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Admission to the CDSS Program

General Information

We welcome applications from highly qualified students of all nationalities.

Applications for admission to the fall semester 2018 will open in November 2017. The application deadline for the CDSS PhD programs is 31 March, 2018. There is an early application deadline on 31 January, 2018. Applications from candidates who are not accepted in the early round will be reviewed again with all other applications after March 31, 2018.

We solely offer online application and applicants must submit their information and documents through our online application portal. Applications sent in via mail will not be considered.

In principle, the prerequisite for admission is a very good research oriented Master's degree. Applications from students with excellent Bachelor degrees are considered as well. Applicants from neighboring fields can be admitted if their background is judged to be sufficient. All applications are evaluated solely on the basis of qualification and scientific potential.

Application Documents

A complete application must comprise the following information:

  • Personal data
  • Letter of motivation
    The motivation letter should explain your current goals, career plans and reasons for your interest in a structured PhD program at the University of Mannheim. Elaborate on your study plans and your research interests. The motivation letter should be in English and not exceed two pages (not more than 700 words).
  • Writing sample
    Please attach a writing sample of up to 10 pages (not more than 3500 words, bibliography excluded) in English or German language, e.g. a paper you have written during your studies, a representative excerpt from your thesis, or an essay on a topic related to your research interests. Please do not submit a research or dissertation proposal as a writing sample.
  • Certificates and transcripts of grades
    A transcript from each academic degree program you attended is required. Degree certificates alone are not sufficient. The transcript should show courses attended and grades and degrees received, mentioning rank or distinction, if applicable. A translation is required for any transcript in a language other than English or German. At this stage of the application process it is not necessary to notarize or apostil the translations. However, if you are accepted we require notarized translations. An apostil is not necessary. If you have not yet finished your current degree program, please attach a preliminary grade report (again in English or German).
  • TOEFL scores
    Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), unless their university degree demonstrably is from an institution where the curriculum was exclusively taught in English. The TOEFL minimum score is 600 in the paper test or 100 in the internet-based test. TOEFL scores are valid for two years. Ask the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to report your test scores using the following ETS code: 0933. We are not able to take IELTS scores into account alternatively.
  • Any supplementary information you like to provide
  • Letters of recommendation
    Two letters of recommendation are required from faculty, scholars or individuals who are able to assess your ability and potential for academic research and teaching.
    Please note
    : Once you have filled in the names, affiliations and email addresses of your referees in the online application tool, a link to a website where your referees can upload their reference letters will be sent to them by email. Please make sure to contact your referees before completing this part in order to find out if they are available and willing to provide a reference.
    Sometimes, these emails end up in the spam folders of the recipients' email accounts
    . We advise applicants to check back with their referees whether this is the case before informing the GESS team that the emails may not have been properly dispatched. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that references reach us on time.

Online Application

In order to make the application process as convenient as possible for you, we offer an online application portal, which is available from November 2017, on.

Apply here: online application portal