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North American Studies, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #117 (WUR) Berlin, Germany
The Graduate School of North American Studies (GSNAS) at Freie Universität Berlin offers a three-year North American Studies doctoral study program to candidates pursuing research projects on North America in the humanities and social sciences (American/Canadian Studies).
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Doctoral degrees are awarded in the following six disciplines: economics, political science (PhD or Dr. rer. pol.), cultural studies, history, literary studies, sociology (PhD or Dr. phil.)

The Graduate School is dedicated to fostering a lively academic community, providing training of the highest international standards, and promoting independent research in one of six disciplines: cultural studies, economics, history, literary studies, political science, and sociology. Its innovative interdisciplinary curriculum responds to the growing need to move beyond, yet remaining anchored within traditional disciplines. Individualized supervision, excellent infrastructure, and a large network of national and international partners all contribute to our doctoral candidates’ success in the program and beyond.

The North American Studies course is offered by Graduate School of North American Studies.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Doctoral candidates complete three semesters of intense coursework, followed by three semesters devoted to research and writing. The courses aim at a balance between research-oriented interdisciplinary seminars and discipline-based seminars on theory and methodology. A third component consists of skills training.

Teaching one course on a dissertation-related topic in the B.A. program of the Kennedy Institute is an additional compulsory component of our training.

Interdisciplinary Courses:

  • History/Culture: Visions of America: American Exceptionalism, Liberalism, and the Rhetoric of Crisis
  • Political Science/Economics: Democracy in Crisis: Inequality, Global Markets, Political Polarization
  • Literature/ Sociology: Values in Conflict: Religion, Community, Identity
Research Methods:
  • Introduction to Disciplinary Theories
  • Advanced Disciplinary Research Methods
Professional Skills
  • Advanced Academic Writing in English
  • Management Skills Relevant to Academic Professions

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

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General Requirements

Applicants must submit (in English):

  • CV, statement of purpose, copies of all diplomas, outline of the dissertation project, work plan or timeline, writing sample (in English or German), proof of language proficiency, two recent letters of reference
  • The Graduate School is highly interested in international representation and encourages international doctoral candidates to apply. In order to ensure an equal balance between male and female students, applications by women are particularly encouraged.

Tuition Fee

The only fee is the regular semester fee (currently at 311,59 EUR including a public transport ticket for six months) at Freie Universität Berlin

Living costs for Berlin

  • 836 - 1340 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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