Doctoral studies at WHU center on candidates doing independent research and writing a dissertation. A first and a second advisor from the WHU faculty support the students as they work on their academic papers in the field they have chosen. The WHU Doctoral Program Regulations form the basis of the program and also provide further details on the studies.

The most important elements making up the Doctoral Program are as follows:


The doctoral candidate submits an exposé within a reasonable period of time after enrollment. This sets out the scope of the doctoral project in terms of content and the methodology to be employed. The nature of the exposé will also decide who the second dissertation advisor is to be. 

Defense of the Doctoral Project

Once the exposé has been submitted, the doctoral project is defended before the first and second advisor (normally within 18 months of admission to the Doctoral Program). The doctoral student presents the current status of his research project and shows that it is suitable as evidence of independent scientific work and that it creates added value for the research community.

Doctoral Studies (Course Program)

The doctoral courses are designed to provide every opportunity for students to continue their academic education in the fields of business and economics and to enable them to acquire methodological and factual knowledge for their research project. 3 ECTS credits are awarded for each course, and the work involved is approximately 75 to 90 hours. The number of courses that have to be completed depends on the particular doctoral process and on the conditions fulfilled when the student enrolled. The courses to be taken are selected in consultation with the first advisor of the dissertation.


The doctoral thesis is on a subject in the fields of business or economics. The subject can also be interdisciplinary, but needs to be rooted in one of those two areas. The dissertation must be an independent piece of work evidencing notable academic attainment and contribute to advancing the fields of business and economics. It can be written in a monographic or publication-based form.


The disputation sees the doctoral student presenting his or her dissertation and then discussing the subject matter. The student has to defend the results he or she has obtained and to answer questions.

Your Contact

Claudia Heymann

Director Doctoral Program