Call for Applications: PhD program East Asian Studies at Freie Universität Berlin starting October 2021

Berlin, Germany
Deadline: 2nd Dec 2020

Graduate School of East Asian Studies (GEAS) is inviting applications again for the PhD program East Asian Studies at Freie Universität Berlin starting October 2021.

GEAS offers a social science-based, structured 3-year PhD program with a regional focus on East Asia (China, Japan, Korea). Doctoral dissertations at GEAS are expected to analyze the institutional environment of social, political, cultural and economic actors in the East Asian region. All dissertation research at GEAS will be conducted in the context of the three interconnected research lenses of its academic profile:1. the origin and change of institutions in East Asia, 2. the effects institutions have on processes, related to globalization and modernization in East Asia on the side of governments, bureaucracies, businesses, individual life-styles, etc., 3. the interdependencies of institutions in East Asia within and beyond its regional boundaries.

The next application deadline will be 2 December 2020. For questions on admission and the online portal, please also consult the Admission FAQ on our homepage or meet us October 7 for a short presentation and application Q&A.


Successful applicants will have an above average master’s degree in either area studies (Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies) or a discipline represented at the Graduate School (Political Science, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Business, Economics, Law, History, Cultural Studies, Humanities) with a focus on East Asia. The language of communication is English. Successful candidates will also have language skills in an East Asian Language (Chinese, Japanese, or Korean) at a level of B2 or higher. Doctoral students’ membership in the program is contingent upon a positive evaluation after each year of study.

Scholarship Availability

Two fellowships for international candidates are available through the DAAD-GSSP program by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Two fellowships for candidates with Chinese citizenship are available through the cooperation of Freie Universität and Chinese Scholarship Council through Center for International Cooperation (FU-CSC PhD Scholarship). Candidates who are not offered a scholarship can be admitted to the program, provided that they apply for and secure external funding from other foundations and sponsors before or at the same time as applying for GEAS. The coordination office will support the applications and provide assistance if necessary.

Applicants are required to apply online at the application portal. Note that the candidates selected for a nomination for DAAD have to submit a subsequent application to the funding organization for a final decision. We would like to ask applicants who apply for CSC at Beijing Liaison Office to also submit their application to the GEAS portal as well.

Applications should include

  • a CV
  • a letter of academic interest
  • a brief outline of the prospective dissertation topic (maximum 6 pages)
  • a schedule for the dissertation
  • and copies of certificates of your relevant degrees and language skills.


Two letters of recommendation shall be sent or uploaded directly by your referees to GEAS via the online application system before the deadline. For more information and guidelines as well as for applications, please register at the online application portal of Dahlem Research School Booking & Application Site.

The screening takes place in mid-February until March 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed via video conference. Candidates accepted will receive notice by April by GEAS for acceptance to the program. A place in the program is contingent upon admission to the relevant subject at Freie Universität Berlin. Notice for admission into university will take place by mid-2021.

For additional information, please check our website and feel free to contact us at

No legal entitlement shall be constituted by applying to the program. Reasons for rejections will not be disclosed.