Structured Doctoral Programs

Pursuing a doctorate within a structured doctoral program is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to an individual doctorate directly at a chair. These programs, similar to PhD programs in English-speaking countries, include an advanced academic curriculum made up of several obligatory but for the most part freely selectable seminars and courses. These are attended together with other fellow doctoral students and must be completed within a set period of time. Written and oral communication and publication in English is obligatory in all structured doctoral programs as well as engaging in a lively international exchange between doctoral students and teachers and/or professors. Taking part in these programs thus prepares doctoral students particularly well for a career in academia. International doctoral candidates also benefit from participating in a structured doctoral program as they receive assistance in communicating with authorities and finding accommodation or when opening a bank account in Germany.

Within a structured doctoral program, financing of the doctorate is ensured either with a doctoral position or a combination of a fellowship and a fixed-term employment position for the duration of the doctoral studies. Instead of one person acting as the doctoral supervisor there is a whole team of professors ensuring comprehensive supervision. This is why structured doctoral programs can often be completed faster than individual doctorates at a chair. The programs are limited in time and usually run for three or at most five years.

Structured doctoral programs at the University of Mannheim

The University of Mannheim offers structured doctoral programs in the following departments: Business Administration, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.

At the Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences (GESS), the respective doctoral programs are taught in English, having an international focus and in most cases specific regulations and procedures governing the doctoral dissertation.

Our Research Training Group (RTG), funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft, DFG) RTG 2277 has a more narrow thematic focus and offers intensive supervision for doctoral students dealing with thematically or methodologically related dissertation topics. As part of its structured qualification concept, the Research Training Group cooperates with other universities.

You are interested in participating in a doctoral program? Please find further information on structured doctoral programs at the University of Mannheim here: