A group of doctoral students are talking in the courtyard of B6,30-32.

CDSS Doctoral Program Information

Learn more about the CDSS progam structure and program as well as degree requirements.


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Political Science
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A group of students are talking in the entrance hall of B6, 30-32.

Program structure

The doctoral programs the CDSS consist of two semesters of course work and extend over three years overall. Doctoral students must commit to advanced graduate-level studies in mandatory and elective courses, as well as in a bridge course from a different discipline during the initial two semesters. They are also expected to write a literature review leading to their dissertation proposal. Doctoral students decide about the thesis topic and supervisor in the course of the first year. The other members of the dissertation committee can be appointed later.

Program requirements (general overview)*

The entire doctoral program amounts to 180 ECTS points.

  • 1st semester

    • Mathematics for Social Scientists (2 ECTS)
    • Current Research Perspectives (2 ECTS)
    • Crafting Social Science Research (6 ECTS)
    • Literature review (6 ECTS)
    • CDSS Workshop in respective discipline (2 ECTS)
  • 2nd semester

    • Theory Building and Causal Inference (6 ECTS)
    • English Academic Writing (3 ECTS)
    • Dissertation Proposal Workshop (2 ECTS)
    • Dissertation proposal (8 ECTS)
    • CDSS Workshop in respective discipline (2 ECTS)
  • 1st and 2nd semester

    • 18 ECTS from the CDSS methods course portfolio [MET].
    • 12 ECTS from topical courses in the respective discipline [POL], [PSY], [SOC]
    • Bridge course of at least 5 ECTS. Choose courses offered by the CDSB and CDSE or from a different CDSS discipline. At its best the bridge course should offer a new methodological and/or theoretical input in reference to the chosen research topic.
  • 3rd semester onwards

    • Research colloquia (2 ECTS per semester)
    • CDSS Workshops in respective discipline (2 ECTS per semester)
    • Dissertation work leading to thesis submission and defense (90 ECTS)

The entire doctoral program amounts to 180 ECTS points. For an overview of CDSS courses, please refer to the CDSS course catalogue.

Degree requirements*

  • Completion of the CDSS course program
  • Completion, submission and acceptance of the thesis
  • Thesis defense
  • Degree awarded: Dr. rer. soc. (Doctor rerum socialium / Doctor of Social Sciences)

Germany and the Ph.D.

In Germany most universities confer doctoral degrees that use specific Latin designations to indicate the field in which the doctoral degree was obtained. This is different for the Ph.D. (doctor philosophiae), which is conferred across many different academic fields.

Both titles are awarded after an intensive study and research period which concludes in the successful submission and defense of a doctoral thesis.

At the GESS the following doctoral titles are conferred:

  • Faculty of Business and Economics: Dr. rer. pol (doctor rerum politicarum)
  • Faculty of Social Sciences: Dr. rer. soc. (doctor rerum socialium)

CDSS doctoral thesis

CDSS doctoral thesis may consist of several original papers in one area which will all be published in good scholarly journals. However, the classical form of a dissertation (monograph) is also possible with the clear perspective that the contents of the dissertation will be used towards articles published in scholarly journals. The decision about the form of the thesis is made jointly by the student and his/her supervisor.

Please note

* Detailed and mandatory program as well as degree requirements are listed in the study regulations and its appendices and the degree regulations.