The Graduate School for Social Research

A brief history

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A brief history

The Graduate School for Social Research (GSSR) was created at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFiS PAN) in 1992. IFiS is a leading institution for the social sciences in Poland. The idea of the GSSR was conceived by a group of scholars, philosophers, sociologists, lawyers, economists, psychologists and political scientists from the Polish Academy of Sciences and other institutions of higher education with the objective of training students in the field of contemporary social and cultural sciences.

The founders of the GSSR were dissatisfied with the existing system of doctoral studies. The founders’ intention was to establish a European centre of doctoral studies with high academic standards, whose diploma would be highly respected both in Poland and abroad, providing a springboard for a scientific or professional career. The GSSR continues to develop today with these aims in mind.

Our Institute, IFiS PAN, was again awarded the highest rating, A+, in the most recent (2017) evaluation of academic units in Poland by the KEJN (Committee for Evaluation of Academic Units) . The presence of the GSSR within IFiS contributed to the award of that A+ rating.

The success of the GSSR has been recognised from an early stage. In January 1995 an international jury appointed by the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and chaired by Lord Ralf Dahrendorf awarded the GSSR the Hannah Arendt Prize, which was established by the Körber Foundation for institutions promoting reforms in the higher education system in Central and Eastern Europe.

In October 2000 the GSSR received the Hannah Arendt Prize for the second time.

In 2006 the GSSR extended its activities to include programmes offering students who meet the validation criteria of Lancaster University the possibility of being awarded a British MA when it absorbed the Centre for Social Studies (CSS) . the latter was established in Warsaw in 1995 by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFiS) in cooperation with Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, the Central European University in Hungary (until 2003 the CSS in Warsaw functioned as the Sociology Department of the CEU) and the Środkowoeuropejska Fundacja Edukacyjna (ŚFE)*.

In 2019 under the provisions of the new law on higher education and science, the GSSR became the home of a new doctoral school with our partner institutes in the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Institutes of Psychology and of Political Studies.

The GSSR has since 2010 also hosted the annual British Alumni Society Scholarships competition giving upper secondary school students the opportunity to complete their secondary education at leading British boarding schools.

*The ŚFE, a non-profit foundation registered in Poland and reporting to the (then) Ministry of Education and Science in Warsaw , has now ceased all activities.


Phone: (+48) 22 828 80 09

Fax: (+48) 22 826 48 21

The Graduate School
for Social Research,

Staszic Palace,
Nowy Świat 72,
00-330 Warsaw,