For Master and PhD Students in Social Sciences and Humanities: How to Write a Research Proposals

You have a thing for reading, thinking, and writing? You feel that so-called “soft research skills” actually make a meaningful contribution to society? You plan to apply for a Ph.D. program in the social sciences or humanities and intend to spend the next years of your life doing research for a doctoral degree? Then wouldn’t it be exciting to combine this life-changing experience with a study abroad in Germany? As Germany is a cradle of the humanities and social sciences …

If the above description fits you, then we have an attractive offer for you. Sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and with support from Peking University, we are organizing a two-day training in how to write a research proposal in the social sciences and humanities.

Requirements and styles of research proposal differ not only between academic disciplines but also between (national) academic cultures. The training will focus on the main principles of research proposals in the German tradition in the social sciences and humanities.

This two-day seminar can help you with getting your research proposal in shape for you to get closer to putting this plan into practice. And it will familiarize you with German standards in proposal writings. It is designed to combine theoretical input with hands-on work on your own document. This procedure will require you to prepare written pieces and reflections in advance, and be ready to productively criticize the work of others as well as your own.

During the first session, we will get into the theory of proposals, try to get a hold on objectives and outline. By your contributions (1-page project description & mini-literature review), we will work out what makes for a good research question, define its role within the overall document and understand the way from idea to project. Between the two sessions, you will be asked to apply what we have learned to your own personal research proposal. During the second session, we will make use of your homework and engage with the specifics of particular sections constituting such a document, mainly research methods and the crucial research plan.

After the successful completion of the training, you should be able to
•   appreciate why research proposals are important
•   distinguish the key components of a research proposal
•   be aware of common pitfalls in proposal writing
•   understand the importance of literature review
•   understand the importance of research methods and research plans
•   learn how to avoid stupid mistakes
•   reflect on your progress
And you will be awarded with a certificate issued by the DAAD at the end of the training.

Our trainer is Dr. Agnes KNEITZ. She holds a Ph.D. degree in history from the University of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), one of the Excellence Universities in Germany. In Beijing, Dr. Kneitz teaches environmental history at Renmin University of China’s School of History in her fourth year.

How To Write A Research Proposal In The Social Sciences And Humanities
A two-day training held at Peking University on 29 October and 26 November 2016.

Organizers: DAAD Beijing Branch Office and Peking University
Who can apply: Masters students who will graduate in 2017 and Ph.D. students who started their doctoral studies in 2016, enrolled at a university in Beijing or Tianjin.
The training is open to students with a major in social sciences, including business and economics, and humanities. Cannot apply: students majoring in law or German.
No. of participants: 25 max.
Tuition fee: None
Teaching language: English
Application deadline: 20 October 2016
How to apply: Applications should be sent by e-mail to the DAAD Beijing branch office

Application material:

  • Please include a 200 word Mini-CV in English that informs us about your current institution, research interest, and short-term career plan.
  • In a second document, please let us know the (preliminary) title of your research project and give us an abstract of the project. At which university or research institute in Germany do you intend to perform your research stay? Did you already establish contact with a potential supervisor in Germany?