The taught part of the PhD programme lasts six semesters / three years. The curriculum includes the participation in foundational courses introducing the research agenda and relating it to the individual PhD projects, interdisciplinary research seminars and doctoral colloquia as well as working groups. Foundational courses and research seminars serve
the inter-disciplinary qualification of the PhD candidates, and are often co-taught by lecturers from different disciplines.


The weekly doctoral colloquia provide the opportunity to present research projects and so far achieved preliminary results to the peer group of PhD candidates coming from different disciplinary backgrounds. The aim of the colloquium is also to train competencies in the presentation of specialized research to an audience that shares interest in the overall topic but is not in
all cases familiar with the state of the art of the author’s project. Working groups are smaller in size and bring together PhD candidates and Post-docs from neighbouring disciplines. Here, candidates submit first drafts of chapters and get feedback both from professors and their peers on empirical findings and methodological approaches. Working groups combine their efforts also in organizing international workshops to confront the progress they made with what other research centres achieved. A summer school provides opportunity to discuss with young scholars from other universities and to organize thematically coherent panels (often with a comparative approach towards one’s own subject). The winter school in contrast is an internal event where PhD candidates present to the whole Graduate School and report on the results they made over the past year. It is combined with meetings of the Thesis Committee. Part of the teaching programme are also German classes as well as courses in academic writing and a couple of workshops providing familiarity with specialized software needed in social science and human geography for the collection of data and the ‘mapping' of historical and sociological research.

An important part of the didactical concept of the Graduate School is to enable PhD candidates to make first steps into academic teaching. In coordination with experiences scholars they are invited to offer one semester-long course to BA- or even MA-students and to reflect upon the experience they made in an essay written after evaluation of the course. In addition to the teaching programme we conduct annual Thesis Committees. The Thesis Committees consist of the head of the committee, the supervisor, and two further board members. They serve as an advisory board in order to identify the progressing thesis and possible obstacles.