Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

PhD Studies

Further Information for Doctoral Candidates l Current Doctoral Candidates

Information for Applicants for Thesis Supervision


Research Areas / Topic Clusters for Theses

Please consult the teaching and research portfolio of the Chair for Transregional Southeast Asia Studies for inquiries about disciplinary, theoretical-methodological as well as geographical parameters and approaches.


Certified language proficiencies (see Common European Framework for Languages)

  • for German and/or English as language for thesis writing, the required level is C1/proficient user
  • for regional languages such as Arabic, Malay, Indonesian or Japanese as language for thesis research, the required level is B2/independent user; Japanese Proficiency Test min. level 3


Admission Requirements and Procedure

Please consult the respective website of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin detailing all information on admission criteria (in particular equivalence certificate procedure for international students) as well as the application process, which is three-tiered for students without a MA/MPhil degree from a German university and two-tiered for students with a MA/MPhil degree from a German university.


Students without a MA/MPhil degree from a German university are required to provide a certified Statement of Comparability for Foreign Higher Education Qualifications from the ZAB/Central Office for Higher Education before asking recognition as potential PhD candidate in Transregional Southeast Asian Studies (=> Area Studies).


All PhD applicants are requested to submit the following documents (incomplete or short-notice applications will not be attended to!) via email as PDF attachments:


  • a completely filled out application form sheet with your key information
  • your curriculum vitae (CV), transcript of records, graduate degree certificates as well as the ZAB certificate in one PDF file
  • a concise, properly proof read research proposal (5 pages, Times New Roman 12, one and a half line spacing, in German or English) outlining
    • a problem statement and justification of the project with a clearly stated, precise research topic
    • a research question/argument/hypotheses
    • a compact literature review in terms of the current state of the art (i.e. theoretical, methodological as well as empirical studies related to your research topic and case(s) under review)
    • a preliminary theoretical framework
    • a preliminary research methodology
    • a preliminary milestone timeline for the intended duration of your PhD project, outlining key steps of your research process, its main objectives and goals as well as their duration in a detailed, calculated and feasibility-oriented manner
    • a selected bibliography of academic literature (see literature review)


We will then review your application and invite you for a speaking hour appointment, either face-to-face if based in Germany, or via Skype. The scheduling of appointments is done via email only. Please consider that it may take us some time to review your application, reply and arrange for a first meeting, which might be important for those with specific funding application deadlines.


In case of our confirmed intent of supervision, the next step is the admission procedure with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. All PhD applicants are requested to

  • read beforehand the FAQ section
  • prepare the application forms/documents required
  • seek in a timely manner an appointment – either via email, phone or in person – with the Desk for Doctoral Studies (Officer in charge for IAAW: Ms Sarah Affenzeller).