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Frequent Asked Questions

University of Jena- Doctoral program "Reconciliation Peacebuilding Studies." (RPS)
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Important Program Information, in FAQ form: 

What is "Reconciliation Conflict Transformation & Peacebuilding Studies Ph.D. Program"? 

The doctoral program engages three essential elements: conflict transformation and transitional shifts toward many Peaces within Reconciliation (RPS). The doctoral candidates write dissertations focusing on at least two of the three elements. For instance, a mainly theological dissertation must include a second focus on conflict, peace, or reconciliation. For example, a political science dissertation can integrate conflict and reconciliation within the dissertation process, developing a transdisciplinary approach. Information technology can integrate elements of different disciplines, such as digital humanities. 

What is the role of transdisciplinary in RPS? 

The "Jena Approach" to reconciliation studies, anchored by Prof. Martin Leiner's Hölderlin Perspective, respects the deeply complex social phenomena relevant to conflict and reconciliation within the integration of the conflict transformation and transitional shifts towards peace for Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Dietrich UNESCO CHAIR HOLDER and the Director for the MA peace program at Innsbruck University-Austria

The transdisciplinary approach requires a deep understanding of multiple disciplines' fundamental theories, methodologies, and state-of-the-art findings. The graduate seminar has this knowledge/praxis attainment as one of several intentional goals. Doctoral candidates actively engage in collegial seminars that provide transdisciplinary interaction and learning opportunities. Additionally, candidates write dissertations within a specifically chosen discipline and are bound by that discipline's requirements even as they benefit from dialogue with transdisciplinary research fields.

What is the relationship between RPS and the AARMENA? 

RPS is a Ph.D. program at the University of Jena that provides institutional structure and support for candidates pursuing doctoral degrees in reconciliation, conflict transformation, and peacebuilding. The AARMENA, also led by Prof. Martin Leiner and Dr. Iyad AlDajani, is an academic alliance dedicated to research that promotes reconciliation peacebuilding research for the Middle East and North Africa. The AARMENA has a broader portfolio, but the activities of both structures often overlap. The AARMENA, for example, organizes and sponsors activities like international conferences, research projects, activities with civil society and NGOs, field-research trips, and meetings with research partners.

For further reading on the  Jena Approach  to Reconciliation, see: 

  • Susan Flämig and Martin Leiner:  Reconciliation in the Middle of Dispute. Introduction to the Series, in  Societies in Transition. Latin America between Conflict and Reconciliation, ed. By Susan Flämig and Martin Leiner. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012, pp. 7-19.

RPS Sisters, within its activities with the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS), are both institutionally based at the University of Jena. Both RPS and AARMENA ensure complete freedom for religious and political affiliation. We foster a welcoming and tolerant environment for all faiths and traditions; Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Free Churches, Buddhists, Agnostics, and Atheists.

Which MA degree do I need? What kind of Ph.D. is conferred? 

There are no limitations regarding specific MA degrees as a pre-requisite for a doctoral program. Each candidate for a degree brings unique sets of skills, experience, and learning, and thus each candidate's application is evaluated individually. International MAs are evaluated based upon ECTS equivalence by respective faculties. Doctoral candidates are invited to contact Prof. Leiner and Dr. AlDajani and submit a research project draft (about five pages, see below) and an academic CV. Once contact has been established, candidates will be advised regarding RPS affiliated professors and disciplines. According to German standards, PhDs are conferred, such as Dr. Phil, Dr. theol, Dr. iur, Dr. rer.nat; Dr. oec.

How should I write my 5-page draft to pitch for my Ph.D. research? 

The draft presents your desired research project to the RPS director and coordinator. Clarity and conciseness are important here! Please follow the format suggested below:

  1. Formulate a research question and suggest a potential research hypothesis.
  2. Present a summarized survey of relevant state-of-the-art research with a bibliography. 

Describe intended methodology (for example, discourse analysis; conceptual history; qualitative field research, quantitative field research, media content analysis, historical-critical exegesis, hermeneutics, interpretation of legal texts, comparative case studies, best practices, interviews, psychological experiments, big data or data science). 

Cite books and articles that present such methodology / etc. (for example, Klaus Krippendorff, Content Analysis, SAGE, Thousand Oaks (California), 2013.

  1. Propose a schedule of Ph.D. development activities; include the number of semesters and, if applicable, the length of external research stays.
  2. Include other relevant information necessary for evaluating your draft.


When can I apply? 

The RPS has a "rolling admissions" policy; projects may be submitted at any time. 

How much time does a Ph.D. take?

With possession of a research-oriented MA degree, it is expected that a Ph.D. program should be completed in six semesters - thus, three years. Extensions may be provided with justification.

Which language is necessary for RPS? 

A collaborative research platform for international colleagues is maintained with English as the common language. The Graduate Seminar (which takes place weekly during semester time) is in English. Since language is not merely a tool but a direct expression of thought and creativity, Ph.D. dissertations may be written in: English, German, French, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. Other languages ​​are also considered under this system. Your supervisor and the faculty must, in any case, agree if you write in a language that is not German.

Do I have to stay in Jena during my Ph.D. time?

It is not mandatory to live in Jena while completing your Ph.D., and individual programs will be developed with doctoral advisors. However, we strongly recommend at least one semester in Jena to establish working relationships within RPS and Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies. You are also invited to give two classes during your Ph.D. time (in German or English) and follow courses delivered by the GA. Courses are beneficial for different goals: writing a scientific paper, applying for a grant, writing a research project, and sound scientific practices. Skype calls and teleteaching possibilities (offered by the Multimedia Center of FSU-Jena) are standard procedures at RCR.


Is funding available? 

Some projects of AARMENA, like the DFG Project and Erasmus Plus project, can provide funding to Ph.D. students and postdocs. Usually, however, doctoral candidates apply for their funding. In Germany, several foundations (foundations) accept applications. RPS and staff GA are very willing to support doctoral candidates in finding and writing grants. Non-German Ph.D. students have good opportunities for DAAD funding.


May I write my dissertation in cooperation with other institutions or universities? RPS welcomes cooperation with other institutions, including but not limited to JCRS 'many international partners. Cotutelle agreements (joint supervision) and joint degrees may be possible, though they often entail bureaucratic burdens and should be started at the beginning of doctoral work.


Are there university costs? 

The university does not charge tuition, though some administrative costs are associated with achieving a degree. You are entitled to request a Thoska card, which gives access to libraries, copy machines, and free public transport within Thuringia.

Do RPS welcome postdocs, visiting scholars, and visiting professors? Absolutely yes! 

Documents from the Graduate Academy (GA) click hereExternal link

Brochures in German:  http: //www.jga.uni -External link

jena.de/Graduierten_Akademie/Dokumente+_+Publikationen.html)External link  Brochures in English:  http: //www.jga.uni -External link

jena.de/en/Graduate+Academy/Documents+and+publications.htmlExternal link  Doctorate at the FSU (German):  http://www.jga.uni jena.de/Promovierende/Promovieren+in+Jena.htmlExternal link  Doctorate at the FSU (English):  http: //www.jga.uni -External link

jena.de/en/Doctoral+candidates/Your+doctorate+in+Jena.htmlExternal link  Admission, Enrollment (German):  http: //www.jga.uni -External link

jena.de/Promovierende/Zulassung_+Immatrikulation+_+Co.htmlExternal link  Admission, Enrollment (English):  http: //www.jga.uni -External link

jena.de/en/Doctoral+candidates/Admission_+Enrolment+_+Co.htmlExternal link 

Financing and legal issues (German):  http: //www.jga.uni - jena.de/Finanzierung.htmlExternal link  Financing and legal issues (English):  http: //www.jga.uni jena.de/en/Doctoral+ candidates / Financing + _ + Legal + issues.htmlExternal link