One Scholarship for Doctoral Studies: Languages and Cultures of the Silk Road Program – Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS)

BerGSAS currently offers the following two scholarships:

One Scholarship for Doctoral Studies in the “Languages and Cultures of the Silk Road” Program

The Graduate School Scholarship Program (GSSP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is offering one doctoral scholarship to research and complete a doctorate in the “Languages and Cultures of the Silk Road” program at the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS). We welcome applications from highly qualified graduates from the fields of Central Asian studies, Iranian studies, Turkology, Central and East Asian Archaeology. Candidates must hold an outstanding Master’s degree, or equivalent degree, in one of the aforementioned subjects or be very close to completion. The scholarship is available from October 2018 for three or four years (subject to a satisfactory annual progress review).

 The call is open only to applicants

  • who are not German citizens
  • who have not resided in Germany continuously for longer than 12 months as of the application deadline
  • their last final exam (Master Degree) should have taken place no longer than six years ago

The “Languages and Cultures of the Silk Road” program covers Central Asia essentially in the period from the beginning of the present era up to the arrival of Islam in the area (10th c. in Kashgar, ca. 14th c. in Turfan) and therefore concentrates on the broad range of attested languages and literatures of Buddhist, Manichaean and Christian communities and on a lesser quantity of secular documents. The Turfan Collection in Berlin provides an ideal opportunity to study original materials.

A wealth of recently excavated sites and find materials in Central and Eastern Asia allow new approaches to a number of old questions concerning the complex cultural history along the Silk Roads. The candidates are free to choose their own topics, and it is important to remember that texts and artifacts that have already been published often have a lot more to reveal than has already been discovered. The following is an indication of the kind of topics possible and is not intended to exhaust or limit the possibilities.

In the field of Iranian studies: A comprehensive study of the Sogdian Buddhist texts; a study of the verbal system and a detailed analysis of its use in Middle Persian, Parthian or Sogdian texts; a study of the composition of the Manichaean Parthian hymn-cycles; and so on.

In the field of Turkish studies: A comparison of Old Turkish and Chinese sentence structure in Buddhist texts, focusing on translation techniques and interference between the source and target language; a study of identified and published Old Turkish texts with historical content; a study of the commodities used as a means of payment in Old Turkish contracts and so on.

In the field of archaeology and cultural history: How did knowledge spread and transform societies in Eastern Central Asia in the first Millennium AD? Reconstruction of the individual life history and kinship of oasis settlers based on objects and texts. Identification of raw materials and products, which are representative for particular time periods, locations, or communities in Xinjiang.

In accordance with DAAD guidelines, doctoral scholarship holders receive a basic monthly stipend of 1,000 Euros, a travel allowance, a combined health, accident and liability insurance policy, allowances for study and research and, where applicable, rent and family allowances, as well as financial support for a pre-sessional language course.

Application process:

Candidates must send their application before December 1, 2017 to

Please submit:

  • an application form
  • a curriculum vitae (CV, resume)
  • a cover letter that explains your motivation for applying to the doctoral program
  • two letters of recommendation by two university professors from your home university. Please use the DAAD letter of recommendation form.
  • a research proposal (5 pages)
  • a work plan and schedule for three years
  • a writing sample (15-20 pages)
  • copies of certificates and copies of translated documents (copies don’t have to be certified!):
    • copies of certificates of annual examinations taken at the home university
    • copies of certificates of any academic degrees or advanced qualifications indicating grades and explaining the home university’s grading system
    • copies of document(s) certifying knowledge of English

The application procedure takes place in two stages:

1) Candidates submit their applications, including the documents mentioned above, to

2) Short-listed candidates are invited for an interview (on Skype) within two months of the application deadline.

If you have been selected for a scholarship by BerGSAS you will be required to upload your application to the DAAD submission system in mid-February 2018. BerGSAS will prepare a shortlist, while DAAD will make the final choice. Admission to studies and receipt of a scholarship is based on assessments by both the hosting university and DAAD.

For further inquiries please contact the BerGSAS Coordinators:

Dr. Regina Attula,

Dr. Carmen Marcks-Jacobs,

Online application: here