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


This competitive program admits up to seven students each year through a selection process jointly undertaken by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) and the University of Cologne. Admission is in part contingent on the availability of thesis supervisors in the student's area of research interest.


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. Applicants must hold a master's degree, magister or diploma in a discipline relevant to the School's program (sociology, political science, economics, organization studies, history, or related fields).
The IMPRS-SPCE aims to have a large proportion of international students. 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.
Degrees must be received by the end of September in 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 they are asked to identify an advisor from the program faculty. A list of successful proposals of preceding years is published on our website.

Applicants must have high English proficiency. Students may write their thesis in German or English, but they must be able to present their work at workshops and conferences in English and participate in courses taught in English and based on literature only available in English. Special training in English writing is available for our students. We also strongly urge our international students to learn German – doing so will give you greater access to German culture and enable you to participate more fully in the intellectual and social life of the institute and the university. A list of successful project descriptions from previous years is published on our website.
Students receive a monthly scholarship of 1468 EUR.

Academic Advisors and Degrees

During the program, doctoral students are advised by a member of the IMPRS-SPCE's faculty. Applicants are asked to name one or two preferred advisors.
The IMPRS-SPCE does not grant academic degrees. Students usually submit their doctoral theses to the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne. In special cases they may also submit their thesis to another faculty or University, for example to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Cologne or the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Application Schedule

Date Event
Dec 15 - Feb 28 We welcome applications to the IMPRS-SPCE program once a year starting December 15.
Feb 28 The application deadline is February 28.
April Candidate interviews take place in April.
May Selection notifications are sent in May.
October 1 The program start date is October 1.






Call for Application

Deadline for applications to the IMPRS-SPCE program 2019/2020 is February 28, 2019.



Universität Köln Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung
Last modified Montag, 28. Mai 2018