What to Expect

Research Affiliates propose an individualized curriculum for their time at the BTS as part of their application, as outlined above. Your curriculum proposal should show careful reflection on the different types of training we offer and which of those will be useful for your career, in addition to the skills you will gain by working on your thesis. You should collaborate with your proposed supervisor when designing your curriculum and provide reasons as to why it deviates from the standard course workload for PhD candidates. Please note that after being accepted, it is compulsory to attend all seminars and workshops which are part of your curriculum proposal.

The individualized curriculum should include the compulsory courses as well as a selection of electives as outlined below:


Compulsory courses (including the general working requirements)
• BTS Research Design3 during the first year (June Paper after first year, due 30 June)
• BTS Colloquium4 during the second and third year.


In addition, you must include at least two of the following courses4:

Methods training courses (usually two-day training events)
• Interview techniques
• Applying statistics
• Qualitative methods (e.g. discourse analysis, process tracing)
• etc.

Soft skills courses
• “Transferable skills” courses from the Dahlem Research School (mostly one- to two-day training events)
• English Academic Writing (three to four intensive sessions)
• Didactics of Higher Education (three to four intensive sessions)
• etc.


Please contact us or submit your application via application@transnationalstudies.eu

1 Studies and work experience in an English-speaking country will be recognized as equivalent.
2 The Research Design Course takes place on a weekly basis during the first semester. The second semester is
organised in block seminars.
3 The second and third year colloquiums are divided into four block seminars per year. The Research Affiliate is required
to attend at least two of the sessions per year and present her/his work in one session per year.
4 Methods training and soft skills courses at external institutions will be recognized as equivalent if they were taught
at a PhD level for a duration of at least two days. 

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