The graduate school's curriculum is designed to cover a period of three academic years. After each term the number of mandatory courses and events decreases, while the opportunities for individual research and the writing of the dissertation increase. This structure particularly allows for the students' own field studies and guest research in later semesters.
The courses deepen and strengthen the methodological and theoretical competences necessary for the students' successful completion of the dissertation. They aim to convey both specialist knowledge and an overview of current debates in the graduate school's various thematic fields. Most are compact courses (workshops, master classes), with master classes being half- to all-day events. Workshops can extend to a whole week and vary in structure. They also build on the broader personal contributions made by the participating students.
The curriculum consists of the following:
- Participation in the graduate school doctoral colloquium. Its members are graduate school students and other GIGA Ph.D. researchers. This event takes place on a monthly basis and serves as an opportunity for the presentation of both new dissertation projects as well as the findings from ongoing research. Attendance is mandatory for all GIGA mentors, the participating professors from the University of Hamburg, and all doctoral students.
- The GIGA research colloquium is also open to Ph.D. students from the graduate school. Students are further encouraged to attend the advanced seminars at the participating faculties of the University of Hamburg and the IFSH.
- A workshop in methods for global and comparative area studies, a workshop dealing with conceptual and practical problems regarding the writing of a dissertation, and a workshop on field research. These courses are mandatory and are conducted by GIGA members and professors from the University of Hamburg.
- Workshops on quantitative and qualitative methods in economics and the social sciences. These are offered on a demand-driven basis in accordance with the dissertation topics and the methods selected. Students have the opportunity to discuss any methodological problems arising in their work; thus they are not limited to only being able to do so with their supervisors.
- Master classes on “New Approaches in IR Theory and Method”. These aim to discuss new theoretical and methodological approaches and exemplary case studies on international relations and the international political economy. The reading course is coordinated by GIGA staff members, and professors from the University of Hamburg. The master classes are conducted by guest researchers from overseas partner institutions. Attendance is mandatory for all Ph.D. students.
- Master classes and workshops on various aspects of “Regional Power Shifts and the New Global Order”. The courses are taught by guest researchers from international partner institutions, GIGA staff members, and professors from the University of Hamburg. Researchers from Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as from the Middle East are particularly involved in teaching these courses.
- Additionally, optional courses related to academic skills are offered: Academic Writing in English, Publishing in International, Peer-reviewed Journals.
- Students will have the possibility to work as a guest researcher at international partner institutions during their first to fifth terms. Field research may be conducted during the third and fourth terms.