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FAQs about the application process

The application deadline for the 2022 FSGS and EXC Temporal Communities call has passed. The 2023 call will be published in the fall of 2022.
  1. What kind of language proficiency do I need to prove in order to apply at FSGS / EXC TC, and how can I prove it?
  2. I cannot provide the necessary language proficiency in English and German in time for the application deadline, but I am currently taking classes and am about to receive the necessary certificates. By when may I upload these?
  3. May I write my dissertation in English? What part of the doctoral studies program will be in German?
  4. I do not have a master’s degree from a European university. How can I find out whether I qualify for the doctoral studies program?
  5. I am currently working on a master’s degree in a philological field relevant to the graduate school, but I am not yet finished. May I still apply? By when do I need to finish my master’s degree? What do I need to upload at this point?
  6. What kind of work sample should I submit with my application? May I upload a non-academic text, e.g. a translation or a short story?
  7. May the letters of recommendation be submitted separately from my other documents, directly by the author? Does the same deadline apply as for the rest of my documents?
  8. May I submit my application via email?
  9. What expenses should I expect as a doctoral student at Freie Universität Berlin? 

1.       What kind of language proficiency do I need to apply at FSGS / EXC TC, and how can I prove it?

Very good knowledge of German and English are expected: For one of the two languages there must be at least level C1 CEFR, for the other at least level B2 CEFR. Native speakers only need to prove their proficiency in the non-native language(s) with a recognized certificate.

Recognized as proof of proficiency in German B2 CEFR are TestDAF, TDN 3 in all four components of examination; Goethe-Zertifikat B2; telc B2; DSD I. For German C1 CEFR, the following certificates are recognized: DSH 2; ZOP; telc C1; TestDaF, TDN 4 in all four components of testing; DSD II; degree from a German-speaking program at a German-speaking institution; university entrance diploma that is equivalent to the German counterpart.

Recognized certificate for English B2 CEFR are: IELTS 5.0; telc B2; TOEFL Paper 500, Computer 170 or Online 80; Cambridge Examinations: First Certificate (FCE), Advanced (CAE), Proficiency (CPE); 7 years of English in German schools. For English C1 CEFR: IELTS 6.5; Cambridge Examinations: Advanced (CAE), Proficiency (CPE); TOEFL: Paper 585, Computer 240 or Online 95; degree from an English-speaking program at an English-speaking institution. Further information.

2.       I cannot provide the necessary language proficiency in English and German in time for the application deadline, but I am currently taking classes and am about to receive the necessary certificates. By when may I upload these?

Proof of required language proficiency may be submitted after the application deadline if the applicant can substantiate that the necessary certificates can be submitted in due time – either at the time of the selection interviews, but at the very latest on July 1. Applicants for a project scholarship need to submit proof before beginning the scholarship in May at the latest. Please upload a pertinent statement via the application portal before you send off your application.

3.       May I write my dissertation in English? What part of the doctoral studies program will be in German?

Generally, the dissertations can be written in German or English. The seminars and colloquia in the curriculum of the Graduate School, on the other hand, are mainly conducted in German, although individual English sessions or events are also possible and welcome at any time.

Attention: If you want to write your dissertation in a foreign language, please inform yourself at the examination office ("Prüfungsbüro") about the necessary language certificates!

4.       I do not have a master’s degree from a European university. How can I find out whether I qualify for the doctoral studies program?

A master’s degree or equivalent is the basic prerequisite for admission to the doctoral studies program at the Graduate School. Foreign applicants may turn to UNI ASSIST to help them figure out how to meet the admission requirements at German universities. The examination offices at the respective institutes of the Freie Universität Berlin decide whether a university degree from a foreign university is comparable to a German master’s degree and may be admitted as such. Applicants can obtain information in advance from ANABIN.

5.       I am currently working on a master’s degree in a philological field relevant to the graduate school, but I am not yet finished. May I still apply? By when do I need to finish my master’s degree? What do I need to upload at this point?

Candidates may apply even if they have not yet received their master’s degree (or equivalent) at the time of the application deadline – however, you are expected to graduate before October 1 (project scholars: June 1). Applicants are also encouraged to upload conclusive documents in lieu of their degree demonstrating their progress and showing they will receive their degree in time (e.g. transcripts, statement of their advisors).

6.      What kind of work sample should I submit with my application? May I upload a non-academic text, e.g. a translation or a short story?

The work sample is generally an academic article (published or unpublished), or a chapter from the master’s thesis or dissertation. Please do not submit an entire final thesis or dissertation, or any term papers from one of your seminars. Non-academic texts are also not suitable as a work sample. All texts submitted should be in German or English and adhere to academic standards. In exceptional cases, texts in other languages (such as French or Italian) can be accepted. However, such submissions should not be made without any prior consultation.

7.       May the letters of recommendation be submitted separately from my other documents, directly by the auhtors? Does the same deadline apply as for the rest of my documents?

The letters of recommendation must be uploaded by the external reviewers. Please provide the relevant contact information in the applicant portal and save this step. The reviewers will then receive an automated request and a link. Please contact the reviewers before submitting your application so that they know what to expect and can put the request for the review in the right context. The letters of recommendation can be uploaded until one week after the application deadline. You yourself can see in the online portal whether the letters of recommendation have been uploaded by your reviewers. If necessary, please get in touch with the people you listed as reviewers.

8.       May I submit my application via email?

No. Applications are only accepted through the online portal.

9.       What costs should I expect as a doctoral student at Freie Universität Berlin?

We do not cover travel or moving expenses. Semester fees are not reimbursed. The fees may depend on previous semesters. Rent and cost of living in Berlin are consistently on the rise. According to official data, you should anticipate living expenses of 800 EUR per month.

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