Doctoral Positions in Economic Sociology and Political Economy
Thank you for your interest in the International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE), a unique international three-and-a-half-year doctoral program offered jointly by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG)and the University of Cologne's Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, with the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen as an associated partner.
Students who attend our program investigate the crucial intersection between the economy, politics, and society and develop new approaches in economic sociology, comparative political economy, and organizational studies. They work with talented faculty from some of Germany's most prestigious research institutions.
Located in the vibrant city of Cologne, our program offers an intimate, intellectually stimulating academic environment in a lively historical and cultural setting. Our students also have the opportunity to complete part of their studies at one of our partner universities in France, Italy, or the United States.
We are a small, competitive program that welcomes talented students from around the world. Candidates should hold a master's degree or equivalent in political science, sociology, organizational studies, history, or related fields and possess strong English skills. Our application deadline is February 28.
EligibilityApplicants must hold a master's degree, magister or diploma in a discipline relevant to the School's program (sociology, political science, economics, organization studies, history, or related fields).
The IMPRS-SPCE aims to have a large proportion of international students. Students with foreign degrees are admitted by the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences if their degree is equivalent to a German Diploma, Magister or MA.
Degrees must be received by the end of September in the year applicants would enroll in the program. Candidates must have a proven record of academic excellence. In their research proposal, applicants must specify their research interests, and they are asked to identify an advisor from the program faculty. A list of successful proposals of preceding years is published on our website.
Applicants must have high English proficiency. Students may write their thesis in German or English, but they must be able to present their work at workshops and conferences in English and participate in courses taught in English and based on literature only available in English. Special training in English writing is available for our students. We also strongly urge our international students to learn German – doing so will give you greater access to German culture and enable you to participate more fully in the intellectual and social life of the institute and the university. A list of successful project descriptions from previous years is published on our website.
Academic Advisors and Degrees
During the program, doctoral students are advised by a member of the IMPRS-SPCE's faculty. Applicants are asked to name one or two preferred advisors.
The IMPRS-SPCE does not grant academic degrees. Students usually submit their doctoral theses to the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne. In special cases they may also submit their thesis to another faculty or University, for example to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Cologne or the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Due to different remuneration policies at the MPIfG, the Universities of Cologne Duisburg-Essen, students working at the MPIfG receive an employment contract (Fördervertrag) and students working at the University of Cologne or the University of Duisburg-Essen receive a scholarship. Students with employment contracts receive a monthly gross payment of about 1,750 euros in the first year (which yields a net payment of about 1,200 euros, depending on the tax bracket). Students with scholarships receive a monthly tax-free payment of 1,468 euros, but scholarship holders
must purchase their own health insurance; it is not included in the scholarship. There is no tuition fee.
Scholarships/contracts start on October 1. They are awarded for 15 months with an option for an additional 27 months. Upon acceptance into the second phase after the First Year Paper Workshop the scholarship/contract will be extended for the additional 27 months. Doctoral students at the IMPRS-SPCE have a fully-equipped shared office either at the University of Cologne, the MPIfG, or the University of Duisburg-Essen and research funds to conduct their projects. They also have full access to the libraries and research facilities of the MPIfG as well as the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne, and the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
How to Apply
The application procedure for the IMPRS-SPCE is online. Since your registration as an applicant and your application form are submitted in one document, it is essential for you to read this entire section carefully so that you do things in the proper order. Note that you will not be able to change your data after it has been submitted.
You may apply starting on December 15. The deadline for applications is February 28.
The Procedure at a Glance
- See Information for Applicants to make sure you are eligible to apply.
- Start compiling your documents early. You will need a fair amount of time to get all the information together, and your referees need to have time to write their letters.
- Find referees. You will need to ask two referees to write letters of recommendation for you. You have to name them in your Application and Registration form, so you must first ensure that they are willing to provide the recommendation. When you have submitted your Application and Registration form, the referees will receive an automatic e-mail linking them to the Letter of Recommendation form. It is your responsibility to contact your referees and make sure they submit the form in due time.
- Fill out the Application and Registration form.
- Look out for the Confirmation E-Mail with your Registration Code. Your spam filter might sort out the confirmation e-mail, so check your spam folder if you do not receive the confirmation e-mail within an hour.
- Upload your Supplementary Application Materials, including a cover letter, CV, project proposal and transcripts.
Step 1: Submit Application and Registration FormThe Application and Registration form - including your contact information, educational background, and the names of two referees - is also the form with which you register to take part in the whole online application procedure. You must submit it before you upload the supplementary application materials, and before your referees can submit their letters. When we have received your application form, you will receive a confirmation mail with a personal Registration Code to which all later documents must refer. Since the system does not allow for you to save this form with your data in it, and the completed form will not be sent back to you, copy it (with copy and paste into Word, for example) and save it for your records before submitting it. Save any long texts separately, as they will not be fully displayed in your Word copy.
Step 2: Submit Supplementary Application MaterialsUse the Supplementary Application Materials form to upload the other documents required for your application.
- A cover letter including your motivation for applying to the IMPRS-SPCE.
- Your curriculum vitae, including your academic training and professional experience.
- One example of scholarly work, up to 20 pages (seminar paper, chapter of your master thesis, etc.).
- A short research proposal describing one or two possible dissertation topics (up to 5 pages in total).
- Scans of official transcripts/records of studies from all colleges/universities you have attended as well as the document proving your eligibility to stud at a college or university (High-school diploma, A levels, “Abiturzeugnis” or equivalent).
For RefereesYou have been asked by an applicant to the IMPRS-SPCE to write a letter of recommendation? Please refer to the applicant's Registration Code as stated in the e-mail you received from us.
For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.
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