International Programmes 2023/2024

International Doctoral Programme Transformations in European Societies Transformations in European Societies

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München • München

Doctoral degree
In cooperation with

Our doctoral programme is a joint project of European Ethnology together with the Cultural and Social Anthropology institutes and departments at the Universities of Basel, Copenhagen, Graz, Inverness (University of the Highlands and Islands), Murcia, Tel Aviv, and Zagreb

Teaching language
  • English

English is the official language of the programme. The workshops and schools are conducted in English, but there are also some German-language events and seminars at LMU, the University of Basel and the University of Graz. International students in attendance receive support from a German-speaking peer if necessary. Conferences are held in English. Participants can choose to write their doctoral theses in English, German, Hebrew, Danish, Croatian or Spanish.

Programme duration
6 semesters
Winter semester
Additional information on beginning, duration and mode of study

The programme starts in October and is to be completed within three years.

Application deadline

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

Societies and social spaces change constantly, and certainly not just since people have started talking about globalisation. This means that profound cultural transformations are a constant throughout history. Historical and contemporary processes and phenomena linked to these transformations lie at the heart of the research agenda of our doctoral programme, which deals with European societies even though the transformations occur in global contexts.

Prospective doctoral students are encouraged to develop research questions related to the research agendas of the participating institutions and scholars. Our doctoral programme focuses on three closely linked research areas: migration, mobility, and multilocality; urban anthropology; and ethnography of work. However, prospective students may also propose research projects on other forms and aspects of social transformation.

Mobility, Migration, Multilocality
Against the backdrop of globalisation and migration in the second half of the twentieth century, "mobility", "migration", and "multilocality" became key paradigms of social research. The same can be said about transcultural anthropology, a perspective associated with these topics. Looking at the ways in which different actors cross borders and their cultures of knowledge makes it possible to grasp the nature of transnational spaces, borders, and regional and socio-cultural formations.
Doctoral projects in this area should look at "liquefying" and (in some cases) "re-solidifying" traditional spaces. In line with contemporary social theory, these spaces should be seen as physical as well as temporal, social, cultural, economic, and political spaces.

Urban Anthropology
There has been a global re-ordering and re-positioning of cities in the last decades driven by globalisation and the extension of networks involving people and spaces. In some instances, the dynamic changes in question lead to homogenisation, but they are also always over-determined by developments specific to concrete places, which means they play out differently in different cities. Cities do not just develop within the confines of their political boundaries, but they are also interlinked with both their immediate surroundings and distant regions of the world. At the same time, there is a "renaissance of the city": all over the world. This gives rise to questions concerning the sustainability of city life, the conceptions of public space informing it, and the revitalisation of urban communities.

Ethnography of Work
In the last 20 years, research in European ethnology has increasingly applied ethnographic approaches and concepts to “work” and to the radical process of economisation affecting the life-world in post-Fordist times. Scholars in the field are discussing the usefulness of an extended concept of work, which takes into account people’s lives – and thus also refers to subjectification and the blurring of boundaries between work and life.
Building on this research and the corresponding concepts, doctoral students are asked to produce case studies on the transformations occurring in the contemporary world of work.

Additional support is offered by the GraduateCenter.

Course organisation

Programme Overview

  • First semester: peer-to-peer mentoring, colloquium, autumn school
  • Second semester: peer-to-peer mentoring, colloquium, spring school
  • Third semester: research lab, advanced classes, online platform, autumn school
  • Fourth semester: research lab, workshop, online platform, spring school
  • Fifth semester: research lab, teaching, online platform, autumn school
  • Sixth semester: research lab, presentation, online platform, spring school

For a detailed overview of our programme's curriculum, please visit:

International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Integrated study abroad unit(s)
  • Training in intercultural skills
  • Courses are led with foreign partners
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
  • International comparisons and thematic reference to the international context
Integrated study abroad unit(s)

Optional, but highly encouraged

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

For LMU PhDs: 

Basic fee of 75 EUR + additional fee for the Deutschlandticket

Costs of living

For LMU PhDs: Living costs (including accommodation and health insurance) in Munich range from 800 to 1,200 EUR per month.

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

For LMU PhDs: Students may qualify for all funding opportunities that are available to doctoral candidates from the Faculty for the Study of Culture. LMU Travel Grant, LMU Completion Grant

Please note: This programme does not include grants or scholarships and is not directly linked to university positions. Costs for the programme's colloquia two times a year (travel, accommodation, etc.) will be covered.

Academic admission requirements

Applicants must hold an excellent Master’s level degree in European Ethnology, Cultural or Social anthropology, or a related area awarded by an accredited institution of higher education. In Munich, the International Office of LMU is responsible for evaluating foreign degrees.

Language requirements

Applicants must provide proof of their German OR English skills.

  • German: TestDaF 4 or DSH 1 or equivalent
  • English: TOEFL 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), 79 (Internet-based) or equivalent
Application deadline

Submit application to

Candidates have to submit their applications through an online platform provided by the GraduateCenter LMU:


The International Office helps visiting academics, PhD students, and postdocs who are travelling to Munich for a set period of time to find accommodation.

For further information, please visit the following link:

Rooms in shared flats are popular on the private market and reasonably priced at 400-600 EUR per month if located in central parts of Munich.

Structured research and supervision
Research training / discussion
Supervisor-student ratio
Approx. 1:2

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

University location

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