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PhD in Germany?


30rus
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hi Guys

 

i am considering moving to Germany for PhD, UK is to expensive and the U.S needs the GRE. any thoughts on Germany? ans also, i am selecting between Heildelberg and Freie Berlin, which one do you think is best in international perstige i mean?cause i am planning to do a top Post-Doc after the doctorate?

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Freie Berlin has definitely the better reputation in Europe (for some reason people think that Heidelberg is a prestigious school but I do not know anyone who would really like to pursue a PhD there... with the exception of PE people). Depending on your interests, I would also consider Konstanz as well as the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich in Switzerland. 

Edited by chaetzli
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Guest hopefulfool

Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies (joint program between Freie University and the Hertie school of Governance). Thomas Risse, Tanja Borzel, and Michael Zurn run that program. Of course, this all depends on your interests. 

Edited by hopefulfool
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FU Berlin definitely is the hub for PS in Germany, but I wouldn't say that Heidelberg is much worse.

 

The first thing to remember wrt a PhD in Germany is that we have a dual system: we have graduate schools, like the BTS, which provide a structured PhD experience similar to the US (except that you're expected to already hold a M.A., thus decreasing your course load), and individual doctoral training, where you choose a supervisor, and work mostly on your own, with his help on your topic. In the second model, you often teach at his university, while in the first model, scholarships are a lot more prevalent. Which model you would prefer impacts where and how to apply!

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I would say Jacobs, Konstanz, ETH or Mannheim (maybe FU, but definitely not Heidelberg). These are the only schools that have some value outside of Germany and that provide training comparable to second tier US schools. Nevertheless, you'd be still better off if you do GRE and apply to America. 

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FU Berlin definitely is the hub for PS in Germany, but I wouldn't say that Heidelberg is much worse.

 

The first thing to remember wrt a PhD in Germany is that we have a dual system: we have graduate schools, like the BTS, which provide a structured PhD experience similar to the US (except that you're expected to already hold a M.A., thus decreasing your course load), and individual doctoral training, where you choose a supervisor, and work mostly on your own, with his help on your topic. In the second model, you often teach at his university, while in the first model, scholarships are a lot more prevalent. Which model you would prefer impacts where and how to apply!

thanks for the explanations, in the indivual mode, do the students get any T.A.ships at the university?from what you says they seem to give it,right? btw what would the Title of the PhD be in organized programms?for e.g would they give you a PhD Pol.sci from BTS or what?

 

And something to German Universities, for god sake if you wanna get international students you should become more English-friendly. i've been going through places like, HU Berlin, Marburg, LMU and other places and in lot of pages you reach an English-DEadend and suddenly everything becomes german, now if your looking for professors for indiviual work, thats become hard to find the right guy

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As a German, I disagree that FU is comparable to Top 75-100. It all depends on what you want to do, and where you want to end up, but in Europe, I would say that a degree from FU is worth a lot more than a degree from a Top 75-100 uni in the US. Rankings are flawed anyway, in particular because they only take into account English-speaking publications, which is not always the most relevant aside from the US. That said, I know people that have done PhDs in Germany (and not even at particularly famous/good German universities), and now have TT positions at reputable US institutions, both Research and Liberal Arts.

 

I would say, in terms of the quality of education and supervision, it depends a lot more on your advisor in the German system in general, since our PhDs don't include nearly as many classes.

 

Regarding TA ships: generally, many (most that want to stay in academia= people doing the individual PhD get a TA-ship, though others do get (external) scholarships, or do some other work (e.g. Think Tank). In Germany, a TA-ship often includes teaching undergraduate (and sometimes also graduate) classes by yourself, without any real supervision. Since most universities are public, there's a "labor agreement" specifying how much your hourly wage is etc. The important factor usually is whether you have a 50%/75% or 100% position. When thinking about German stipends, do take into account that cost of living is ridiculously low in many German cities and that you usually don't need a car because of excellent and affordable public transport. Still, you're not going to get rich of the stipend. Another thing in Germany is that many contracts will only be for 6 months/a year, which can make it hard to plan, especially if your position depends on external funding.

 

In Germany, there's no unified title for a PhD in Political Science (except that it's a doctor). I know some people who have a doctorate in Social Sciences, in Political Science, in International Relations etc.

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I would agree that some of the universities listed are decent ones, Mannheim FU Berlin, Konstanz are all solid schools. Another school to look at would be European University Institute or maybe Central European University. While neither are located in Germany, they are still schools with a decent name to them and have solid reputation in the social sciences. 

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Guest hopefulfool

As a German, I disagree that FU is comparable to Top 75-100. It all depends on what you want to do, and where you want to end up, but in Europe, I would say that a degree from FU is worth a lot more than a degree from a Top 75-100 uni in the US. Rankings are flawed anyway, in particular because they only take into account English-speaking publications, which is not always the most relevant aside from the US. That said, I know people that have done PhDs in Germany (and not even at particularly famous/good German universities), and now have TT positions at reputable US institutions, both Research and Liberal Arts.

 

I would say, in terms of the quality of education and supervision, it depends a lot more on your advisor in the German system in general, since our PhDs don't include nearly as many classes.

 

Regarding TA ships: generally, many (most that want to stay in academia= people doing the individual PhD get a TA-ship, though others do get (external) scholarships, or do some other work (e.g. Think Tank). In Germany, a TA-ship often includes teaching undergraduate (and sometimes also graduate) classes by yourself, without any real supervision. Since most universities are public, there's a "labor agreement" specifying how much your hourly wage is etc. The important factor usually is whether you have a 50%/75% or 100% position. When thinking about German stipends, do take into account that cost of living is ridiculously low in many German cities and that you usually don't need a car because of excellent and affordable public transport. Still, you're not going to get rich of the stipend. Another thing in Germany is that many contracts will only be for 6 months/a year, which can make it hard to plan, especially if your position depends on external funding.

 

In Germany, there's no unified title for a PhD in Political Science (except that it's a doctor). I know some people who have a doctorate in Social Sciences, in Political Science, in International Relations etc.

 

I agree with what is said here. I am not German and I take huge offense to having FU compared to the 75-100. I think in general it is best to not try to rank US  vs. European. It is difficult because the systems are so different from each other. For example, where would one rank LSE/Oxford in Political Science? Both are great schools, but when it comes to ranking it is contested. 

 

 e.g would they give you a PhD Pol.sci from BTS or what?

With BTS in particular, your PhD would be granted from whatever institution your advisor is based at. For example, if your advisor is based at FU that is the uni that your diploma will have listed, but if your advisor is employed at the Hertie School of Governance then that will be your PhD granting institution. 

Edited by hopefulfool
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I did not want to offend anyone, but there are certain objective criteria which allow comparing US and European institutions (publications, placement etc.). Although, it is undoubtedly hard, because the systems are indeed different. I personally believe that German universities are of a high standard, but there are certainly no internationally recognized top institutions. There is no Harvard here, sorry. Science (even social) is international and thus the fact of not publishing in English is an indicator of weakness, not unfairness of world rankings towards Germany. 

 

But it is not all that depressing. For instance, Mannheim is ranked higher (#49) than Brown (#50) in the recent QS ranking on politics. FU is also doing a great job in terms of internationalization, but the truth is that it can be hardly compared to the top 50 in the US (which are btw great institutions such as John Hopkins, UC Irvine, Boulder, Vanderbilt etc.)  

 

So, would you rather study in FU or in Brown? 

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