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Our training programme is based on the principle, “as much structure as necessary, as much freedom as possible”. This means, for example, that the last two semesters should be devoted to writing, and that mandatory elements of the course are kept to a minimum. Our guiding philosophy is to provide opportunities, help doctoral scholars to fully reach their potential, open up their minds, and support them in developing an independent research profile. We also offer assistance to those who seek a career outside of academia.

The training programme includes a structured, interdisciplinary course programme on the one hand, and intensive supervision and one-to-one tutoring on the other. The course programme enhances the theoretical and methodological skills of the doctoral candidates, supports their research, and brings them into contact with other scholars. We want to raise our graduate students’ awareness of the value of multi-disciplinarity and comparison. Yet, at the same time, the programme is designed to leave enough time for individual work on a dissertation project and the curriculum includes optional elements. The training programme takes into account the individual needs of each doctoral scholar and additional ad-hoc training can also be provided as and when applicable.

Mandatory Courses

Study Groups

The study groups are central pillars of our training programme. These groups are interdisciplinary and focused around overarching themes or approaches that link the individual research projects of the members. Each group usually comprises a maximum of ten doctoral and postdoc researchers, and two or three faculty members. Study groups act as forums in which conceptual and methodological questions pertinent to the research projects are discussed. They are an exercise in multi-disciplinary dialogue and provide a reflective space for issues related to the dissertation projects. The PhD researchers are expected to present their work and individual chapters at study group meetings.

Study groups receive funding from the Graduate School to invite guest speakers and organise workshops and retreats.

Currently, the Graduate School in Regensburg has two study groups:

Colloquium (Research Seminar)

At the interdisciplinary colloquium, renowned scholars from various disciplines working in the field of East and Southeast European Studies, but also other areas, are invited to give lectures and discuss their current research with the members of the Graduate School. The aim is to familiarise our members with important on-going research, to provoke interdisciplinary and cross-area debate and to open up networking opportunities.

The monthly colloquium is a public event and we strongly encourage undergraduate and graduate students to participate.

Theory and Methodology Seminars

The Theory and Methodology Seminars are a place to discuss current concepts essential to the area of studies and the dissertation projects of the doctoral students. They also offer opportunities for interdisciplinary research collaborations. The school also organises intensive courses relating to specific methodologies, for example, interview techniques, as pertinent to the individual PhD projects. In most cases, the seminars are led by faculty and postdocs from the Graduate School.

Annual Graduate Workshop

The annual graduate workshop is organised by the PhD candidates, who also determine its overarching theme. It aims to engage with current debates in the field of East and Southeast European studies, and with Area Studies more broadly. The workshop allows our doctoral researchers to network with international peers and gives them the chance to acquire experience in the organisation of an academic event. The 5th Annual Graduate Workshop will take place on 23 to 25 May 2024 in Regensburg, on the topic of "Change from Below: Mobility, Transformation, and Exchange across Europe".

Past Annual Graduate Workshops:

  • 1st Annual Graduate Workshop 2020: Unbuilding binaries: Exploring affective and analytical responses to binary divisions as encountered in the field
  • 2nd Annual Graduate Workshop 2021: Competing Sovereignties: Intertwinement, Contestation, Evolution
  • 3rd Annual Graduate Workshop 2022: From 'Early Access' and 'Open Worlds' to Game-Cons and Clans - The Production of Spatiality and Community in Contemporary Gaming
  • 4th Annual Graduate Workshop 2023: Environmental Discourse and Practice in Eastern and Southeastern Europe - Facing Challenges and Opportunities

Summer School

Each year, the Graduate School organises a week-long summer school with a partner in (South-)Eastern Europe. The summer school is open to doctoral fellows from the Graduate School and the local partner. We also invite a limited number of doctoral researchers from our international partner universities.

The Summer School is designed to complement the regular teaching during term-time and to give space for intensive reflection as well as collaborative work. Its programme consists of a mixture of lectures, text discussions, and on site mini-projects – that is, instant collaborative Area Studies research, by engaging with the local knowledge. This helps participants to apply theories to real-life questions. The Summer School is complemented by public lectures given by invited speakers from academia, the arts and journalism.

Past summer schools:

  • Budapest 2013: Area Studies in a Globalized World
  • Cluj-Napoca 2014: Performance: Art, Culture, History
  • Bischkek 2015: (Post)imperial Turns
  • Belgrade 2016: Exploring Belgrade - Theory x Discipline x Method
  • St. Petersburg 2017: Change in an Interdisciplinary Perspective
  • Rijeka 2018: THE LIQUID CITY. Adriatic Life-worlds in Transformation
  • Praha 2022: Contested Memoryscapes - Central Europe and its Fractured Pasts
  • Trieste 2023: A Liminal Identity? Border Narratives in Trieste, Past and Present

Chapter Workshop

Roughly eighteen months after being accepted to the Graduate School, each doctoral fellow submits a draft chapter of his/her dissertation to be discussed at the Chapter Workshop. The draft chapters are commented upon by a faculty member with expertise in the field, and discussed by the other participants. The discussant cannot be the supervisor, who will also be present at the workshop. The workshop encourages an early start to the writing of the dissertation and provides substantial feedback at a moment when potential problems can be identified and hence avoided. It serves as a mid-term evaluation, on which the continuation of funding depends. Subject to the individual results and the nature of comments, doctoral fellows are asked to revise their chapter before being granted further funding.

Optional Programme

The optional programme consists of modules that doctoral students can choose themselves. They primarily aim at teaching transferable (“soft”) skills and give practical support for a post-graduate career, in or outside of academia. Training in styles of academic writing and publication strategies are also offered. Furthermore, the Graduate School’s outreach programme is also part of the training concept as it helps doctoral researchers to engage with current developments and to consider how they can communicate and disseminate their work to the wider public.

Transferable Skills Workshops / Career Support

We continuously organise workshops and courses to teach practical skills relevant for an academic or non-academic career and the programming takes into account the wishes and needs of our doctoral fellows.

In addition, the GS maintains a mentoring programme with experts from professional fields of potential interest for our graduates. The GS also helps to identify and subsequently set up one-to-one meetings with mentors.

Academic Writing

The GS offers regular training units to enhance writing skills and help PhD candidates develop publication strategies. This includes an annual workshop with a trainer in English academic writing, meetings with journal editors and representatives of publishing houses and workshops on the peer-refereeing process (“Publish or Perish” Workshop).


The Forum is a loose, but frequent series of events in which the Graduate Schools engages with the wider, also non-academic public. Its main goal is to convey knowledge about Eastern and Southeastern Europe and current developments to a wider audience. By participating in these events, or co-organising them, our doctoral scholars practice translating their research results into relatable language. They also gain experience in more experiential forms of science communication, such as through cooperation with artists. The Forum helps the Graduate School to follow the University’s mission to be a public knowledge provider in the service of the citizens. Furthermore, it helps our members to reach out to journalists and other key communicators. The Forum lectures are usually recorded and made public on the school’s YouTube channel.

International exchange

The cooperation agreements with our partner universities enables our early career researchers to take part in an international exchange programme. Our doctoral fellows can typically spend up to two semesters abroad, and are encouraged to do so. In addition to the partnership network specific to the Graduate School, they also benefit from the extensive Erasmus partnerships of the University of Regensburg. Undertaking research abroad is necessary for most of our doctoral researchers, and through these partnerships they not only receive support locally but also gain the opportunity to engage with scholars and peers at our partner universities.

We also support cotutelle supervision agreements, which lead to jointly awarded PhDs by the University of Regensburg and an international partner university.

Doctoral candidates from partner universities are also invited to come to Regensburg for exchange visits. They are offered office space (if available), tutoring by our faculty and can take part in our academic programme. Additionally, they benefit from the unique library resources in East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg and Munich, and from our inspiring intellectual atmosphere.

The GS regularly invites international Visiting Fellows to spend time in Regensburg, where they can pursue their own research. These guest fellows also engage with our doctoral researchers.