Berlin School of Economics

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About the employer

The Berlin School of Economics PhD Program provides outstanding doctoral students with a vibrant, intensively networked research community. The program develops the students’ talents in a unique combination of a high-level, academic research environment together with applied, policy-oriented research opportunities. Students receive state-of-the-art coursework training and can select into a wide array of specializations. For each specialization, a professional research environment is provided by Berlin’s universities and economic research institutes. 

General structure of the curriculum

The BSE PhD Program offers four tracks: PhD in Economics and three business tracks (PhD in Accounting, PhD in Finance, and PhD in Management). During the application process, applicants are asked to give their preferred track. However, the track choice can be changed upon developing research interests during the qualification phase of the program. Despite different foci of the tracks, they all share a common structure in their curriculum.

The curriculum is divided in a qualification and a dissertation phase. During the qualification phase (roughly, the first one and a half years), students acquire basic methodological and research oriented training in mandatory course work, they define their research area and find supervisory support. They write research proposals that are discussed with faculty members individually and in seminars in order to provide early feedback on the scientific potential of research ideas. This is a central part of the BSE PhD program, in which the students have full flexibility in the choice of the research topics and of the supervisors. During this phase, students are funded through stipends that allow for this flexibility.

During the dissertation phase, students are typically employed at their supervisor's chair or in research groups of research institutes. This enables a close connection to their supervisor and to the specialized groups of researchers.

In total, students have to complete a minimum of 90 ECTS in order to finish the program. The following chart gives an overview of the general structure of the BSE program:

Application to one of four BSE tracks in Economics and Business (Accounting, Finance, and Management) 
Qualification phase 
(year 0 – 2) 
  • Fundamental training in Core Courses (9 ECTS each, 5 courses obligatory)
  • Orientation about the research field
  • Find first supervisor (until the end of year 1)
Core Courses: 
45 ECTS in total 
  • Elective Courses, Short Courses, external courses
  • Graduate Student/ Research Seminars
  • Soft skill courses, Summer Schools
  • Teaching
  • Economics Policy Class, Internship
45 ECTS in total 
Dissertation phase 
(year 2 – 5) 
  • Research and writing
  • Find second supervisor
  • External summer schools, conferences
  • Teaching
  • Job market preparation
Hand-in and defense of the thesis, placement 

Courses offered within the four BSE tracks

Within the four BSE tracks, the following mandatory Core Courses have to be attended during the qualification phase:





  • Econometrics I + II
  • Microeconomics I + Macroeconomics I
  • One further course out of the remaining, i.e. Microeconomics II, Macroeconomics II, Management Science I or II
  • Microeconomics I + II
  • Econometrics I + II orEconometrics II + Applied Econometrics
  • Theory and Practice of Machine Learning
  • Microeconomics I + II
  • Econometrics I + II
  • Advanced Financial Economics
  • Management Science I + II
  • Microeconomics I
  • Econometrics II
  • Theory and Practice of Machine Learning

The Berlin School of Economics offers a broad variety of Elective Courses in

  • Accounting,
  • Behavioral & Experimental Economics,
  • Econometrics & Statistics,
  • Economics Policy,
  • Finance, Management,
  • Marketing,
  • Public Economics, and
  • Quantitative Labor

that can be attended during the qualification phase. The Elective Course program varies over time. Up-to-date information on the offered courses can be found on the websites of the BDPEMS and the DIW Graduate Center.

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