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Application Process & Admission Requirements

doctorate – part-time

How do I apply for a part-time doctoral programme at the HSBA Graduate Centre?

Application & Admission Requirements Doctoral Programme

Everything you need to know about applying for a part-time doctoral program

The application process at ϳԹ involves several steps: Start by thoroughly informing yourself about the doctoral procedure to ensure that the part-time cooperative doctorate aligns with your professional and personal goals. Ensure that you meet the formal admission criteria and submit your application documents. Upon successful completion of the personal selection interviews, you will be admitted to the cooperative doctoral program. Here, you can unleash your passion for academic work and begin your research.

Step 1: Admission Requirements

Doing a doctorate at the HSBA Graduate Centre

The first step is to find out more about HSBA, our departments, the supervising professors and the part-time doctoral programme.

You can also get to know HSBA at public events. You can find an overview of all events here.

Admission requirements

Formal requirements for admission to the HSBA cooperative doctoral programme are: 

  • Completed university studies with a focus on economics, 300 ECTS credit points and an average grade of 2.5 or better
  • Diploma thesis/master's thesis as part of the master's or diploma degree programme 
  • Good English proficiency (level B2/C1, demonstrated by IELTS, TOEFL IBT, Cambridge Certificate, or Pearsons Test); no proof required for native speakers or those who have studied in English for more than 6 months.
  • Outline of the research project in an exposé, instructions for writing an initial approx. 5-page exposé can be found here:

     Writing a Research Proposal  

Step2: Application and Selection Process

Apply with the following application documents:

  • Cover letter (one page, in English) 
  • Curriculum vitae (in English)
  • Certificates of your university degrees (including Diploma Supplement and Transcript of Records)
  • Proof of good English skills (B2/C1)
  • Description of the research project (exposé, in English)

Supporting application documents are:

  • Academic reference letter
  • Letter of reference and references from current and/or previous employers
  • Certificates of further education and other certificates

Send all application documents as ONE coherent pdf file to susanne.mueller-using(at)hsba.de.

 

Selection process

The programme start is October 1 each year. We start the application process for a new intake in February which means that you can send us your application documents at any time.  It can take three to six months from receipt of the application to formal acceptance into the doctoral programme. 

If your formal application documents are convincing, you will be invited to a personal interview by a supervising professor. If you are still interested in a doctorate, you will have an interview with our Vice President for Research and International Affairs. Here, your general development potential and goals will be discussed. The extent to which HSBA can support you in achieving these goals through the accompanying seminar programme will be examined. 

During these discussions, you will have the opportunity to choose a preferred title-awarding partner university. It may be necessary to revise the exposé.

Step 3: Enrolment

Enrolment at the HSBA Graduate Centre

After the admission interviews have been held at HSBA, the doctoral agreement can be concluded. This regulates our joint supervisory relationship and summarises details of the doctoral programme, the seminar programme, the degree-awarding university and the payment modalities.

Enrolment at the title-awarding partner university

Parallel to your first months at the HSBA Graduate Centre, enrolment at the partner university awarding the title takes place. Further revisions of your exposé may be necessary.

Questions?

We are happty to help!

Susanne Müller-Using, HSBA
Susanne Müller-Using

Senior Manager Research

+49 40 822160-911
susanne.mueller-using@hsba.de

Our partner universities in the doctoral programme

FAQ

Frequently asked questions about doctoral studies at HSBA

When should I submit my application?

Those interested in doing a doctorate can apply at any time. Since the doctoral programme starts annually on October 1, you should apply as early as possible.

How long does the admission process take?

The process from receiving the application to being formally accepted into the doctoral program can span from three to six months. Further information on the application process and the admission steps can be found here.

How do I find the right partner university?

The choice of the partner university is based on the thematic alignment of your dissertation topic. Your HSBA supervisor will propose a suitable co-supervisor from the HSBA partner network to ensure excellent primary and secondary supervision of your doctoral project.

Can I participate in the doctoral programme with a full-time job?

Unfortunately, you can't. The doctorate is the highest academic degree that can be earned in Germany. It requires a high degree of commitment and resilience as well as sufficient time resources. For many, the doctorate is in itself a full-time job. Therefore, we strongly recommend a part-time workload of 20 - 30 hours per week. A regular workload of more than 20 hours per week should be well considered. Clarify with your employer whether you can use parts of your working hours for your doctorate. Ideally, your employer will show interest in your research outcomes, maximizing the synergy between your work and doctoral studies.

My final grade is 2.6 (or worse). Can I still apply?

Possibly. We know that grading systems vary greatly between countries, universities and degree programmes. Therefore, in your particular case, an average grade of 2.6 may be a very good performance (measured against your overall cohort of your degree programme at your university). In order to be able to assess this better, the ECTS grade is often listed on official transcript documents (usually Diploma Supplement). The ECTS grade is a relative and not an absolute grade. The ECTS grade is calculated by comparing the individual grade of a graduate to the grades of a reference group. The reference group is defined per degree programme. If you fall into category "B" (or better) here, you can still apply for the doctoral programme.

ECTS Grading Table

ECTS grade

A Best 10%

B Next 25%

C Next 30%

D Next 25%

E Lowest 10%

FX Failed - improvements are required before credit is given

F Failed - significant improvements are required

Kann ich am kooperativen Promotionsprogramm ausschließlich remote teilnehmen?

Nein, eine ausschließliche Teilnahme am kooperativen Promotionsprogramm ist nicht möglich. Es gibt verpflichtende Präsenzveranstaltungen, an denen Sie teilnehmen müssen. Darüber hinaus kann es erforderlich sein, für Seminare, Präsentationen und andere akademische Verpflichtungen vor Ort zu sein. Auch die Partneruniversitäten können eine gewisse Präsenz fordern. Eine bestimmte Flexibilität für Konferenzreisen oder andere Aktivitäten ist ebenfalls notwendig.

I am currently unemployed and actively seeking opportunities. Can I still submit an application?

Regrettably, no. As a dual university, we place significant emphasis on the practical applicability of our research. Furthermore, your current job search introduces numerous uncertainties (such as potential full-time employment, lack of support from a future employer, or the need to adjust your preferred doctoral topic), which could complicate both your academic and personal planning. We encourage you to apply once you've secured employment that can be harmonized with doctoral studies.

I only earned 270 ECTS points in my degree programme. Can I still apply?

In such instances, navigating the placement process at the appropriate title-granting university can prove challenging. Most universities awarding titles require 300 ECTS points for enrollment. If you fall short of this requirement, the respective doctoral committee may evaluate whether you can still be admitted to the program under exceptional circumstances. This might result in delays in the enrollment process as you could be conditionally accepted (e.g., with the requirement to fulfill additional ECTS points). Such conditions often extend the overall duration of the doctoral program. As these cases are exceptions, in the worst-case scenario, you might be unable to commence doctoral studies if no title-granting university agrees to make an exception.

Questions?Susanne Müller-Using, HSBA
Susanne Müller-Using, HSBA

Susanne Müller-Using

Senior Manager Research
+49 40 822160-911
susanne.mueller-using(at)hsba.de

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