The Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences brings the humanities, social sciences, economics and regional sciences together at Leipzig University. It provides a framework for our structured, interdisciplinary and internationally oriented doctoral programmes.

More than 100 doctoral researchers are working on research projects in the Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences. Photo: Felix Mayrl
More than 100 doctoral researchers are working on research projects in the Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences. Photo: Felix Mayrl

Doctoral projects are supervised and prepared within the specific doctoral programmes. All of our doctoral programmes offer a professional training programme geared towards the needs of the research areas. Interdisciplinary exchange is supported, for example, through the annual Summer School and the wide range of interdisciplinary workshops and events offered.

More than 100 doctoral researchers are currently conducting research in the Graduate Centre. They are supervised by over 30 university lecturers from six faculties at Leipzig University, as well as from several external research institutions.


Professor Ulf Engel

Professor Ulf Engel

Beethovenstraße 15
04107 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-37038
Fax: +49 341 97-37048

Doctoral Programmes in the Graduate Centre

The Central-German Doctoral Program Economics (CGDE) is a regional doctoral programme offered in the field of economics. The CGDE includes methods and research courses taught by internationally renowned researchers. These established courses allow doctoral students to obtain the skills they need to be successful in the field. The CGDE is a joint initiative between several economics faculties and research institutions in Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia.


Since October 2012, Leipzig University and the Institute for Peace and Security Studies at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) have offered a three-year joint interdisciplinary doctoral programme in the field of global and area studies. The programme is designed for both early career researchers and experts in globalisation and security research. It prepares them for careers in international organisations; in conflict management, prevention and resolution; and in early warning of conflicts (as well as in other areas of the emerging African Peace and Security Architecture, APSA), and as future lecturers, scientists and researchers for the rapidly developing higher education sector in Ethiopia and its neighbouring countries.

The Graduate School Global and Area Studies (GSGAS) would like to invite early career researchers from all over the world to participate in a project of global reach that has both an interdisciplinary and post-disciplinary approach. The Graduate School is open to excellent candidates with original contributions from regional studies, history, social sciences or international studies who are looking for a comprehensive answer to the general question of how societies across the globe respond to the dialectics of de- and re-territorialisation. Of particular interest is the persistence of long-lasting frameworks and the emergence of new spatial frameworks for social interaction within and between cultures, nations and regional clusters of states.


Digital technologies are coming into use in almost every area of life and are changing our society, the economy and science. The field of law is also under pressure to adapt. The question therefore arises whether the new situation can be addressed by the established legal terms and categories or whether reforms are necessary. Through its doctoral projects, the graduate group Digitalisation and Law is pursuing issues related to this range of topics. On an analytical, descriptive level, the individual projects seek to determine whether the law in its current version stands in the way of digital transformation as a “brake on progress” or has it assumed the function of a preserver of individual or collective interests worthy of protection. This analysis of the current situation is linked to a legal examination of whether and to what extent it is possible to adapt the law to the changes digitalisation has brought about by interpreting existing law or whether new legal tools are needed. Analysing the function and development of law in a society shaped by digital change cannot be carried out using the methods of legal hermeneutics alone. This is because the issue is affected by basic principles from sociology, theology, ethics, medicine, economics and other disciplines. These principles will be investigated as part of the group’s research and skills development programme – for example, in the form of reading groups and colloquia to which partners and other experts will be invited.

The group is supported by the following professors from the Faculty of Law:

  • Professor Katharina Beckemper (Spokesperson for the graduate group)
  • Professor Daniela Demko
  • Professor Marc Desens
  • Professor Christoph Enders
  • Professor Diethelm Klesczewski
  • Professor Stephanie Schiedermair

In this graduate group, doctoral researchers whose doctoral projects are in the field of empirical research on teaching and learning and have links to subject-specific teaching will answer research questions from an interdisciplinary perspective, one in which social interactions of learners and teachers are central.

The graduate group’s main focus is on social interaction – both the interaction between learners (e.g. in the analysis of learning processes in groups and peer-supported learning) and between learners and teachers (e.g. in the analysis of classroom discussions and teacher-student feedback). Special attention is paid to dealing with heterogeneity and diversity in subject-specific teaching. These central questions in research on teaching not only arise in classical teaching or tutorial settings, but also as a result of current approaches to digital transformation in which issues regarding the design of social interactions in various (online) formats are particularly relevant. While the group is clearly focused on empirical research, it combines qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method approaches.

The following professors serve as spokespersons for this graduate group:

This unit combines the two former units of Religious Nonconformism and Cultural Dynamics (Hubert Seiwert and Adam Jones) and Secularities: Configurations and Developmental Paths (Gert Pickel). It thus brings together two central research fields (religion and secularities) at Leipzig University and is aimed at doctoral researchers in the humanities and social sciences whose work addresses the development, differentiation and practice of religious and secular phenomena, both past and present. In doing so, the boundaries of these manifestations are considered as are the cultural dynamics that unfold in the context of the religious processes of negotiation, traditions and appropriations. The focus of the unit is therefore on the reciprocal relationship and processes of transformation found in religion, secularity and cultural dynamics. The starting point is the assumption that religious change always occurs in the context of cultural processes of transformation and in relation to secular societal processes. Empirical and historical examples from various religious traditions and regions are investigated. The goal of the unit is to critically reflect on central theories and concepts as well as to systematically examine questions related to this topic. The unit is also open to other topics and issues in research on religion.

The unit offers doctoral researchers and postdocs the possibility of interdisciplinary exchange through doctoral colloquia, workshops on methodology, and research seminars. We work closely with the Humanities Centre for Advanced Study Multiple Secularities and the Centre for the Study of Religion.

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