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Doctoral Positions in Germany

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Open Positions 2
Time Span 01 Oct 2020 for 3 years
Application Deadline 01 Dec 2019
Financing yes
Type of Position
  • PhD - Doctoral Programme
Field of Research
  • Language and Cultural Studies
Subjects Iranian Studies, Turkology, Central and East Asian Archaeology
Description The Graduate School Scholarship Program (GSSP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers two doctoral scholarships to research a doctorate within the “Languages and Cultures of the Silk Road” program at the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS). We welcome applications from highly qualified graduates (M.A.) from the fields of Central and East Asian Archaeology, Central Asian studies, Iranian studies, and Turkic studies.

The scholarship is available from October 2020 for three years (subject to an annual progress review), and possibly for a fourth year. Included: a scholarship installment of currently € 1,200 per month; a travel allowance; payments toward health, accident and personal liability insurance cover; a research allowance of € 460 per year; preliminary German language course; a material resource and supervision allowance of € 1,000 per year (which is paid upon application to the host university), and further, where applicable, rent and family allowances.

The call is open only to applicants
- who are not German citizens and who have not resided in Germany continuously for more than 12 months prior to the application deadline
- whose last final exam (M.A.) should have taken place no longer than 2014, January 31

The program "Languages and Cultures of the Silk Road" covers Central Asia essentially in the period from the beginning of the present era up to the arrival of Islam in the area (e.g., 10th c. in Kashgar, ca. 14th c. in Turfan) and therefore concentrates on the broad range of attested languages and literatures of Buddhist, Manichaean, Zoroastrian, and Christian communities, and on a lesser quantity of secular documents. The Turfan Collection in Berlin provides a unique opportunity to study original materials. A wealth of recently excavated sites and find materials in Central and Eastern Asia allow new approaches to a number of old questions concerning the complex cultural history along the Silk Roads. You are free to choose your own topics, and it is important to remember that artifacts and texts that have already been published often have a lot more to reveal than has already been discovered. The following is an indication of the kind of topics possible and is not intended to exhaust or limit the possibilities.

PhD proposals in the field of archaeology and cultural history: How did food systems and subsistence strategies spread and transform societies in Eastern Central Asia and East Asia between 4th Millennium BC and 1st Millennium AD? Reconstruction of food cultures based on objects and texts. Identification of wild and domesticated plants and animals or products, which are representative for particular periods, regions, or societies.

PhD proposals in the field of Turkic studies: Philological, linguistic, literary, cultural and/or historical research on Old Turkic texts from the period under consideration. A contrastive research on Old Uyghur and Chinese lexicon and syntax on the basis of Buddhist and Manichean texts, focusing on translation techniques and interference between the source and target language. Pre-knowledge of the textual body to be studied and a good working knowledge of relevant research languages are indispensable.

PhD proposals in the field of Iranian studies: We are accepting dissertations concerning the Iranian languages and literatures until Late Antiquity and about the main religious streams current in the Iranian area. Welcome are linguistic topics, e.g. studies of the verbal system and a detailed analysis of its use in Middle Persian or Parthian texts, the transition between Middle Persian and New Persian, Studies of the Sogdian Buddhist and Christian text tradition, problems of dialectological variation relating to religious communities, scribal conventions, etc. Literary studies could be e.g. the composition of Manichaean Parthian hymn-cycles or the analysis of the constitution of the Middle Persian Zoroastrian literature and its relationship to the Manichaean one, etc. Religious subjects, especially concerning the multifarious relationships between the Manichean and the Zoroastrian doctrines and with other neighboring communities would provide many interesting research topics. Pre-knowledge of the textual body to be studied and a good working knowledge of relevant research languages are indispensable.

Before submitting your application to BerGSAS, we strongly would recommend that you contact a potential supervisor. Please note that your first supervisor has to be a professor from either Freie Universität Berlin, or Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

The application procedure takes place in three stages.

1) Candidates must send their application before December 1, 2019 (as a single pdf document - no dossier) to

Please submit:
- an application form (download on the website:
- a research proposal (5 pages)
- a work plan and schedule for three years, including information about possible field studies/stays abroad (if you plan a stay abroad, please submit a short working plan and schedule of the trip/stay)
- a curriculum vitae (CV, resume)
- a letter that explains your motivation for applying to the doctoral program
- a writing sample (15-20 pages)
- a list of publications
- any documents certifying completed practical work (internship etc.)
- letters of recommendation by two professors from your home university. Please find the DAAD letter of recommendation form, template available here (http:/// The use of this form is mandatory!
- copies of certificates and copies of translated documents (the copies don’t have to be certified):
-- copies of certificates of annual examinations taken at the home university
-- copies of certificates of any academic degrees (e.g. B.A., M.A., diploma and certificates of annual examinations taken at the home university), including grades and explaining the home university’s grading system (description of grade scale)
--copies of English Language certificates (please note that at Freie Universität C1-Level is mandatory)

2) Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview (on Skype) within two months of the application deadline.

3) If you have been selected for a scholarship by BerGSAS you will be required to upload your application to the DAAD submission system. The DAAD will make the final choice. Please note that admission to studies and receiving of a scholarship is based on assessments by both the hosting university and DAAD.

Questions regarding the application should be directed to the BerGSAS coordinator Dr. Regina Attula,

Working Language
  • English
  • German
Language of Dissertation
  • English
  • German
Required Documents
  • CV
  • Reports, certificates
  • Transcripts
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Research Proposal
  • List of Publication
  • Others :
More Information


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin • BerGSAS
Humboldt Graduate School
Dr. Carmen Marcks-Jacobs
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin

Phone: +49-030-20931711