Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences, University of Mannheim

Mannheim, Germany

No. Students: 240 (57 int'l)* No. of Academic staff: 110
Funding type: Public
Listed programmes:
Type of education:

*: Approximate

studies available.

Why should I study here?

Discover the top reasons to study at Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences, University of Mannheim

  • The GESS offers internationally acclaimed and competitive structured doctoral programs and is one of the first graduate schools to integrate the disciplines of business, economics and the social sciences into a coherent curriculum. It is unique in Germany and one of the few graduate schools worldwide that fosters the exchange of ideas, methods and research approaches across the boundaries of the economic and social sciences and provides students with an enlarged scientific vision in a critical phase of the scientific specialization.
  • The faculty of the GESS is internationally renowned and operates in a network of top European universities. Former GESS students have been hired by prestigious schools such as University of Oxford, Harvard University, Tilburg University, London School of Economics, the University of Toulouse, IIES at University of Stockholm, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Bocconi University Milano, ECARES at Free University of Brussels, University of Heidelberg and University of Mannheim.
  • The GESS aims at strengthening female scientists by offering a range of measures designed to promote female PhD students. The share of newly admitted female doctoral students at the GESS ranges between 39% and 50% in each of the past five years.
  • Reconciling a scientific career and family is one of the highest goals of the GESS, thus it offers doctoral students with children several support measures, such as parent offices and additional funding for students with children.


The GESS has successfully established an internationally competitive structural doctoral program contributing to the strong scientific reputation of the University of Mannheim in business, economics and the social and behavioral sciences. Students educated at the GESS have taken up assistant professorships and post-doc positions at internationally leading academic institutions such as Oxford, Harvard, LSE, Tilburg as well as positions in renowned international organizations and in the private sector. The vision of the GESS is to fully deliver the promise of excellence and to ensure that the GESS becomes a European leader providing top-level research and education in economics and the social sciences.

The Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences (GESS) integrates the disciplines of business, economics and the social and behavioral sciences into a coherent curriculum. It comprises

  • the Center for Doctoral Studies in Business (CDSB),
  • the Center for Doctoral Studies in Economics (CDSE),
  • the Center for Doctoral Studies in Social and Behavioral Sciences (CDSS).

The schools premise is that excellence in research can only be achieved through excellence in a given discipline. For this reason, each doctoral center focuses primarily on achieving excellence in research in its own discipline. At the same time, teaching and research in the graduate school emphasizes those central methodological and quantitative-empirical blocks that are shared among the participating disciplines, as well as the substantive application areas that connect to more than one branch of modern economic and social sciences, thereby creating a coherent structure without compromising on quality in specialized research.

At the beginning of each program within the GESS, the students attend an intensive sequence of core and elective courses. These courses endow them with the necessary knowledge to engage in independent research. After the course phase, the students enter their thesis-writing phase. During this period they also have the opportunity to acquire teaching expertise in their chosen field. The entire program is taught exclusively in English. All admitted students receive funding unless financed from other sources.


The School is accredited by

  • Association of MBAs.


Thanks to the funding by the German Science Foundation (DFG), first-year students can be fully financed by grants. Students who have successfully passed the first year of doctoral studies, will be funded either through grants or research / teaching assistantships. Doctoral grants are in the range of 1.200 (not subject to income taxation). Additionally, all students receive their own offices and equipment (laptops, pcs, software licences for own research etc).

The university has been certified as a family-friendly work and study place (audit Family-friendly University). The GESS contributes to this task by seeking to achieve a manageable scientific-work/family balance for students who are parents.

The GESS offers the following specific support measures for doctoral students with children:

  • Parent offices: the GESS offers special work offices where parents can bring their children along to work.
  • The GESS supports the universitys emergency-childcare facility: GESS students can take advantage of childcare at no cost, whenever regular childcare options do not work out, e.g., in special evening hours or during childcare holidays.
  • Parents looking for childcare, e.g., nursery schools, receive help from the GESS for gender-issues or the Department for Gender Equality and Social Diversity.
  • Membership extension: parents who wish to intermit their studies to take care of their children can put their GESS funding on hold and are granted an extension of their grant and of their GESS membership. To bridge the phase without the scholarship, female doctoral students with children can apply for additional funding. There are also additional funds available once students have resumed their doctoral studies.

Student life

The University of Mannheim holds a leading position among German universities, not only in research and teaching, but also concerning the range of leisure activities in and around the city. Mannheim is full of potential and offers a vibrant cultural life, as well as great sports facilities. In addition the city is packed with lively bars, venues and cinemas. For those who love nature, the banks of the Rhine and Neckar are in close reach of the university and make an ideal spot for relaxing or having a barbecue with friends.

There are plenty offerings for students to get involved in music and drama projects at the University of Mannheim. The University's Orchestra, the Drama group, the College Jazz Band and the Choir are glad to welcome new members.

Compared to well-known metropolitan cities as for example Munich, Hamburg and Berlin, the city of Mannheim offers similar opportunities at lower costs (e.g. accomodation): a great advantage for students living in Mannheim.

The University Welcome Center helps students to find their way in Mannheim once accepted at the GESS.

PhD Programmes at Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences, University of Mannheim

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