Doctoral Program in Economics, The Bonn Graduate School of Economics, Germany

Publish Date: Jan 16, 2016

Deadline: Mar 31, 2016


We encourage outstanding (top 10%) students with a university degree (bachelor or master) in economics or related fields, such as mathematics, statistics, business administration, accounting, and finance, to apply for admission.

APPLICATION DEADLINE for the program starting in October is March 31.

The candidates for the program starting in 2015 are already selected. Online applications for the program starting in October 2016 can be submitted from January to March 2016 via our platform.

Applicants who present a detailed and adequate offer by another doctoral program as well as extraordinarily qualified candidates may ask the BGSE to reach a decision before the deadline (rolling admission).

Incomplete applications will not be considered. In particular, letters of recommendation and other necessary documents that arrive after the deadline imply that the application is incomplete.

If you have not yet completed your university degree but will do so before the BGSE program starts, you are of course also invited to apply. In that case, you will be asked to enter relevant information about your current studies during the online application process.

You will learn the decision of the admission committee latest by the end of May.


your application material check list (please scroll down for explanations):

(1)    GRE

(2)    TOEFL or IELTS (if required)

(3)    two letters of recommendation (sent by professors to BGSE)

(4)    letter of motivation

(5)    CV

(6)    academic transcripts

(7)    APS certificate (if required)


You will need the following documents to apply:

(1)    GRE score report (General Test Format)* is mandatory for all applicants

The average quantitative GRE score of our successful applicants has been 165. There is no point in applying if your GRE quantitative score is below 160. If you have not reached 160 points, we recommend you to re-take the exam and to apply once you have improved your score.

(2) TOEFL or IELTS (academic format) score report is required if English is not your first language or if the language of instruction of your previous degree is not English (curriculum must have been taught exclusively in English)*

A TOEFL iBT score of at least 100 with at least 23 in each of the 4 sections is the minimum requirement.

IELTS in the academic format is also accepted. The minimum requirements for your IELTS score isoverall 7.0; reading 6.5; listening 6.5; writing 7.0; speaking 6.5.

There is no point in applying if your TOEFL iBT or IELTS score is below that. If you have not reached these scores, we recommend you to re-take the exam and to apply once you have improved your scores.

(3) Furthermore, you need to ask two of your academic teachers to send a confidential letter of recommendation to the BGSE.

Please ask your professors to preferably address the following two questions:
- Does the candidate belong to the top 5% or top 10% of his or her cohort (size of the cohort)?
- Is the candidate likely to perform well in a competitive, structured PhD program with a high analytic content?

Professors can send their recommendation as an email attachment to References sent via email must

o    have an official university's letter head,
o    be signed by the referee personally,
o    be attached as a pdf file to the email,
o    be sent from the professor’s official university’s email account and
o    arrive at the BGSE before the application deadline on March 31.

Alternatively, professors can choose to send the recommendation letter by regular mail to

Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE)
Bonn University
Kaiserstr. 1, 53113 Bonn, Germany.

WHEN SUBMITTING YOUR ONLINE APPLICATION, be prepared to also have the following documents ready as pdf files for uploading:

(4) letter of motivation,

(5) curriculum vitae,

(6) academic transcripts (transcript of record, university degree/s, diploma supplements).

(7) APS certificate mandatory for applicants from China, Mongolia or Vietnam; included with the application or once they receive an offer.

 * We recommend you to instruct Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send the score report directly to the BGSE. The ETS code number of the BGSE is 1359. In exceptional cases you can upload a PDF of the GRE score report with the online application. Note that the original has to be handed in prior to registration. We cannot accept a screenshot of your score from your personal account with ETS.

 If you have already registered and want to check the status of your application click here

.If you are interested in the master program... please note:

If you intend to go for a master's degree solely, you should not apply at the BGSE since we only offer a program for doctoral candidates. The website of the Department of Economics at Bonn University gives you detailed information on the master program.

 Good luck to all applicants!

Tuition and Fees

At the University of Bonn there are no tuition fees - neither for German nor for international students. Students only have to pay the social service fee. This fee includes the costs for the semester ticket (for public transportation throughout North Rhine Westphalia) and currently amounts to about 270 Euro per semester. 

There is no application fee.


German universities usually do not award scholarships or grants as they do not have the necessary resources at their disposal. Some scholarships for exceptionally qualified candidates are available from various national organisations, such as e.g. the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Please check their homepage for further details (

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