Universität Bonn

Department of Economics / BGSE

Doctoral Program (PhD) with
integrated MSc Economic Research

Our two-year program Master of Science in Economics with a specialization in Economic Research (MSc/ Economic Research) prepares you for independent academic research, providing you with the skills to push the knowledge frontier in economics. It is the gateway to our doctoral program in Economics.

In fact, your admission to the MSc/Economic Research program comes with a conditional offer of progression to our doctoral program which lasts for another three years.


Study Program:
Doctoral Program with Integrated MSc
Degree: MSc & Doctoral Degree
Duration: 5 Years
Start of Study: Winter Term (October)
Language: English
Application Period:
End of November - January 15

Alumni Testimonials

Course of Study: MSc Economics/Economic Research (two years)

The MSc/Economic Research offers graduate-level courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. With this comprehensive training, you will then be able to choose among a variety of advanced courses, especially topics courses that cover subjects at the current research frontier. Moreover, you will participate in one of the five weekly workshops and learn about our faculty’s research projects, meet advanced doctoral students and renowned guests. In your fourth semester, you will write your master thesis which will be the starting point for your first PhD research paper. 

From the very beginning of the MSc/Economic Research program, we can offer grants of €1,465  per month.

If you already have completed a master‘s degree with a less research-oriented focus, you will also enroll in the MSc/Economic Research as the coursework, the early participation in the weekly workshops, and the thesis are an integral part of the PhD program. In addition, this structure offers you the opportunity to receive a second master's degree (as long as you do not already have a master's degree from our department) as well as a doctoral degree in the course of a combined graduate program. 

  • 3 PhD-Level Basic Courses in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics
  • Mathematics for Economists
  • All 4 Courses with a passing grade
  • 3 Level-II Courses in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics
  • One Selected MSc Course, Preferably Topics Course
  • GPA over the eight 1st year courses minimum 2.5
  • 2-4 Selected MSc Courses, Focus on Topics Courses
  • BGSE Workshop Participation
  • 0-2 Selected MSc Courses, Focus on Topics Courses
  • BGSE Workshop Participation
  • MSc Thesis with a Minimum Average of 2.3
  • Find First Supervisor for the Dissertation Stage

Course of Study: Doctoral Program (three years)

After the successful completion of the MSc/Economic Research program, you can start straight into research, and you will be offered a grant or contract for another three years. During these years of doctoral studies (dissertation phase), you will continue to interact with other doctoral students, postdocs, faculty, and international guests in weekly seminars, reading groups, and summer schools. You will present your research projects in our workshops as well as at conferences abroad, and write the papers that will become part of your thesis.

You will have the opportunity to visit one of our partners of the European Doctoral Program (EDP) or another leading university worldwide for a research stay abroad. This will allow you to extend your network beyond Bonn and to present and discuss your research with leading scientists working at one of our partner organizations.

In addition to state-of-the-art training at the frontier of economic research, we offer an array of further training for a broader set of soft skills in cooperation with the Bonn Graduate Center (BGC), e.g., training in presentation skills, project management, writing, or networking. Towards the end of your doctoral studies, you will benefit from our intense job market coaching, and you will proceed to a promising career as our many alumni have done in the past.

  • Brown Bag Presentation
  • Find Second Supervisor
  • Finish First Paper
  • Workshop Presentation
  • Finish Second Paper
  • Find Third Supervisor
  • Finish Third Paper
  • Thesis Submission
  • Job Market Preparation


During the first semester, our students take three PhD-level basic courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics plus the course mathematics for economists.

In coming semesters, doctoral candidates deepen their knowledge in advanced courses. Topics courses cover subjects of the current research frontier and prepare for independent research.

All these courses are listed in the online course catalog of Bonn University.

Workshops & Seminars

From the third semester on, students participate in one or more of the BGSE workshops where current research projects are discussed.

Additionally, the institutes of our department offer workshops and seminars where colleagues and international guests talk about their research projects.

Brown Bag Seminar

This seminar for doctoral students at the start of their dissertation phase will take place again in the winter semester 2022/23. Details tba.

Additional  Workshops

BGSE Students  have the opportunity to take part in special lectures, events and workshops of our partner institutions briq, IZA & Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

Exchange Programs

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 has a regular student exchange with Yale University. Bachelor students from Bonn who plan to go for a doctoral degree can apply for the UC Berkeley Exchange Program.

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