PhD Program

Earning a doctorate ("PhD") at the TUM School of Governance

A doctorate is the highest academic degree a university can confer. By awarding a doctorate, the university attests to the recipient's advanced expertise and analytical skills, as well as the ability to conduct and complete independent scholarly research that makes an original contribution to knowledge and advances the field.

A doctoral degree is a prerequisite for most careers in academia and in basic or applied research. A doctorate can also be beneficial for careers in public administration, think tanks, private industry, etc., even when it is not required.

Whatever your instrumental reasons, the decision to pursue a doctorate should always be predicated on enthusiasm for scientific, scholarly inquiry and your enjoyment of research, since conducting increasingly independent research is the essential component of earning a doctoral degree.

Earning a doctorate is a multi-year project that requires motivation and persistence. In addition to knowledge of the subject matter and methodological skills, a keen interest in your research question, good time management, and a high level of independence are crucial to the success of your doctoral candidacy. The "TUM Code of Conduct for Safeguarding Good Academic Practice and Procedures in Cases of Academic Misconduct" must definitely be followed in the process.

Doctoral candidates at the TUM School of Governance study toward their degree within a semi-structured doctoral program. An individual doctoral dissertation (consisting of a monograph or a collection of advanced research papers on a common topic) is the key element of the dissertation, supervised not only by a primary advisor (who also takes primary responsibility for admission to the PhD program), but also by a secondary advisor from the start. In addition, each doctoral student is supported by a mentor. The TUM Graduate School, established in 2009, and the Center for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Studies at the TUM School of Governance support doctoral students administratively, offer and coordinate advanced training that goes significantly beyond traditional PhD colloquia offered by individual chairs, and facilitate measures to lend the program structure, beginning with the initial agreement between the candidate and his/her supervisors, followed by regular feedback sessions, support in preparing manuscripts for publication, etc. The TUM Graduate School via the Center for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Studies at the TUM School of Governance also provides financial support for travel abroad for conferences or field research.

For more information, or if you have any questions about earning a doctorate at the TUM School of Governance, please contact Dr. Stefanie Lernbecher (Tel. +49 (0)89 907793-071, e-mail: