"Our mission is to train young academics according to best international practice with a strong focus on excellence in research." Prof. Thomas Bräuninger, CDSS Faculty


Three Steps to a Doctoral Position

Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences

How to earn a doctoral degree at the University of Mannheim?

Three Steps to a Doctoral Position

Step 1

Decide which doctoral training program is for you. You can choose between the structured doctoral program at the GESS or the traditional approach, which is an independent doctorate directly at a chair.

Step 2

The University of Mannheim does not charge any tuition fees. In order to fund your doctoral training you can apply for a position within a structured doctoral program which offers:

  • stipends or
  • fixed-term employment positions for the duration of your doctoral degree.

For those interested in an independent doctorate:

Step 3

Enrol for your doctoral degree at the relevant faculty 

Structured doctoral program

Similar to those offered in the UK and the USA these programs embed your individual research project in a structured program, which includes amongst others graduate courses as well as transferable skills training.

At the University of Mannheim these are:

In Germany, there are no tuition fees to be paid and financing your degree is as easy as obtaining a position within a structured doctoral program coupled with a generous stipend or fixed-term employment position – one less thing to worry about!  

Independent doctorate

As a first step you will have to find a supervising professor willing to guide you for the duration of your doctoral research (normally around 4 years). The supervising professor is referred to in German as ‘Doktormutter’ or ‘Doktorvater’.  The traditional approach offers a great deal of flexibility as there is no compulsory curriculum to follow but requires discipline and dedication on your side. Once you have identified a supervising professor you will have to:

  1. Obtain a ‘Advising agreement’ i.e. letter of confirmation signed by your supervising professor.
  2. If applicable check the visa requirements with your local embassy or consulate as early as possible in order to find out what documents you need to submit for an applicant visa (Visum zur Studienbewerbung) or doctoral training visa provided you already obtained the ‘Advising Agreement’ mentioned under point 1.
  3. Contact the relevant Graduate Office in order to find out what your next steps are and to arrange for registration as a doctoral student. Each faculty stipulates specific registration requirements. The Graduate Office will be your first point of call for all questions in relation to an independent doctorate as well as answering questions about doctoral degree entry requirements. As a general rule a qualification equivalent to a German master will be necessary but some faculties offer fast-track options for exceptional students holding a Bachelor degree.
  4. For non-German nationals the web page of the Welcome Center contains a wealth of information relating to preparing your arrival, visa requirements, health insurance etc. Please make sure to visit their web page well in advance of your planned start date.  

Further information can be found here.

Graduate Offices