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Application and Admission

Application and Admission


We are now accepting applications for program intake October 2021. The application deadline is March 31, 2021.


Call for Application RGS Econ PhD Program 2021

Information on Our Application Process

You can find all information on the application process and requirements below. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us via Email at We only consider complete application packages, including two reference letters, submitted up until the application deadline.


For information about the structure of our program, please refer to For general information about RGS Econ visit: For what we believe distinguishes our program from others, see:

For information on our faculty members, please consult and and the links to their webpages contained therein. All of these researchers are potential supervisors for a PhD thesis at RGS Econ.

Note that you do not have to select potential supervisors for the application. However, naming possible supervisors in your motivation letter may allow us to better match your interests to our faculty. Your potential research interest(s) should in any case be clearly conveyed in your application (motivation letter and application form). Of course, these may be broad at this stage in your career. Give us examples of research questions you would like to address.  We use this information to assess if there is a potential match to our Faculty's interests and current supervision capacities.


Accepted students generally receive financing to cover living expenses, usually in the form of scholarships of €1400 per month or - generally after the first year of course work - in the form of teaching or research assistantships. For information on living expenses in Essen, Germany, please see

If you have access to external financing to cover your living expenses or are an international student and simultaneously applying for a DAAD Research Grant for doctoral programmes in Germany, please indicate this in your motivation letter.

There is no application fee. There are no tuition fees.

If you are invited to an interview, travel costs will be reimbursed by RGS Econ, subject to governmental regulations of travel cost reimbursment. Interviews with overseas candidates generally take place via skype.

General Requirements for Admission

If you would like to apply to the PhD program at RGS Econ, please note the following requirements/recommendations:

(1) Applicants should have an excellent academic record and should have obtained or expect to complete a  Master's degree in Economics or related disciplines, such as business administration, mathematics, statistics, phyiscs, engineerig etc, before the start or our program in October. The degree program should include a written thesis, written or oral examinations, and course work. Successful participation in our PhD program does generally require some previous exposure to subjects like econometrics, micro-, and macroeconomics. This background in economics should be documented in your application (e.g. transcripts, recommendation letters). A lack in background in economics can in principle be compensated via a stong background in mathematics or statistics. 

RGS Econ does not accept applications from students who only hold a Bachelor's degree or applications by candidates who have already obteined a doctoral degree in Economics.  

(2)strong background in quantitative and analytical methods is necessary for completion of our program and a successful application. This background has to be documented in your application, e.g. by course work in mathematics, statistics, or advanced economics in your academic transcript and/or by results from the GRE test.

For applicants without a German secondary school diploma ("Abitur"), a GRE (Graduate Record Examinations, General Test format), a GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), or any other internationally accepted test that measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical skills is highly recommended (but not strictily necessary, if compensated by other documentation of these skills).

Typically we expect candidates to score at least in the 80th percentile in the quantitative and analytical sections of the GRE test. For details please see ( or  ( 

There is no need have your GRE score report sent directly to our institution via the testing service (and we do not have an institution code to facilitate this). We instead accept a scan of your official score report as part of your application package.

(3) Successful applicants display both passion and high ability for conducting research. Make sure to include information on your research experience, abilities, and interests, e.g. in your motivation letter, by obtaining reference letters from persons who can assess your research capabilities, providing a clear description of your (planned) Master's thesis in your application form, or by providing sample papers you have written for courses or as a publication as part of your application package.

(4)  All courses, lectures, and seminars at RGS Econ are held in English. Therefore, a "Test of English as a Foreign Language" (TOEFL) or any other internationally accepted English language test with excellent results is highly recommended for all applicants except for those who 

- are native English speakers 
- can document at least six months of studies at an English-language university or in a course-program taught in English
- possess a German "Abitur" 

For further information about the TOEFL test please click here (

(5) Knowledge of German is not essential, although students are encouraged to learn and improve their language skills. Language classes are offered at the universities which participate in RGS Econ.

(6) There is no age restriction. There are no minimum grade-point-average requirements. We generally only accept students who are in the top 20% of their cohort in terms of academic achievement. 

(7) There is no application fee.

Application Manual

A complete application consists of the application package provided by you and at least two letters of recommendation provided directly by university professors, instructors, lecturers, or other academic researchers. 

(1) The application package can be sent via postal mail or email, as a single .pdf attachement with file name in the form [lastname]_[firstname]_apply_rgs.pdf.

The first component of this package is the application form, which you can download here as a fillable .pdf or as a flattened .pdf

rgs econ application form.pdf (Fillable form, print/save as pdf)

This form also details the order of the other information (e.g. CV, letter of motivation, transcripts) you need to merge along with the form into a single pdf (if submitting via email) or append to your package (if submitting via postal mail). If you do not submit a certain document (such as a GRE or TOEFL), just skip it in the ordering or your document.


Mailing Address:

RGS Econ
Postfach 10 30 54
45030 Essen

We will notify you of the receipt of your application package via email (to the email address you provide in the personal data part of the application form if you have submitted via postal mail, or to the sender's email address if you submitted via email). 

We do not accept application packages that are sent in separate installments or as multiple attachments or are not ordered as specified in the application form. Please note that the file-size of the package may not exceed 10 MB.

(2) Please ask at least two referees to use the following form for the letters of recommendation. These are to be sent directly to us by the referee via postal mail or email, as instructed on the form:

rgs_econ_recommendation_form_2021.pdf (Fillable form, print/save as pdf)

If we have previously received your application package, we will notify you of the arrival of each recommendation via email. Please allow for up to a week of processing for this notification.

**** Please Note *****
Make sure to contact potential referees well ahead of the application deadline.

You may want to submit your application documents ahead of the deadline, as we sometimes contact very promising applicants before the deadline. 

We also wish to remind you that transmission of personal information via email may be insecure and that we can in no way guarantee for or influence security during transmission.

At RGS Econ, your data is held in the strictest confidence. The data that you provide to us will only be used for the purpose of processing your application and for the duration of the application process. Your application package and reference letters may be viewed by members of RGS Econ's faculty and its coordination staff and will be deleted 4 weeks after completion of the selection process. Do not hesitate to contact us if you are concerned about how your data is handled at RGS Econ or if you would like to have this data deleted at any point during the process.

Selection and Interview Process

Your application will be reviewed by a selection committee, consisting of members of the RGS Faculty.

Starting in April 2021, we will notify you of the status of your application and may invite you for an interview on location or online (Travel costs are reimbursed). Most interviews will take place in late April and early May.

The first acceptance offers will be made in the end of April and may be made until Mid June.

Note: We start reviewing highly promising applications as soon as they are complete (including two reference letters) and may contact you before the above dates. If you have an alternative offer before we contact you, your application is complete, and you are nevertheless highly interested in joining RGS Econ, please send an Email stating the alternative offer to .

Helge Braun, PhD
Ruhr Graduate School in Economics (RGS Econ)
Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
45128 Essen

Tel.: +49 (0)201 8149 512
Fax: +49 (0)201 8149 200