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Key Facts

Degree: Master of Science
Duration: 4 semesters, full-time
Credits: 120 ECTS
Language: English
Content: The programme combines canonical PhD level training in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics with the possibility to focus on key research areas and methods in Economics at the University of Cologne
Start: Fall term
Application deadline: 31st March

The Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences of the WiSo-Faculty offers an exclusive two-stage graduate programme in Economic Research. We invite highly ambitious candidates with a particular interest in conducting academic research to apply for our programme. It includes a two-year-Master 's programme in Economic Research which is part of an integrated graduate programme ("PhD programme in Economics").

In a small exclusive group of students, you will pass the first stage of the programme and receive a M.Sc. in Economics. You will benefit from a unique combination of excellent research with core topics in the field of economic research and specialisations within a broad range of topics and disciplines of the WiSo Faculty which allow you to tailor your own study profile and make yourself a specialist. You will focus on theoretical principles, learn about state-of-the-art research and use methods to do your own innovative economic research.

The research focus of the M.Sc. prepares you for an academic career and enables you to pursue a PhD in the second stage of the programme. If you decide not to enter the second PhD stage of the programme, you are highly qualified for top positions in leading institutions and companies with advanced analytical focus with your M.Sc.

What is special about our programme?

The programme combines canonical PhD level training in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics with the possibility to focus on key research areas and methods in Economics at the University of Cologne, like Behavioural Economics, Public Economics or advanced methods. Moreover, the programme offers the chance to include on selected topics from other M.Sc. programmes in Economics and related disciplines, like Management or Political Science.

Focus on research, not expenses

There are several funding options for our students to cover living expenses when pursuing their studies. This gives you the opportunity to fully concentrate on your studies instead of worrying about your expenses.

As the University of Cologne is state-funded, there are no institution fees - just a biannual "course and tuition fee". So you can invest in an excellent education - and your future - without paying a fortune.

Work in an international environment

All of our courses are offered in English. Complete your Master’s degree in English and prepare yourself for an international career. A large number of different nationalities apply for our Master's programmes. The faculty also cooperates with partner universities worldwide such that a term abroad can be integrated in your studies. We ensure you to study in an international as well as intercultural environment. More information and options.

Benefit from local research networks

All specialised courses of the programme relate to up-to-date research areas of our large research centres at the University of Cologne and Key Research Initiatives of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences: The Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy, The Center for Social and Economic Behaviour (C-SEB) and the Key Research Initiative Behavioural Management Science (BMS).

Become part of this network and explore research close at hand with renowned scientists. Research Master students are highly welcome to take part in lectures, seminars, workshops and events of our local expert networks. We further offer workspaces and IT facilities at the research centres that are exclusively available for M.Sc. Economic Research students.


The master programme Economic Research appealed to me because of its interesting questions and the possibility of pursuing a doctorate. The small study groups and the intensive contact with professors and fellow students enabled me to master many challenges and develop specific research interests. The program prepared me very well for my time as a PhD student in which I can now implement my own research projects.

Paula, former M.Sc. Economic Research student (currently PhD student)

As a first step toward my PhD, the master of Economic Research was great in preparing me for my current research. Especially advantageous was its small course sizes and easy access to the professors. This facilitates learning specific subject knowledge, and developing research ideas. Additionally, having a dedicated office for the cohort and access to stipends and research assistant jobs at the faculty were additional reasons for choosing cologne. In my current PhD, I greatly profit from the excellent teaching of applied econometrics, and a broad knowledge of economic theory for instance in public economics.

Marten, former M.Sc. Economic Research student (currently PhD student)

Course programme in M.Sc.

The Master's programme contains 120 ECTS credits and comprises a core section, a specialisation and a Supplementary Section as well as a Master's Thesis.
The core section of the master programme Economic Research contains 36 ECTS credit points. This area covers the advanced and research-oriented basis of micro- and macroeconomics, statistics, econometrics and mathematics. You are enabled to handle scientific literature of economic science and analyse economic problems on an advanced theoretical and empirical level.
In the specialisation section, you choose four specialisation courses in the research area you want to focus on in your proceeding studies. You can also broaden your general knowledge by choosing from core courses you did not attend in the core section before. Additionally, two Reading Groups in micro-, macroeconomics or econometrics are compulsory. Here, students read and discuss the latest research papers in the respective research area.
The supplementary section serves as an additional section to further develop a more specific profile – either by deepening and specialising or by diversifying knowledge.


What comes next?

After successful completion of stage 1 of the programme, you have two options:


Continue with the second stage of the graduate programme and start your PhD straight away (dissertation phase).

Finish the programme with the Master of Science in Economic Research and leave as a highly qualified candidate for top positions in leading institutions and companies.

2. Stage: Dissertation Phase (PhD Economics)

Key Facts

  • Start: fall term
  • You have already completed the necessary PhD courses within our MSc programme
  • Find a supervisor and start with the three-year dissertation phase straight away
  • Language: English
  • Degree title: Philosophiae Doctor (PhD)
  • Fees: Only social contribution fees (including ticket for public transport, see here)

Please find further information on the Webpages of the Cologne Graduate School in Management, Ecoomics and Social Sciences on the PhD Programme in Economics.

Beratungssituation: Dialog im WiSo Student Service Point

If you are interested in or have questions about our WiSo degree programmes, the student advisors at the WiSo Student Service Point will be happy to help: