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Admissions for PhD applicants

Doctoral Programme in Governance

The Doctoral Programme in Governance is open to candidates with an exceptionally strong master’s degree (or equivalent) in economics, law, political science, sociology, public administration, management or related fields. Before applying, please check our list of potential supervisors to make sure that your intended research project is in line with the areas of research represented by the Hertie School's faculty. The doctoral programme starts at the beginning of September each year with a group of 10-15 PhD students.

Application documents

A complete application encompasses:

  • Online application form
  • The transcripts and certificates of all acquired university degrees
  • A curriculum vitae
  • An English proficiency proof (TOEFL IBT 100, PBT 600, CBT 250; Cambridge ESOL qualifications CPE C, CAE B; or IELTS overall 7.0 incl. writing score 7.0)
  • A funding statement to explain personal circumstances and funding situation: integrated in the online application (see Funding Process for details)
  • A short letter of motivation (600 words maximum)
  • A research proposal (5000 words maximum) with
    • description, goals, and methods of dissertation project
    • timetable of dissertation project
    • name(s) of potential dissertation advisors from the Hertie School core faculty
  • Two letters of reference (in English language) from scholars at universities or research institutions

Please consult our FAQs as they contain further information on the required application documents. [more]

Application Deadlines

The next application period ends on 31 January 2018. Applicants are usually informed within two months after submitting their application. We recommend that you apply early as you usually need an offer of admission to secure a third party stipend. [more on funding and stipends]

Application Process

The PhD Board decides if the proposal matches the academic scope of the Doctoral Programme in Governance and if core faculty members will be able to supervise the project (pre-screening).

Applications that successfully passed the first step will be assessed by two internal reviewers. They identify possible dissertation advisors (based on the candidate's proposition) and assess the different elements of the application:

  • Quality and fit of research proposal
  • Academic performance and references
  • CV and motivation letter

The PhD Board decides on a final list of successful candidates and on a waiting list, taking into account the candidates' ranking, the availability of relevant supervisors, the availability of funding, and overall positions in the programme. After submitting the application online, each candidate will receive a login and password to check the status of his or her application online.