Core Course (1st semester)
To ensure that they provide the optimum accompaniment to your PhD work, the core courses are subdivided into two modules.
The basic module will provide practical help with all organisational and structural problems pertaining to your postgraduate studies. The subject-related module which builds on this basic module will cover methodology, theory and key skills relevant to the respective disciplines (faculties 03, 04 and 05), and there is the possibility to discuss problematic sections of your own dissertation. The aim is to teach the fundamentals of the philosophy of science, project planning, and designing research projects, as well as to help you, in planning your dissertation project, to recognise potential problems early and solve them.
The intermediate course builds upon the contents of the introductory course and should help to obtain a consistency in the doctorate students' tutelage. In contrast to the introductory course, which is offered every winter semester and covers the generalities of the PhD programme, the intermediate course is devoted to the specificities of each doctorate students' dissertation. This course will not only cover techniques for writing different pieces of text such as introductions, conclusions and body, but also specific sections of the course participants' dissertations.
Led by postdoctoral researchers and professors, interdisciplinary graduate colloquia are a feature of our curriculum from the first to the fifth semester and provide a framework for regularly presenting the results of research in the company of other PhD students. Depending on which stage of their PhD they have reached, students present anything from early outlines to finished chapters of their dissertation. In addition, the colloquium is an opportunity to conduct a productive interdisciplinary discussion of methodology, theoretical questions, problems and findings arising from dissertation projects. Colloquia take place fortnightly and give each PhD student the chance to present his or her project once per semester.
A further important component of the range of courses designed for graduate students is a course offering assistance in preparing for the doctoral viva.
PhD students from all faculties can come together in reading courses to explore a range of texts, examining the theoretical or thematic aspect of their own choice. Reading courses are usually led by the students themselves.
The GCSC Study calendar includes a number of courses which aim at enhancing specifically those skills that PhD students working on their theses require. So each semester, the GCSC offers courses on academic writing, conference presentations skills, computer skills, as well as on project and time management.
The GCSC also offers language courses that might help PhD students to ease communication in a foreign language.
Held by established and (internationally) distinguished academics and GCSC-Fellows, keynote lectures are a central feature of the GCSC core curriculum. They address key concepts and theories in the study of culture, present cutting-edge research in the field, and are geared to the main research areas of the GCSC. To enhance in-depth discussion beyond the lecture, GCSC Keynotes are often followed by a workshop or a master class, and thus provide PhD students with further opportunities to raise questions pertaining their own research projects. Furthermore, as key element of the GCSC fellowship programme, keynote lectures provide an opportunity to get to know and welcome current senior fellows at the GCSC, who enrich the curriculum with their course offerings and support PhD students in their research projects.
Led by qualified postdoctoral students or professors, research workshops offer an overview of current themes, theories and methods in the study of culture in order to involve doctoral students at the GCSC in the discussion of contemporary research and to further the conceptual development of the GCSC’s research profile. Research workshops are as interdisciplinary and methodological as is practicable and are guided by the GCSC’s main research areas. Any instructor at the GCSC can lead a research workshop; it is, however, also possible for instructors to be invited from further afield.
Guest lectures are held by qualified PhD students, postdoctoral students or professors engaged in research that is significant for the GCSC’s research profile. Like research workshops, guest lectures are geared towards the GCSC’s main research areas and address issues theoretically and/or methodologically interesting and applicable to a number of disciplines. In the discussion following the lecture, students have the opportunity to raise questions pertaining to their own PhD projects.
Master classes offer students the opportunity to discuss themes relevant to contemporary cultural studies research, as well as to their own PhD projects, with established and distinguished academics from Germany and abroad. The classes are split into two or three parts, and will always begin with a lecture by the guest instructor introducing the central concepts and methodology of the master class, sometimes through a discussion of selected texts read by participants prior to the class. In two-part classes, this is followed by a short break after which between two and four doctoral students have the opportunity briefly to outline their research project’s salient points for discussion with the visiting expert. In the alternative, three-part master classes, the opening lecture ends with an opportunity for students to try to apply the newly introduced concepts and methodology. This is followed by a discussion allowing students to raise questions about the topics touched upon in the master class as well as about their own PhD projects. It is essential that master class instructors be sent an outline of participants’ PhD projects and their questions before the class, as well as existing chapters, where appropriate, in order to be able to discuss individual projects. These master classes represent an innovation in targeted teaching methods for PhD students which has hardly been practised in the rest of Germany but has for some time been a highly successful component of Denmark’s postgraduate education system.
International Symposia for Young Researchers
International Symposia for Young Researchers bring PhD students into interdisciplinary dialogue with scholars from international graduate schools and to give them the opportunity to present their own research findings. The main goals of these symposia are to create dialogue not only between disciplines but also between the academic cultures of different countries as well as to allow young researchers to come into direct contact with one another and create their own networks. To promote this exchange, PhD students working on similar topics at different graduate schools are paired up under the “intercultural respondent model”. Each partner prepares responses to and critical feedback on the other’s paper prior to the symposium in order to open the discussion after the paper has been delivered. Students’ presentations are complemented by contributions from international experts. The thematic basis for each symposium is rooted in the GCSC’s research areas and further not only the students’ development but also that of the GCSC’s interdisciplinary research profile.
Alongside the summer schools, the annual spring school offers a teaching and training opportunity specially designed for postgraduate students, one which concentrates particularly on methodological skills. Specifically tailored to PhD students’ needs and teaching the relevant theoretical background with an emphasis on giving students a chance to apply theories and concepts, the spring school allows participants to incorporate their own dissertation projects and to address methodological questions.
Summer Schools, usually organised in collaboration with one or more of the GCSC’s partner institutions, offer PhD students the chance to gather early experiences of conferences in an international context. The theme of each summer school is on the one hand broad enough to bring in many of the PhD projects being pursued at the GCSC; on the other hand, it is very clearly defined in order that the summer school may be thematically coherent and enable productive discussion. Providing the central pillar of the summer schools are the students’ own presentations. Alongside these, however, internationally renowned experts in the relevant areas give papers which are meant to reflect the current state of theoretical and methodological research in the field under discussion. These experts make themselves available for conversation and discussion with PhD students for the entire duration of the summer school. It is also possible to supplement the presentations with several master classes with the attending experts to promote intensive work in smaller groups within the summer school.