About us

The Graduate Centre of the Faculty of Social Sciences (GZ SOWI) is a service centre aimed at supporting and strengthening continuing education, and networking of early stage researchers at the Faculty. Currently, the Graduate Centre is coordinated by Roman Pfefferle. Birgit Sauer, Vice-Dean for Career Development and International Affairs, is currently responsible for academic leadership.

The strategic orientation of the GZ SOWI and the activities resulting therefrom can be categorised into six fields:

1. Early stage researchers: visibility, networking and integration

In their role as early stage researchers, doctoral candidates can rely on the support of the GZ SOWI through information and orientation events right from the beginning. Doctoral candidates also benefit from being introduced to existing research topics at the Faculty. There are ongoing consultation and networking events for the respective cohort of doctoral candidates.
Advanced doctoral candidates and
early postdoctoral candidates are offered the opportunity to present their research projects at the early stage researchers' day (Tag der Nachwuchsforschung) taking place once a year. This is also a chance to engage in an active exchange with established academics and other early stage researchers.

2. Needs-oriented continuing education measures for doctoral candidates

The GZ SOWI takes targeted measures for continuing education by providing specific workshops to doctoral candidates that are neither covered by the regular range of social sciences courses nor offered by the Center for Doctoral Studies.
This includes, among others, the Fit for FÖP workshops that take place every semester and prepare doctoral candidates in their early semesters for their public presentation at the Faculty in a targeted way. These workshops mainly deal with special methodical approaches in social sciences, but also professional strategies and perspectives in social scientific research within and outside of the University.
Additionally, the GZ SOWI organises publication workshops on a regular basis. These workshops are closely linked to the Faculty’s publication strategy and aim at providing doctoral candidates with strategies for the successful publication in peer-reviewed journals of their respective academic discipline.

3. Organisation of funding measures for early stage researchers at the Faculty

The funding measures for early stage researchers at the Faculty of Social Sciences have been brought together at the GZ SOWI, which is also in charge of organisational and administrative matters. They cover, for instance, the distribution of funds for the proofreading of papers written by early stage researchers holding a post at the University. These papers have to be written in English and already be accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal for early stage (predoctoral and postdoctoral) researchers.
Beyond the funding measures at the Faculty, the GZ SOWI also offers updates on calls for papers, academic conferences and job offers in social sciences via its website and newsletter.

4. Consultation on curricular and study law matters for doctoral candidates

The GZ SOWI is the central contact point for consultation enquiries by doctoral candidates at the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Due to the close cooperation with the administrative staff in charge of the doctoral programme at the StudiesServiceCentre Social Sciences, an increasing number of enquiries regarding the doctoral programme are directed to the GZ SOWI as well. In this context, the GZ SOWI is designed to complement the Center for Doctoral Studies, which is in charge of consultation services across all academic disciplines. The GZ SOWI, on the other hand, is responsible for explaining the particularities of the Faculty and giving practical advice with respect to the social sciences degree programmes.

5. Supporting the Directorate of Doctoral Studies for Social Sciences (DSPL 40) and the studies conference

The GZ SOWI performs supporting activities for the DSPL 40 and the studies conference of the doctoral programme in Social Sciences.
The GZ SOWI supports the DSPL 40 mainly in the coordination of dates and rooms as well as the preparation and follow-up of meetings. This also includes arranging specific documents and taking minutes during meetings. Moreover, the GZ SOWI assists the DSPL team in study-related matters of the doctoral programme.


History of the Graduate Centre of the Faculty of Social Sciences