About BTS
PhD Candidates
The PhD Programme
Supervision | Interinstitutional research | Internationalisation


The PhD programme at BTS combines three years of structured training and coursework with the primary task of conducting independent research for the PhD thesis. While working toward completing your thesis as a BTS student, you will participate in thematic survey courses, colloquia on research methods, and multidisciplinary skills workshops.
For comprehensive information on the programme, please see the subsections to the left.



We are committed to maintaining high standards in doctoral supervision. Each PhD candidate is assigned a team of three supervisors headed by a BTS faculty member. The other two supervisors will be faculty members at one of the BTS institutions; one of the two may be from an external institution. Candidates meet frequently with their supervisors, both according to a formal work plan with a timetable for submitting sections of the PhD thesis, and as needed for general guidance and discussion. The goal is to identify candidates' strengths and weaknesses in order to provide individual support to best suit each candidate.

In addition to individual supervision, training is offered in various areas of professional development including research management, knowledge transfer and education, publication strategies, and long-term career planning. Ultimately, we endeavour to support candidates in successfully finishing their PhD theses within three years while simultaneously preparing them for the next steps of their careers.


Interinstitutional research

PhD candidates are given the opportunity to cooperate with associated research centres and work on interinstitutional projects. Centres and projects that involve BTS students include the following:

• Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood Research Centre
• Center for Area Studies at FUB
• Berlin Center for European Studies
• "The Transformative Power of Europe" research group
• Center for Transnational Relations, Foreign and Security Policy at the FUB’s Otto-Suhr-Institute
• Research projects carried out at HSoG
• WZB research units "Transnational Conflicts and International Institutions", "Migration, Integration, Transnationalisation", and "Democracy: Structures, Performance Profile and Challenges"

Associate Research Centres

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The ongoing development of an elite international network of scholars and institutions forms the core of BTS' internationalisation strategy. This strategy has been supported by the German Academic Exchange Service with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research over the past six years. Field research abroad and participation in international conferences are two important elements of our internationalisation. Thus, BTS supports its PhD candidates in applying for external field research fundings. In addition, we welcome scholars from international partner institutions for training both in general skill areas like research methods and academic writing and on topics directly related to their research. We also regularly organise workshops in Germany and Israel to give PhD candidates the opportunity to present their research and engage in lively discussion with leading global scholars.

Our international partners

Field research funding opportunities for PhD candidates


The BTS is financially supported by:
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
DAAD, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, German Academic Exchange Service
Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung
Einstein Stiftung Berlin, Einstein Foundation Berlin
DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
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