As part of the German Excellence Initiative in 2006, the John F. Kennedy Institute set up the Graduate School for North American Studies. Its doctoral program focuses on the comprehensive and interdisciplinary study of the social, economic, and cultural change in North American societies at the beginning of the 21th century.
The Graduate School of North American Studies (GSNAS) offers doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers a wide range of topics, e.g., the polarization of the U.S. political system, religious movements, cultural identities, foreign policy challenges, the crisis of the economy, or recent developments in literature and art in North America.
The Graduate School supports innovative research designs and stresses communication across disciplinary boundaries. Students are encouraged to develop interdisciplinary research projects, and students from different disciplines attend classes team-taught by professors with expertise in different fields. First-year students are required to organize an international graduate student conference with an interdisciplinary topic. The language of instruction and communication is English.
The three-year study program combines interdisciplinary seminars with classes on disciplinary theories and methods. It builds on the well-established structures of the Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, where experts from literary studies and cultural studies, from sociology and political science, from history and economics have collaborated in pursuing research and in teaching since 1963.
The library is the largest of its kind in Europe. The Kennedy Institute thus offers excellent conditions of study to the doctoral researchers of GSNAS. Close-knit contacts with renowned American universities, the graduate research network established at Freie Universität by Dahlem Research School, and the visiting scholars’ program at GSNAS provide the students with further intellectual and practical support.
The Graduate School of North American Studies annually offers 10 dissertation grants, which are advertized internationally. For researchers at the postdoctoral level, two stipends for a period of two years are provided every other year. The application deadline is January 31 each year.