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Funding Opportunities

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The CGS offers scholarships to excellent students holding (or about to be completing) a master’s degree or equivalent in Social Sciences (that is, political science, sociology, or a related field). Admission is based on previous academic performance, research potential, expertise and fit in terms of research interests. Please note the information on the application process below.

Scholarship holders and their research projects will connected to one the Faculty’s Key Research Initiatives or the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets and Public Policy.

IMPRS-SPCE Scholarships

The International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE) is a unique international three-and-a-half-year doctoral program in the fields of economic sociology, political economy, and organization studies that is offered jointly by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG), the University of Cologne's Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Every year the School admits up to eight students. Candidates should hold a master's degree or equivalent in political science, sociology, organization studies, or related fields and possess strong English skills. The positions begin on October 1. The application period usually runs from mid-December to late February. Doctoral degrees in political science and sociology are awarded by the University of Cologne and the University of Duisburg-Essen. Students at the IMPRS-SPCE may also acquire a French doctorate by entering the joint doctoral program (cotutelle de thèse) with Sciences Po in Paris.

Please note that applications for the next academic year can only be accepted through the application portal, which will be open as of mid-December.

Further information about the structure of the doctoral program, as well as financial support and the application procedure is available on the IMPRS-SPCE website. Please direct all inquiries to the coordination office by email to

Employment at Chairs and in Departments

Most doctoral students are employed as research associates, teaching associates or assistants at chairs or in departments, such as the Cologne Center for Comparative Politics or the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology. Employment contracts are for fixed terms and remuneration is according to TVL standards. Working at a chair or in a department offers a supportive research environment and, in many cases, teaching obligations of one or two courses per semester (2-4 hours per week during the semester) depending on the contract type.

Open positions are advertised on the University’s job portal: „Stellenwerk“.
It may also be useful to subscribe to mailing-lists for master’s students to obtain information about doctorate positions.

Employment in (Third-Party Funded) Research Projects

Working as a junior researcher in a (third-party funded) research project is another option for receiving funding for pursuing a doctoral degree. In many cases, several other pre-doctoral or post-doctoral researchers are involved in such a project. Conducting research in a research project offers an inspiring research environment with the opportunity to conduct a dissertation project related to the project topic.

Other Funding Opportunities

Students seeking a doctorate may also consider their own source of funding (such as DAAD, private foundations). In any case, a potential supervisor must be found for admission as a doctoral student to the Faculty.

Scholarship Application

We invite applications for scholarships to excellent students – in the top 10 percent – who hold a master’s degree (or equivalent) in management, economics and social sciences or a related master’s degree.

Admission is based on previous academic performance, research potential, expertise and fit in terms of research interests. These students and their research projects will be part of the Key Research Initiatives of the faculty. Candidates must hold a master’s degree or be very close to completion.

How to apply