General Program-Related Questions

Our graduates have outstanding qualifications in scientific analysis of economic and social policy issues: they possess excellent methodological skills, in-depth experience in handling empirical data, as well as detailed institutional knowledge of the economic and societal structure of Germany and other countries. In addition, they are able to present their results effectively at international congresses, publish their scientific contributions in internationally renowned journals, and successfully manage large-scale research projects. As a result, many graduates have found attractive careers in academia, international organizations, and government institutions, etc.

Yes, Berlin School of Economics students will receive funding for the expected length of the program. For the Qualification phase, a stipend of 1,450 Euros per month is provided; funding during the Dissertation Phase is normally provided through employment at one of the Berlin School of Economics’s member institutions.

If you already have an external scholarship, we ask you to apply online like all other applicants. During the application process, you will be asked if you need funding. Please hit “Other sources of funding available” and specify the issuing institution and the duration of the scholarship.

No, however, to enroll at one of the Berlin universities, there is a semester fee of approximately 300-350 Euros per semester. Among other things, this provides access to public transport in Berlin at no additional cost.

Berlin School of Economics students enroll at the university, where their supervisor holds a professorship, and that university will award your doctoral degree. Typically this is one of the participating universities of the Berlin School of Economics: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, University of Potsdam, ESMT Berlin and Hertie School.

It usually takes about four to five years (full-time study) to complete the program.

No. The Berlin School of Economics PhD Program is a full-time program that requires your full-time participation in courses and research.

Job offers are regularly announced via email or can be found on the respective partner university’s/ institute’s website.


No, although it will be beneficial for living in Berlin of course.

No, acceptance in our program is of general nature and not based on an existing supervision agreement. You will have time to choose a supervisor during the first year of the program.

Since the Berlin School of Economics is a cooperation of various academic institutions in Berlin, our faculty covers a broad range of fields. You will find information on our faculty members at each institution's website.

No general assessment can be made whether previous courses can be accredited. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. In general, only credits can be transferred/ approved, but not grades.


Application is done online via our application portal starting in November of each year (more information on the application). Please complete and submit your application as quickly as possible, as referees must also submit their letter of recommendation before the deadline! Incomplete applications as well as applications sent via email will not be considered.

More information on the application documents

Yes, provided you have a sufficient background in economics or business studies.

After the application deadline, the selection committee will make a first selection based on the received applications. If you are selected, you will then receive an invitation for a personal interview. Final decisions will be made shortly after the interviews. Please refrain from any inquiries about the status of your application until at least six weeks after the application deadline.

If you are selected for an interview, we invite you to meet us personally and get to know the Berlin School of Economics and its partner institutions. We offer compensation for your train or airplane ticket. If visiting Berlin is too inconvenient for you, we can also set up a video-based interview.

The motivation letter serves to indicate why you are interested in applying to the program as well as to give us an idea of your previous experiences and your future research interests. In your letter, you can describe what research topics you are interested in and name possible research questions/ ideas. This helps us judge where your ideas fit within the Berlin School of Economics’s areas of research. Please do not exceed the maximum length of two pages.

No, we do not require a fully-fledged research proposal. The motivation letter is sufficiently informative. If you have a research proposal at hand, you may attach it to your application. It will help us to assess your research ideas, but it will not provide an advantage over applications without a research proposal.

After submitting your application, we will send you an automatic confirmation via email. This means that your application is officially registered. The actual evaluation will take place after the submission deadline. Therefore, we kindly ask you to refrain from any inquiries about the status of your application until at least six weeks after the application deadline.


The minimum scores in the GRE General Test above which applicants are admitted to the program depend on the score level of all applicants in the respective year. Therefore, we do not specify a minimum score that must be achieved.

Your application will be considered without GRE test results, but your chances of being admitted are much higher if you submit them. We therefore highly recommend submitting GRE test results.

Yes, but only for business candidates. Please upload your GMAT test results in the application portal.

GRE scores are reportable for five years after the test date.

Applicants whose native language is not English are asked to demonstrate their English language proficiency unless they hold a degree from a university in an English-speaking country or can document at least one year of studies at an English-speaking university. Sufficient evidence of a good command of English can be demonstrated with a high score in the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL) or the “International English Language Testing System” (IELTS). Providing TOEFL or IELTS scores is highly recommended but not mandatory.

TOEFL/ IELTS results are valid for two years after the test date.

Minimum scores that have to be achieved are not specified.


Referees & Recommendation Letters

No, your referees must come from academic institutions.

After you confirmed your referees to be contact, you cannot change your referee. Please inform your referee beforehand that they will be contacted by us.

No, it is not possible for referees to send letters via email. Each referee will be contacted by us via email and asked to fill out a short questionnaire about you and upload his/her reference letter to our application portal.

No, letters sent in late cannot be considered. In turn, your application will be considered as incomplete and will not be further processed.

Our application system only allows the upload of two letters of recommendation.


Please check if you allowed us to contact your referees (by clicking on “Contact referee now”). If your referee was still not contacted, it is possible that we are still in the process of checking the information you gave us. Make sure the name and contact information is correct. Private email addresses or referees with a fake identity will not be contacted.

Technical Questions

As long as you have not submitted your application, you can delete and resubmit documents anytime. Once submitted, your application cannot be changed anymore.

Scans of original documents will suffice for now. We will ask you to provide the original documents after admission

No, all documents have to be provided online. GRE/ GMAT/ TOEFL/ IELTS results can be sent to us via email as an exception, but in that case we cannot guarantee that they will be considered.

Questions about Fast Track

Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree only are eligible to apply for the program, however, they must also apply for a Master’s program offering a so-called “fast track” option at one of the participating institutions, which runs parallel to the Berlin School of Economics PhD Program. The Berlin School of Economics Core Courses as well as the majority of the Elective Courses are approved for the available Master’s programs in Berlin. Furthermore, students must take additional Master’s courses in order to earn the required 120 ECTS in examinations as part of the Master’s program. The examination rules of the respective Master’s program provide more details on whether Berlin School of Economics courses can be credited to the program and which additional Master’s courses must be taken in order to earn the Master’s degree.

Currently, the "Master’s in Economics and Management Science" (MEMS, HU), "Master’s in Economics" (HU), "Master’s in Business Administration" (HU), "Master’s in Economics" (FU) and "Master’s in Public Economics" (FU) offer "fast track" options.

If you are planning to enter the program with a Bachelor's degree, answer “Yes” to the question "Are you entering the program with a Bachelor's degree?" during your application.