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PhD Programme in Transnational Studies | The Berlin Graduate School

Venue: Berlin, Germany
Application deadline: January 31, 2015



The Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies (BTS), a joint endeavour of the Freie Universität Berlin, the Hertie School of Governance and the Social Science Research Center Berlin, announces its next call for applications for its full-time PhD programme. All three are leading institutions in the field of international relations and EU studies. The programme draws upon their faculty, research projects, facilities and services.

The three-year English language doctoral programme at BTS is designed for exceptionally talented and motivated graduate students. It offers state-of-the-art survey classes, a solid training in research methods and research design, soft skills courses and individualized supervision. The programme has a strong focus on transnational processes analysed by social science methods. BTS welcomes applications from political science and adjacent disciplines like economics, history, law, and area studies. Research at BTS focuses on the structures, risks and chances of cross-border interaction at various levels, assuming that as a result of the globalization process, the relevance of national societies and actors is declining in favor of transnational ones. Scholars at BTS mainly conduct research in the following three areas, which are not mutually exclusive but overlapping:

  • Causes and consequences of globalization
  • Governance challenges
  • Comparative analysis of regional structures
  • The EU as a transnational polity

The BTS scholarship includes living expenses of €1,200 per month plus a monthly grant of €100 for material and travel expenses. The registration fee and health insurance are not included in the scholarship. Continuation of the scholarship after each year is subject to the satisfactory completion of the each year’s requirements. At the end of the first year, this means successfully completing the take-home examination as well as a positive evaluation of their research proposal by their team of supervisors. At the end of the second year, each candidate’s overall performance will be evaluated. All applicants for the PhD programme are automatically considered for the BTS scholarship during the review process.

All applicants for the PhD programme will automatically be considered for a full BTS scholarship covering all three years of the programme, subject to successful completion of each year. Please see the page on costs and financing for advice on how to apply for external scholarships.


Anyone who has completed a master’s degree in social sciences comprising the equivalent of 120 ECTS credits (for a total of 300 ECTS credits including the bachelor’s degree) is eligible to apply. The term “social sciences” refers to political science, sociology, and history as well as to economics and law. The programme is open to applicants of all nationalities and shows no preference to EU citizens.
Scholarship and fees

There are no tuition fees at BTS; however, a registration fee of €600 is required of all students on a yearly basis. This fee covers a student transportation pass, a social insurance contribution etc.  Aside from the registration fee, candidates should expect to budget about €1,000-1,200 per month for living expenses in Berlin including housing, meals, and personal expenses. A number of generous donors make funding possible for a limited number of candidates each intake, in the form of BTS scholarships. Students who do not receive a scholarship through BTS will be required to secure external funding in order to be eligible for the programme.

Application Procedure

All required documents must be submitted online by the 31 January deadline. Late submission of documents is not permitted.

All documents can be submitted electronically through the online application form. Uploading is possible in jpeg, pdf, doc, or rtf formats with a maximum size of 2 MB per file and 20 MB total. It is not necessary to send original copies of documents prior to being accepted. If you are accepted you will be required to provide certified copies/translations of your documents in paper form before enrolment.

In order to apply, you should register here.


  • Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies

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Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies


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