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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin -

Doctoral Studies in Accounting at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin



We are an enthusiastic team striving for excellence in research and teaching. Our institute engages predominantly in empirical positive research within the field of financial and managerial accounting, auditing and corporate governance with a focus on capital market research.

Our doctoral program in accounting aims at equipping you with the necessary skill set to conduct internationally competitive empirical research. To meet this goal, the Institute of Accounting and Auditing cooperates closely with the “Berlin Doctoral Program in Economics and Management Science” (BDPEMS). This program provides state-of-the-art training in accounting, economics, finance, econometrics and management science by bringing together expertise and excellence from all major universities and research institutions in Berlin.




The first year of the BDPEMS covers the fundamentals of PhD-level microeconomics, econometrics and management science (or macroeconomics). During the second year, you can choose from an array of different classes and thereby specialize in, for example, financial market regulation, asset pricing or more advanced microeconomic theory.

The outlined course work includes a class in empirical accounting research and is supplemented by our internal brown bag seminar, the Finance-Accounting Research Seminar (FARG) and paper-based courses. Moreover, the Institute encourages you to attend external accounting workshops and international conferences.

You should plan to invest 4 to 5 years to complete your PhD. At least during the first year, you should almost exclusively focus on the mandatory course work of the BDPEMS. Since the courses are time consuming, funding during this time is ideally provided via a scholarship without any teaching or administrative duties (see “Funding” below). After successfully completing the first year courses, you normally have the possibility to join the Institute of Accounting and Auditing as a research assistant (“Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter”) or to obtain remunerated teaching assignments.

Your PhD thesis will be supervised by Joachim Gassen. Due to the structure of the BDPEMS network, you can also choose another BDPEMS professor as a (second) supervisor.


Funding and application


There are no tuition fees, but PhD students must secure sufficient funding to cover their living expenses. As mentioned above, we strongly encourage you to participate in the BDPEMS via a scholarship before joining us as a research assistant. The BDPEMS offers a limited number of scholarships based on academic excellence. The next application deadline is March 2018 for the intake starting in October 2018.

Alternatively, PhD students may join the program without applying for BDPEMS scholarship in case they have access to other external sources of finance (e.g., Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes). Moreover, the Institute of Accounting and Auditing may have other means of financing which allows excellent candidates to start their PhD without securing a BDPEMS scholarship. Thus, even if you missed the application deadline for the BDPEMS or if you want to start your PhD on short notice, we might be able to assist you (e.g., via temporary positions as research assistants, “Humboldt Research Track Scholarships”  or other scholarship programs).

In general, you are expected to hold a Master’s degree when starting your PhD. However, outstanding candidates could also join the program with a Bachelor’s degree only, concurrently enrolling into a Master's program at Humboldt and into BDPEMS. While you do not need to speak German to participate in the program, German language skills are preferable to work as a research assistant.




If you are interested in pursuing your PhD in accounting at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and you would like to have more information, just send an e-mail to Ulf Brüggemann or Joachim Gassen.

In addition, if you plan to apply for BDPEMS scholarships at the end of March 2018, we recommend to contact us in advance so that we can assist you in preparing your application.