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Scholarship Advice

All IPP members may rely on expert scholarship advice, helping them to secure funding for their postgraduate studies.

All IPP members may rely on expert scholarship advice, helping them to secure funding for their postgraduate studies.

This service includes not only information about possible sponsors and their application deadlines, but also advice on how to write your research proposal. The basics are detailed below. Please feel free to contact the IPP team or schedule an appointment with the IPP coordinator.

Finding Appropriate Types of Funding

The German Begabtenförderungswerke (fellowship funds) and various other foundations and institutions offer PhD funding. These are all listed in the funding database ELFI. The GGK has a subscription to the ELFI database that allows us to offer our students free access. As access is limited to certain university computers, you are welcome to arrange an appointment to search the database at the IPP office.

The DAAD has also put together information on funding sources especially for foreign doctoral students. This includes grants offered by the DAAD and other organisations for foreign students wishing to study or do research in Germany. You can search by field, country of origin and educational level (postgraduate or postdoctoral).

Applying for Funding

The IPP library provides guidebooks such as the recently published "Handbuch Promotion: Forschung - Förderung – Finanzierung" by Ansgar Nünning and Roy Sommer, that offer valuable hints and advice for funding applications. Please feel invited to visit the library in the IPP office (room 112).

When writing your research proposal, please keep the following criteria in mind:

You should

  • give a general formulation of the topic and aims of the thesis;
  • position your research project within a wider disciplinary and interdisciplinary context;
  • outline the theoretical and methodological approach you intend to take;
  • explain the relevance of your research project for contemporary literary and cultural studies;
  • include a bibliography of all relevant literature;
  • give a brief description of your planned schedule, outlining each major stage of your dissertation, including when you plan to submit and defend your thesis


A good thesis proposal should address the following five topics:

  • Objective: Define what it is you would like to know. Furthermore, clarify why certain aspects of your research are of special interest. Answer the questions you would like to obtain through your research.
  • 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.
  • Theories and Terms: Clarify what principles you’re orienting yourself with. 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.
  • 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?
  • 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?

Sources: Andrea Franck/ Stefanie Haacke/ Swantje Lahm, Schreibkompetenzen in Studium und Beruf. Stuttgart: Metzler 2007. p. 24-31.