The curriculum of the first year is devoted to enhancing students' theoretical and methodological knowledge. Coursework includes three core courses, two elective courses, and two courses in research methods. Core courses and many of the elective courses are offered by IMPRS-SPCE faculty.
Students individually choose methods courses according to the skills they bring from their previous studies and the additional qualifications they need for their dissertation project. Popular methods courses for students are the Summer and Winter Schools offered at the Universities of Essex and Ljubljana, by ECPR or GESIS (Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences), and comparable institutions.
Students participate in the IMPRS-SPCE's biweekly Doctoral Colloquium at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies and, depending on the advisor they are working with, additional colloquia in the field of political science or sociology.

Core courses

  • Economy and Society I
  • Economy and Society II
  • Logic of Research: either Logic of Social Inquiry or Research Design in Comparative Social Research

Research methods

Topics depending on individual needs, for example:

  • Qualitative Interviews
  • Case Study Methods
  • Grounded Theory
  • Growth Models
  • Regression Analysis
  • Quantitative Text Analysis
  • Time-Series–Cross-Section Analysis

Elective courses

For example:

  • Case Study Methods in Comparative Political Economy
  • Comparative Political Economy
  • Comparative Political Institutions
  • Institutional Analysis of Organizations
  • Political Economy of European Integration
  • Sociology of Markets
  • Transnational Governance
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