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The Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences (the “WiSo Faculty” for short) is one of six faculties at the University of Cologne. With more than 8,500 students on national and international programmes and  a large number of professors and international academic staff, it is one of the largest and most renowned faculties of its kind.The WiSo Faculty covers a huge variety of  disciplines and fields. Unique in its interdisciplinary approach, it combines business administration, economics, sociology and political science under the roof of one department.The Faculty’s combination of research and teaching, theory and practice as well as economics and social sciences provides the basis for the  mission it has set for itself:

"Innovation for Society"

The Faculty’s development and application of innovative methods and scientific models emphasise its goal of  finding solutions for the challenges of the future. This approach, combined with programmes that are all based on the latest teaching methods and learning content, will  enhance your personal and professional skill set. Our Faculty is internationally renowned in the field of research, with impressive results in national and international rankings (regarding, for example, how positively they are viewed by HR managers of large companies in Germany), and is EQUIS-accredited.
University rankings play an important role in the positioning of universities, assessing the quality of research and teaching as well as departmental performance against a number of criteria.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich W. Thonemann

The Faculty is carving out a successful position for itself in the global higher education landscape by concentrating its research efforts on areas that make it stand out from the rest. In addition to close ties with global corporate partners, the Faculty maintains partnerships with the best universities in the world, thus making an outstanding contribution to the internationally recognised research and teaching of the University of Cologne.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich W. Thonemann, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences

Excellence in research

Through the WiSo Faculty’s interdisciplinary approach, our departments and institutes make a major research contribution of the University of Cologne. We have identified key research profile areas, enabling us to promote individual excellence through innovative interdisciplinary approaches in collaborative research units. Our current positions in the Handelsblatt Research Ranking are testimony to the success of this strategy:

  • Leader: In the current Subject Ranking "Sociology" of the Academic Ranking of World Universities ("Shanghai Ranking"), the University of Cologne ranks first nationally (1)
  • 1st place: Aggregated Handelsblatt ranking BWL/VWL 2014/15: best German research institution with a total of 154 points (2)
  • 3rd place German university in the Handelsblatt ranking VWL 2017 (3)
  • Third best German university in the field of business administration in the research ranking of Wirtschaftswoche 2018 (4)
  • Fourth Best German University Handelsblatt Ranking BWL 2014 (5)
  • Fourth place German university in the VWL research ranking of Wirtschaftswoche 2018 (4)
  • Top 5 German universities in the field of business informatics in the research ranking of Wirtschaftswoche 2018 (4)

For more information about our research, click here.

Excellence in education

As a student of the WiSo Faculty, you benefit from an approach that is based on theory  and methods, combining both research and teaching with practical elements. The teaching at our faculty has benefited from many years of experience in working with companies and visiting lecturers from different professional fields. Many of the visiting lecturers  are professionals and managers who bring important industry experience to the programmes, resulting in sector-specific, up-to-date programme content  for our students. This ensures that the programmes reflect the real world and that they thus combine the practical and the theoretical, whilst also promoting knowledge-sharing  between you the student and companies.

According to the current Wirtschaftswochen ranking (4), personnel experts prefer graduates of the University of Cologne. The WiSo faculty ranks second in the current ranking. This underlines the technical and leading authority of our graduates. With the Master's in International Management (CEMS MIM) we offer the best international management education in Germany (Financial TimesRanking "Master's in Management 2019"(6)). 

The WiSo Faculty is the only German member of the CEMS (The Global Alliance in Management Education) network and offers the Master in International Management (CEMS MIM) in collaboration with other members.

As the University of Cologne is state-funded, there are no tuition fees, just a biannual “semester contribution” of slightly more than 250 euros, which includes the semester ticket for public transport throughout North Rhine-Westphalia. So, with us, you can invest  in an excellent education – and your future – without paying a fortune.

7 Bachelor programmes

Studying at the WiSo Faculty at the University of Cologne gives you an excellent basis for further professional and personal development. We offer seven closely linked, interdisciplinary bachelor programmes:

The real-world content taught on the programmes  is directly linked to the world in which you will eventually work. Take advantage of your bachelor degree as a promising starting point for your career or apply to take a master programme that follows on from your bachelor. During your studies, you will enjoy excellent services and personal support on study- and career-specific issues from our Student Services. Be part of our dynamic campus life and get involved in one of the many student initiatives. Apart from being a major business hub and cosmopolitan metropolis, the city of Cologne offers an exciting mix of education, culture and entertainment.

14 Master programmes

Taking a master programme at the WiSo Faculty enables  you to become a true expert in your field. In fact, a master degree is essential for many management positions in different industries and for specific career paths in research and teaching.
Benefit from an approach that is based on theory and methods, combining both research and teaching with practical elements, and opt for one of the following master programmes:

Our students are held in high esteem by HR managers, as illustrated  by their excellent performance in the graduate quality ranking compiled by the magazine “Wirtschaftswoche” (7). The wide range of subjects  and interdisciplinary approach on our programmes open up attractive job opportunities. Thanks to our extensive  industry and business contacts, many of our graduates are working successfully in industry, as freelancers or for non-profit companies.
Our ties  with over 100 partner universities worldwide mean you can gain international experience during your studies. In addition, the WiSo Faculty is the only German member of CEMS – The Global Alliance in Management Education and PIM – Partnership in International Management.

International “double master” and PHD programmes

Double Master

In addition to the Master in Management (CEMS MIM) programme, which is the only one in Germany, we have double master programmes of an equally high international standard. They are fully taught in English and students spend  one year in Cologne and one at an international partner university.

Currently, we offer the following programmes:

Double Master’s Programme in Business Administration 

Double Master's Programme in Demography and Social Inequality

Double Master's Programme in Economics

Double Master's Programme in European Studies

Double Master's Programme in Health Economics and Management

Take a double master and benefit from the unique advantage of being able to specialise in subject areas at two universities. Enjoy the advantages of an international environment to improve your intercultural understanding and language skills. And, once you’ve  successfully completed the programme, you get to walk away with two masters (your “double degree”) in your pocket.

PhDs and doctoral degrees

Training young researchers is of great importance to us in order to achieve consistently excellent results in research and teaching and to maintain and expand our standing in the national and international research community. The Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences (CGS) is the integrated PhD programme of the WiSo Faculty at the University of Cologne. The CGS offers excellent training in teaching and research. You can engage in research in an international environment, with interdisciplinary cooperation between Economics and Social Sciences and the support of scholarships and fellowships.

Our PhD students come from the fields of Business Administration, Economics, Sociology, Political Science, Econometrics / Statistics, Business Psychology and Energy Economics / Energy Policy. The Graduate School unites numerous graduate colleges and training programmes, such as IMPRS and besmart. It cooperates closely with the Graduate School of the Max Planck Institute (International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy - IMPRS-SPCE). In addition to the fellowships at the CGS, there are other ways of gaining a doctoral degree at the WiSo Faculty. You can find more information by clicking here.

Executive MBA

The part-time continuing education programme Cologne-Rotterdam Executive MBA is the result of a close cooperation between the University of Cologne and the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). It is an international management development programme for the continuing education of executives.

The Cologne-Rotterdam Executive MBA will help you to make your next career step. We prepare you for the challenges and responsibilities facing executives in national and international top management. The Executive MBA helps you develop your full potential as a leader, further improve your management skills and strengthen your personal brand. This will create real value for you and your employer, without restricting your current career momentum. You can find more information and application requirements here.

More information

If you would like to find out more, please contact our WiSo Student Service Point via e-mail contact form.
For further questions and information about research or doctoral degrees and for cooperation requests, please contact the Dean's Office via e-mail or by phone on +49221 4708818.


(1) Academic Ranking of World Universities

(2) Addition Punkte aus den aktuellen Handelsblatt-Forschungs-Rankings BWL 2014 und VWL 2015 (154 Punkte)

(3) Handelsblatt

(4) Wirtschaftswoche 

(5) Handelsblatt

(6) Financial Times