International Max Planck Research School
on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy

Information for Applicants

The IMPRS-SPCE admits up to seven students a year. Students are selected by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) and the University of Cologne in a joint process that takes into account the areas of expertise of available thesis supervisors.



To be admitted students must hold an MA, Magister or Diploma in a discipline relevant to the School's program: sociology, political science, economics, organization studies or related disciplines. To be admitted students must hold an MA, Magister or Diploma in a discipline relevant to the School's program (sociology, political science, economics, organization studies, history, or related disciplines). Degrees must be received by the end of September of the year applicants would enroll in the program. Candidates must have a proven record of academic excellence. In their research proposal, applicants must specify their research interests and how their project proposal connects to the research program of the chosen advisor.

The IMPRS-SPCE aims to have a high share of international students. While students may write their thesis in German, they must be able to present their work at workshops and conferences in English. They must also be able to participate in courses that are taught in English and are based on literature that is only available in English. Special training in English writing is provided if required. A list of successful proposals of preceding years is published on our website.

The IMPRS-SPCE is an English-language graduate school situated in the German academic context. While doctoral students can meet the curriculum requirements without any knowledge of German, they will be in a bilingual work environment in a German-speaking city. We strongly recommend that international students learn some German, since this will enhance their everyday lives, give them greater access to German culture, and enable them to participate more fully in the intellectual and social life of the institute and the university.

Financial Support

Students receive a monthly scholarship of 1468 EUR. Due to different remuneration policies at the MPIfG and the University of Cologne, PhD students’ payment and benefits vary depending on their place of work. Students working at the MPIfG receive a support contract (Fördervertrag). Students working at the University of Cologne receive a scholarship to cover their living expenses. Students with contracts receive a monthly gross payment of about 1,750 euros in the first year (which yields a net payment of about 1,200 euros, depending on the tax bracket). Students with scholarships receive a monthly tax-free payment of 1,468 euros (less health insurance). No tuition is charged. Scholarships/contracts start on October 1. They will be awarded for 15 months with an option for an additional 27 months. Upon acceptance into the second phase after the First Year Paper Workshop the scholarship/contract will be extended for the additional 27 months. Doctoral students at the IMPRS-SPCE have a fully equipped shared office either at the University of Cologne or at the MPIfG, full access to the libraries and research facilities of the MPIfG and the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne, and research funds to conduct their projects.

Degrees and Tuition

The IMPRS-SPCE does not grant academic degrees. Students submit their doctoral thesis in English or German to the Department of Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne. In special cases they may also submit their thesis to their home universities. Tuition fees at home universities will not be covered by the IMPRS. Students with foreign degrees are admitted by the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences if their degree is equivalent to a German Diploma, Magister or MA.


Academic Advisors

Doctoral students are advised by a member of the School's faculty. During the program, doctoral students are advised by a member of the School's faculty. Applicants are asked to name one or two preferred advisors. For students submitting their thesis to the University of Cologne, their IMPRS-SPCE advisor will be their first referee. For students submitting to another university, their advisor at the IMPRS-SPCE must serve as an external member of their thesis committee.


Application Schedule

Date Event
Dec 15 - Feb 28 Application period for enrollment starting in October of the same year
Feb 28 Application deadline
April Interviews with preselected candidates
May Notification of acceptance or rejection
October 1 Beginning of the program

Candidates interested in the joint Franco-German Doctoral Program who prefer to be based in France as a primary location should apply directly for doctoral positions at MaxPo.


Universität Köln Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung
Last modified Mittwoch, 15. Juli 2015