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ExStra Work-Study Grant


The ExStra Work-Study GrantExcellence in Study and Research Activities offers you the possibility to immerse yourself in the centuries-long tradition of careful academic research in the heartland of the Reformation by examining the diversity of Christianity within different global denominations through the master programs Ecumenical Studies (MESt) and Extended Ecumenical Studies (MEESt).


What exactly is the ExStra Work-Study Grant?

The ExStra Work-Study Grant is: 

  • the opportunity to combine the Masters program in Ecumenical Studies (or MEESt) at our University with paid work on a research team;
  • the first step in the journey from an undergraduate degree into the world of scientific research;
  • the chance to experience academic research in practice, so that in the end you have the best prerequisites to start a doctoral dissertation project yourself;

The ExStra Work-Study Grant allows for a student assistant job for the duration of the Masters program in Ecumenical Studies or Extended Ecumenical Studies. The assistant job amounts to ca. 10 hours/week (roughly 11 EUR/h before taxes) and connects students to a research team in order to provide them with the competences and skills necessary to pursue a doctorate. 

Who is eligible for the ExStra Work-Study Grant?

As research-oriented programs, MESt and MEESt are aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at students who are seeking to pursue doctoral studies in their home countries or in Germany. The ExStra Work-Study Grant is designed for those students, whose aim is subsequent doctoral studies and have already proven their abilities and interest in the field through excellent performance in their first course of study, especially in relation to Christian theology beyond their own denomination. A subsequent doctorate at The University of Bonn in Protestant Theology at the Faculty of Protestant Theology, in Catholic Theology at the Faculty of Catholic Theology or on a religious philosophical question at the Faculty of Philosophy is in compliance with the admission requirements of each department, i.e. especially depending on the students´ previous Bachelor degrees.

What research areas and projects can I choose from?

Students applying for the Masters program in Ecumenical Studies (or MEESt) who are interested in the ExStra Work-Study Grant choose a desired subject area and develop their own research questions. The following areas and research projects are available:

New Testament Studies

(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Hermut Löhr): 

Students who have already successfully developed a special focus in the field of emerging Christianity and ancient Judaism will be involved in one of the following two research projects:

"An Archaeology of Jewish-Christian Morality"

The project explores the beginnings of Judeo-Christian morality in the ancient world. It does not - like classic handbooks on "New Testament ethics" - start from interests and questions of modernity or certain groups and institutions such as the churches, but instead uses a "topographical method" to ask about the recognizable places of moral conflicts and negotiation of standards. Other focal points of the work are a rhetorical analysis of the language of Judeo-Christian morality, as well as the investigation of the ethical and moral implications and explicitness of different genres. In doing so, Judaism and emerging Christianity are not viewed and contextualized as opposed, but as a differentiated cultural and ideological whole.

"Prayer in the Ancient World"

The aim of the project is to produce a handbook on prayer in antiquity that culturally looks at the Mediterranean area and the Near and Middle East, and chronologically encompasses the entire ancient world. In addition to the presentation and commentary of representative prayer texts, questions of ritual, rhetoric and the psychology of prayer are also considered. The project is an international cooperation with colleagues D. Falk and R. Werline (USA). At the Bonn site, the prayer of emerging Christianity up to the year 200 will be primarily dealt with.

The funded students take part in the planning of the respective project; they support the project work (which is largely conducted in English) with literature research, correction work and participation in the organization of workshops and conferences. They will be invited to the meetings of the “Ökumenischen Neutestamentlichen Sozietät” and will thus gain valuable initial insights into current research projects and specialist discussions.

Church History

(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Wolfram Kinzig)

The funded students will be involved in a research project at the chair of Prof. Dr. Wolfram Kinzig, which is part of the Cluster of Excellence "Beyond Slavery and Freedom", in which Prof. Kinzig is a Principal Investigator.

“Dependency Structures in the Old and Early Medieval Church” 

This project deals with dependency structures within the old and early medieval church and similar structures that connect the church of this period with the respective surrounding societies. In particular, it focuses, on the one hand, on teaching norms (such as definitions or confessions of faith) and their implementation and enforcement within the framework of establishing a theological orthodoxy, as well as, on the other hand, on ritual norms (such as Sunday observance) as a means of implementing dependency structures in the relationship between clergy and laity.  

The funded students should support the work of the Principle Investigator through specific research tasks (processing sources, identification and procurement of secondary literature, etc.) and, if necessary, also through correction of English-language manuscripts.

Practical Theology and Religious Communication 

(Coordinators: Prof. Dr. Eberhard Hauschildt, Dr. Matthew Robinson):

The students are involved in one of the following interdisciplinary research projects, participate in their methodological innovations and can make their own contributions based upon familiarity with their regional cultural perspectives:

Research project (1) “Resilience in Religion and Spirituality”, in which theologians work together with medical doctors, psychologists, sociologists and philosophers.

Research project (2) “Theology and Digital Humanities”, which investigates religious communication in other cultural contexts and in response to social-political events online using approaches from the digital humanities.

Research project (3) “Social services in religious and cultural contexts”, in which an English-language monographic theological overall presentation emerges from the perspective of the relative contribution of Christian cultures to the formation of social action.

Funded students are primarily responsible for literature research, participation in the organization of English-language colloquia and, if necessary, corrections of English-language manuscripts.

Religious Education

(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Hubertus Roebben): 

Students are involved in the research project:

“The Global Classroom: Teacher Education in an Inter-Religious Perspective”

The topic of this project is the theological-hermeneutic and didactic-conceptual dimensions of “learning in the presence of the religiously different” - in the context of school, university and advanced education facilities. Keywords in this respect are: narrative, performative and digital identity development, didactics of pilgrimage and theologizing with children and adolescents.

The funded students support research work of the chair through research and editorial tasks.

Philosophy and Theory of Religion 

(Coordinators: Prof. Dr. Michael Schulz; Prof. Dr. Andreas Krebs):

Students participate in one of the following interdisciplinary research projects:

“Fluctuations of Evil: Alterity and Violence in Latin American Interpretation” (Prof. Dr. Schulz, in cooperation with the PUCP in Lima)

The research focus is Evil as a dehumanizing violence in representations of various kinds: in myths, religions, theologies, philosophies, languages, moralities, literatures and art. The philosophical-theological research interest aims to use the category of evil (demonic) to identify the religious and culturally other and foreign, e.g. in chronicles of the colonial period (indigenous religion would be the product of demons; the Spanish conquerors would be demon-possessed) or in contemporary texts and media (the Maoist guerrilla "Shining Path" (Sendero Luminoso), respectively Capitalism, would be demonic; conservative-Catholic and Pentecostal Charismatic Christians label each other with negative categories). Approaches to interreligious and intercultural understanding will be investigated, from which the program of a "diatopic hermeneutics" results, i.e. a mediation (reconciliation) between different cultural, religious and denominational "Topoi" ("places" / "viewpoints"). Knowledge of the Spanish language is helpful, although not obligatory.

“Inter-species relationships in the Anthropocene: Theological re-visions of religious narratives and world approaches” (Prof. Dr. Andreas Krebs)

The subject of research is the relationship between man and other biological species against the background of the current interdisciplinary “Anthropocene” discourse. At the core is the question of how religious narratives and worldviews have shaped and shape this relationship, and how they are connected to the emerging ecological crisis. To this end, both approaches of genealogical deconstruction and critical reconstructions of cognitive and action-guiding religious hermeneutics will be pursued. The project is planned to be interdenominational and interreligious. 

The task of the students is to support the project in question through literature research and correction work.

How Do I Apply?

If this description is a match to your profile and interests, we want you on our team, so please apply now!

Students interested in applying for the ExStra Work-Study Grant funding program must submit an online application for the Masters program in Ecumenical Studies on the University of Bonn Online Application Portal for Graduate Programs, as well as the following additional documents:

  • a letter of motivation, in which up to three research questions pertaining to the areas above must be described in detail, and
  • a max. ten-page written sample which proves the students´ ability to theoretically describe and interpret present and historical phenomena of Christian theology and culture, on the basis of the applicant´s previous studies. The written sample must be related to the area and research project of the ExStra Work-Study Grant you apply for. 

Please, note: the written sample submitted for the ExStra Work-Study Grant will also be considered towards admission into the MESt/MEESt. 

Gender equality aspects

The University of Bonn is committed to diversity and equal opportunity. It is certified as a family-friendly university and aims to increase the number of women employed in areas where women are under-represented and to promote their careers. To that end, we urge women with relevant qualifications to apply – we would love to have you in our program!


For any questions related to the ExStra Work-Study Grant, please contact the MESt Coordinator 

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