Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Mentoring and Support


The course requirements in the Preparatory Academic Training may differ from candidate to candidate. Its successful participation is linked to mid-term examinations. In the core doctoral programme, in contrast, credits are attached to progress milestones. These entail research internships, literature reviews, an approved dissertation prospectus as well as various research seminars in order to enhance the theoretical, methodological, and empirical quality of the thesis.

The Doctoral Thesis may be written in a European language of the country where the doctorate is awarded. A concise summary of the thesis, however, must be written in English in a format of an article ready to be submitted to an international journal. This is the version that will be evaluated by the members of the international supervision committee. Status reports should be provided in English as well for the members of the committee.

Semester Abroad

An essential part of the curriculum is the experience gained through the study at partner universities abroad. PhD candidates are obliged to spend at least one semester as well as a shorter research stay of 4-6 weeks at other partner universities. Visiting scholars are strongly encouraged to follow language courses in the countries of the chosen partner universities.

Status and Supervision

Depending on the guidelines of the particular partner university, a Supervision Agreement is signed between the supervisor and the PhD candidate. This document lays down the rights and duties as well as eventual assessment modalities and procedures in dissenting cases.

Supervision of the PhD candidates entails the regular monitoring of candidates' progress in the academic curriculum and the passing of milestones. Supervisors are approved by the Scientific Board that is also responsible for the composition of the Supervision Committee. The committee consists of up to five members of the international Sess.EuroPhD faculty.

Partnership PhD Programme

Doctoral candidates of the Programme who study in Berlin, either as regular students or students visiting from partner universities, are granted full membership of the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS) that offers a curriculum overlapping with that of the Sess.EuroPhD. This allows an additional opportunity for exchange and learning with fellow doctoral candidates.


Many of the participating universities award scholarships to some of the candidates who have successfully applied. However  applicants are also encouraged to apply for funding independently at separate foundations.

In Berlin, doctoral students who are accepted to the Sess.EuroPhD have the opportunity to apply for scholarships for up to 36 months based on an annual assessment of their progress. In addition funding for teaching and research assistantships as well as first-year and write-up fellowships are given. Facilities such as office space and computer are provided to each candidate. Research travel grants and means for conference participation are normally provided. Language courses can be financed as well.