Prof. Dr. Stephan Stetter

Doctoral and post-doctoral programmes


Stephan Stetter supervises doctoral and post-doctoral theses in the field of international relations, conflict research and Middle East research. He is also a liaison professor with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation scholarship program. If you are interested in receiving doctoral support and funding and can present proof of the specialist and social achievements required for such funding, please contact Prof. Stetter directly via email.
Prof. Stetter mainly supervises theses in the field of international relations (IR), conflict research, and Middle East research that – particularly in terms of theory – are closely related to the main research areas he pursues as part of his professorship, i.e. primarily historical sociological and/or socio-theoretical approaches (e.g. Foucault, Luhmann, Bourdieu, Meyer, etc.).
His supervision philosophy is based on two main pillars: Firstly, he is a central point of contact for content-related and organizational issues that may arise during the course of a doctorate, i.e. he does not only comment on individual chapters but can also be contacted with regard to the planning of specific stages of the thesis (e.g. field research). Secondly, he usually holds an annual PhD-colloquium. This event gives all his doctoral candidates the opportunity to meet once a year in Munich as a collective group. Prior to the event, the doctoral candidates send a current chapter from their thesis to all participants. During the colloquium, they discuss these texts together and Prof. Stetter provides suggestions and advice to the doctoral candidates in one-to-one talks.

If you are interested in having your doctoral thesis supervised by Prof. Stetter, please proceed as follows:

  1. Establish initial contact informally via email. Briefly introduce yourself and your intended topic. In which subject and on the basis of which research approach (theory) do you wish to obtain your doctorate? Include in your email your CV and an overview of the grades of your studies. Please also specify how you intend to “finance” your doctoral thesis: in theory, a doctorate is estimated to take 3 years, but in reality (in particular if you also have family and/or professional commitments), it can easily take longer. Therefore, it is important to know how you intend to support yourself financially during this period in order to be able to estimate whether it is feasible for you to complete a doctorate.
  2. If the topic is suitable and Prof. Stetter believes he can act as supervisor for you, he will ask you to write a detailed synopsis of your intended thesis. The synopsis should be approx. 4000 words long (approx. 10 pages) and organized as follows: the issue at hand, theoretical basis and empirical focus, current state of research on the intended topic and explanation of the research gap, methodical approach, possible chapter structure of the thesis, and bibliography. Send this synopsis to Prof. Stetter, who will then use it as a basis to decide whether he can consider supervising your work.
  3. In the event of a positive decision, your name will be entered into the doctorate list, subject to the authorization of the department council of the Department of Social Sciences and Public Affairs.

Ongoing theses:

Post-doctoral theses:

  • Dr. Jan Busse (see above): topic currently in preparation

Doctoral theses:

  • Dorthe Siegmund: Lokale Friedensinitiativen im Spannungsfeld von Weltkultur und Konfliktkontext: Eine Analyse des Status und der Bedeutung israelischer und palästinensischer Nichtregierungsorganisationen (Local peace initiatives between world culture and conflict context: an analysis of the status and relevance of Israeli and Palestinian ngos)
  • Bettina Benzing: Violence in Conflicts: A Study of Conflict Patterns in Columbia
  • Lisa Kammermeier: Agonistische und antagonistische Konfliktdynamiken in Kambodscha (Agonistic and Antagonistic Conflict Dynamics in Cambodia)
  • Marie-Kristin Thimm: Diskurs und Identität in Israel und Iran (Discourse and Identity in Israel and Iran)
  • Johannes Geist: Kritische Geopolitik und das sub-saharische Afrika: Konfliktdynamiken in Mali und ihre regionale und globale Einbettung (Critical Geopolitics and Sub-Saharan Africa: Conflict Dynamics in Mali and their Regional and Global Incorporation)
  • Bianca Sum: Cyber Security and Securitization in the European Union
  • Lydia Averbukh: Changing Patterns of Citizenship and National Identity in Israel
  • Katharina Konarek: Deutsche politische Stiftungen und ihre Auslandsarbeit: Nicht-staatliche Außenpolitik Deutschlands in Israel und Palästina? (German Political Foundations and their Activity Abroad: Germany’s non-Governmental Foreign Policy in Israel and Palestine?)
  • Bastian Sendhardt: The Karta Polaka and Bordering Dynamis in Poland und Ukraine
  • Anna Reuß: Der Terrorismusdiskurs in den Golfstaaten (The Discourse on Terrorism in the Gulf States)
  • Mathias Klingert: Durkheim and IR: A New Encounter
  • Enrica Fei: The Shia in Iraq and its Relationship with Iran

Completed theses;

Post-doctoral theses:

  • PD Dr. Eva Herschinger (currently Hessische Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (Hessian Foundation for Peace and Conflict Research)): Self and Other in International Relations (2018)

Doctoral theses:

  • Dr. Mitra Moussa Nabo (currently a research associate in Bonn): Diskursive Interaktionsmuster des Libanonkonflikts (Discursive Interactions of the Lebanese Conflict) (2015)
  • Dr. Jan Busse (currently a research associate at Prof. Stetter’s professorship): Observing Power as Governmentality in Palestine: De-Constructing the Dynamics of World-societal Order (2016)
  • Dr. Helena Burgrovà (currently program coordinator in Berlin): Securitization Dynamics and the Endless State of Emergency in Egypt under Mubarak (2017)