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Information for Doctoral Candidates

Thank you very much for your interest in attaining a doctorate in the Department of Political and Social Sciences.

According to your own preferences you may choose between an Individual Doctorate (i.e. writing your doctoral thesis and defending it in an oral examination) and a Structured Doctorate (i.e. the completion of the programme of one of the Graduate Schools of the Freie Universität Berlin in addition to writing your thesis and defending it).

The Individual Doctorate is still the most popular way to attain a doctorate in Germany; and the Department of Political and Social Sciences with its wide range of subjects offers excellent opportunities to do just that. If you choose the Individual Doctorate you can focus on your doctoral project without having to comply with the rules and regulations of a study programme. You will enjoy a liberty when choosing the topic of your thesis or structuring your completely flexible working hours that no study programme can match.  

In a Structured Doctorate, on the other hand, the doctorate students are fully integrated into the stable education programme of a Graduate School. This programme brings together select doctoral students whose projects are attributable to a common interdisciplinary field. The advantages of a Structured Doctorate as opposed to the Individual Doctorate lie in the additional financial support that is being offered, a choice of interdisciplinary courses in which key qualifications for a future in academia or other professional fields can be acquired, the systematic support in career planning as well as the aid of the Welcome Center which, among other things, organises orientation weeks for new students and offers special services for international doctoral students.

Provided they have the consent of their supervisors, the Regulations for the Conduct of Doctoral Examinations permit doctoral students to submit either a monograph or a cumulative work as their doctoral thesis. In addition to that doctoral students who have successfully completed both their doctoral procedure and the programme of their Graduate School may decide whether they prefer to attain the traditional academic Dr. phil./Dr. rer. pol or the grade Ph.D.

In case a misunderstanding, contrast of interests etc. should lead to tensions in the long-term cooperation with your supervisor, the Department´s Conflict Counselling is at your disposal. Four professors of our department have agreed to act as counsel and liaison in case of conflict.

Further information

On our web pages you will find detailed information on



Chair of the Committee for Doctoral Examinations in the  
  Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar
  Institute of Sociology Prof. Dr. Dieter Ohr
  Institute for Media and Communication Studies Prof. Dr. Martin Emmer
  Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology Prof. Dr. Claudia Liebelt
Early Career Support Daphne Stelter


Defenses of doctoral theses may take place per video conference(Webex), in person or in a hybrid format, provided all involved parties agree with the chosen format.