PhD Programs

If you are interested in starting your doctoral thesis at our institute, you can choose between two options:

1. Individual Doctorate

2. PhD Program in Research Clusters or at a Graduate School


For an overview of ongoing and completed doctoral projects at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology please see:

List of completed doctoral dissertations

List of ongoing doctoral research projects


1. Individual Doctorate

The individual doctorate – independent research under supervision of a professor – is still the most common way to pursue a doctorate in Germany. This usually provides greater freedom as far as the choice of subject is concerned. If you have an interesting idea for a doctoral project, please contact one of the following professors who are authorized to supervise doctoral projects. Your proposed project should fit into their areas of research:

Prof. Dr. Urte Undine Frömming

  • Prof. Undine Frömming supervises PhD projects in Visual and Media Anthropology, Cyberanthropology (virtual cultures), Climate Anthropology, Sustainability Research, Anthropology and Disaster (as well a combination of this subjects). Regional focus should be in South-East Asia (Indonesia, Thailand) or East-Africa (Tanzania), partially also Europe.

Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dilger

  • regionally: Eastern and Southern Africa, migratory and transnational contexts
  • thematically: Anthropology of religion (esp. Pentecostalism and Islam; religious diversity); Medical anthropology (HIV/AIDS, anthropology of biomedicine, transnationalization of health, medicine and healing), Sexuality, kinship and gender (esp. masculinities), Transnationalism and migration, Anthropology of education and learning.
  • see also: List of currant doctoral projects supervised by H. Dilger

Prof. Dr. Birgitt Röttger-Rössler

  • regionally: South East Asia
  • thematically: Anthropology Emotions, Cognitive and Psychological Anthropology, Gender, Biography and Memory, Indonesian and Malayan Literatures

PD Dr. Tilo Grätz

  • thematically: media anthropology, economic anthropology, political and social anthropology, technical anthropology, migration and transnationality, politics of memory
  • regionally: West Africa (esp. Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana); Europe (Brandenburg; South Italy)

Prof. Dr. Katharina Schramm

  • Thematic: Anthropology of Global Inequalities; Political Anthropology; Race and Racism; Citizenship, Politics of Identity and Political Subjectivity; Science, Technology and Society (STS); genetics and belonging; Heritage and Authenticity; Cultural Politics; Memory; Diaspora; History of Anthropology (especially Physical Anthropology and Colonial Collections)
  • Regional: Africa (Ghana, Southern Africa), African Diaspora

Prof. Dr. Martin Voss

  • regionally: South East Asia, India, Central America, Alps
  • thematically: disaster research

Prof. Dr. Olaf Zenker

  • Thematic interests: political and legal anthropology (especially modern law; legal pluralism; bureaucracy; Identity and Conflict Studies.); urban anthropology;  linguistic anthropology; moral anthropology; philosophical anthropology; Social & Cultural Theory
  • Regional focus: Southern Africa and Europe (esp. Northern / Ireland and Germany)

PD Dr. Ingrid Schindlbeck (Ethnological Museum)

  • regionally: Near and Middle East, Central Asia,
  • thematically: kinship, religion, anthropology of gender


Once you contact one (or several) of the above mentioned professors with the proposal of pursuing a doctoral degree under her/his supervision, please add:

  • a short sketch of your doctoral project (150-200 words)
  • a short cv
  • copies of your academic qualifications (requirement for acceptance as a doctoral candidate is generally a very good final degree)

If you have found a supervisor who is interested in supervising your doctoral project, he or she will also inform you about funding or scholarship opportunities.

There are no scholarships for individual doctorates provided directly by the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology.


2. PhD Programs in Research Clusters or at a Graduate School

Pursuing doctoral studies in a doctoral degree program, doctoral candidates come together to work on projects related to a common interdisciplinary research topic. During the course of their doctorate, junior researchers are trained in obtaining a broad set of skills to enhance their personal, professional and career development. 

The Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology participates in the following Research Clusters and Graduate Schools which offer formalized PhD course programs. For information and modes of application please consult the following websites: