Application and Admission FAQ

The platform for uploading applications for the second cohort will be open from 1 February to 31 March 2025.

The application needs to be uploaded in one pdf file on the upload form at Requirements and Uploading.

If you have any questions concerning the application, please write to

Funded doctoral researchers will receive positions at either the Ruhr University Bochum or at the University of Duisburg-Essen for a duration of a maximum of four years to write their dissertations. They will be fixed-term employees with work contracts from the respective universities. The payment of their salaries will be administrated by the relevant university.

The affiliated fellowships of the doctoral and postdoctoral researchers include participation in the research and training groups. They are expected to take part in the didactic programme and they are entitled to follow all research, career promotion, and outreach activities. They will need to secure their own basic funding, but will receive travel grants for fieldwork, as well as archival and library research in East Asia.

This is the usual pay scale for academic staff at universities in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The basic gross salary at the pay scale 13, level 1, is about 4000 Euros. 75% thereof will be c. 3000 Euros. After taxes, health, social security, and pension insurances, about 1800 Euros will be the net income. Please compare the Public Service salary calculator here (external link to

Please upload in ONE pdf file the following documents, in exactly this sequence:

  • a cover letter
  • a CV including all relevant information about your academic formation
  • certifications of degrees, academic performance, and tested proof of language skills, especially your proficiency in one or more East Asian languages
  • a synopsis of the prospective dissertation / postdoc research topic (maximum 5000 words, references not included)
  • a writing sample in English (ideally an excerpt of the master’s or doctoral thesis or a translated summary thereof)

In addition, two confidential letters of recommendation from scholars who can address your suitability to the profile of the GRK 2833, should be uploaded onto the application portal.

The research proposal is an outline of your doctoral / postdoctoral project. The outline of your proposed dissertation or postdoc project should have a maximum of 12 pages. The proposal should reflect your research interests and potential.

Please use a common citation style and do not write more than 5,000 words. (Obviously, you should not just copy and paste this outline as a framework for the research proposal in your application.)

  1. Context, research questions and objectives of your research project
  1. The current state of research and the most relevant literature
  • Place your topic into the current academic debate.
  • Give a short literature review.
  1. A tentative theoretical framework and your research methods
  • Address the methodology and theoretical framework that you want to use and explain why this framework was chosen.
  • Explain the relevant sources of information for your research (written publications, archives, interviews, databases) and make clear how you intend to conduct your fieldwork.
  1. References and Bibliography (not counted within the 5,000 word limit)
  2. Time schedule (not counted within the word limit)
  • For Doctoral Researchers: Give a detailed schedule with reference to the milestones to be overcome (see Research and Qualifications) and fieldwork, and/or archival and library research plans.
  • For Postdoctoral Researchers: Please outline your time plan, including the timing of fieldwork and/or archival and library research plans.

Since the RTG will be conducted in English, an English language proficiency, equivalent to the European level C1, and at least one East Asian language (Japanese, Chinese or Korean) equivalent to the European level B2 is necessary. Proficiency in German is not required, but a basic understanding will be very helpful in everyday life. German language courses are offered by both universities.

It is not necessary that you contact your potential supervisor before the application. The selection committee will recommend two supervisors for your research project based on your suggestions and your research focus.

Candidates can apply even if they have not yet received their doctoral certificate. However, the dissertation must already be submitted and the date of the doctoral examination or defense (viva voce) should not be later than 1 July 2025.

In that case, applicants should provide statements of their supervisors about the quality of their theses and further documentation by the respective administration (e.g. office of the doctoral committee) about the submission and the (prospective) date of the doctoral examination / defense.

Candidates can apply even if they have not yet achieved their master’s. However, the date of graduation should not be later than 1 July 2025.

In this case, applicants should provide transcripts of records and/or statements of their supervisors about their progress and the expected quality of their theses.

The MA grade should be or correspond to the German grade 2.0 (good) or better.

Academic teachers such as your MA thesis supervisor and other academic teachers should write the letters of reference, with assessments of your academic performance and a discussion of your qualifications and interest in the PhD programme.

Letters of reference need to show the letterhead of the corresponding institution, and they should be signed. In case your referees have technical problems with uploading their letters of reference, they can send them as pdfs via email – to

Applications cannot be considered without both letters of reference.

Acceptance by the selection committee of the RTG is the precondition for admission as a doctoral researcher by the universities. The university admission procedures will be explained on this website after the decisions about the acceptance have been communicated to the candidates. The Bochum procedures for admission are explained here (external link to

You should enroll at the university of your primary supervisor.

Yes, it is necessary to conduct the structured programme with a physical presence, except during the fieldwork phase in the second year. Please note that the relevant Institute of East Asian Studies of the University of Duisburg-Essen is in Duisburg.