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Three PhDs in One

Bonn pioneers tri-national graduate school in the Arts

The first tri-national graduate school of the universities of Bonn, Paris IV Sorbonne and Florence will start work at the University of Bonn next winter semester. The guiding theme, 'Founding Myths of Europe in Literature, Art and Music', combines current and future academics from the three participating universities. Students completing this demanding programme will receive a joint PhD from these three prestigious universities. The project will be financed until the end of 2010 by the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD) with a total of around a quarter of a million euros.

The joint project offers particularly well qualified PhD students a unique degree via a structured PhD programme. Over a period of three years students will prepare their thesis in the field of myths associated with the foundation of Europe. The subjects involved in this are those of the Arts Faculty, particularly Literature and Linguistics, Art History and Musicology, as well as those subjects dealing with topics which cover the basic theme of the graduate school, among them Historiography, Political Sciences and Sociology.

A joint PhD from three top universities

'We want our PhD students to carry out research that is internationally recognised,' says Professor Michael Bernsen, who initiated the tri-national graduate school. He adds that the programme creates the environment necessary for this, stating that 'Our graduates will obtain a joint PhD from three prestigious European universities. This will significantly improve their chances on the European job market.' The idea is that the participants will be active as creative artists in particular and be active in managing cultural and academic fields at European level.

As part of their three-year programme the PhD students spend at least one semester each at the other two partner universities. Apart from their supervisor at the home university they are also supported by supervisors and mentors at the partner universities. Their thesis is evaluated by the supervisor at the home university as well as the supervisor at the partner university. The final oral examination in the form of a viva takes place before a trilateral examining board in the language of the home university, or if desired in the language of one of the partner universities.

There are close ties in research and teaching between the universities of Bonn, Paris IV Sorbonne and Florence, thanks to bilateral programmes. 'The tri-national graduate school comprises the next step in this cooperation, which is thereby extended to many different subjects,' Michael Bernsen emphasises.

The tri-national graduate school also supports prospective candidates by financing their PhD work. For this purpose, the first scholarships and offers of support from foundations have already been procured. Further information can be found on the internet at:

Professor Michael Bernsen
Institute of Classics, Romance studies and Ancient American Studies
University of Bonn
Telephone: ++49-(0)228-735057
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