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Successful applicants will have an excellent Masters or equivalent degree (M.A. or German Magister with a grade of “very good” (A-) or better) in an East Asian Studies field or in a social science or humanities discipline with a focus on East Asia.

These disciplines include all areas in which our Principal Investigators and Dissertation Advisors specialize:

Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies, Korean Studies


Political Science, International Relations, International Law, Public Law, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Business and Economics, History, Gender Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies, Human Geography.

Please note: Dissertation topics in Linguistics, Literary studies, Education, Film, Media and/or Communication Studies cannot be supervised!

For exceptionally talented BA students, FU Berlin offers the possibility of a “fast track” admission to PhD programs. To qualify for this program, BA students need to provide evidence of an exceptional academic record during the BA program with an A grade point average, two letters of recommendation from well-known scholars, and successful completion of an entrance exam as required by the statute for PhD programs at FU Berlin. 

In the application process, applicants must provide academic transcripts or other evidence of completion of regular coursework, a statement of academic interest, and two letters of recommendation. For all applicants, evidence of linguistic competence related to East Asia is required.

The ideal candidate will already have spent a significant period of time, most likely six months to one year, in Korea, Japan, or China for language training and will have a high level of communicative and reading skills in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean as well as cultural competence. Applicants will be required to provide evidence of language skills in at least one East Asian language at level B2 or higher according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) as well as at level C1 or higher in English. Language skills in East Asian Languages may also be documented through certificates of the relevant East Asian language tests (Chinese Proficiency Test Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, HSK, Japanese Language Proficiency Test, JLPT, or Test of Proficiency in Korean, TOPIK).

Aside from the formal criteria listed above (relevant degree and language skills), applicants will be selected on the basis of their academic record, their letters of recommendation, and the quality of their statement of academic interest.