February 15, 2013

Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies (GPTS) 2013

Starting in October 2013, the Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies (GPTS) will grant eight doctoral scholarships to European and Asian students. 

The Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies (GPTS) is a structured doctoral programme within the interdisciplinary research environment of the Cluster. The programme's institutional reference is the Karl Jaspers Centre (KJC), situated at Heidelberg University. Doctoral students are taught by scholars working within the Cluster and thereby have access to a vibrant international scholarly community. 

The doctoral programme offers:
a) an introduction to theories and methodologies of transcultural studies,
b) access to a well-equipped work environment supported by European and Asian institutions,
c) participation in the gathering of textual and non-textual source material,
d) support of doctoral projects which are linked to the broad research fields pursued by the Cluster.

In line with the Cluster's focus, the programme's research profile centres on the dynamics of cultural exchange processes between Asia and Europe. The Cluster challenges the master narrative of asymmetrical Western domination along with its historical explanation, its methodology, and the resulting structures of the humanities and social sciences. Involving Asian, European, and global perspectives, the GPTS offers an excellent working environment for young scholars who wish to be integrated into cooperative research on problems of high complexity, both in terms of subject matter and methodology. 

The GPTS combines the European model of highly individualised doctoral studies and a system of guided courses. Supervision is provided by mentors during a term of three academic years. In the first year participants attend a number of thematically focused classes. The second year is intended for field research, while the third year is dedicated for the writing and presenting of the results. Each doctoral student will be assigned two mentors/advisors. Half of the scholarships are reserved for students from Asia. 

Application Requirements
  • Applicants must hold an M.A. or equivalent in a discipline of the humanities or social sciences with an above-average grade (at least 1.7, B+, 2+, "magna cum laude", or equivalent).
  • The degree has to reflect at least five years of study at university level. Applicants who plan to graduate in 2013 must provide a university transcript that clearly indicates the progress to degree.
  • Documents should be submitted in English, German, French or Italian. Documents in other languages should be submitted as certified translations into English or German.

Application Process

The application process consists of four parts.

1. Applicants have to register and log into the Online Application System of the GPTS. Further guidelines will be available after login. Through the system applicants are required to provide
  • proof of their M.A. (or equivalent) with a transcript of courses and grades (NOTE: If the degree is still pending, applicants have to provide a detailed transcript of courses, indicating the progress to degree)
  • two referees for recommendation
  • an abstract of the proposed doctoral project with a working plan
  • a letter of intention
  • proof of language skills
  • further information about their education, work experience and other skills
  • possible supervisor from the Cluster.
The proposed doctoral project must have clear connections to the general research framework of the Cluster. Suitable supervisors may be found amongst the five Professorships and senior researchers involved in the projects of the Cluster.
2. After an initial evaluation and selection, applicants will be asked to contact suitable supervisors at the Cluster to discuss their proposed projects.
3. The most promising applicants will be invited to present their projects to the selection committee in Heidelberg. Notifications on this can be expected towards the end of April or the beginning of May.
4. Subsequent to the presentation in Heidelberg, the scholarship holders will be selected.

The deadline for submitting applications is 15 March, 2013.


The programme offers a monthly scholarship of 1.200 Euro. It further supports scholarship holders in framing their research through advanced courses and individual supervision and mentoring. Half of the scholarships are reserved for young scholars from Asia.

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