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Peer Support for Doctoral Candidates

Please note: The first round of this program will be in German. If you are interested in forming an English-language peer group, please contact us via E-Mail.

In addition to subject-specific topics, almost every doctoral study is accompanied by more general questions and challenges for which there is not always a suitable contact person. The good news is: most of these questions are not only of interest to you, but also to your fellow doctoral candidates.

Would you like to have more dialogue with other doctoral candidates? Are you looking for a place where you can share questions and concerns about your doctoral thesis with like-minded people and receive low-threshold support?

The Peer Support-program provides you the opportunity to network with other doctoral candidates in small peer groups. You can exchange questions and ideas on general topics such as motivation, time management, writer's block, the supervision situation or career prospects and benefit from each other's advice.

Seize the opportunity to gain new perspectives on topics that are on your mind. Some hurdles are easier to overcome together and some solutions only emerge through dialogue with others.

After registration and a short introductory workshop, the peer groups can start independently. Registration for the next start of the program (in German) is now open for doctoral candidates from the Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Philology, Faculty of Theology and Faculty of Economics and Behavioral Sciences until April 11th 2024.

For further details and your questions, you can contact us via .

Who is the Peer Support Program for?

All doctoral candidates at the Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Philology, Faculty of Theology and Faculty of Economics and Behavioral Sciences. The focus is on doctoral candidates who are not already part of a structured doctoral program.

The prerequisite is the wish and willingness to engage in mutual exchange and counselling on non-subject-specific topics relevant to the doctoral thesis. It is also important to get involved in the meetings and play an active role in organizing them.


What is Peer Support and what do I get out of it?

By Peer Support - also known as peer mentoring or peer coaching - we mean the exchange and counselling by peers who are dealing with similar issues in similar situations. Peers offer each other support on an equal footing and without the role of an external counsellor. This format takes advantage of collegial knowledge, which can be utilized and passed on. Another advantage of the peer-to-peer concept is the intensive networking between the doctoral candidates.


What does the program look like?

After the registration phase, GraCe will make suggestions for the composition of the peer groups. All participants first meet for a one-day introductory workshop. In this workshop, you will learn helpful tips and effective methods for the subsequent group meetings. These include

  • The method of peer counselling
  • Active listening and non-violent communication
  • Group development and communication.

Participation in this workshop is mandatory.

The actual peer group meeting phase then begins. These meetings are organized by the respective groups themselves on the basis of the methods learned. It is possible, for example, that

  • a group member brings in a specific, acute concern, which is dealt with according to the peer counselling procedure.
  • you discuss a specific topic and share your respective experiences and expertise.
  • you can invite an interesting external person to talk about a specific topic.

After approx. 6 months, GraCe organizes a feedback meeting for all participants. Here, you will reflect upon the experiences to date and explore possible perspectives for the future of the peer group.

We are happy to assist with organizational matters, e.g. finding a meeting room, and act as an interface to other support or further education services offered by the university.


How long will the program run and how much effort will I have to put into it?

The program is intended to run for at least six months for each group. There is no maximum duration.

It is up to the individual groups to decide how often and for how long they meet. It is recommended that they meet approximately once a month.


What do the peer groups look like and what is important for them?

The individual groups consist of 4-6 doctoral candidates. A proposal for the composition will be developed on the basis of your completed registration form and presented in the introductory workshop. Please note that there is no entitlement to admission to a particular group.

A basic prerequisite for successful "work" in the peer group is an unshakeable basis of trust as well as appreciative and respectful interaction with one another. Unless otherwise agreed upon, all of your meeting discussions will remain confidential.

If, in the course of the meetings, you have the impression that a particular concern exceeds the support possibilities within the framework of a peer group and should be professionally supported, you can contact GraCe at any time. The same applies to cases of conflict or negative communication within the group.


Dates & registration

April 11th 2024: Registration deadline (see below)

April 22nd 2024, 09:00 to 17:00: Introductory workshop (in German) for registered participants (registration )

Tba: Feedback meeting for participants


Registration for the start of the summer semester is possible from now until April 11th 2024. Please complete the registration form (Anmeldeformular) and send it to with the subject "Anmeldung Peer Support".

The number of participants is limited. If more registrations are received than there are places available, participation will be decided by lot. We will let you know whether you have a place by e-mail as soon as possible.