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Dr. rer. pol


Stipend & Tuition Waiver

Granted to all successfull candidates

Programme Start

4 Years

Application Deadline
15 January

Frankfurt School's Doctoral Programme offers candidates an internationally recognised academic education for a career in international academia. Commencing with one and a half years of intensive course work, the key objective of the programme is to enable doctoral students to write publication standard papers as early as possible.

Frankfurt School annually offers up to 10 doctoral scholarships for outstanding graduates.

Upon successful completion of the courses and writing high standard papers, Frankfurt School awards a doctoral degree in economics, Doctor rerum politicarum or Dr. rer. pol., the German equivalent to the PhD.

Candidates from Frankfurt School's Doctoral Programme have been placed at leading schools and research institutions in Europe and beyond, e.g., Aarhus University Denmark, Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) Mannheim, Deutsche Bundesbank, OECD, Technical University of Munich TUM, UC Santa Barbara, University of Rostock, University of Technology Sydney, WU Vienna.

Doctoral candidates have the possibility to obtain a Master of Business Research Analytics (MBRA) after the second year of the programme.


Frankfurt School’s English language doctoral programme explores and applies research methods used by students and researchers in the specialist fields of finance, management and accounting. Programme members belong to and actively participate in an international research community. Respected scholars from other universities regularly present their findings in Independent Study Courses held at Frankfurt School.

In their turn, doctoral candidates present their research at international conferences. While the primary intention of the programme is to prepare doctoral candidates for academic careers, their research topics are also directly relevant for business and politics. Doctoral candidates are trained for developing solutions to complex problems and are provided with the social and conceptual skills they need to advise others.

One of Germany’s largest business administration faculties


Year 1 and 2

Core Courses

  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Econometrics I
  • Microeconomics
  • Theories of the Firm
  • Econometrics II
  • Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Independent Study Courses

For example

  • Brown Bag Seminars
  • Research Seminars
  • Management Summer School

Finance Concentration

  • Asset Pricing
  • Financial Institutions
  • Advanced Topics in Financial Economics
  • Corporate Finance
  • Empirical Methods in Finance
  • Financial Economics under Asymmetric Information

Management Concentration

  • Judgement and Decision Making
  • Technology and Operations Management
  • Concentration course
  • Markets and Strategy
  • Concentration course
  • Concentration course

Accounting Concentration

  • Accounting Information and Capital Markets
  • Performance Measurement
  • Concentration course
  • Concentration course
  • Concentration course
  • Concentration course

After year 2





Finance Concentration

We conduct scientific research projects aiming at publishing them in top journals in the fields of asset pricing, corporate finance, and financial intermediation. Frequently, these projects are pursued jointly with representatives of our stakeholders from the industry, the public, and governments and actively involve doctoral students.

The prerequisite for a successful participation in research projects is a thorough training in theoretical and empirical topics in the fields of asset pricing, corporate finance and financial intermediation. Currently, the finance concentration consists of six core courses and six electives taught by resident staff.

Internationally renowned guest professors in their respective fields of expertise complement the curriculum. Students who pursue a doctorate in finance at Frankfurt School have to complete the following electives in addition to the required core courses:

  • Asset Pricing
  • Financial Institutions
  • Advanced Topics in Financial Economics
  • Corporate Finance
  • Empirical Methods in Finance
  • Financial Economics under Asymmetric Information

All courses are taught in English and require one or multiple forms of testing study progress, such as written and oral exams, term papers, assignment, quizzes, and others.

Examples of ongoing and potential research projects

Unorthodox Monetary Policy and SME Lending

Together with a major European universal bank Lisa Cycon empirically investigates the effect of the Security Markets Programme on both loan price setting as well as on investment behaviour of credit-constrained small and medium sized enterprises.

Collateral Pledging Behaviour in Stressful Times

In collaboration with both the European Central Bank and Deutsche Bundesbank, Michael Koetter examines how liquidity support schemes of the ECB affect the collateral pledging behaviour of banks and how such differences might have affected lending behaviour.

M&A Contracts and Lawyer Expertise

In collaboration with a leading European law firm, Zacharias Sautner empirically investigates whether and how lawyers with more expertise draft M&A contracts that are beneficial to their own clients at the expense of the counterparty.

Blockholder Trading, Market Efficiency, and Investment

In a model with privately informed agents, Florian Kerzenmacher and Günter Strobl show that block holdings can act as a commitment device to collect information that is used by managers to improve their investment decisions.

Management Concentration

We conduct scientific research projects aimed at publishing in top academic journals in the functional fields of management, marketing, operations and information systems. For the Management track, we especially seek doctoral students interested in the two complementary research areas of Judgement & Decision-Making and Markets, Organisations & Strategy.

Management Concentration Curriculum

The prerequisite for successfully participating in research projects is a thorough training in theoretical and empirical topics in management. Students who pursue a doctorate in the Management concentration at Frankfurt School have to complete electives in addition to the core courses.

Mehr Weniger

Three of these additional electives are offered at Frankfurt School; the remaining three allow for individual specialisation and may also be chosen from eligible courses at other institutions.

  • Judgment an d Decision Making
  • Technology / Operations Management
  • Elective
  • Markets and Strategy
  • Elective
  • Elective

All courses are taught in English and require one or multiple forms of testing study progress, such as written and oral exams, term papers, assignments, and others.


The research area in Decision-Making studies cognitive and behavioural processes shaping the decisions of managers, entrepreneurs, employees and customers.

Examples of ongoing and potential Research Projects

Consumer Information Processing (Marketing)

Selin Atalay studies consumer information processing by using the methodology of eye tracking to trace consumer decision making processes in retail environments. Understanding the decision making process contributes to designing better retail environments. Furthermore, understanding how consumers focus their attention as they visually search for information also has implications for packaging.

Delegation of Authority and the Efficiency of Decision Making (Management)

Delegating decisions to employees is beneficial to utilise their knowledge, but they might pursue their own agenda. Psychology suggests that managers may keep control too often as they have a lure for authority. Eberhard Fees analyses the conditions which influence the frequency and efficiency of delegation both with economic theory and in the laboratory. (taught by Eberhard Feess)

IQ gets you hired but EQ gets you promoted (Management)

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a controversial construct. This project analyses to what extent EI predicts job-related outcome variables such as customer satisfaction, performance, and stress. (taught by Myriam Bechtholdt)

The Role of the Employee in Information Security (Information Systems)

Many organisations are aware of the fact that their employees are the weakest link in information security. This research project by Peter Rossbach identifies the factors influencing employee’s compliance with the information security policy (ISP) of an organisation and their relevance. The factors derive from literature research and are verified by quantitative methods based on a survey. (taught by Peter Rossbach)

Hierarchical Judgemental Forecasting (Operations)

Mirko Kremer empirically investigates the relative performance of bottom-up versus top-down forecasting processes popular in Sales & Operations Planning practice.

Meta-heuristics for Solving Highly Complex Business Problems (Operations)

Many business problems are characterised by a high degree of complexity (np-hard problems). One example is the so-called car sequencing problem where automotive manufacturers have to schedule the sequence of cars on their assembly line. Meta-heuristics such as Ant Colony Optimisation that incorporates the search behaviour of ants into the heuristic or Genetic Algorithms that uses the logic of human genes have the potential to identify optimal solutions and are most effective for solving complex problems not only in the automotive sector. (taught by Jörn-Henrik Thun)

Markets, Organisations, & Strategy

The research area in Markets, Organisations & Strategy explores the external and internal drivers of organisational design, strategy and performance in fast-changing, globalised markets.

Examples of ongoing and potential research projects

Myopic Marketing Management – Whom to Blame? (Marketing)

We examine short-term oriented management with regard to cuts in marketing expenses. We find top marketing managers’ compensation incentives (but not those of the CEO) to be responsible. This result contradicts suggestions in marketing literature that the presence of a chief marketing officer can help to maintain a long-term orientation with regard to marketing spending (taught by Martin Artz)

The Impact of Financial Incentives on Customer Value (Marketing)

Firms often use financial incentives (promotions, referral rewards, loyalty programmes, etc.) to attract new or re-activate existing customers. The impact of such incentives on customer value is important, yet poorly understood. We investigate how their effect depends on incentive type, customer type, or the competitive environment to help firms spend their marketing budgets more effectively. (taught by Christian Schulze)

Strategic Decision-Making (Management)

Professor Ronald Klingebiel examines why and how firms with different decision-making patterns achieve different levels of success. He explores, for example, the conditions under which firms that keep their options open achieve higher performance than peers that might fully commit to uncertain innovation projects. His research often involves data from technology-intensive industries, particularly all things telecom.

Does Accreditation Count? (Management)

Accreditation is a typical external approach for patient safety and quality management in hospitals worldwide. But the evidence of the benefits of these systems is still lacking. The main objective of the research project is to discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of accreditation and to analyse the relationship between accreditation and hospital quality. (taught by Rainer Sibbel)

Effective Outsourcing Strategies and Management (Information Systems)

We analyse organisational, social, and technical determinants that contribute to the effective governance of IT outsourcing relationships, e.g., by ensuring that service providers sufficiently invest in innovation and knowledge exchange or by supporting decisions about and management of relationships with multiple vendors. Research approaches include qualitative and quantitative field research, social network analyses, and the development of software artefacts. (taught by Daniel Beimborn)

Weight Jacket or Life Vest? Inventories in the Presence of Major Production Disruptions (Operations)

Severe production disruptions due to quality breakdowns have the potential to ruin performance over the complete life cycle of a highly profitable product. The project uses system dynamics modelling to investigate the interplay between different forms of customer adaptation to varying service levels, the availability of a substitute product, and the economic characteristics of the product. (taught by Jürgen Strohhecker)

Accounting Concentration

Accounting research can be described as the application of economic (or other) theories to “accounting phenomena”.

Accounting phenomena are manifold, including the observable economic consequences of disclosures, the pervasive use of accounting figures in contracting, the quality and pricing of mandatory and voluntary audits of financial information, but also the design and consequences of given performance measurement systems or the use of targets and budgets in organisations.

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In many cases, accounting researchers draw on methods that have been developed in economics, finance and other disciplines. However, they have also developed own proxies and metrics, including approaches allowing for the measurement and comparison of the “qualities” of financial statements or annual audits.

Accounting specialisation curriculum

The accounting specialisation encourages students to get involved in research projects early on. The prerequisite for successful project work, however, is a rigorous training in theory and empirical methods. Besides mastering core courses and “Independant Study Courses”, the track requires doctoral candidates to attend six additional electives that allow for specialising either in the area of Financial Accounting & Auditing or in Managerial Accounting.

Mehr Weniger

Two of these additional electives are offered at Frankfurt School; the remaining four allow for individual specialisation and may be chosen from eligible courses at other institutions.

  • Accounting Information and Capital Markets
  • Performance Measurement
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective

All courses are taught in English and require one or multiple forms of testing study progress, such as written and oral exams, term papers, assignment, quizzes, and others.

Find a stimulating, cooperative, and challenging research environment.

Frankfurt School’s accounting researchers are committed to undertaking research of the highest quality, to publish their findings in top academic journals and to generate important insights for practitioners.

Doctoral students are actively involved in these research projects and will find a stimulating, cooperative, and challenging research environment.

Examples of ongoing and potential research projects

Measuring and Improving Performance

In collaboration with a large employer, Matthias Mahlendorf investigates how benchmarking, target setting and performance measurement affect future performance. He analyses whether tying current targets to past performance adversely incentivises agents to reduce their effort, because outstanding performance would be penalised by more challenging targets for the subsequent years.

Individual Traits and Corporate Decision-Making

Yuping Jia's interdisciplinary contributions are situated at the intersection of social sciences and biology. She asks how top executive’s individual traits impact corporate decision-making and inquires whether variation in reporting quality and in the design of control systems is explained by biomarkers of executives such as facial structure or testosterone level.

Intra-Year Revisions of Sales Manager Targets

After an unexpected demand shock, annual sales targets in a firm might either become unreasonably difficult or easy to achieve. Martin Artz analyses the economic and behavioral determinants of potential intra-year target adjustments used to recalibrate incentives in such cases and asks how they affect sales managers’ behaviour and their resulting sales performance.

The Shredding and Reload of Auditor Reputation

The detection of fraud may significantly impair the reputation of the auditor who reviewed the respective financial statements. Elisabeth Kläs looks at the effects of publications of error statements under the European enforcement regime on auditor reputation and uses this setting to shed light on the factors leading to significant impairments but also at restoring auditor reputation.

Student funding and scholarships

Stipend and Tuition waiver

As a rule, doctoral candidates are expected to dedicate 100% of their time to their doctoral studies for the full four years of the programme. Upon application, doctoral students who devote themselves exclusively to research and their doctoral work, in other words, do not engage in any non-university employment, are awarded a scholarship that covers their tuition fees (tuition waiver) as well as a monthly stipend of € 1,200 when they are accepted into the programme. Furthermore the institution will cover all costs related to approved conferences and their associated travel costs that are attended by the doctoral candidate during the programm. 

The award decision is based exclusively on academic criteria. Initially, the stipend and tuition waiver are valid for a period of one year. This period is subsequently extended for an additional twelve months if the candidate continues to academically excel. The maximum funding period is limited to four years.

Application process

Frankfurt School invites talented, self-motivated individuals with a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree, seeking careers in academia, to apply for admission to our doctoral programme. Every year, up to ten candidates are accepted.

Admission criteria

Doctoral candidates do not necessarily need previous academic qualifications in Business Studies or Economics; graduates from other disciplines are also welcome to apply. To successfully qualify for a doctorate, however, such candidates must be ready to acquire a sound understanding of business issues and should already possess an excellent grasp of advanced quantitative methodologies when applying. Candidates in the final year of a Master’s or Bachelor’s programme are also welcome to apply. Due to difficulties comparing international qualifications, minimum grades are not specified, however, successful candidates will have achieved excellent grades in their earlier degree courses.

The programme is conducted entirely in English, thus all examinations and presentations are held in English. In addition, candidates are expected to write their research papers in English, which is why a fluent command of written and spoken English is essential. Successful candidates will have scored at least 100 points in the TOEFL/iBT test or 7.0 points in the IELTS test. Candidates who have already earned a degree at an English-language institution are expected to present evidence of linguistic proficiency.

TOEFL: Institution Code: 0239


Graduates are formally required to submit GRE or GMAT test results; we have not specified any minimum scores. Test certificates can be provided as electronic copies of the non-official documents via the online application portal. We also require the official test certificates, which can be forwarded to us by the relevant authorities.
The appropriate Frankfurt School institution codes are the following:

GRE: Institution Code: 7573
GMAT: Institution Code: FCB; Program Code: FCB-RP-82

Application documents

The first step in applying for our programme is completing our online application, which includes uploading the following required documents:

1. Curriculum Vitae

No specific format stipulated

2. University Entrance Qualification

Abitur, A-levels or equivalent university entrance qualification. Where these documents are not already available in English or German, they should be accompanied by a certified English or German translation.

3. University Degree Certificate or Equivalent

As a rule, in the form of an academic transcript for Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, or certificate for equivalent qualifications. Candidates who have not yet completed their Master’s degrees should submit their last academic transcript instead. Where transcripts or certificates are not already available in English or German, they should be accompanied by a certified English or German translation.

4. Proof of English Language Proficiency
  • TOEFL IBT with a minimum score of 100 points or IELTS (academic) with a minimum score of 7.0 points.
  • Candidates with degrees from English-speaking institutions or study programmes conducted entirely in English do not need to provide English test results. They should, however, upload a letter by their university confirming that the entire Bachelor or Master programme was taught in English.
5. Letters of recommendation from a former higher education tutor or supervisor

Two letters of recommendation are required.

6. Statement of purpose and research interest

Description of a possible research project, two to five pages in length, demonstrating how the candidate plans to apply his/her particular interests, skills and expertise to the pursuit of his/her academic objectives.

7. GRE or GMAT results

No minimum score is specified.

Candidates who successfully gain admission must subsequently submit the original documents or certified copies thereof.

The application deadline is January 15th. The application process starts in late September.



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