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The IPP follows the guidelines and statutes of the JLU. Note that the statutes for doctoral programmes at the JLU are currently under revision, as they are being adapted to new modular curricula and to international requirements and are thus subject to change.


What are the entry requirements for undertaking postgraduate studies at the IPP / JLU?

PhD candidates must have an M.A. or equivalent university degree with a grade well above average and in a field relevant to the dissertation. The degree should meet the international equivalence requirements. Please do not hesitate to contact the IPP team for further information on the equivalence of your degree.

If the dissertation is to be undertaken in a discipline other than that of your university degree, your qualifications need to fulfil the conditions of equivalence as stated in the statutes for doctoral programmes at the JLU. The membership in the IPP requires enrolment at the JLU for the entire period of your doctoral studies (enrolment fee: approximately €270 per semester).

If I would like to apply for membership, is it possible to apply first and enrol at Justus Liebig University later?

Yes, it is possible to apply first and enrol at the JLU later. If you are accepted into the IPP, you will first have to register as a doctoral researcher at the JLU with the PhD Committee (Academic Examination Office) and enrol at the JLU later. The enrolment fee is about €270 per semester. Find further steps and downloads for enrolment here.

Is there an age limit for participants?

No. Applicants’ 'academic age' (not their biological age) will be considered in the selection process. Thus, any interruption in research activity due to, for example, family responsibilities or child care will be taken into account when evaluating a candidate’s suitability for the programme.

Research Project

I have to submit “an outline of the dissertation project of no more than 10 pages as well as an indication of the time-frame envisaged” as part of my application. What information should be included in this outline?

The outline should include a brief abstract summing up your aims and methods, sketch the guiding questions of your project within the context of current academic debates, and indicate how your dissertation will make an original and important contribution to the field. Your research proposal should also outline the source materials that will use, a realistic timetable for the completion of your project and a select bibliography. Find a chart illustrating the five most important academic guidelines for your research proposal here.

Does the outline of the dissertation project have to run up to exactly 10 pages?

No, but it should definitely not exceed 10 pages.


The focus of my thesis is not literary and/or cultural studies – is it still possible to apply for the programme?

If your thesis does not focus on literary and/or cultural studies, the courses offered in the IPP will not be directly relevant to your project and we would therefore not encourage application. It all depends on how close or related the topic is to the research emphasis of the IPP. We are, of course, happy to help you with any further questions you might have concerning the compatibility of your research project with the IPP programme.

In the application, I am asked to specify the 'Academic Discipline of the Doctoral / PhD Thesis'. Am I eligible for membership in the IPP if this discipline is not taught at Justus Liebig University?

The IPP offers young researchers an interdisciplinary research environment with scholars from the JLU and other national and international institutions. If your research project fits into the IPP’s research profile, you are very welcome to apply for membership. We will be happy to assist you in finding individual solutions suited to your needs.

Application Documents

Can I submit my application by email?

Yes, please send your material to


I will not be able to submit my application by the deadline. What can I do?

Please contact the IPP staff before the first application deadline to explain the reasons for the delay.


Can my PhD thesis be supervised by a professor from a university other than the JLU Giessen?

No. Participation in the IPP programme requires participants to find a first supervisor at the JLU. However, the IPP encourages you to find a second supervisor at another university, even abroad.


I don’t have a supervisor at the JLU. May I apply for the PhD programme?

Yes. PhD supervisors may be chosen by the applicants before or after their admission. The IPP team will assist you in finding a supervisor from the JLU once you are admitted into the programme.


In which language should I submit my application?

You may write your application in either English or German.


My undergraduate / postgraduate thesis is written in a language other than English or German. Must I have it translated?

If the thesis is not written in English or German, we will accept the full-text copy in the original language plus a summary of the thesis and the table of contents in English or German.

Is knowledge of German imperative for participation in the International PhD Programme “Literary and Cultural Studies” (IPP)?

For most disciplinary areas, the language of the dissertation and the dissertation defence is German or English. The PhD Committee may accept the language of your respective discipline (i.e. French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese) as well. Find information on special language requirements in the different disciplines at the JLU here (Anlage/Annex 2).

If the language of the dissertation is other than German, sufficient skills in German need to be proven. The IPP may cover the cost of the German courses the members take until B1, which is the level required by the Promotionsordnungen der Geisteswissenschaften. We would warmly advise you, however, to acquire a basic knowledge of German before coming to Giessen.

Additional Information

Does the IPP offer scholarships or financial aid?

The IPP does not offer scholarships, but the GGK team provides advice on applying for scholarships. There are numerous organisations in Germany that fund and promote research through scholarships, fellowships and prizes. Use the following websites to gain an overview of the opportunities open to you:

Furthermore, the IPP will help you finance research and conference trips within Germany and abroad.


What is the difference between the IPP, the GCSC and the GGK?

The International PhD Programme "Literary and Cultural Studies" (IPP) was launched in 2002. Initially funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the IPP has been financed by Justus Liebig University (JLU) since the expiration of the DAAD’s maximum funding period in 2007. The IPP is an integral part of the Giessen Graduate School for the Humanities (GGK) and a pioneering model for internationalisation in postgraduate education in Germany. The International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) and the European PhDnet "Literary and Cultural Studies" build on the experience and expertise of the IPP, as well as on the structures and networks it has established.

It is possible to apply simultaneously to the IPP and the GCSC. Although both applications ask for similar documentation; they are evaluated by different committees, may have some different requirements and are handled individually. It is possible to be admitted to both programmes or become an IPP-only member. With the IPP membership, you would also be part of the GGK, which allow you to participate, for instance, in sections or working groups (AGs).