Doctoral Programme in Governance - 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


The next application period will be from 1 December 2019 to 31 January 2020 (for a start in the programme in September 2020).

The programme is fully funded (10 three-year stipends). It offers rigorous academic training and familiarises students with cutting-edge methods in public policy research. The programme addresses exceptional candidates committed to research on public policy related research questions. It is interdisciplinary, but offers a specialisation within economics, law, political science, and sociology.

Apart from applicant’s academic performance, references, and overall motivation, a further selection criterion is the thematic fit of the dissertation proposal with the research agenda of the Hertie School and its faculty members (please see our list of potential supervisors) or the research agenda of the Centres of Competence

Why pursue a PhD at the Hertie School

  • 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.

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 Hertie School 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.



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 is in the process of establishing five centres of competence, with the Jacques Delors Institute Berlin – Centre for European Affairs and the Centre for International Security Policy already open, the Digital Governance and Fundamental Rights Centres to open in September 2019, and the Sustainability Centre to open in fall 2020. By establishing the Centres, the Hertie School expands its expertise in key policy fields. PhD students can be affiliated with one of the Centres.  


Apply for a research visit

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

Visiting PhD students may participate in the research Colloquiums and other events hosted by the Hertie School. They will be offered desk space including a personal computer in a room with other Hertie School PhD students. Visiting PhD students 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 external funding if applicable
  • Faculty member who should be asked to sponsor the visit
  • 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.