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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.“

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.”