The programme starts in early September each year. The candidates will be prepared for their dissertation research by colloquia and common coursework in research design and methods during the first year of the programme. Candidates will find a unique support structure for their independent research in the subsequent years of the programme: Depending on their topics, students are associated with one of the Hertie School’s Research Clusters which bring together faculty, visiting scholars, post-docs, and candidates to discuss their projects and research progress in the stimulating context of the cluster colloquium. The programme is complemented by a set of skills workshops offering special training ranging from research methods to professional development. Please consult our programme description for more information.

Structure and supervision

From the first year onwards, each PhD candidate works with a doctoral committee which eventually comprises three dissertation advisors who provide intellectual guidance and monitor the candidate’s research progress. The first and main advisor is a Hertie School Faculty member. One of the other advisors should be a professor from outside the Hertie School.

Funding support

The Doctoral Programme in Governance does not have tuition costs. To ensure that our PhD students can focus on their research, we offer a limited number of living-cost stipends for excellent candidates. Furthermore, we offer travel grants through the PHD GLOBAL project, promoted by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the IPID4all programme. For more information on financing your PhD studies at Hertie School please see our Funding section.


The candidate agrees on a work plan with her/his advisor which serves as basis for the advising and supervision process. The work plan serves as a timetable of when to submit parts or chapters of the PhD thesis and as a track record of changes and amendments to earlier versions. The goal is to identify students' strengths and weaknesses and to develop strategies to support them towards completing their work within three years and to prepare them for the next steps of their careers. Please consult our programme description for more information.