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About RGS Econ

Why study with the RGS?

Writing a Dissertation at RGS Econ

The doctoral program of the  Ruhr Graduate School of Economics (RGS Econ) is highly structured (to enable you to obtain your Ph.D. within 3 years) and professional (you are expected to attend seminars and work closely with your supervisor). Its curriculum conveys state-of-the art methods and topical overviews at the research frontier. In these respects, RGS Econ is similar to many other renowned, internationally competitive PhD programs.

Two aspects of the program and the research environment distinguish RGS Econ from most other programs, however. First, RGS Econ places strong emphasis on a co-operative environment and atmosphere, conducive to joint learning and collaborative research. Many graduate schools inevitably compel their students to compete with each other for scholarship funding after the first year. RGS Econ provides a three-year funding guarantee to eliminate this competition which often hinders teamwork and the uninhibited exchange of ideas. A ratio of professors to students of almost 1:1, a small cohort of students, and numerous joint events -  from soft-skill seminars and social events to workshops, a rotating lecture where students meet each faculty member, and retreats in which students present their current research - further facilitate the exchange of ideas in an environment free of reprisals, encourage joint research projects both among students and among students and faculty.

Second, RGS Econ - through its combination of three departments and a leading research institute involved in policy analysis and evaluation - is able to provide students with opportunities in theoretical, empirial, and applied research across a broad range of fields. During their first year, students of the entering cohort are located at the RWI. Next to completing their core course requirements, they have the opportunity to experience the day-to-day workings of a research institute first hand, through numerous seminars and bag lunches and through interaction with the institute's more than 50 researchers. Subsequently, after choosing their supervisor, second year students relocate to the respective department (or stay at the RWI). Thus students experience research early on, have access and exposure to multiple research environments, and are able choose the one that best suits their research interests and inclinations (possibly switching environments for different projects).

RGS Econ is especially well-suited for you if you are interested in- next to obtaining a comprehensive state-of-the-art education in economics and completing a high-quality dissertation -  a co-operative learning environment, if you consider collaborative research projects as an opportunity, and if you value the option to conduct first-rate research in many fields of Economics without from the start having to commit to either theoretical, empirical, or applied work, while getting exposed to all of these.

Extended Research Network and International Environment

Diversity is an important and valued factor contributing to the open intellectual environment at RGS Econ. We strongly encourage international students to apply. About a quarter to a third of our students are from abroad. English is not only the language of instruction, but also the language used in day to day communication.

We also strongly encourage our students to make use of our extensive international research network and those of our institutional affiliates. RGS Econ financially supports students' research stays at other institutions, conference participation and summer schools. Research stays are not on a structured exchange basis, but rather geared to the individual interests and needs of the student. Interested students usually consult with their supervisor to determine and get in touch with relevant colleagues from RGS Econ's wide range of global contacts. This informal system has been very successful, with research stays in places such as: Aarhus (Denmark), Stern (New York, USA), Berkely (California, USA), University of the Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain).


RGS Econ students often move directly into prestigious research positions; around two thirds of our graduates become professional researchers. Some of our alumni are now working as researchers and lecturers at the RWI, DIW, TU Dortmund, the University of Liverpool, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University Duisburg-Essen, Victoria University of Wellington, Dartmouth College, the Deutsche Bundesbank, and many other places.

Other alumni are working for private-sector institutions closely associated with economics, such as Deutsche Bank, ThyssenKrupp Consulting, KPMG and McKinsey & Company.


In the words of some of our current students and alumni, here is what you can look forward to at the RGS:

"The RGS supports its PhD students in participating at high ranked international conferences and supports research stays abbroad. This is not only a nice job variation but also creates contacts to researchers across the globe, which might be useful in the later career." ~ Michael Kind

“The RGS gives the opportunity to discuss ideas with colleagues from the participating institutions and to use the infrastructure of dataset available at the RWI.” ~ Adam Pilny

“The RGS is an outstanding Ph.D. program: Combining the expertise of three universities and one of Germany’s leading research institutes in economics it creates an inspiring environment for a starting researcher. Moreover the Ruhr area and its surroundings are one of Germany’s greatest places to live: More than five million people who live and work here bear witness to that.“ ~ Simon Decker

"The RGS perfectly allows students to balance research career with social life. The atmosphere in RGS is especially friendly and cooperative. Moreover, Essen Philharmonie and Folkwang Art museum are just 3 minutes away by walk."  ~ Rui Dang

A visting scholar from Griffith University (Australia) noted, "Everyone is so professional and friendly, at the same time!  It is almost like being at home.  I can't believe the directors of the RGS not only know the students names, but take the time to talk to them.  There really is a different, almost family, feel here."