New Graduate School at the University of Heidelberg

1 07 2008
Modern approaches in the humanities and the social sciences – University of Heidelberg implements Senate recommendations on support and encouragement for young scholars and scientists
The University of Heidelberg is demonstrating its determination to implement the Senate’s recommendations on support and encouragement for young scholars and scientists. Alongside the Graduate Schools established with the funds deriving from Heidelberg’s success in the Initiative for Excellence (most of them catering for doctoral students in scientific subjects), a new Graduate School for the humanities and the social sciences is now taking shape.

In October 2008 the first group of doctoral students will be starting or continuing their dissertations in the framework of this structured doctoral course. They will be offered an interdisciplinary teaching programme and regular supervision from academics working on a contractual basis. So far, four Faculties of the University are involved in the programme, the Faculties of Theology, Philosophy, Modern Languages and Behavioural and Cultural Studies. The joint framework for interdisciplinary work is provided by the discussion of concepts central to the humanities and the social sciences. Engagement with these concepts is designed to stimulate the students’ awareness and implementation of theories and methods and to enable them to place their dissertations on more profound reflective foundations.

The practical skills involved in scholarly activity can also be acquired in work groups set up for the purpose. One such work group explores the ways in which electronic resources can be used in research and teaching, another deals with the practicalities of organising a conference. After successful participation in the three-year programme the students will receive a certificate. To ensure that the three years really do suffice for the completion of dissertations, the second year is completely free of obligatory classes and can be used for research sojourns at home and abroad alongside intensive work on the thesis.

The aim of the Graduate School is to combine elements of traditional postgraduate education, like almost total freedom in the completion of the dissertation, with more modern approaches and to use this carefully conceived structure to give students the best possible support on their way to their doctor’s title.

The selection procedure for participation in the programme from the winter semester 2008/09 is under way at present. Later applications are possible on request. The next selection process is scheduled for March 2009. For more information on the structure and design of the Graduate School go to or contact Dr. Anke Barzantny (e-mail:, phone: 06221/543783.

Journalists are invited to address their inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer
University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

Irene Thewalt
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

Editor: Email
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