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Degree:
Dr. rer. pol.
Graduates per year:
35
Average study duration:
3-5 years
Location:
Vallendar or Düsseldorf
Publications in 4* journals of the CABS Academic Journal Guide within the last 5 years co-authored by Doctoral students:
8
We are delighted to receive applications to our Doctoral Program from highly motivated international and German students interested in pursuing research in one of our fields of study.

Creating impact together

WHU is a highly regarded international research institution, renowned for fostering the academic ambitions of young and dedicated researchers. Furthermore, the school’s long-term focus on independent and cutting-edge research has made it one of the most prominent research establishments in the disciplines of business and economics.

WHU awards the academic degree of Doctor of Business and Economics (Dr. rer. pol.) – the German equivalent to a Ph.D. – based on the submission of a scientific paper (dissertation) and its presentation (disputation). All doctoral projects are supervised by experienced and dedicated WHU faculty members, all of whom have made a name for themselves in the scientific community via a wealth of national and international publications and research projects.

In addition to writing and defending their dissertation, doctoral candidates will also have the opportunity to attend courses and guest lectures by eminent national and international professors, providing them with additional valuable insights, and illustrating WHU’s globalized network in the field of research.

WHU research experts –

Conducting and delivering first-rate research

Our WHU professors have received significant academic acclaim through their involvement in numerous research projects both at home and abroad. Feel free to browse through the expert database to find out more about the WHU professor's research areas and focus topics. 

Set up your own plan –

Flexible curriculum preparing you for various career options

Doctoral studies at WHU center on candidates doing independent research. In addition to writing and defending their dissertation, they will also have the opportunity to attend courses and guest lectures by eminent national and international professors, providing them with additional insights, and illustrating WHU’s globalized research network.

Take the next step –

Pursue research in one of our fields of management studies

The admission requirements for the Doctoral Program include a Master’s degree or equivalent, with an above-average overall grade. Enrollment is also conditional on a professor of our WHU faculty supporting the doctoral project. Students may be admitted to the Doctoral Program – in consultation with the advisor – at any time, either as internal or external students.

Invest in your future –

Tuition fee waiver for research assistants at WHU.

Doctoral students with a WHU working contract as a research assistant do not pay any tuition, whereas external students must pay tuition and admission fees, currently a one-off payment of €1,000 and €3,000 per semester.

Our successful alumni –
Active all around the world

1/5
Assistant Professor Alexander Mayer
Assistant Professor
Ca’ Foscari Università Venezia
"Completing a doctorate at WHU gave me the opportunity to develop academically and further enhance my research interests. Thanks to the open and supportive environment, I was able to build valuable networks and make new friendships. These experiences subsequently helped me in finding my way into academia."
Dr. Annika von Mutius
Founder
Empion
"Completing the doctorate was superb preparation for the start-up – not only with respect to the excellent supervision and the profound synergy between research and hands-on experience, but also thanks to the enriching exchange of ideas within the WHU network. It was through this very network that I was able to link up with an awesome co-founder and arrange initial financing for the start-up."
Professor Katharina Hombach
Professor
Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
"The Doctoral Program at WHU provided for an excellent start into a career in academia. Already early in the program, I could participate in international courses and conferences, which enabled me to gain important insights into current research questions and state-of-the-art methods."
Dr. Felix Röllecke
Founder & CEO
vetevo GmbH
"Working in such a unique internationally-oriented, science-based environment enabled me to publish the results of my research in renowned academic journals and fully equipped me with the skills I needed to make that jump into being my own boss. In this respect, the PhD program at WHU was ideal preparation for my own company start-up."
Dr. Emmanuel Holler
Economic Consultant
AlixPartners
"One of the papers of my dissertation "How resale price maintenance and loss leading affect upstream cartel stability: Anatomy of a coffee cartel," has been honored with the IJIO Best Empirical Paper Award for empirical works published in 2022."
1/5

Job offers

We invite everyone interested in pursuing research in one of our fields of study to apply to one of our open positions. As enrollment is also conditional on a professor of our WHU faculty supporting the doctoral project, please contact the relevant Chair regarding your research project, or directly apply for a position as a research assistant.

News & Stories

WHU Graduate Nominated for 2024 EURO Doctoral Dissertation Award

WHU Graduate Nominated for 2024 EURO Doctoral Dissertation Award

Dr. Jan-Rasmus Künnen one of Europe’s Top 5 figures in operational research

 
Dancing through the defense

Dancing through the defense

Doctoral Student Lioba Gierke took the stage at her Disputation

 
PhD Workshop at the WHU-Campus in Vallendar

PhD Workshop at the WHU-Campus in Vallendar

Get-together with doctoral candidates from Toulouse, Lancaster, Vallendar and Düsseldorf

 

FAQs

WHU has the right to award doctorates and confers the academic degree of a Doctor of Business and Economics (Dr. rer. pol.) on its graduates based on a scientific paper (dissertation) and its presentation (disputation). In addition to the dissertation, students must take certain courses, and the defense of the dissertation and the disputation are also a requirement for gaining a doctorate.

How long you need to complete your doctoral studies depends on such factors as your own time frame. It usually takes between 3 and 5 years.

To be allowed on to the Doctoral Program, you need to fulfill the formal admission requirements as set out in Section 5 of the Doctoral Program Regulations and to have received written confirmation of support and supervision from a member of our faculty. If both these conditions are satisfied, you can submit an application for enrollment. Further information are to be found here.

Go to our website for the information you need about the faculty members and their research fields and then contact the faculty member of your choice. You could also find a research position in the research area of your interest.

You will find full information on the costs on the page on financing.

WHU itself does not grant doctoral students scholarships. Please contact the organizations providing educational grants for gifted students directly if you have any questions concerning funding schemes for doctoral students. You will find some links to such schemes on our page on financing.

The status of internal doctoral student applies if the doctoral student is employed at WHU for at least three-eighths of a full-time staff position. You will find the job vacancies advertised both here and on the web pages of the Chairs.

The status of external doctoral student means that you have no position of employment at all at WHU or that you are employed as a member of staff at WHU with less than a three-eighths position. The program flow is exactly the same as for an internal doctorate, i.e. enough time must be planned for research and for face-to-face courses).

Content and the courses you need to take during your doctoral studies depend on the requirements you fulfill when you enroll on the program. There is a minimum of 6 courses if you have a Master’s degree in a business-related discipline. You will find details of the exact requirements in Section 10 of the current Doctoral Program Regulations. For information on the courses currently offered, please visit the subpage on the program structure.

Each course is organized into 2 contact hours per week (i.e., 24 academic contact hours, with the courses mainly in blocks of 3-4 days) and is worth 3 ECTS credit points. You will find details of the courses currently offered on the subpage of the program structure.

You don’t have to live in Germany to do a doctorate at WHU. You do, however, have to travel to the campus to regular meetings with your advisor, to the course program, and to all other official meetings and appointments which are part of your doctoral studies.

It is absolutely essential that you are present on the campus for the course program and at all other official meetings and appointments which are part of your doctoral studies. You should make any other arrangements about being on the campus with your advisor.

Admission can be at any time as there are no fixed dates for starting. The date for embarking on your Doctoral Program is arranged in consultation with your advisor.