How to Obtain a Doctoral Degree

We welcome applications from qualified and highly-motivated candidates, who would like to join our team as doctoral students. As part of our ambitious and diverse team, you can expect a structured, stimulating and goal-driven doctoral program.

To obtain a doctoral degree from the University of Mannheim under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Karin Hoisl, you must be admitted to the doctoral program at the Center for Doctoral Studies in Business (CDSB), which is part of the University of Mannheim’s Graduate School of Economics and Social Sciences. The CDSB program is a structured doctoral program comprising the following seven areas of specialization: Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, Management, Marketing, Operations Management, and Taxation. Students who wish to complete their doctorate under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Karin Hoisl must first be accepted as doctoral students of the Management track of the CDSB.

Area Management CDSB Course Structure

The structured doctoral program is intended to prepare students for performing high-quality research, developing skills for academic writing and publication, and becoming active members of the research community at the University of Mannheim. A key feature of this program is the extensive course catalogue across several disciplines, which ensures that students have many opportunities to develop excellent methodological and conceptual foundations. Not only can students take courses from the seven specializations of the CDSB, but also from the economics and social sciences centers at the Graduate school.

A comprehensive overview of the dissertation process for the Management track can be found here. During the first year, students are required to complete compulsory courses and electives that are designed to provide exposure to theoretical and methodological knowledge required to write their thesis. At the end of the first year, students submit their dissertation proposal. The Admissions and Assessment Committee then evaluates students’ proposals and academic performance in the first year, to decide if a student can continue with the program. If successful, students officially begin work on their thesis in close cooperation with their supervisor. During the second, third and fourth year, students complete required credits from elective and academic writing courses, along with working on their dissertation. In addition, students are expected to actively seek opportunities to present their work at reputable conferences and colloquia.   

For queries related to the CDSB doctoral program, please contact Ms. Kirstin Niedernolte (Center Manager, CDSB):

Application Requirements and Procedures

Admission to the CDSB program is competitive and based purely on merit. The target size of the incoming cohort each year is 15–20 students (across the seven specializations). Applications are open to excellent students holding either a four-year Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree. The following are required as part of your application:

  • Personal data
  • Letter of motivation: Please provide a statement explaining your current goals, career plans and reasons for being interested in the doctoral program in Business. Discuss your study plans and your fields of interest. Your statement should be in English and not exceed 500 words.  
  • Certificates and transcripts of grades: A transcript from each college or university is required. The degree certificate is not sufficient. The transcript should show courses, grades and degrees received, mentioning rank or distinction if applicable. A translation is required for any transcript in a language other than English or German.
  • GMAT (or GRE): All applicants must upload their test taker's copy in the online application as well as send it via the testing service. While GMAT is the preferred test, adequate GRE scores may be handed in alternatively. There is no minimum required score. Ask the GMAT Customer Service to report your test scores using the following program code: VLC-95-89 (or the Educational Testing Service using the program code: 0933).
  • Letters of recommendation: Two letters of recommendation are required from faculty who are able to assess your academic ability and potential.
  • Writing sample: Please attach a writing sample in English or German, e.g., a paper you have written during your studies.
  • Any supplementary information relevant to your application.

More information on application procedures and the application portal for submitting your application can be found here.

Applicants are also encouraged to take a look at the ongoing Research at our Chair, in order to get an overview of some of the Chair’s core themes and interests.

Important Dates and Deadlines

The important dates for application, admission and enrollment for Fall 2024 are listed below.

  • Application system opens for submission: mid-November, 2023
  • Application deadline for Fall 2024 intake: 31 March, 2024
  • Early application deadline for Fall 2024 intake: 15 January, 2024
  • Start of CDSB program: September, 2024 (1-year full time program)
  • Start of thesis-writing phase at the Chair: September, 2025 (after successful submission of thesis proposal and coursework)


There is no tuition fee for pursuing a doctorate at the University of Mannheim, though a small semester fee of €204.30 Euros per term (2023/24) is charged from all students enrolled with the Student Services. Students accepted into the CDSB program are guaranteed funding for the duration of the program. This is generally via scholarship during the first year (currently 1.365 €/month). Financial support in the subsequent years will depend on whether you pass the first year of studies, and will take the form of grants, research or teaching assistantships, or other sources of funding provided by the Chair/Area.

International Students

The CDSB doctoral program is taught and administered entirely in English. Additionally, the working languages of the Chair of Organization and Innovation are both English and German. Therefore, German language proficiency is not required in order to write your thesis at our Chair.

For accepted students from non-EU countries, documents required for the visa process are provided by the CDSB. Moreover, the Welcome Center of the University of Mannheim offers several services to international doctoral students, including assistance with bureaucratic procedures and translating documents.

University of Mannheim Regulation and Procedures for Doctoral Dissertations

If admitted to the doctoral program, two separate enrollment procedures are essential for students. During the first year of the CDSB program, doctoral students must enroll as students of the University of Mannheim. Doctoral students are also required to enroll at the Faculty of Business within 6 months of starting the CDSB program. More information about enrollment and other doctoral procedures at the Faculty of Business is available here.

You can find out more about the University of Mannheim’s current regulations and procedures for completing a doctoral dissertation here. These apply to all students pursuing a doctorate at our Chair. Administrative support for issues related to doctorates is provided by Ms. Natalie Holm (Dean’s office, Faculty of Business):