Project Project
-A +A

Varieties of Democracy/Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

November 2007 - November 2012
Federal/Initiative for excellence

Post graduate program

Short description

Research and doctoral training at the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS) aim to put the classical tradition of European social science (Sozialwissenschaften), to use in the comparative analysis of contemporary problems of social inclusion and democratic performance. As German social science has made a significant contribution to an interdisciplinary and comprehensive understanding of social and political institutions, we believe it important to have one outstanding platform for graduate training in Germany that is based on this legacy. This is our core competence, an area where we have gained international recognition. Research and doctoral training at the BGSS and the Department of Social Sciences (ISW) are mainly focused on the question of whether and how modern societies are able to cope with problems of inclusion and exclusion, discrimination and diversity, heterogeneity and individualisation as well as how the frameworks of democracy will evolve and how democratic institutions will perform under these conditions in the context of Europeanisation. In this broad perspective we have developed two interrelated and interdisciplinary areas of doctoral research for the years to come. A. 'Laboratory Europe: Democracy and Society Beyond the Nation State' and B. 'Protection, Provision and Security: The Transformation of Modern States and the Changing Role of Civil Society'. We want to establish the BGSS as a regional and international platform for doctoral training of social scientists with a strong network of non-university institutions. In order to meet this challenge, we have developed an integrated doctoral training programme (1 + 3 system of graduate studies) which includes an Introductory Year laying the theoretical and methodological foundations needed for our doctoral programme and a fast track entry for gifted Masters students. Our three year doctoral programme then aims at the systematic training of doctoral researchers during the first year combined with intensive supervision and mentoring throughout the three years. Our programme includes tailor-made training corresponding to the special needs of doctoral candidates and young researchers from Germany and abroad. The central element of our doctoral programme is substantial hands-on research experience through research internships e.g. at our non-university partner institutions combined with additional milestones such as research stays abroad, submission of journal articles or conference papers and the like. Additional funding will help us to implement this ambitious project in the years to come.