call download fax letter pdf search x chevron
Stage Image
Dr. rer. pol.


Stipend & Tuition Waiver

Programme Start

5 Years

Application Deadline
15 January

Programme Overview

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is one of Europe’s leading business schools with an internationally recognized reputation for relevant and rigorous research. We are determined to attract the most talented doctoral students in accounting, finance and management and we offer a stimulating academic environment.

Researchers at Frankfurt School work on fundamental problems that challenge firms and society. How should firms respond to climate change? Can markets be redesigned to support fair outcomes? Does working from home improve gender equality?

The five year doctoral programme equips students to contribute to these debates. The first two years generally consists of classes in which students focus on analytical skills. Students also take courses in their chosen area of academic specialization in Accounting, Finance or Management, which provides the foundation from which to develop research topics. The program encourages students to broaden their scope and obtain training in related areas such as data sciences, operations research, or economics.

The coursework phase ends when students successfully pass their Qualifying Exam and graduate to the dissertation stage. At this time, students have the opportunity to obtain a Master’s degree in Business Research and Analytics as part of their doctoral programme. In the dissertation stage (years 3-5) students move to active research and write their dissertation.

While our primary intention is providing graduates with an ideal platform to enter the world of academia, their research topics are also directly relevant for business and politics. We train our students to develop solutions to complex problems and to develop social and conceptual skills they need to advise others. Our faculty mentors and supports students in their research. This nurturing intellectual climate is combined with an exciting state-of-the-art campus environment.

Frankfurt School confers a Dr. rer. pol., the German equivalent of a Ph.D. in Economics. The School offers fully-funded study places and a generous monthly stipend for up to five years.



In the first two years, doctoral students attend core courses, elective courses and concentration courses in their respective academic specialization. In this phase they obtain the knowledge and skills to engage in their own research.

The three specializations: Accounting, Finance and Management follow a similar structure.

We asked Timo Vogelsang, Assistant Professor of Management Accounting, why it is important to invest in coursework at the beginning of your research career. Here is what he had to say:

“The courses are an important basis to excel while doing your dissertation research. Moreover, during your academic career, you will probably never have so much time available to learn new things. My supervisor always told me this. Now I sometimes regret that I did not spend much more time during the course-phase to learn more about the most current empirical methods and theoretical approaches.“


In the first year and a half, Doctoral students attend core courses, elective courses and concentration courses in their respective academic specialization. In this phase they obtain the knowledge and skills to engage in their own research.

The three specializations: Accounting, Finance and Management follow a similar structure.

Semester 1 - 3

Mathematics and Statistics

This class sets the foundations for later applications of analytical methods. This includes linear algebra, calculus, optimization, and probabilistic inference. Frankfurt School also offers a preparatory mathematics class in the summer, for those aiming to brush up before entering this course.


A graduate-level micro-economics course. It begins with consumer decision making and general equilibrium, followed by game theory. Also covered are bi-forms, i.e. the combination of the two game theoretic solution concepts as applied by incomplete contract theory.

Concentration Courses

Each student chooses a concentration before starting the programme and work together with the professors of the respective department throughout the entire Doctoral programme. Each concentration has a set curriculum of core modules and electives to be completed.

Finance Concentration

Management Concentration

Accounting Concentration


The class provides key knowledge on how different econometric models work and most importantly sheds light on their limitations. The course also provides step by step application of new tools to different data sets in the computer lab. You will be asked to replicate, and in some cases improve, prior empirical studies.

Advanced Empirical Methods

This course covers extensions to standard regression techniques and offers alternatives. Bayesian statistics, prediction and validation, simulation models, and machine-learning techniques are among the key topics.

Independent Study Courses

Throughout the year students are welcome to attend various seminars related to their concentrations where internal and external researchers present their work and the audience involves itself in an exchange of thoughts and discussions on the topic. 

The sessions take place on a weekly basis and students have the opportunity to meet the speakers and faculty members before or after the seminars and engage in individual discussions.

More information & dates

Semester 4

2nd Year Paper

To enter the research phase of the programme, students need to pass a qualifying exam and submit a second year paper.

It is the first research paper the students deliver, that is: the first piece of their very own presentable research work.

Semester 5 - 10

Research, Dessertation & Defence

The aim of the research phase is for candidates to dedicate themselves to their research projects, produce scholarly papers and present their research at international academic conferences. They also have the opportunity to interact with international scholars visiting Frankfurt School to present research in the seminar series.

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 core courses and 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 electives in addition to the required core courses.

  • Asset Pricing
  • Financial Institutions
  • Advanced Topics in Financial Economics
  • Corporate Finance
  • Empirical Methods in Accounting and Finance
  • Financial Economics under Imperfect 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.


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.

Plus Moins

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 and Decision Making
  • Markets and Strategy
  • Corporate Development Activities
  • Research Methods
  • 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, 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

The Frankfurt School’s Doctoral programme in Accounting is offered by one of the most productive faculties in Europe. Ranked among the top in Europe of Brigham Young University’s prestigious research ranking, Frankfurt’s Accounting group is known for its innovative research in capital markets and managerial accounting.

We train our students in applying state-of-the-art techniques to address questions that advance contemporaneous accounting research. Our faculty is at the forefront of their research area and shape the profession not only through originality, but also by their editorial work and involvement in global research initiatives. Our Doctoral programme, uniquely positioned in Germany, includes a structured coursework programme that provides students with methodological skills as well as with an in-depth knowledge of economics, finance, and accounting. Faculty has a proven track record of working closely with doctoral students throughout the programme and has placed students in some of the best research schools in the world.

Accounting research has little to do with refining the workings of double-entry bookkeeping. Instead, scholars examine a broad range of questions about the role of information in markets and within firms. Accounting research is strongly related to practice, studying questions such as the enforcement of international accounting standards or the way firms use incentives and performance measures to motivate employees. But accounting research is also empowered by the latest theoretical insights from economics, finance, psychology and related disciplines (sociology, linguistics, even biology) and has recently made significant strides forward by adopting methods developed by (big) data science. Accounting, contrary to some stereotypes, therefore is one of the most exciting fields of research in business.  

Learn to conduct independent research at the frontier of the field

Grounded strongly in economics and quantitative methods, our faculty encourages students to explore creative, new ideas in a rigorous way.

We prefer students to extend the boundaries of the field by incorporating insights from adjacent areas such as finance, management, and the behavioral sciences rather than making incremental technical improvements.

The accounting concentration offers the following courses to help students achieve those goals:

Accounting Information and Capital Markets

This course introduces students to the classic research topics in financial accounting, such as accounting based evaluation, conservatism, earnings management, and consequences of standard setting.

Performance Measurement & Incentives

The course provides an overview of the major reseach areas in managerial accounting research. It covers topics such as financial and nonfinancial performance measures, subjective performance evaluation, target setting and target ratcheting, relative performance evaluation and management control systems.

Topics in Empirical Accounting Research

The main goal of this course is to enhance students’ understanding of empirical economics-based research in accounting. A secondary goal is to broaden the students’ view of what constitutes accounting research by showing how it is embedded in work in other disciplines such as economics, finance, and biology.

In addition to our courses in Frankfurt, doctoral students are also allowed to participate in three elective courses from other institutions.

Throughout our courses, we emphasize research design issues, identification strategies, and new (uses of) data, to enable students to start their own high quality research projects. Students are also welcome to join research projects of the faculty and will find a stimulating, cooperative, and challenging research environment.

Achieve remarkable successes

Frankfurt is among few schools in Germany and even in Europe to offer full-fledged coursework, which prepares students for the demands of dissertation research, on par with what has traditionally only been available in top schools in the U.S. The programme has achieved remarkable successes:

Doctoral students have been invited for visiting scholarships in top schools in the U.S. (e.g., MIT) and in Australia  (University of Melbourne)

The accounting faculty has placed their doctoral students at renowned international research institutions
in Europe

  • London Business School
  • Free University Amsterdam
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Copenhagen Business School
  • University of Mannheim,

in Australia

  • University of Melbourne,

in the U.S.

  • University of Chicago
  • Michigan State University
  • Yale University
  • Dartmouth College
  • University of Texas at Dallas

and in Canada

  • Queen’s University

Doctoral students have presented their dissertation work in highly visible and competitive conferences such as the Singapore Management University Accounting Symposium and the MIT-Asia conference

Become an integral part of the Accounting group

We want our students to share the faculty’s passion for research. Students are an integral part of the Accounting group, benefiting from the many workshops, conferences, and visitors and overall lively, informal, but intellectual culture. We encourage students to work together with faculty on their research ideas and students have easy access to all the group’s research resources, including essential databases such as WRDS, IncentiveLab and many more.

Doctoral students have their own discretionary annual research budget.

The annual doctoral Boot Camp provides students with an informal setting to present their research ideas, proposal, and early draft papers for the entire faculty and receive constructive feedback.

Faculty play key roles in the profession, serving as editors, editorial board members, or reviewers for the major journals in the field. Including

  • Journal of Accounting and Economics
  • Journal of Accounting Research
  • The Accounting Review
  • Accounting, Organizations, and Society
  • Management Science
  • Contemporary Accounting Research
  • Review of Accounting Studies

Doctoral student life at FS

As well as doing your research on campus, you also have the flexibility to pursue your Doctoral studies abroad, in a country and university of your choice. Our faculty facilitates you with connections in global leading universities. This gives you the opportunity to present your research to experts in your field and build a network with recognised professors.

Expanding your academic network will not only support your final research but will also open doors for your career and future placement opportunities.

Matthias Lassak

Doctoral Student - Finance Concentration

Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

During your time abroad you are encouraged to take courses alongside international researchers and will have the opportunity to attend several conferences. This will allow you to not only participate as an expectator but also present your work.

Frankfurt School is able to provide financial support towards your international experience. Each candidate's monetary award and period of time spent abroad will be arranged on an individual basis in accordance to the research department.

Ruishen Zhang

Doctoral Student - Accounting Concentration

MIT Sloan School of Management

Student funding and scholarships

Frankfurt School offers fully-funded study places for the doctoral programme in order to attract and support the brightest minds in academia.

Students are expected to devote 100% of their working time to their doctoral studies at Frankfurt School for up to five years.

Funding includes a tuition fee waiver and a cost-of-living stipend. The monthly stipend comprises of € 1,200.

The stipend will be granted for five years conditional on the continued satisfaction of all academic programme requirements.

From the second year onwards doctoral students may receive an additional € 400 for their involvement as a teaching or research assistant. Frankfurt School students thus have a total of €1,600 for their living expenses.

Furthermore Frankfurt School covers costs related to research, including conferences and overseas visits.

Application process

1. Target Group

Outstanding graduates of a Bachelor‘s or Master’s programme in business administration, finance, management, accounting or related fields who aspire to launch an academic career.

Candidates in the final year of a Master’s or Bachelor’s programme are welcome to apply with their most recent academic transcript. Please note that the degree has to be completed by the time of the beginning of the programme.

2. Online Application

The first step of our application process is to complete the online application form. You will need to upload the following required documents. Please note that you need a certified English or German translation for all documents, that are not originally in German or English. The application platform will open from September 15th until January 15th.

Required Documents

  • CV and list of publications (if existent)
  • Certified copy of your University Entrance Qualification (Abitur, A-levels or equivalent)
  • Certified copy of your University Degree Certificate or equivalent and academic transcript of records
  • Official GMAT or GRE results
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency Test (TOEFL IBT min. score of 100/IELTS min. score of 7.0)
  • Contact information of two academic references (name of the professors, position, institution and e-mail); they will be contacted directly by Frankfurt School for a letter of recommendation.
    In case you have completed any research projects with a faculty member, we are particularly interested in receiving a recommendation letter from him or her.
  • Statement of Purpose (up to 2 pages): Why are you interested in your chosen field of study? What are the potential areas of research you might pursue? Have you completed any research projects with faculty? Is the research of any member of the FS faculty of interest to you?
  • Optional Statement: If you would like the committee to consider any of the following factors, you can describe their relevance in a separate statement within the application. This can contribute to the diversity of the entering class: background, extracurricular activities, work experience.

3. Interview

Successful applicants will be invited to a online interview with faculty members of the chosen concentration.

4. Results

The final decision regarding admission to our doctoral programme will be made by the Committee for Doctoral Proceedings. It is based on the applicants overall portfolio and the interview.

If you wonder what qualities the selection committee is looking for in applicants, here is some advice.

Ronald Klingebiel, Professor of Management

states: “We are looking for outstanding conceptual and analytical skills. A genuine interest in research and a career in academia is a must.”

Francesco Sangiorgi, Professor of Finance

similarly highlights analytical skills for the Finance program: “We encourage applications from candidates with strong analytical and quantitative skills.”

Yuping Jia, Professor of Accounting

emphasizes that applicants do not need to be experts in accounting regulation, indeed she argues that “Accounting is interested in original thinkers, who are creative and have broad interests. People with diverse backgrounds, but with genuine curiosity will find that accounting research has a lot to offer.”

FS Dissertations

Student Life

Join our community of aspiring and inspiring individuals and get involved by writing a blog, sharing career-related testimonials, or by supporting our international weeks and events around the world.