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Doctoral Program –
Fostering young and dedicated researchers.

Doctoral Program

Create impact –
Obtain your doctorate at WHU.

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.

As such, 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.

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.

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Research Experts

WHU research experts –
Conducting and delivering first-rate research.

A total of 51 WHU professors are currently engaged in research and 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. 

EXPLORE THE EXPERT DATABASE

Program Structure & Courses

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.

Learn more about the key elements of the Doctoral Program

Application & Admission

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.

Learn more about the admission requirements and the admission process

Tuition & Fees

Invest in your future –
Tuition fee waiver for internal Doctoral students.

Internal students do not pay any tuition, whereas external students must pay tuition and admission fees, currently a one-off payment of €2,500 and €1,500 per semester. Excellent candidates in the field of management accounting and control are also welcome to apply for a scholarship offered by WHU's Institute of Management Accounting and Control. 

Learn more about the tuition and financing options

Alumni

Our successful alumni –
Active all around the world.

Many graduates of the Doctoral Program at WHU are active in teaching and research at leading national and international universities, work for renowned companies, or have founded their own start-up.

Job Offers

Apply now and join WHU
as a Doctoral student!

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.

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Job Offers

Apply now and join WHU
as a Doctoral student!

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.

LEARN MORE

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News & Stories

A strong and vivid community – Explore the WHU spirit.

Discover what is happening at WHU in regards to research, find out more about the Doctoral student experience in Vallendar and Düsseldorf, and take a look at the various career paths of our alumni.

We met with Stephanie to talk about her experience as a doctoral student at WHU, her interest in the field of family business, and her reasons for choosing to do her doctoral studies at WHU.

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Dmitry Smirnov successfully defended his dissertation on "Prescriptive Analytics in Retailing".

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WHU Alumna Dr. Sonja Klose was conferred the title ‘Professor for general business administration, in particular Marketing’.

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Dr. Tobias Kosmol won the Doctoral Dissertation Award of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.

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The Doctoral students presented their research projects, gained feedback, and attended a workshop as well as social activities.

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Seven WHU Doctoral Candidates celebrated the completion of their Doctoral studies. In the Stadthalle Vallendar, this year's graduates received their well-deserved graduation certificates and celebrated the joyful occasion in the presence of families and friends.

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Once again, the WHU Doctoral Program in the area of management accounting has been ranked No. 1 in Europe.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions –
The Doctoral Program in a nutshell.

Please find below commonly asked questions and answers about our WHU Doctoral Program. This set of Q&As includes the topics of program structure, admissions, financing, and many more. 

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 and in the Regulations Governing Fees. 

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.  

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 3 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.

Get in touch

Your future awaits –
Get in touch with us now.

The WHU Doctoral Program team is happy to answer any questions you may have about the curriculum, admissions requirements, career options, or further topics.

Peter Starling

Tel.: +49 261 6509-195 
peter.starling(at)whu.edu

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The WHU Doctoral Program team is happy to answer any questions you may have about the curriculum, admissions requirements, career options, or further topics.

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