Doctoral Studies at FSPS, TSU
Developing graduate education at Tbilisi State University (TSU) is the longest-running project of the Center for Social Sciences. With generous funding from the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Foundations since 2003, it developed in three stages, first concentrating on developing Master's degree programs, then preparing grounds for doctoral programs, and, finally, since 2010, implementing these programs at the Faculty of Social and Political Studies of Tbilisi State University. The next stage of the Graduate Education project is to establish a Graduate School at the University.
The Center's assistance to the development of graduate studies in social sciences at TSU covers several important aspects. CSS contributed to the establishment of a unified Faculty of Social and Political Studies, instead of disparate Departments that had been scattered all over University. Moreover, through University conferences, seminars, international workshops and targeted interference, CSS helped to create administrative structures and graduate curricula both in various disciplines as well as research methods and transferable skills. Based on a contract with the University, CSS was also in charge of directly training master's and doctoral students for various TSU social science Departments. At various stages CSS contributed to graduate programs in International Relations, Sociology, Politics and created new graduate modules in regional studies of the Caucasus, and Gender studies. Now the Center administers Doctoral Programs in International Relations and Gender Studies.
Apart from know-how and administration, CSS created solid material base for further development of social sciences at the University and in the country writ large. Dozens of books in social sciences have been translated from Western languages, textbooks and extended syllabi were created and successfully implemented not only at Tbilisi State University but other universities in Georgia. CSS developed strong links with various Western Universities (including Oxford, Rutgers, Mount Holyoke, Leiden, Tartu and Central European University), bringing their resources for the advancement of social sciences at TSU.
In order to fully appreciate the extent of change that CSS brought to social science education to the University and, more widely, to Georgia since 2003, one should note the near-total absence of structured graduate teaching and research in social sciences prior to 2003 not only at TSU but widely in entire Georgia as well. This experience was grounded in the previous hard work of the Social Science Support Program at the Open Society Georgia Foundation that ran between 2000 and 2003.
Today, Center for Social Sciences continues work with Tbilisi State University aiming at establishment of a school of doctoral education through the University. Once implemented, this project is capable of transforming the future of social science research in Georgia.