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BGTS Curriculum

The BGTS structured programme comprises a three-year programme (180CP) which balances independent research with a structured curriculum. Students have the opportunity to take part in content-oriented courses, research methods training and research colloquia as well as tailored transferable skills workshops. The doctoral programme consists of three years of study starting in September of each year. In total, students earn 180 credit points over the course of the years, with the major part of the workload dedicated to independent thesis research. Participation in the SCRIPTS course, tailored methods courses, as well as the research design course, the research colloquia, as well as a set of transferable skills courses is required of all students with the aim of training them as researchers and enabling them to complete their thesis research within the allotted timeframe. Students will also have the opportunity to present their original doctoral research in regular research colloquia und at academic conferences.

A team of two supervisors and one professorial advisor in a mentoring role support the doctoral candidate during their studies. Supervisors are either members of the BGTS faculty or external, from national or international partner institutions of the Cluster.

Below, you will find an overview of the Course programme and a list of Workshops and offers at the Dahlem Research School.

SCRIPTS course: content-oriented course on “Contestations of the Liberal Script”

Presentation and discussion of the theoretical foundations and the main research axes of the Cluster, as well as close insight into the structure and workings of the Clusters’ Research Units (RU) and projects. The course will be spread out over the first year of study, parts will take place in a block format, others on a biweekly or weekly basis.

Research Design and Research Colloquium

Introduction to Research Design serves as an overview course and introduces doctoral candidates to the foundations of research design, including qualitative, quantitative and other relevant methods of research, to prepare for the independent thesis research. The course takes place on a weekly basis during the first semester of the first year of study.

Research colloquia consists of presentations and discussions of dissertation projects. In the first year, the colloquium is closely linked to the Introduction to Research Design course and serves as a means to present the revised proposal. During the second and third year, colloquia are taking place several times a year in a block format to enable doctoral students to present and discuss their progress within the broader context of the Cluster. Several PIs from different disciplines researched by the Cluster will be involved in the colloquia.

Statistics and Qualitative Methods

This course, offered by the Hertie School of Governance, provides an introduction to quantitative research methods. The aim of the course is to acquaint students with quantitative methods of empirical social science research and enable them to understand and critically evaluate the empirical work of others. No prior knowledge of statistics is required. In addition to receiving an overview over key concepts, students attend a weekly lab session in which concepts will be applied using Stata. The focus of this course lies on multiple regression with the aim of providing students with the necessary skills to conduct their own research.

Students with sufficient training in statistics and quantitative methods of research receive a waiver for statistical training, but will have to complete at least one course in qualitative methods of research. For students working in disciplines requiring alternative methods approaches, a tailored methods curriculum will be developed if necessary.

The BGTS closely cooperates with the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS) and the Hertie School of Governance, as well as the Dahlem Research School (DRS) to share resources and offer the best possible selection of methods and transferable skills courses. Doctoral students can obtain credit points for attended workshops held at the BGTS or one of the partner institutions.

Methods workshops cover a range of well-known approaches in quantitative and qualitative social science research, such as discourse analysis, interview techniques, qualitative comparative analysis, process tracing, and introductions to useful software programmes such as MaxQDA and Stata. Students also have the opportunity to take part in tailored courses or propose topics for future BGTS workshops.

Transferable skills workshops aim at preparing doctoral students for their future careers in- and outside of academia and offer a set of useful professional skills, which can also be employed during the time of doctoral studies. Courses include English Academic Writing (mandatory for non-native speakers), Advanced Writing Skills, Presentation Skills, Knowledge Management, University Didactics (Higher Education Teaching), Language Classes. Students are required to participate in at least two of these courses during their first and second year.

During the second or third year, students are required to either teach a course at the BA or MA level on their subject or field of research at one of the Clusters’ institutions, or participate in an associated research project, preferably at one of the Clusters’ RUs or in one of the projects.

Students are welcome to participate in further training activities, for example by attending Summer and Winter Schools in Methods Training, such as the ECPR Winter or Summer School, and can be eligible for additional funding to support this training. Additional funding is also available for field research in the course of thesis research. Furthermore, students can organize research stays, preferably at one of the Clusters’ international partner institutions, or cooperate with associated research projects within the Cluster to further academic networking.