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A PhD in the Champions League

The International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC)

GCSC Gießen

The International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) is an interdisciplinary graduate centre at the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen (JLU), which provides an optimal environment for doctoral students in the study of culture and promotes research excellence in eight well-defined research fields.


Benefitting from a Pioneering Model

When the Giessener Graduiertenzentrum Kulturwissenschaften / Giessen Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GGK) was established in 2001, it laid the foundations for a systematic restructuring of doctoral training in the humanities and social sciences. The GCSC builds upon this pioneering model, benefiting from nearly ten years of experience in structured doctoral training for doctoral researchers in the study of culture.

Contributing to Cutting-Edge Research

Created within the framework of the Excellence Initiative of the Federal and State Governments, the GCSC provides a complete doctoral training in the study of culture in just three years. With an excellent research-intensive environment, a research programme with specific target groups as well as intensive personal advising, the Graduate Centre guarantees its doctoral students optimal conditions for doctoral work as well as a well-rounded preparation for life after graduation in academic and non-academic careers.

A Doctorate with a System

The quality of a doctoral education at the GCSC is guaranteed by our holistic approach to advising and training, addressed to the specific needs of doctoral students in the study of culture. In addition to a primary advisor, a variety of other contact persons are available for doctoral students. Practical advice and targeted support are provided by professors and postdocs as well as one's own peer group. In custom-designed seminars and workshops - ranging from core offerings all the way to the preparatory course for the dissertation defence - PhD students also receive appropriate support at every phase in their dissertation research. A systematic mentoring programme in conjunction with a tailor-made curriculum makes it possible for candidates to complete the doctorate within six semesters.

Being at the Centre

Since 2006 with the founding of the GCSC, the Justus Liebig University Giessen is accelerating the further internationalization and professionalization of doctoral training, as part of the Excellence Initiative of the Federal and State Governments. Most important here is that the GCSC understands itself as a graduate centre. PhD students in Giessen work primarily as independent researchers. By collaborating on major projects, they contribute significantly to the "study of culture" direction of the centre. The curriculum presents the doctoral students with additional incentives for their research as well as a wide range of opportunities to develop further skills.

Being in the Centre

As an initiator of international networks, the Graduate Centre is now the focus of a large number of trans-European and global cooperation projects - and also an attraction for non-German PhD students and international visiting scholars from around the world. The excellent networking opportunities make it possible for students in the early stages of their doctoral work to take part in scholarly exchanges at the international level, such as participating in international summer schools, symposia and conferences on exciting issues in the study of culture.

In addition, integration into an excellent environment for research and mentoring is guaranteed by our linkages with a number of regional cultural centres, such as the Giessen Centre for Eastern Europe (GiZO), the Centre for Media and Interactivity (ZMI), the DFG Doctoral Programme in Transnational Media Events, the Hessian LOEWE Excellence Project "Culture Technologies and Their Media Coverage" or the Herder Institute for Research on Central Eastern Europe for integration.

A Doctorate with Prospects

Junior scholars have numerous opportunities to participate in networks of scholarship, being integrated into the publication of research and the organization of conferences. At the same time, by networking with non-university partners, our doctoral students are able to enhance their job prospects after graduation.

The Career Service of the Graduate Centre offers customized services for reinforcing key skills and providing contacts in relevant professional fields. The Teaching Centre of the GCSC, unique in Germany, offers doctoral students an array of services for developing teaching expertise. It not only supports students in their first classroom experiences but also strengthens generally their ability to transfer knowledge, a skill that is today one of the most important skills inside and outside universities for scholars in cultural studies.