The program of BIGS-OAS consists of four areas:

1. Main curriculum
2. Year group research colloquium (e.g. year group 2021; year group 2020)
3. Presentation days within the framework of Dies academicus
4. Knowledge transfer and management

Additionally, courses, language courses, workshops, and working groups will be organized that can be adapted to the current doctoral student requirements and suggestions.

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The BIGS-OAS offers it's doctoral students a balanced and modularized main curriculum. Depending on their individual needs and interests, they can choose and customize their own study plan. The main curriculum consists of interdisciplinary skill, theory, and method seminars, which are supplemented by open topics. The main curriculum is offered in a two year turn, beginning in October of an even year. The seminars are offered as two-day workshops, usually on Fridays and Saturdays.
The participants are expected to attend 13 of the main-curriculum workshops throughout their doctoral studies (one credit point per seminar). A maximum of 5 extra-curricular courses offered by the University of Bonn, or on-topic courses that are attended during a research stay at a partner university in an Asian-based destination, are eligible and can be transferred as attended workshops. For this, an application to the BIGS-OAS speaker describing the respective course's comparability to a main-curriculum seminar in content and duration has to be made prior to attendance.

Structure of the main curriculum (electives):
Skills seminar I: Preparation and Financing of Field Work and Archival Studies in an Asian Destination
Skills seminar II: Writing an Application for Funds and Grants, Career Plans, and Time Management
Skills seminar III: Unterricht und Lehre: Planung, Methoden, Durchführung [Classes and teaching: preparation, methods, implementation]
Skills seminar IV: Philosophy of Science and the Scientific Community
Skills seminar V: Reviews and Publications
Skills seminar VI: Schreibwerkstatt [writing workshop]
Skills seminar VII: Rhetorik und Präsentation [rhetorics and presentation]

Theory seminar I: Orientalism and Postcolonial Studies
Theory seminar II: New Approaches in Cultural Studies
Theory seminar III: Asia-Related Approaches in the Social Sciences
Theory seminar IV: Area Studies and beyond
Theory seminar V: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Global History

Methods seminar I: Potentials and Dilemmas of Comparative Research: Categorial Issues, Cross-Cultural and Economic Perspectives
Methods seminar II: Quellenkritik, Hermeneutik und Textinterpretation [source criticism, hermeneutics, and text interpretation]
Methods seminar III: Ethnographic Field Research
Methods seminar IV: Statistics
Methods seminar V: Qualitative and Quantitative Social Research Methods I (theoretical foundations)
Methods seminar VI: Qualitative and Quantitative Social Research Methods II (exercises)
Methods seminar VII: Befragung, Interview, teilnehmende Beobachtung [survey, interview, and participant observation]

Open topics I–VI: e.g.: Transdisciplinary Scholarship – How to Do Meaningful Research and Write It Well / Religion als Gegenstand der Forschung: Vom Umgang mit Weltanschauung in der Wissenschaft [religion as a research object: on dealing with ideology in science] / Employing Visual Sources and Material Culture in Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The current main curriculum can be found here22.

Every Graduate School year group (e.g. 2021; 2020) has a mentor that serves as a contact person throughout the doctoral program.
At the beginning of the program an introductory course is organized. Accordingly, the participants meet regularly with their year groups and mentor – as a rule once or twice each term – for a research colloquium. The colloquia are held as a block course. In these sessions the current dissertation projects are presented and discussed. In particular, the first year lays a special focus on the writing of an exposé to apply for funds and grants.

At every Dies academicus of the University, a presentation day takes place where doctoral students of BIGS-OAS publicly present their dissertation projects. At the winter term Dies participants in their final year, who are in their final stages, will give presentations. In the summer term, the first year participants that have just started, will present their results. Therefore, throughout the doctoral program everyone will publicly present their project twice.

During the doctoral program, participants are expected to acquire at least two qualifications in the knowledge transfer and/or management areas. Recognized as such are:

  • organizing a workshop or a graduate conference
  • presenting a talk based on the dissertation project at an international conference
  • having an article based on the dissertation project accepted by a journal or included in an anthology
  • taking on a teaching assignment for a B.A. or M.A. class
  • content-related support of a B.A. thesis
  • other publications

Such contributions by participants enable them to acquire key competences and gives them the opportunity to gain first hand experience in the international research community.

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