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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Philosophy, Science and the Sciences

Application requirements

Application requirements for the doctoral program

Scientific qualification: To join the doctoral program, you need to be ready to write a dissertation within three years. Normally, candidates hold an excellent MA or equivalent degree in philosophy or classics (in some cases, history or theology might also be an option). You can also apply if you have not yet earned that degree at the time of application, but must have your certificate by the time you enter the program. In exceptional cases, we might consider candidates who will not have completed an MA (or equivalent) when they begin the program. Please make sure to provide a translation if your certificate is not in English or German (a non-certified translation is sufficient for your application, but you will need an officially certified one for your admission to the program).

Language skills: You are expected to have sufficient command of the relevant ancient languages for your dissertation project. Since the language of instruction is predominantly English, your English should be good enough to join discussions and write papers. If necessary, we expect you to take additional language training in any of these languages during the program. You do not need to know German at the time of application, but we expect you to learn German during your studies.

To prove your language skills, please provide the respective certificates with your application, if available.

Dissertation proposal and work plan: The core of your application is a well-defined and elaborate dissertation proposal, which involves both philosophy and some special science or other (including mathematics, medicine, and other disciplines that we might not today consider special sciences, such as grammar or divination). You also need to provide a work plan in which you give a time line for the working steps you plan in order to finalize your project within three years.

Writing sample: Just as important is a writing sample of 15-20 pages to prove your scientific writing skills and abilities to deal with a given subject. This sample may be some part of your Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis, or some other piece of work in ancient philosophy, philology or history of science.

Letters of recommendation: We need two confidential references from university faculty who have supervised you in your academic career. With your application you have to provide the contact details of these referees. Please note that your referees will have to send their letters of recommendation directly to us (as pdf or scan via email to irma.handwerker@hu-berlin.de).