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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Finance Group

Writing a Doctoral Dissertation in Finance

If you would like to write a doctoral dissertation in the area of corporate finance you must first apply to the Berlin Doctoral Program in Economics and Management Science (BDPEMS). The application deadline is each year in March. The program starts in the fall semester.

The Ph.D. program consists of intensive course work in microeconomics, econometrics, and management science during the first year, as well as advanced specialization courses in finance in the second year. Upon successful completion of the first-year courses, students are eligible to apply for a research assistant (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) position in the Finance Group. We do not supervise completely external dissertation projects.

Several 3-year scholarships are available for applicants with outstanding academic achievements. In addition, there are several external funding opportunities:

You should budget approximately 4 years to complete your dissertation. The Finance Group focusses on empirical research in corporate finance and has access to many of the major databases. These currently include:

  • Compustat
  • CRSP
  • ExecuCorp
  • Datastream
  • Bloomberg
  • Trace
  • Bankscope
  • Thomson One
  • Capital IQ
  • Morningstar
  • DealScan
  • Edgar Pro
  • Mergent
  • S&P and Moodys Credit Ratings

In addition, Prof. emeritus Richard Stehle has calculated the Fama-French factors for Germany since 1958. This data is available here.

Individual Ph.D. courses are offered by a number of external Programs.

Starting April 1st 2013, the Humboldt-University will offer "Humboldt Research Track" scholarships at € 800 for the first time, in order to pave the way to a doctors degree for exceptional Master students. The scholarship supports students during the transition phase between the completion of the master degree and the begin of doctoral studies. Deadline for applications is January 15th 2013. Additional information is available at: http://www.exzellenz.hu-berlin.de/foerderlinien/rt/research-tracks

Scholarships for post-doctoral studies are available from the DAAD:



For more information on scholarships, please visit the website of the Humboldt-Graduate School:



Frequently Asked Questions concerning studies at PH.D. level:



Finance Ph.D. Alumni

Name Defense Initial Placement
Valentin Burg 2014 home24 SE
Tobias Scheinert 2014 Ernst & Young
Dominik Galkiewicz 2015 University of Applied Sciences Kufstein
Daniel Streitz 2015 E.CA Economics
Copenhagen Business School (since 2017)
Laurenz Klipper 2018 Buspaket Derenbach
Li Ma 2018 ChemChina


Ph.D. Finance Curriculum

Advanced Financial Economics: Corporate Finance (2 SWS, 6 SP, SS)  moodle-icon

This course is intended to cover the traditional core questions in corporate finance: investment and capital structure. We will also explore the literature that studies the interrelations between corporate finance and other fields: industrial organization, financial markets, etc. We will mainly focus on theoretical research articles, and try to make use of the most parsimonious models needed to highlight the intuitions underlying the papers we will be discussing. We may also address theoretical insights by presenting some related empirical papers.

Evaluation: Seminar paper (100%)
Textbook: Jean Tirole, “The Theory of Corporate Finance”, (2006), Princeton University Press
Requirements: Course requirements include regular attendance, participation and reading of articles prior to class.

Advanced Financial Economics: Asset Pricing (2 SWS, 6 SP, SS)  moodle-icon

This seminar is designed to introduce students to the field of asset pricing and portfolio choice. The topics include: stochastic discount factor, no-arbitrage, consumption-based asset pricing model (including models with habit formation, and long run risks), mean-variance frontier, Hansen-Jagannathan bounds, factor pricing models (CAPM, ICAPM, APT), portfolio choice, term structure models. I also give an overview of some empirical facts (equity premium puzzle, return predictability, value premium, etc.). Students will be exposed to about 10-15 recent papers of fundamental importance to asset pricing.

Textbook: John Cohrane, "Asset Pricing", Princeton University Press, Second Edition      
Evaluation: Seminar paper (100%)

Finance - Accounting Research Seminar (2 SWS) moodle-icon

This seminar is a series of research seminars given by leading external speakers in the areas of finance and accounting. For the current seminar schedule click here.


Finance Brown Bag Seminar

In this seminar Ph.D. students present their own work.