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Application Proposal

The research proposal is an outline of your doctoral project. In the German Humanities and Social Sciences, we expect applicants to propose an individual dissertation project for the next 4 years. This also means that you should convince us that your project is academic (including research methods and literature), feasible (in terms of methods as well as within the program and within 4 years), innovative (a doctorate is awarded for a newly innovative project).

1. The research proposal and the topic are the main part of your application to GEAS. The outline of your proposed dissertation project should have a maximum of six pages. Please use a common citation style (APA or MLA) and do not write more than 5,000 words. Keep in mind that this proposal reflects your personal style as well as your research interest and potential. Please also make sure that do not just copy and paste this outline as a framework for your research proposal in the application. We do not accept bullet points.

Please keep to the following structure:

1. Context, research questions and objectives of your research project

  • Describe the context of your research proposal.
  • Pose a central research question you aim to answer in your thesis and explain its academic relevance.
  • Explain the hypotheses relevant to answering your question.

2. Current state of research and most relevant literature (literature review)

  • Place your topic in the current academic debate
  • Include a literature review

3. Tentative theoretical framework and research methods

  • Address the methodology and theoretical framework you want to use, and explain why this framework was chosen.

  • Explain the relevant sources of information (sources, archives, interviews, databases) and explain how your fieldwork will be conducted.

4. References and Bibliography (not counting within the 5,000-word limit)

5. Time schedule (separate, not counting within the limit)

  • A detailed schedule (semester schedule) with milestones (of YOUR work as well as GEAS program) and fieldwork plan for 4 years