Universität Bonn

Department of Economics / BGSE


Welcome to the Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE)

The Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE) invites ambitious students from around the world to join our graduate program in economics.

At the BGSE, you will have the chance to study and do research, entirely in English, in a supportive and intellectually demanding environment. We foster a cooperative team spirit among our student body.

The BGSE pursues research activities in the following five research areas:

  • Microeconomic theory
  • Management and applied microeconomics
  • Financial economics
  • Macroeconomics and public economics
  • Econometrics and statistics

Our doctoral students receive grants to cover living expenses, as well as their own office space. Many graduates of our doctoral program are now in leading academic positions.

Alumni Testimonials

01. Reputation

The Department of Economics and its Graduate School is one of the leading research institutions in Europe. We enjoy an outstanding reputation in the national and international scientific community and we are at the forefront of modern economic science.

02. Distinguished Faculty

Our students learn from and work with a distinguished faculty renowned for their contributions to current economic research. The faculty comprises almost 50 professors and about 50 assistants.

03. Main Research Fields

The main research fields of faculty members include game theory, experimental economics, monetary and international macroeconomics, contract theory, labor economics and finance.

04. Career Support

Career days and job market training are part of our programs. Many former students of our doctoral program are nowadays in leading academic positions.

05. No Tuition

There is no tuition. Scholarships are offered to successful applicants of our combined M.Sc. Economic Research /  doctoral program.

06. Our Educational Mix

Our graduate programs combine demanding coursework with early individual research in a supportive and intellectually demanding environment.

07. English Language

All courses are taught in English. All doctoral candidates are provided with office space and IT equipment.

08. International Exchange

Our students benefit from a set of international exchange programs and can visit our partners in Europe (e.g. in Barcelona, Copenhagen, Florence, Leuven, London, Paris, Prague, Rotterdam, Toulouse) or overseas (e.g. UC Berkeley, Yale, Tel Aviv).

09. Strong local Partners

We work closely together with our local partners for example briq - Institute on Behavior and Inequality, the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, and the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics. 

10. Located in Bonn

We are located in the lively city of Bonn with its very international and student-friendly atmosphere.


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Placement Success

The BGSE is especially proud of the success of our graduates in the academic community but also in research related organizations and in the private sector.

Our alumni have obtained prestigious positions at universities in the U.S. (e.g., Harvard, Berkeley, Penn, UCLA, Michigan, Minnesota), in Europe (e.g., University College London, Pompeu Fabra, Tilburg, Carlos III, Stockholm, Zurich) and in Germany (e.g., Mannheim, Munich, Berlin, Cologne). In addition, many alumni are currently in the non-academic sector (e.g., European Central Bank, German Central Bank, Bank of England, U.S. Federal Reserve Board, McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group).

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Financial Support

Students accepted to the combined Master / PhD program are offered grants of 1,465 Euros per month.

Bonn and the University

The City

Bonn with its 320,000 citizens is a beautiful historical city located on the banks of the river Rhine in the mid-Western region of Germany. The city owes its cosmopolitan flair to about 35,000 students, more than 20 UN organisations, various governmental institutions as well as two large corporations, Deutsche Post DHL and Deutsche Telekom, attracting people from all over the world. 

Bonn is over 2,000 years old and birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. There are many interesting places to visit in the area – the original house where Beethoven was born, the Minster cathedral (Bonner Münster), the old town house, the Botanic Gardens, Poppelsdorf Palace and a number of prestigious museums located on the Museum Mile, just to mention a few. Cologne is only a short train journey away. 

Bonn also offers a stunning view over the mountain range Siebengebirge and the “Dragon Rock” (Drachenfels) with its castle which is also a popular hiking area.

The University

The University of Bonn/Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität was founded more than 200 years ago and is considered one of Germany's and Europe's most important institutes of higher education. It enjoys an outstanding reputation both at home and abroad.

It is one of the world's leading research-based universities and is operating on an international level, maintaining a large number of collaborations and partnerships with universities and institutions abroad. It particularly specializes in the fields of research and teaching which has led to its evolving into the position of a truly prominent international institution.

Facts and Figures about the University of Bonn

Prospective International Students

The BGSE wants to attract international students to study in Bonn. Therefore, qualified international students are strongly encouraged to apply for admission. One third of our PhD students have an international background.

We assist international students in numerous ways, as for example: 

  • Finding a place at a student dorm for the first year
  • Individual assistance with visa formalities
  • Assistance with university-related formalities

International students have the opportunity to use the many activities and course offerings of the International Office of the University of Bonn and in particular the Welcome Center. International PhD students can enroll in German classes on different language levels that are offered by our department as well as by the International Office. The International Club organizes student orientation activities, film nights, excursions, visits to companies, and concerts as well as parties at the end of each semester. Student associations at Bonn University cover a broad range of topics reaching from cultural activities to politics and religion with some societies being engaged in individual cultures or countries and some promoting intercultural relations. 

Finally, the city of Bonn is known for its cultural diversity which is apparent for example in the International Meeting Center (Internationale Begegnungsstätte). The center organizes cultural events, e.g. lectures dedicated to individual countries, concerts, film nights, slide shows and readings, as well as discussions on current problems of foreign nationals living in Germany. 

The BGSE is part of the Bonn International Graduate Schools (BIGS).

Useful Information for prospective Students from Abroad

Studying in Germany

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with useful information for students interested in studying in Germany.

Student Life

Here you can find answers to the most asked questions concerning life and study in Germany, by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Make it in Germany

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Federal Employment Agency have recently launched the website, "Make it in Germany!". From basic facts about German history and culture to job listings and practical information about how to attain work permits and visas to Germany, the website is a virtual portal to life and work in Germany.


An emphasis of internationality has a long tradition at the Economics Department in Bonn. Doctoral students of the BGSE are encouraged to submit papers to international conferences such as the annual meetings of the European Economic Association, the Econometric Society, and to other internationally leading conferences (see also section BGSE students at conferences).

Internationally distinguished experts give lectures in our seminars and workshops. Of course, all summer schools as well as all other activities of the BGSE are conducted in English.

The BGSE is one of the founding partners of the European Doctoral Program (EDP). The EDP opens up the way for doctoral students of the BGSE to spend time at one of the EDP-Partners in Barcelona, Florence, London, Louvain-la-Neuve, Paris and Tel Aviv, to participate at the annual doctoral student conference, the EDP Jamboree, and to benefit from the EDP’s long established and firm tradition to integrate graduate students into the international academic community.

The BGSE also has a formal agreement on a regular student exchange with Yale University. The visits last for an academic year and are financed through research assistantships. Based on the excellent reputation of graduate education in Bonn, BGSE students are equally well received by other institutions without formal cooperation agreements. 

Research Visits

In the last few years, some of our doctoral students have spent extensive research visits at a number of excellent universities abroad, as for example:

  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of California at San Diego
  • Columbia University
  • Harvard University
  • London School of Economics
  • New York University 
  • Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Princeton University 
  • Stanford University

Visit the section long term research visits to get an impression of where our students have spent time abroad.

The BGSE does not only expose its students to the international community but also wants to attract international students to come to study in Bonn. One third of our PhD students have an international background.

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Gender Equality

One-third of our students within the PhD program are female. To close the gender gap in the future, the BGSE strongly encourages qualified female students to send their application materials. 

In general, we believe that the structured format of our programs makes it much easier to create an environment in which traditional gender barriers become less important. Students take classes together and there are plenty of opportunities to work together with other students in small groups. Young women find an appealing environment in which it is easy to meet and work with other women.

If you want to know more about this, do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Representatives.

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Numerous gender studies underline the importance of role models. The BGSE is proud of its female alumni. Many women who have studied at the BGSE are nowadays postdocs, assistant professors, and full professors at renowned universities.

Doctoral students, regardless of their gender, have the chance to participate in soft skill seminars, e.g. seminars on academic presentation skills.

Support of young Parents at the BGSE

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Child Allowance

The BGSE pays a child allowance of 400 Euros per month for the first child. Payments stipulated by the Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz (BEEG) are taken into account, and thus reduce this allowance. DFG basic regulations on child allowance apply accordingly if the regulations for the spending of public university funds allows for it.

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Extended Funding Period

BGSE scholarship holders with own children of up to 12 years of age living in their household can ask for a grant prolongation of twelve months (extending the maximum funding period to a total of six years). The student, the BGSE and a (potential) supervisor agree on an adapted time schedule for achieving the good standing requirements (both for the course and dissertation phase). DFG basic regulations on grant prolongation for students with children apply accordingly if the public university budget allows for it. Note: The so called DFG money instead of time-regulation (conversion of fellowship amounts to childcare costs) cannot be implemented under the regulations for the spending of public university funds. 

Office for Gender Equality and Representatives at our Department

The equal opportunity office of Bonn University has numerous offers for female students in general and for students with children as well as for female PhD students in specific. For example, female PhD students have the possibility to participate in coaching and mentoring programs, parents find help in arranging child care, female postdocs can apply for funds to realize research visits abroad. For details, visit the website of the equal opportunity office. 

The Equal Opportunity Representatives at our department (currently Silke Adamitza, Carola Braun, and Sabine Hübner-Monien) ensure that aspects relevant to equal opportunity are included in the development planning of the Department of Economics. They accompany the decision-making processes of the steering committees and participate in staffing procedures, especially in the context of appointment committees. They coordinate the equality plans and reports required by law.

If you have any questions related to gender equality at the BGSE, feel free to contact the gender equality officers of the department of economics: equal.econ@uni-bonn.de.

Sexualized discrimination and violence, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia as well as all other forms of discrimination based on gender will not be tolerated at the Department of Economics. Harassment, assault, or other incidents can also be reported anonymously via the Discrimination Reporter of the central Equal Opportunity Office of the University

The Ombudsperson Office for Early-Career Researchers can help you find solutions when issues arise in a supervisory relationship. Do you, as a doctoral or postdoctoral researcher, find that your supervisory situation has become unnecessarily burdensome or tense? Are you a professor experiencing conflict in a supervisory relationship with early-career researchers? As an independent counseling, reconciliation, and mediation office, the Ombudsperson Office helps doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and supervisors navigate these kinds of challenges and conflicts. 

External links:

  • WHATS UB is a digital career network for (young) female scientists of the University of Bonn. The initiator and head of the project is Professor Dr. Diana Imhof (Dept. of Pharmaceutical Biochemistry and Bioanalytics, Pharmacy). The project is realized with the support of the central equal opportunities office.
  • You may be interested in the website of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP). CSWEP is a subcommittee of the American Economics Association charged with addressing the status of women in the economics profession.
  • The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundations - DFG) provides background information, facts and figures on gender equality in research promotion by the DFG (DFG equal opportunities).
  • efas is a German network of female economists founded in 2000 (website in German only).

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