students pursue their doctorate internationally at Giessen and at one of the partner universities, receiving a double degree at the end, awarded jointly by the two universities. All our members benefit again and again from this form of intensive exchange at a very high level.
We even learnt one of our mottos for internationalisation from a partner institution in the USA: Change depends on exchange!

A Doctorate with Prospects

By planning ahead, a doctorate can open up many career paths. Our Career Service and Teaching Centre are your personal career coaches.

Our successful alumni are the proof: After a doctorate at Giessen’s Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture you will have brilliant job prospects. The Graduate Centre’s Career Service offers you workshops on relevant fields of employment, and helps you to build up the classic key skills of a researcher in the study of culture. With these excellent qualifications, you can also score well on the job market. Our wide network of external collaboration partners guarantees inspiring teachers and unbeatable contacts with potential employers whilst you are studying. The Career Service is perfectly complemented by our Teaching Centre, which offers a comprehensive qualification in university teaching. At the Teaching Centre you will be supported throughout your first teaching experiences during your doctoral studies, which is the perfect preparation for future activities in academia and beyond – didactic skills in knowledge transfer are also in demand in business.Naturally, being able to combine work and family is at the heart of our programme. Therefore, we offer doctoral students with children a wide range of support options as well.
As you can see, in Giessen you will find the best prospects for your doctorate – and for what comes next.


Apply for one of our attractive doctoral programmes! The right solution for your project is certainly in one of them. And we look forward to meeting you!