Key facts

  • 3-year, English-language doctoral programme (180 ECTS)
  • Academic training in research design and methods 
  • Strong advisory structure and close interaction with the school’s research community
  • No tuition fees, 10 cost-of-living stipends available

Why pursue a PhD at the Hertie School of Governance

  • The Doctoral Programme in Governance offers rigorous academic training in research design 
  • Students learn cutting-edge methods and concepts in the field of governance 
  • Invaluable opportunities to participate in the school’s research activities and benefit from close interaction with experienced faculty and researchers 
  • An inspiring international student body and global alumni network 
  • Regular opportunities to network with leaders from all sectors at exclusive events
  • Study in the heart of Berlin, one of Europe’s key political, cultural and thought hubs 

Find out more about what we offer.

Who is the programme for?

Candidates whose proposed research projects are in line with the fields of research represented by the Hertie School's faculty. Applicants should have an exceptionally strong master’s degree (or equivalent) in economics, law, political science, sociology, public administration, Management, or related fields. [Meet our PhD students]

The Doctoral Programme in Governance is a full-time study programme.


During the first year, students prepare for their dissertation research through colloquia and common coursework in research design and methods. Students also benefit from a unique support structure for their independent research in the last phase of the programme. Skills workshops offering special training ranging from research methods to professional development complement the curriculum. [more]

Become a part of the Hertie School’s research community

The Doctoral Programme in Governance is integrated in the Hertie School’s research structure. PhD students are linked to research colloquia and work closely with faculty members on Research projects.


The Hertie School of Governance does not charge tuition fees for its doctoral programmes, but seeks to ensure that all admitted candidates have secured the financial means to support the three-year doctoral programme in Berlin. It therefore offers 10 living cost stipends of 1,250 euros per month (including 100 euros for research and travelling) for a period of three years.

PHD GLOBAL: Promotion of international exchange and careers abroad

The PHD GLOBAL project is promoted by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the IPID4all programme. It supports the internationalization of the programme by providing funding for travel abroad, career development workshops, visiting PhD students, and cooperations with doctoral programmes abroad. [more]

Apply for a research visit

The Hertie School of Governance is interested in hosting PhD students enrolled for doctoral studies at other universities for short research visits (usually for less than three months).

Visiting PhD students may participate in the colloquiums hosted by the research clusters and many other events organised by the Hertie School. They will be offered desk space including a personal computer in a room with other Hertie School PhD students. Visiting researchers are eligible to participate in methods and professional skills workshops offered during their stay, if space is available.

How to apply

Prospective visiting PhD students should provide the following material to the PhD Admissions Team via email:

  • Letter of motivation, including: proposed dates of visit, reason for visit, and indication whether funding has been secured or is sought through the IPID4all project [see below]
  • Faculty member who should be asked to sponsor the visit [list of faculty who supervise PhD theses, listing their areas of expertise]
  • CV
  • Research proposal or outline of dissertation
  • MA transcript and degrees, PhD transcript
  • Proof of current enrolment as a doctoral student
  • Letter of recommendation from main advisor (emailed separately by main advisor)

All documents must be provided in English.

When to apply

Applications for the Fall Term (September through December) should be made before 1 June.
Applications for the Spring Term (January through May) should be made before 1 November.
Research stays during the summer (June through August) are not recommended. If you are interested in a summer stay, please get in touch before an application.


The PhD Team forwards your application to the indicated faculty member to check whether the faculty member supports your research stay. The PhD Board decides applications, taking into account that the School only has limited desk space for visiting PhD students. Applicants will be notified by the PhD Team.

Financial support

The Hertie School does not charge any fees from visiting PhD students. We are able to offer funding to selected visiting PhD students through the PHD GLOBAL project, promoted by the German Academic Exchange Service and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the IPID4all programme.

Selected students will receive a travel lump sum depending on their country of origin and a per diem allowance. As an indication, the per diem allowance amounts to €1,500 for a six-week stay.

The funding can only be awarded to visiting PhD students who are currently enrolled at universities outside of Germany and who do not receive funding for the same purpose. Applicants should indicate in their letter of motivation whether they want to apply for funding through PHD GLOBAL.

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