Icon PhD Program

The Berlin School of Economics PhD Program provides outstanding doctoral students with a vibrant, intensively networked research community. The program develops the students’ talents in a unique combination of a high-level, academic research environment together with applied, policy-oriented research opportunities. Students receive state-of-the-art coursework training and can select from a wide array of specializations. For each specialization, a professional research environment is provided by Berlin’s universities and economic research institutes.


Program structure and curriculum

All PhD tracks offered in the PhD Program share the same structure and general curriculum. The program’s curriculum is divided into a qualification and a dissertation phase:

Qualification Phase

During the qualification phase (about three semesters), students acquire methodological and research-oriented training in mandatory course work in economic theory, applied economics, business studies, econometrics, and economic policy. Students define their research area and find supervisory support from two supervisors. They write research proposals that are discussed with faculty members individually and in seminars in order to provide early feedback on the scientific potential of research ideas. This is a central part of the PhD Program, in which the students have full flexibility in the choice of their research topics and of the supervisors. During this phase, students are funded through stipends that allow for this flexibility. In total, students have to complete a minimum of 90 ECTS credits in order to finish the qualification phase of the program.


Dissertation Phase

During the subsequent dissertation phase (about three years), students write a doctoral thesis while having the opportunity to apply their knowledge in the professional research environment that is provided at the Berlin universities and research institutes participating in the Berlin School of Economics. In this phase, students are typically employed at their supervisor’s chair or in research groups at research institutes.

The PhD will be awarded by one of the institutions in the Berlin School of Economics with the right to award doctoral degrees. In most cases, the PhD is awarded by the institution the student’s first supervisor is affiliated with.


The following chart gives an overview of the general structure of the PhD Program:

Application to one of the four PhD tracks
Qualification Phase
(semesters 1 - 3)
  • Fundamental training in Core Courses (9 ECTS credits each, 5 obligatory courses)
  • Research field orientation
  • Find first supervisor (until the end of semester 2)
45 ECTS credits
  • Elective courses, Short courses, External courses
  • Graduate Student/ Research Seminars
  • Soft skill courses, Summer Schools
  • Own teaching
  • Internship
45 ECTS credits
Dissertation Phase
(semesters 4 - 10)
  • Research and writing
  • Find second supervisor
  • External summer schools, Conferences
  • Teaching
  • Job market preparation
Hand-in and defense of the thesis

Researchers Guide

This guide includes academic advices from the researchers of the Berlin School of Economics.

Special thanks to the INSIGHTS Team, researchers of Berlin School of Economics, Agne Kajackaite, Aleks Zaklan, Alexander Kriwoluzky, Ally Xin Lin, Annekatrin Schrenker, C. Katharina Spieß, Christian Basteck, Ciril Bosch-Rosa, Dorothea Kübler, Francis de Véricourt, Georg Weizsäcker, Gyula Seres, Hande Erkut, Hannes Ullrich, Jana Hamdan, Levent Neyse, Lisa Bruttel, Lutz Weinke, Mira Fischer, Müge Süer, Nikolaus Wolf, Peter Haan, Robert Stüber, Sebastian Schweighofer-Kodritsch, Simone Maxand, Vincent Meisner, and Pablo Brañas-Garza.

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Also note the compiled information on our website about support and resources, for example Mental Health.