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PhD positions in Human History – 14 different interdisciplinary projects • Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte (Germany)

Open Positions 16
Time Span 01 Jul 2019 for 3 years
Application Deadline 31 Jan 2019
Financing yes
Type of Position
  • PhD – Doctoral Programme
Field of Research
  • Language and Cultural Studies
  • Law, Economics, and Social Sciences
  • Mathematics / Natural Sciences
Subjects in
Description The MPI-SHH pursues an integrative approach to the study of human history. “Hard” facts as bones, teeth, plants, stones and “soft” facts as languages, history, or religions can say a lot about human history. It is our task to understand and interpret them. The International Max Planck Research School for the Science of Human History (IMPRS-SHH) is seeking for researchers knowing well how to decode such facts and data and looking for new ways of decoding them. The IMPRS-SHH is a cooperation of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and Friedrich Schiller University, both situated in Jena, a traditional as well as a modern university town in the heart of Germany. The IMPRS-SHH is offering 16 PhD positions for 14 projects as listed below. Applicants must have a Master’s degree and may apply for up to three projects.


01 Ancient proteins as indicators of climatic and evolutionary change. Involved subjects: Archaeology, Earth Sciences, Palaeoenvironments, Palaeontology, Geoscience.

02 Co-estimating Human Mobility and Language Dispersal with Ancient DNA and Linguistic Data. Involved subjects: Population Genetics, Linguistics, Spatial Modeling, Demographic history.

03 A comprehensive analysis of microorganisms and viruses from ancient samples using minion sequencing techniques. Involved subjects: Bioinformatics, Archaeogenetics.

04 Contact and change in the diversification of the Indo-Iranic languages. Involved subjects: Historical Comparative Reconstruction, Language Evolution.

05 Cross Linguistic Strategies of Denotation. Advancing data and methods in lexical typology. Involved subjects: Historical Linguistics, Language Evolution, Cognition.

06 Dog-Human Cooperation – A Comparative Approach. Involved subjects: Comparative Psychology, Animal Cognition, Communication, Cooperation.

07 Environments and the Palaeolithic Cultures of Central Europe. Involved subjects: Archaeology, Earth Sciences.

08 Eurasian Corridors of Communication – Fruits, Crops, and Words. Involved subjects: Historical Comparative Reconstruction, Contact Linguistics, Linguistic Palaeontology, Archaeobotany, Isotope Analysis.

09 The evolution and diversification of the Caucasian languages. Involved subjects: Historical Linguistics, Language Evolution, Caucasian Languages.

10 Evolution of Nonverbal Communication – Music and the Voice“. Involved subjects: Cognitive Neuroscience, Communication, Genetics, Linguistics, Psychology.

11 Functional morphology and variability of the auditory system – frameworks in the search for human speech evolution. Involved subjects: Physical Anthropology, Zoology, Audiology, Hearing Physiology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Linguistics, Radiology.

12 Late Bronze Age Kuckenburg – settlement, burial ground, fortification and-or place of sacrifice? Involved subjects: Archaeology, Isotopes Analysis, Archaeogenetics, Archaebotanic, Archaezoology.

13 Domestication of Perennial Plants – Evolution and Dispersal. Involved subjects: Archaeobotany, Evolutionary Ecology, History, Agronomics, Palaeontology, Plant Biology.

14 Reconstructing lost worlds – Quaternary continental Ostracoda as tools in geoarchaeology. Involved subjects: Micropalaeontology, Palaeoecology, Palaeoclimate.

Being integrated into state-of-the art ongoing research at the MPI-SHH and FSU, the IMPRS-SHH provides doctoral researchers a stimulating environment and optimal conditions for their PhD projects and custom-made preparation for the time thereafter, both with regard to aca­dem­ic and non-academic careers. We offer a clearly structured doctoral program with three pillars: a mentoring program for individual supervision by outstanding scientists, a scienti­fic program of high academic standard, and a transferable skills program.

Participating disciplines include Agronomics, Archaeobotany, Archaeogenetics, Prehistoric Archae­o­logy, Archaeozoology, Audiology, Bioinformatics, Comparative Psychology, Cognitive Neuro­science, Contact Linguistics, Demographic History, Earth Sciences, Evolutionary Ecology, Genetics, Geoscience, Hearing Physiology, Historical Linguistics, History, Linguistic Palaeon­tolo­gy, Linguistics, Micropalaeontology, Palaeoecology, Palaeontology, Physical Anthro­polo­gy, Plant Biology, Population Genetics, Psychology, Radiology, Zoology, Dog Studies.

Among others, the following methods and subjects are important: animal cognition, cognition, communication, cooperation, DNA, domestic dogs, isotope analysis, historical comparative re­con­struction, language evolution, palaeoenvironments, spatial modeling.

The language of the IMPRS-SHH is English. The graduate school provides a regularly attended coordination office supporting the PhD students from all over the world.

Starting date
The preferred starting date of PhD appointment: September 1st, 2019 / or on individual basis between July 1 and October 1, 2019

Contract type
TV-B/L 13 (50% / Max Planck support contract or contract with university), temporary, 3 years (extension possible)

Via our online application Portal:

Keep in mind that we are seeking enthusiastic PhD students with strong interests in the highly interdisciplinary science of human history and with a firm background in one of the related fields of research. Therefore let us know:
•Your motivation (max. 800 words)
•Your curriculum vitae (CV)
•Your certificates (as scans and with translations if they are not written in English or German)
•Two recommendation letters

The application deadline is January 31st, 2019.
The deadline for references is February 3rd, 2019.

For further information on how to apply and the application process, please visit here, or contact us at

IMPRS-SHH is supporting equal opportunities and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. The Max Planck Society is committed to employ more handicapped indi­vid­u­als and especially encourages them to apply.

Reference to data protection
Your data protection rights, the purpose for which your data will be processed, as well as further information about data protection is available to you on our Website at:

Requirements The entry level for PhD students is a Master’s degree. Applicants need to be fluent in written and spoken English. Non-native speakers should provide a TOEFL/Cambridge/IELTS certificate or equivalent.

Language requirements
Applicants need to be fluent in written and spoken English. Non-native speakers should provide a TOEFL/Cambridge/IELTS certificate or equivalent. German language skills are not mandatory. However, the IMPRS-SHH offers the opportunity to take German language courses.

Working Language
  • English
Language of Dissertation
  • English
Required Documents
  • CV
  • Reports, certificates
  • Transcripts
  • Letter of Motivation
  • List of Publication
  • Others : Two recommendation letters
Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte • International Max Planck Research School for the Science of Human History
Dr. Sabine Ziegler
Kahlaische Straße 10
07745 Jena

Phone: +49 3641 686969



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