The schedule of the program is binding: students have three years to complete. The program consists of a number of separate modules designed to be taken in order. The participating scholars—both the doctoral students and their teachers—constitute a network meant to provide everyone involved with contacts and to facilitate long-term cooperation.
The curriculum is divided into two parts, the first of which provides a foundation upon which the advanced program builds by creating networks that facilitate research training and career development.
The foundational program requires students to regularly attend colloquia and participate in peer-to-peer mentoring. Both take place mainly at the university where the student is enrolled. Another key component of the foundational program is a Spring/Autumn School, held every six months, required of all doctoral students and academics. The participating institutions take turns hosting these series of lectures and workshops, which means that students eventually get to know a variety of universities involved in the program.
The advanced program is about deepening the students’ understanding of the subject matter. The annual Spring/Autumn Schools, which also involve the partner institutions from abroad, consists of intensive training in topics linked to the research areas. For doctoral students, participation is compulsory. In addition, students and their supervisors from all the institutions involved have the opportunity to launch ‘research labs’ and online platforms, thus creating networks in their respective research field. Students also have the chance to present papers at public events organized by one or several of the universities involved. Moreover, they can teach, give public lectures, or organize workshops at the participating institutions.
- 1st semester: peer-to-peer mentoring, colloquium, autumn school
- 2nd semester: peer-to-peer mentoring, colloquium, spring school
- 3rd semester: research lab, advanced classes, online platform, autumn school
- 4th semester: research lab, workshop, online platform, spring school
- 5th semester: research lab, teaching, online platform, autumn school
- 6th semester: research lab, presentation, online platform, spring school
A) Foundation program
Within each department, the colloquia held by the participating academics are the core of the program. They provide a forum for debate on individual doctoral projects and allow supervisors to follow the progress of each student.
Once a year, a joint colloquium with all the partner institutions brings the supervisors and doctoral students involved in the program together for four days (from Thursday to Sunday). These colloquia build on workshops and meetings for doctoral students that have already taken place. They are not linked to any specific research fields and are primarily about presenting and discussing doctoral projects. Moreover, they are also about discussing the needs of individual students and adjusting their research training accordingly.
Doctoral students are encouraged to work together on their research and to support one another if there are other issues. In the humanities, cooperation is still a novel idea as scholars tend to work on their own. We offer workshops with external coaches providing comprehensive guidance on how to work efficiently in a group. Constructive feedback has a positive effect on the quality of the work carried out by doctoral students. At the Institute of European Ethnology of the LMU, similar structures are already in place for Master students working on their theses.
In line with the international character of the program, we are in the process of developing an e-learning platform tailored to the needs of all the doctoral students involved in the program. It will facilitate the dissemination of information and serve as a centralized hub of research and learning designed to sustain and advance networks and cooperation during the phases between colloquia.
B) Advanced Program
Spring and Autumn Schools
The spring and autumn schools are a key component of the doctoral program. They build on the foundational program by focusing on topics reflecting both the research areas covered by participating institutions and the topics dealt with by doctoral students.
The schools are meant to deepen the students’ knowledge of the relevant theories and methods. Usually, they last one week. Participating senior academics provide some of this instruction, but external lecturers cover additional specialist topics, for example the epistemology of social and cultural transformation. The spring and autumn schools focus on the research areas of our network, supplemented by other topics:
- Urban anthropology (first year)
- Mobility, migration, multilocality; cultural transfer (second year)
- Culture, economy, environment; ethnographies of work (third year)
We encourage the doctoral students to set up research labs. These labs enable doctoral students pursuing similar projects to deepen discussions and collaborate closely on research questions. They are supported by senior academics with fitting profiles.
Research labs are supposed to facilitate the organization of workshops and projects as well as the production of publications. They deepen the participants’ knowledge of specific topics, theoretical approaches, and methods. The labs promote collaboration among the students involved and draw attention to their research results. The students can use the website of the program to present their labs.
Public Lectures and Networking
The key findings of the research carried out by PhD students will be the subject of discussion meetings with experts, international scholars, and representatives of the participating institutions. Students are also encouraged to present papers at graduate conferences, hold public lectures, and get involved in lecture series.
For this purpose, the program involves institutions and enterprises from beyond academia (archives, museums, media, firms, NGOs) that are based in the cities where the participating institutions are located. Our aim is to broaden public interest in these events and to open up the program to broader audiences. Apart from that, PhD students get the chance to meet representatives of different institutions and industries and learn about career opportunities outside the university.
The GraduateCenterLMU supports our program and offers a range of seminars to enhance the general qualifications of doctoral students:
- Study skills (e.g., academic writing)
- Personal development (e.g., work-life balance)
- IT skills (e.g., reference management software)
- Career entry and development
Students can attend these seminars in addition to the modules forming part of the program. Moreover, they can also participate in the activities offered by the LMU Center for Leadership and People Management, which offers workshops for doctoral students that prepare them for leadership tasks and future jobs. Finally, students can also take part in the training offered by PROFiL, an LMU program for academic teaching.