The Berlin School of Economics PhD Program unites the successful BDPEMS & DIW Graduate Center programs and incorporates the best of both in a single career development program. It 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 into a wide array of specializations. For each specialization, a professional research environment is provided by Berlin’s universities and economic research institutes.
General structure of the curriculum
The BSE PhD Program offers four tracks: PhD in Economics and three business tracks (PhD in Accounting, PhD in Finance, and PhD in Management). During the application process, applicants are asked to give their preferred track. However, the track choice can be changed upon developing research interests during the qualification phase of the program. Despite different foci of the tracks, they all share a common structure in their curriculum.
The curriculum is divided in a qualification and a dissertation phase. During the qualification phase (roughly, the first one and a half years), students acquire basic methodological and research oriented training in mandatory course work, they define their research area and find supervisory support. 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 BSE PhD program, in which the students have full flexibility in the choice of the research topics and of the supervisors. During this phase, students are funded through stipends that allow for this flexibility.
During the dissertation phase, students are typically employed at their supervisor's chair or in research groups of research institutes. This enables a close connection to their supervisor and to the specialized groups of researchers.
The Berlin School of Economics welcomes highly qualified post-graduate students from around the world to enroll in its structured program PhD in Economics as well as in one of BSE’s three tracks in business studies: PhD in Accounting, PhD in Finance, and PhD in Management.
Application start: November 15, 2018
Application deadline: February 15, 2019
Please note that applications may only be sent during the application period via our application portal. Applications sent outside of this application period via email will not be considered. The link to the application portal will be made available on November 15, 2018.
As part of the online application procedure, you will be asked to upload the following documents:
- Motivation letter (max. 2 pages): this should state your motivation for applying to the program and should include a short outline of your major research interests;
- Detailed curriculum vitae (without photograph);
- Copies of academic transcripts and other certificates;
- GRE scores (institution code 0096);
- For business applications, GMAT scores (see FAQs for more information); and
- IELTS or TOEFL scores, if applicable.
Note that in addition to these documents, you will need to have two academic referees upload letters of recommendation.
When providing contact information of your referees, fill in your referee's official institution email adress and their personal webpage.
The application is to be completed in English, incomplete applications will not be considered.
Applicants should have a Master’s in Economics or Business Studies and have performed exceptionally well in their studies. Applicants from related fields (such as Industrial Engineering, Statistics, or quantitative social sciences) may also fulfill the admission requirements if they have a sufficient background in Economics or Business Studies.
All applicants must provide GRE General Test scores with their application. Most successful applicants score at or above the 90th percentile in the quantitative section of the GRE General Test.
Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate 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 for a good command of English is a high score in the "Test of English as a Foreign Language" (TOEFL) or the "International English Language Testing System" (IELTS). As a rule of thumb, successful applicants will score at or above 7.0 (IELTS) or 95 (Internet-based TOEFL).
Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree are eligible to apply for the program if they also apply for a Master’s program offering a fast track option. For detailed information, see our FAQ section.
Knowledge of German is not a necessary requirement for a successful application, but students are encouraged to learn and improve their skills.
In addition, evidence of creativity and inclination toward research will be taken into consideration. Please note that it is not necessary to find a supervisor before applying to the BSE.
Scholarships & Fees
There are no tuition fees. PhD students will receive funding for the expected length of the program - four years. For the course phase, a stipend of 1,200 Euro per month is provided; funding during the research phase is normally provided through employment at one of the BSE’s member institutions: DIW Berlin, ESMT, Free University Berlin, the Hertie School of Governance, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technical University Berlin, and WZB Social Science Center Berlin. Funding for the research phase is conditional on having fulfilled the Performance Criteria.
Note that the universities charge a semester fee of approximately 280 - 315 Euro per semester. This provides access to public transport in Berlin at no additional cost. However, university enrollment is not required during the first year of the program.