The Doctoral Program in Literary Studies at the University of Basel, founded in 2010, is part of the Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies. It offers excellent doctoral students in literary studies and related fields a framework for intensively supervised, interphilological doctoral studies.


Doctoral students enrolled at the University of Basel in the following philologies may apply for membership: Anglophone Literary and Cultural Studies, French Literary Studies, German Literary Studies, Ibero-Romance Literary Studies, Italian Literary Studies, Scandinavian/Nordic Literary Studies, Slavic Literary Studies, and General and Comparative Literature.

Applications from related disciplines will also be considered if the dissertation project has a clear literary focus. About the application process

Doctoral students in Linguistics should contact Dr. Philipp Dankel, coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Linguistics (Hermann Paul School of Linguistics).

Research Profile

The research profile of the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies is divided into three basic and three profile areas:

The basic areas reflect general research interests in literary studies:

  • Literary and Cultural Theory: reflection of general knowledge (synchronous).

  • History of Literary Forms: reflection of general knowledge (diachronic)

  • Current Research: current developments, theories, and problems

The profile areas are closely linked to the research foci that are dominant in Basel:

  • Arts and Media: inter- and transmedial perspectives.

  • Forms of Knowledge: literature and knowledge

  • Cultural Practice: translation, editing, textual criticism, literary criticism, cultural practice


By joining the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies, members commit to earning at least 18 credit points (ECTS) within their doctoral education. The courses taken should be composed of different basic and profile areas and at least two philologies.

In addition, at least one doctoral colloquium of the Doctoral Program, two Study and Networking Days and a two-day retreat must be attended.

A maximum of one-third of the 18 credit points may be from Transferable Skills.

(For admissions prior to the spring semester 2019, other provisions apply according to the then-current Regulations and Doctoral Agreement.)

43 members

65% women

33 years

Average age (with a range between 25 and 60 years)

Members by Philologies

  • French : 12
  • German: 11
  • Anglophone: 7
  • Scandinavian: 5
  • Slavic: 3
  • General/Comparative: 3
  • Ibero-Romance: 2

Origin by MA Degree

  • University of Basel: 15
  • Other Swiss universities: 5
  • Germany: 8
  • France: 9
  • Others: 6


Doctoral Program in Literary Studies

Dr. Dr. Christian Hänggi
University of Basel
English Department, Office 21a
Nadelberg 6
4051 Basel


Frequently asked questions

Can I be a member of more than one doctoral program (e.g. African Studies or eikones) at the same time?

No. If you are writing an interdisciplinary dissertation, you must choose one and only one doctoral program.

From which related disciplines do you accept applications?

We do not have an exhaustive list of disciplines. It is central that your dissertation has a decidedly literary focus. This can be the case in a variety of disciplines: Jewish Studies, Gender Studies, African Studies, Media Studies, etc.

There are various designations of our philologies. On this website, for convenience, the following designations are used largely interchangeably:

  • Anglophone Literary and Cultural Studies, English Studies as an umbrella term, English Studies (focus British), American Studies (focus U.S.)
  • French Studies, French Literary Studies
  • German Studies, German Literary studies
  • Ibero-Romance Studies, Hispanic Studies, Ibero-Romance Literary Studies
  • Italian Studies, Italian Literary Studies
  • Jewish Studies, Jewish Literary Studies
  • Nordic Studies, Scandinavian Studies
  • Slavic Studies, Slavic Literary Studies, Slavic Philology

Most doctoral students in General Literary Studies are at the German Department. Comparative Literature is usually a combination of two or more of the above philologies.

I am not yet enrolled and am interested in a start-up grant. How should I proceed?

The Doctoral Program in Literary Studies announces start-up fellowships twice a year (usually in October for students beginning April 1st and in March for students beginning October 1st). Learn more about the application process. Start-up grant recipients automatically become members of the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies. An application as described above is not necessary.

I would like to write a doctoral dissertation in Literary Studies at the University of Basel. How should I proceed?

Study the research profiles of the professors in your department (links: see here, under Philologies; only those with a Prof. Dr. title are eligibile as supervisors). If you think that your dissertation project might be of interest, write to the relevant person with a project outline and your CV. If you are able to secure a supervisor, then enroll as a doctoral student and subsequently apply to the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies. For more information, see the Guidelines Doctorate.

If you are not successful, then your project is not mature enough, does not coincide with the research interests of the supervisors in question, or they do not have the capacity to supervise other doctoral students.

What are the differences between a regular doctorate and one within the framework of the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies?

For a regular doctoral program, you only need to acquire 12 credit points (ECTS) in the course of your studies. For the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies 18 credit points in various basic and profile areas and philologies are required (for detailed information see above).

The Doctoral Program in Literary Studies offers numerous opportunities—from special doctoral colloquia to retreats and barbecues—to network with like-minded people at the University of Basel, to discover common interests, and to broaden your horizons beyond your own discipline. In addition, the Doctoral Program has financial resources to support its members in organizing conferences and guest lectures, conference visits, research trips, and archive visits.


Doctoral Program in Literary Studies | University of Basel | Dr. Dr. Christian Hänggi | Nadelberg 6 | 4051 Basel