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The Graduate School of North American Studies, Berlin

The Graduate School of North American Studies (GSNAS) at Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) is one of Europe’s leading graduate schools in the field of American and Canadian Studies.

The graduate school trains doctoral candidates in six disciplines ranging from the humanities to social sciences. It is affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies (JFKI) which has been training undergraduate students since 1963. We offer a three-year, uniquely interdisciplinary doctoral programme to highly qualified individuals who are seeking to pursue a doctorate with a regional focus on North America.

About Berlin

Situated at the heart of Europe, Berlin offers a unique mixture of innovation, history, culture and lifestyle. With its unparalleled research network, consisting of numerous universities, research institutes and think tanks, Berlin and the Graduate School’s campus in Berlin-Dahlem will provide you with the perfect environment to get in touch with academia, research, politics and businesses.

Why the Graduate School of North American Studies?

While being a programme with a regional focus on North America, the doctoral programme at GSNAS stands out from other American Studies programmes in Europe. We combine disciplinary training in cultural and literary studies, economics, history, political science, and sociology with interdisciplinary teaching and peer-learning. Moreover, our library offers one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind outside North America.


The Graduate School aims at achieving a balance between specialization in the respective field of choice and an in-depth interdisciplinary training. The curriculum is designed to support these goals by offering three interdisciplinary courses, team-taught by representatives of different disciplines from the social sciences and the humanities, and three courses on disciplinary research methods. In addition, the research training of the Graduate School is dedicated to providing students with key qualifications such as didactic and teaching skills as well as essential management skills pertinent to the students’ future careers.

Study Programme

During the first three semesters of the programme, students receive the necessary theoretical and methodological skills to conduct their research. Doctoral candidates also familiarize themselves with the latest research and critical debates in their respective fields. Regular meetings between students and dissertation advisors ensure consistent feedback on the thesis at all stages of the writing process. From the fourth semester onwards, the focus is devoted to independent dissertation research. PhD candidates have an annual travel allowance of €2,000 at their disposal in order to conduct field research, visit archives and/or attend conferences in North America. Our students also teach a course at the B.A.-level in order to gain teaching experience.

How to Apply

We award ten doctoral positions and up to ten scholarships per year.
The doctoral programme starts on 1st October 2018.
Deadline for applications is 31st January 2018.

For more information on the Graduate School, the programme in general and how to apply, please visit our website.