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Seven good reasons to research at Giessen

1. Being at the Centre

At Giessen, you and your work take centre stage. Our Graduate Centres offer 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 Centres are the people writing their doctorate here, getting involved, researching and teaching. This is why you are at the centre of our Centres. 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 scholars, the Graduate Centres’ teams, and, of course, all the other doctoral students. At the Centres 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. For that reason, there are no graduate schools at Giessen, but centres – with you at their hearts.

2. Benefiting from a Pioneering Model

Always ahead of times: Already in 2001, Giessen founded its first Graduate Centre, which has since been praised as a pioneering model. Enjoy the edge that experience gives.

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. 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. Giessen’s Graduate Centres in the life sciences (GGL) and social sciences (GGS; currently in the course of formation) build on the experiences gained in this successful model, and offer customised programmes for their respective disciplines. And we won’t stop learning the future, either – you, too, can profit from the experience of the original!

3. A Doctorate with a System

A clear direction brings the necessary energy: Supported by our holistic and systematic research training programme, you are able to do your doctorate successfully and without further ado.

Doctoral students are not amateurs. And yet, a doctorate presents you with many new challenges. The Graduate Centres offer specific courses for every phase of the doctorate, and systematic programmes of workshops and events provide tailor-made support: From foundation courses to preparing for your defence, our research training programmes offer 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 prepare for your first international conference. Research workshops, master classes or conferences with renowned international scholars ensure that you are up to date with current research, 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 colloquia and retreats, and, moreover, for any question you may have it is easy to find the right person to ask. This holistic and systematic supervision concept ensures that you can gain your doctorate successfully and in time.

4. Contributing to Cutting-Edge Research

From the first day on, Justus Liebig University Giessen and its Graduate Centres offer you the chance to be an active participant in a research-intensive environment. We believe that flat hierarchies enable outstanding research.

Young academics are innovators who often pursue particularly exciting and productive research projects. In the Graduate Centres’ 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. This philosophy of active participation of doctoral students has a long tradition in Giessen: Justus Liebig already knew that the best way of promotion young academics was training through research.

5. 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. This is why 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 talk. Such success fuels motivation for taking the next stage of your research project.
In Giessen, comprehensive assistance in presenting your work is available through numerous workshops and coachings for academic writing and presenting at conferences. When doing a doctorate at Giessen, you will be able to make great contacts and a good name for yourself early on.

6. A Doctorate with strong international partners

As the initiator of international networks, our Graduate Centres today are at the hub of a number of trans-European and worldwide collaborations and networks.

Really outstanding scholarship requires international dialogue. This is why we at Giessen started early to make international contact and set up collaborations. Every year, we, together with our many partners from established, top-ranking European and American universities, organise several international summer schools or conferences for doctoral students and invite renowned visiting scholars to Giessen. All our researchers benefit again and again from this intensive exchange at a very high level.

7. A Doctorate with Prospects

By planning ahead, a doctorate can open up many career paths. Our Graduate Centres offer great many ways to plan your future career.

Our successful alumni are the proof: A JLU doctorate brings about brilliant job prospects. The Graduate Centres offer career days and workshops on relevant fields of employments, and help you build up and strengthen key skills. With these excellent qualifications, you will be able to score well on the job market. Our wide network of external collaboration partners guarantees inspiring teachers and unbeatable contacts with potential employers, all while still working towards your degree. Naturally, being able to combine work and family is central to our programmes and doctoral students with children can choose from a wide range of support options. As you can see, at Giessen you will find the best prospects for your doctorate – and for what comes next.


Apply to one of our attractive doctoral programmes. We are sure to find a suitable programme for your project and look forward to welcoming you to Giessen!

We could name many more reasons for doing your doctorate at Giessen. For further information, you might want to consult the pages of the Graduate Centre that suits your research profile. The individual Graduate Centres’ staff is happy to advise you in person on all further questions you might have: