Educational training

The central aim of the structured PhD programme is to facilitate the development of excellent academic qualifications as well as interpersonal and career skills. At key focus is placed on providing the support required for the timely completion of a PhD project at an advanced academic level. This support is provided by a study programme that develops advanced methodological and theoretical competencies. An additional hallmark of the programme is it grants sufficient latitude for independent PhD project work and the growth of academic autonomy.

As part of the PhD programme, we provide practical training to further encourage the development of personal and professional skills. This prepares students for research and teaching within the university system as well as for other professional fields. Our focus on imparting practical knowledge and experience broadens the perspectives of PhD students, opening up new career paths. Because experience shows that students’ career paths vary, we offer perspectives for transferral by imparting practice-relevant knowledge. Graduates of our courses aim, not only for an academic career, but also for jobs at cultural institutions. Our group actively collaborates with the Frankfurt-based newspaper FAZ as well as various museums, foundations and municipal marketing companies, art galleries, performance spaces, and publishing houses.
All parts of the qualification programme are closely linked to the research programme and are dynamically designed, facilitating an ideal path for doctoral attainment.

The programme offered to our PhD students by participating and associated academics is structured according to the three-year funding period and consists of a foundation phase and a completion phase. In the first phase (semesters 1 to 4), students’ understanding of the purpose and methods of the group is consolidated and gradually amplified in compulsory courses. The second phase (semesters 5 and 6) is dedicated to preparing doctoral theses within the scope of a streamlined and more flexible programme now increasingly made up of optional courses.

The first two groups of PhD students completed their practical training (which included at least two workshops and up to two internships) during their 36-month period of employment. In contrast, practical training for the third cohort of PhDs will be extended and financed by the Friedrich Schiller University. The funding period has been extended from 36 to 39 months and now integrates a three-month practical training period. This allows students to complete their theses within the funding period and to offer skills transfer training equivalent to an additional professional qualification. Skills transfer is just as beneficial for those wishing to remain in academics as for those wanting to enter different professions – and supporting this is important to the Friedrich Schiller University.

The study programme includes compulsory and optional units that enable the broadest possible methodological and content-specific training for PhD students.

Unit types (mandatory)

Intensive workshop,
Graduate forum
Colloqium Graduate workshop Research seminar


At the moment, the colloquia held in the group are used to present and describe the progress made by students in their doctoral studies. They are compulsory for all those involved (PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and supervisors). A PhD student’s colloquium is the most important assessment and balancing element in the qualification programme and Takes place 2-3 times per semester. In-depth discussions follow 30-minute presentations by our PhD students.

Reasearch seminar

The PhD students actively engage with the research programme in the research seminars. Members of the group, associated and invited (international) guest academics as well as the Mercator Fellows examine original source texts with PhD students and colleagues, in order to create an understanding of the methodological and content-specific framework and to develop perspectives for common questions. The research seminars are held every fortnight in the first two semesters.

Intensive workshop

This unit replaces the research seminar in the third and fourth semesters. Once a semester, visiting scholars work together with our PhD students to run half-day intensive workshops. The workshops are mostly combined with a public evening lecture. In the winter semester of 2016/17, we discussed the relationship between historical Romanticism and Nationalism, National Socialism, anti-Semitism. In the summer semester of 2017, Andreas Reckwitz ran a sociological workshop which looked at his diagnosis of our times as a “society of singularities” in relation to historical Romanticism.  In January 2019, Musicologist Ulrich Tadday discussed the role of music in Romanticism. At the start of 2021, there will be an interdisciplinary workshop on “Romanticizing Politics” with literary scholars, historians, musicologists, and legal specialist Christoph Möllers.

Graduate forum

This kind of event is reserved for junior academics and lead by our research coordinator. The graduate workshops form the framework for various areas of work. Here, we will discuss foundational questions relating to the process of writing, completing a PhD, and further develop our theoretical basis in Model Theory throughout the funding period. Our PhD students also have the possibility to form reading- and workgroups and to develop projects together. In this way, the first cohort created the reading group “Romantic Philosophy” and interested students from the second cohort regularly meet to read original texts from the Romantic period as well as related research. Over the course of the study programme, these formats will be integrated with events run by the Graduate Academy, the university Writing Centre and external providers.  

Graduate workshop

The discussions had during these workshops emerge from graduate workshops which our PhD students organise themselves. These take place during the third and fourth semesters, facilitate exchange with other (junior)academics, and train independent action within the academic community. A second workshop was situated at the cross-over of science and culture. In 2017, we held both an academic colloquium as well as two evening cultural events for a large urban audience (concert/discussion/reading) on the topic of “Romantik und Gegenwart – Romanticism Now”.
In the winter semester of 2018, there was the interdisciplinary conference for junior academics “Funktionen der Einbildungskraft – Functions of the Imagination”. The organization was taken on by a team of four PhD students and supported by individual supervisors. A new series of events on the topic of equality has been initiated by PhD students and the postdoc of the second cohort and begins in the winter semester 2020/2021. The series will be kicked off by a discussion of the study on the topic of career choices and inequality. The workshop series will be continued by the historian Ute Frevert in the summer semester of 2021.

Optional elements

Lectures Lunch Lectures
Intensive workshop,
Graduate workshop
Colloqium Graduate workshop Research seminar
Cultural Events Training of key qualifications


Academic lectures (including larger public lectures) will be held in cooperation with scholars and guests. The lectures serve to selectively stimulate discussions and the networking of the Kolleg and are not tied to a specific semester. Speakers have included: Kristian Köchy (‚Dogmatisierende Träumerei? Zu Anspruch und Wirklichkeit der romantischen Naturphilosophie), Sylka Scholz (Wie romantisch sind Familienbeziehungen heutzutage?), Charles Taylor (Romantic Poetics), and Hans Joas (Die Macht des Heiligen).

Lunch Lectures
PhD students and supervisors interested in a particular methodology or topic meet in small workgroup or over lunch. PhD students and postdocs taking part in the guest programme at the research group for instance, can offer presentations.

Cultural events

Cultural events complement the programme of study via discussion of historical and contemporary cultural phenomena. In 2016, Thea Dorn presented her novel “Die Unglückseligen” to a broad public in Jena and discussed it with members of our research group. In 2018, Jonas Lüscher held a heated debate with a philosopher and a literary scholar on knowledge and narration. In 2017, Ingo Schulze and Felicitas Hoppe held guest readings and talks in Jena, as did Clemens Meyer in 2019. Film showings have inspired discussion amongst our researchers as well as musical events ranging from settings of Eichendorff’s “Mondnacht” through to the work of Bob Dylan.

Training of key qualifications and good scientific practice

The Graduate Academy, which is the umbrella organisation for the coordinated PhD programme at Friedrich Schiller University, offers a general qualification programme to PhD students (e.g., the certification programme “Scientific Leadership”). This, and other, programmes have been used by individual PhD students. In addition, there is specialised training in key competencies for members of the research group.
The university Writing Centre offers courses on academic writing, intensive writing weeks, and individual consultation. The head of the Writing Centre also supports our PhD students with specific training for our research group from the first conceptual stages through the submission of a thesis.

Romanticism platform
The internet platform we run “Gestern | Romantik | Heute” supports interest in Romanticism and international networking beyond the interests of the research group. The forum is intended to connect different areas of society and disciplines through discussion and exchange. Our PhD students regularly contribute to the platform, which offers them a chance to trains their writing and ability to transfer ideas.

Pathways to Science

A number of measures have proved to be useful in deepening our PhD student’s academic training where needed and in helping them to develop their own research profile, become professionals in their subject area, and so create the basis for remaining in academics.

  • During the PhD, our supervisors encourage their students to present at conferences, hold other lectures, and to publish.
  • There is dedicated financial support for publications, which is intended to ease the pressure of applying for other publication-funding.  
  • Teaching contracts with participating departments at the Friedrich-Schiller University enable PhD students to gather teaching experience. Students can teach as a teacher or co-teacher for a maximum of two semesters.
  • The University’s service office ‘LehreLernen ’ offers interested PhD students the opportunity to complete the teaching qualification programme ‘Basic’, which is made up of four modules and is funded for PhD students. However, individual events can also be attended to prepare one's own teaching.
  • Furthermore, doctoral students can train their skills in scientific organisation by taking responsibility for the preparation of workshops and conferences or by planning and implementing their own events.
  • If a given PhD topic does not have an international component or perspective, collaboration with the international academic community will be encouraged. Interested PhD students will be to spend one to two months in working groups run by collaborative partners abroad.

Practical Qualifications and Skills Transfer

Statistically, only some of the PhD graduates will take up an academic career. Because of this, the research group also prepares its students for different career paths. We see ourselves as proponents of doctoral training which believes that excellent academic training also goes together with training for other areas of society. Our PhD students have prospects in international, national, and regional cultural institutions, in cultural- charity- and museum management, as well as in the classic fields of publishing and media.  

Practical qualification segments are intended to offer practical knowledge and train knowledge transfer. In order to achieve the close connection between our research programme and practical training, the practical qualification aspects have been gathered under the title “Orte der Romantik  - Places of Romanticism”. It is intended that they make it possible for students to engage with Romanticism through concrete work with Romantic models through internships and projects. The following institutions are available as our partners:

Educational Work in Museums

Models of Romanticism will be used in museums. These will be updated and communicated to the public. Sensualisation and materialisation of core ideas and forms of life in Romanticism take place in this context. In the field of exhibitions, the doctoral students of the Kolleg have already worked together with the Romantiker-Haus Jena. Regionally and throughout Germany, students of the Kolleg have completed internships at the Kügelgenhaus/Museum of Romanticism in Dresden and the Goethe House of the Freies Deutsches Hochstift, as well as with our international cooperation partners, the Walden Woods Project, Massachusetts, close to Walden Ponds in Concord, made famous by Henry David Thoreau. The Walden Woods Project combines educational and nature preservation work. They also run a research library. Further collaborations exist with the Ernst Haeckel House (Jena), the Pomeranian State Museum (Greifswald), the Novalis Museum Schloss Oberwiederstedt and the Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf. Whilst project work generally offers insight into existent structures, our cooperation with the Freien Deutschen Hochstift (Goethe museum in Frankfurt am Main) and the Deutschen Romantik-Museum (German museum of Romanticism) offers insights into the concept and design for an institution under development. The process of planning a museum shows where the difficulties lie in communicating complex concepts to a broad public audience.

Event Conception, Design and Development

The location in Jena provides our PhD students with the opportunity to test the extent to which events rely on models of thinking and at the same time can qualify for a steadily growing area of cultural life, because the number of cultural events that target a broader audience and promise a high experiential value is increasing. Individual readings can be organised with our partner “Lesezeichen e.V.” It is also possible to design an event series on the topic of Romanticism in “Schillers Gartenhaus” together with the house manager. PhD students will be supported were necessary and gain training through workshops with our partner culture/event/project management office Heike Braun.

Municipal and Cultural Marketing

An effective method of popularising and broadcasting Romantic models is through municipal marketing. In 2015 Jena presented itself as the City of Romanticism. A practical orientation in tourism marketing is possible in municipal JenaKultur. Here, it is possible to design “Romantic city walking tours” which combine historical locations with popular explanations of early Romantic concepts. A project phase of several months would also allow the development of a city tourism concept and contribution to an (early)Romantic profile for the city of Jena. New is a cooperation with the city of Hanau and the opportunity to support the organisation of the annual "Brothers Grimm Festival" as part of an internship.


“Sites of Romanticism” will be visited in a series of workshops and, under professional instruction, depicted in journalistic publications. This project has already been run twice, in cooperation with Frankfurt general newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. A multi-part workshop has been established in the third and fourth semesters. The workshop consists of a preparatory meeting, in which the basic journalism skills are taught and topics and individual research tasks are agreed on. An excursion leads participants to a location related to Romanticism. A final meeting in Jena follows the production phase, in which the texts written in different journalistic formats (reports, interviews, commentary) are evaluated and discussed. Uwe Ebbinghaus, Feuilleton editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine newpaper is currently responsible for the workshop and publishes the entries in Blog-Seminar at faz.net.

Art trade
The basics of the art trade can be learned during an internship at the H. W. Fichter art shop in Frankfurt am Main. The house specialises in oil sketches and drawings of the Romantic period. The art gallery also organises events and salon sessions on Romantic topics.


In cooperation with the German National Theatre in Weimar, doctoral students can observe the production of a thematically appropriate play. In September 2019, one of our PhD students became assistant director at a production of “Hoffmanns Erzählungen” (Jacques Offenbach). He developed an event format which led to dialogue between our research group and the local opera director.
Publishing houses Academic publishers such as Winter University Press from Heidelberg have a historical and contemporary focus in the publication of publications on the topic of "Romanticism". Winter Verlag makes it possible for doctoral students to stay for several weeks  at the publishing house and support individual publications.
The renowned publisher C. H. Beck is also available as a cooperation partner. In the Munich house of the publishing house, there is both a department for non-fiction and one for fiction. Doctoral students can complete an internship in the editorial office of both departments to familiarise themselves with the process of publishing academic and fiction literature.

Science organisation

The German Historical Institute in Warsaw offers the opportunity to gain experience in the international academic organisation and mediation. Over the course of a stay of several months, the director and staff in Warsaw offer a PhD student insight into the workings of the institution and its research strategy, conference planning, and international networking.
In October 2016, the workshop “Romantik in der Praxis” kicked off our professional development programme together with our partnering cultural institutions. A corresponding event is planned for the winter semester 2021/22.