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Admission to the CDSS Program

Highly qualified students of all nationalities holding a very good research oriented Master's degree are welcome to apply. Please be aware that research and teaching at the CDSS and the School of Social Sciences takes an empirical-analytical approach, which is informed by theory and relies on quantitative methods.

Applications for admission to the fall semester of any given year open in mid-November of the previous year.

Early application deadline: 15 January 2025
Submit your application by 15 January. At least one Letter of Recommendation must reach us by that date as well. Applications from candidates that are not accepted in the early round will be reconsidered with all other applications after the

Final application deadline: 31 March 2025
Applications from students with excellent (4-year) Bachelor degrees are considered as well and also 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.

Applications sent in via mail will not be considered.

Online application portal

Application documents

A complete application must comprise the following information:

  • Letter of motivation

    Please provide a statement explaining your current goals, career plans and reasons for your interest in a structured doctoral program in Social Science. Elaborate on your study plans and your research interests. It is important to show how your research interests meet with the current research of the respective  faculty member(s) you would be interested in working with. The motivation letter should be in English and not exceed 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 and degree certificate from each academic degree program you attended is required and must include the university's grading scheme. 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. Certified translations of documents are not required at the application stage. If you have not yet finished your current degree program, please attach a preliminary grade report (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 last 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 five years. Ask the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to report your test scores using the following ETS code: 0933. Alternatively you can submit IELTS scores with a minimum of an overall band score of 7.

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. Contact your referees before completing this part of the online application in order to find out if they are available and willing to provide a reference. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that references reach us on time and by the given deadlines (early or final).

General questions about the program? Invited for interview?
Chat to the CDSS Student Representatives Hannah Rajski and Domantas Undzenas who'll be happy to answer your questions and don't forget to check out our FAQs where you'll find among others helpful interview tips.


Milanka Stojković

Milanka Stojković

Center Manager CDSS
University of Mannheim
Consultation hour(s):
By appointment only.

Core hours
Mon – Wed 8 am – 4 pm
Fri 8 am – 1 pm
Marion Lehnert

Marion Lehnert

Team Assistant GESS
University of Mannheim
Phone: +49 621 181-2034
Fax: +49 621 181-2042
E-mail: gess.officemail-uni-mannheim.de
Consultation hour(s):
Please make an appointment.
Tue and Thu: 9 am – 4 pm