Twice a year, the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies offers one-year start-up grants of CHF 30,000. These serve to make a contribution to the grantees' living costs while they develop a PhD project in the area of literary studies. The goal is to be able to develop a competitive application for a follow-up research grant within one year.

Current Call for Applications

Below are the documents for the current call (application deadline March 16, 2022). The next call is expected to be published in October 2022.

The commitment of a first supervisor from the University of Basel is only required at the time of the interview round. However, we strongly recommend that you study the research profiles of the professors in question in advance to see if they would be willing to act as your supervisor (see section "Admission" of the FAQ below). If it is already clear that you will not be able to secure a supervisor from the University of Basel, we recommend refraining from applying.

Before applying, please read the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Contact

Doctoral Program in Literary Studies

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

E-mail: dok-lit@clutterunibas.ch

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be a Swiss citizen or Swiss resident to apply for the start-up grant?

No. We welcome applications from all over the world.

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I am about to complete my MA studies. Can I already apply for a start-up grant?

Provided that the degree certificate is available about 1–2 months after the interview date, you can apply. Please refer to the Call for the exact date.

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I am already enrolled in a doctoral program at another university. Can I still apply for a start-up grant?

Unfortunately no.

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I have already completed a doctorate at another university. Can I still apply for a start-up grant?

Unfortunately no.

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Is there an age limit for the start-up grant?

No, there is no age limit.

However, the start-up grants are intended to support you in preparing a competitive application for follow-up funding and submitting it to suitable bodies, and here is the catch. Many funding bodies have an age limit or tend to support younger researchers. If you are already older, we recommend that you first find out where you have a chance of obtaining follow-up funding.

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What final grade in the MA certificate do I need in order to be admitted to a doctoral program at the University of Basel?

In the Swiss grading system, you need a 5.0 average; in the German one 2.5. For other grading systems please refer to the general conversion formula.

If your MA grade is not high enough, we ask you to refrain from applying.

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Can I send you different PDF documents for my application?

No. Please collect all your documents in one single PDF file. Exceptions are letters of recommendation if the author prefers to send them directly to the coordinator and MA diplomas/certificates if they need to be submitted later.

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I am seeking a cotutelle de thèse (double doctoral degree) with another university. Is this possible?

In principle, yes. However, to apply for a start-up grant, the initial supervision must be at the University of Basel. More information on cotutelles de thèse can be found here.

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I have not received a response to my application for a long time. What is going on?

We can only communicate acceptances and rejections after the entire process has been completed. It can take up to four months to complete the process through all decision-making bodies. Acceptances and rejections are usually communicated in early March for the grant starting in April; in June for the grant starting in October.

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In which languages can I submit my application?

German, English, or French.

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What is the schedule for the call for applications?

As a general rule, the calls for applications are scheduled as follows (+/- 2 weeks):

  • Call for applications in mid-October, application deadline early December, first selection mid-December, interviews (final selection) mid-January, final decision early March, start April 1st.

  • Call for applications in mid-January, application deadline in early March, first selection in mid-March, interviews (final selection) in early May, final decision in mid-June, start date October 1st.

Compared to the university semester, the start date for our start-up grants is slightly delayed in order to ensure the best possible concordance with the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) grants.

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What should be in the outline of my dissertation proposal?

In principle, you are free in how you want to draft a convincing dissertation outline. However, experience shows that the following points are helpful for the Steering Committee to get a good overall picture:

  • Scientific relevance/situation of the project
  • Brief description of the state of research
  • Questions, methods, goals
  • Texts treated, material basis
  • Research plan
  • Time schedule
  • Possible cooperation partners
  • Further perspectives
  • Bibliography
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Which professors in literary studies at the University of Basel are authorized to act as my dissertation supervisor?

The confirmation of supervision by a person authorized to conduct examinations at the University of Basel is only required at the time of the interview. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that you study the profiles of the professors in your field before applying and write to them with your dissertation outline and CV to clarify whether they would be willing to supervise you.

Anglophone Literature and Cultural Studies: Prof. Dr. Ina Habermann (English Studies), Prof. Dr. Philipp Schweighauser (American Studies)

French Literary Studies: Prof. Dr. Dominique Brancher, Prof. Dr. Hugues Marchal, Prof. Dr. Anne-Sophie Bories

German Literary Studies: Prof. Dr. Nicola Gess, Prof. Dr. Alexander Honold, Prof. Dr. Ralf Simon, Prof. Dr. Hubert Thüring

Ibero-Romance Literary Studies: Prof. Dr. Harm den Boer

Italian Literary Studies: Dr. Vincenzo Vitale (ad interim)

Nordic Studies: Prof. Dr. Lena Rohrbach

Slavic Literary Studies: Prof. Dr. Thomas Grob, Dr. Anna Hodel (ad interim)

For related subjects, please contact the respective departments directly.

Please note that the coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies cannot make inquiries regarding supervision for you.

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. If you already know that no one supports your application, we ask that your refrain from applying.

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Am I allowed to work part-time while receiving the start-up grant?

There may be no more than 40% total secondary employment during the term of the start-up grant.

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Are there office spaces for start-up grant recipients?

The Doctoral Program in Literary Studies has a limited number of office spaces with computers and access to printers. These are primarily reserved for our start-up grant recipients. If more places are available, the other members of the doctoral program can apply for them as well.

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Do I have to pay back the grant if I receive follow-up funding or start a job before it expires?

If funding is successfully obtained or a position is taken up during the term of the start-up grant, the scholarship ends. You are obliged to notify the coordinator of the Doctoral Program. The unused months of the grant must be paid back.

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Is the start-up grant taxable as income? Are social security contributions deducted from the start-up grant?

In Switzerland, the start-up grant is exempt from income tax. If you reside abroad, other principles may apply. As a start-up grant recipient, you are responsible for paying social security contributions, insurance and your occupational pension plan.

However, if you have a part-time job at the University of Basel at the same time as the start-up grant, the scholarship must be paid out as a salary (i.e. minus social contributions of approx. 25% and applicable taxes). Any changes in such employment must be reported immediately to the coordinator of the doctoral program.

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What other obligations do I have during the term of my start-up grant?

Start-up grant recipients are obliged to prepare or submit an application for follow-up funding for their doctoral project within the first six months of the grant.

By mid-March an mid-September, the start-up fellows must submit an interim and a final report to the coordinator of the Doctoral Program.

The payment of the second tranche depends on the evaluation of the work done in the first six months, especially with regard to the preparation and submission of an application for follow-up funding.

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Doctoral Program in Literary Studies | University of Basel | Dr. Dr. Christian Hänggi | Nadelberg 6 | 4051 Basel dpl.dslw.unibas.chdok-lit@clutterunibas.ch