DIA Curriculum

The programme is divided into a coursework phase and a research phase.

Courses totalling 36 credits ensure that as a graduate of the Ph.D. programme in  International Affairs and Political Economy (DIA), you will possess the required in-depth knowledge both in interdisciplinary fundamentals and in your main discipline and specialisation.


You begin your studies in the DIA programme with the coursework phase, which consists of two compulsory courses, at least one core elective course and a maximum of two elective courses.

In the course "Philosophical and Methodological Foundations of Social Science Analysis" (English, 6 credits) we explore the theoretical and normative principles of economics, social sciences and law. In this way, scientific questions will be linked to methodologically based implementations.

Course Lecturer Semester
Philosophical and Methodological Foundations of Social Science Analysis Prof. Dr. Klaus Dingwerth Autumn

The "Proposal Colloquium" (English, 6 credits) allows you to develop a coherent research project and to get helpful feedback before you submit the research proposal for the doctoral thesis.

Course Lecturer Semester
Proposal Colloquium Prof. Tina Freyburg, Ph.D. Autumn

Various courses relating to methodological and thematic questions are offered in the areas of political science, economics and institutional organisation theory. At least one core elective course has to be attended (English, 4 credits).

Course Lecturer Semester
Political Economics of Development Prof. Dr. Roland Hodler Spring
Institutional Organization Theory Prof. Dr. Kuno Schedler Spring
Social Acceptance of Climate Solutions in a Polarized World (not in Spring 2024) Prof. Dr. Rolf Wüstenhagen Spring
Macroeconomics and Inequality  Prof. Dr. Reto Föllmi, Prof. Winfried Königer, Ph.D.  Autumn 
Literature Seminar in Political Science  Prof. Dirk Lehmkuhl, Ph.D. Autumn

You have the possibility to attend up to two elective courses (each 4 credits) and to choose from a range of seminars organized by both the GSERM (Global School in Empirical Research Methods) and other doctoral programmes at the HSG. If you want to attend external courses at other universities you have to submit a request in advance. When accepted by the programme commission the courses can be credited.

Course Lecturer Semester
Advanced Public Economics (previously "Designing Redistributive Policies") Prof. Dr. Dominik Sachs Autumn
(Mental) Health and the Labor Market Prof. Beatrix Eugster, Ph.D. Autumn
Recent Advances in the Econometrics of Optimal Policy Design Prof. David Preinerstorfer, Ph.D. Spring
Basics in Experimental Research Prof. Dr. Emanuel de Bellis, Prof. Dr. Charlotta Siren Autumn
Workshop Series in Experimental Research Tools Prof. Dr. Charlotta Siren Spring

During the coursework phase you submit a research proposal for the doctoral thesis. The research proposal sets out the topic, the objective and the chosen method.

The dissertation committee (supervisor and co-supervisor) will carry out a colloquium with you on the research proposal. This lasts at least 30 minutes and is not open to the public. The dissertation committee decides either to accept the research proposal, return it for revision or to reject it.

During the research phase you will focus on writing your doctoral thesis. In addition, you will attend an essay seminar and a thesis seminar. The compulsory seminars can only be attended after having submitted the research proposal.

In the "Essay Seminar" you will work on an essay suitable for publication.

Seminar Lecturer Semester
Essay Seminar (not in Spring 2024) Prof. Dr. Patrick Emmengger Autumn

In the "Dissertation Seminar" you will present the interim results of your doctoral thesis.

Seminar Lecturer Semester
Dissertation Seminar Prof. James W. Davis, Ph.D. Spring

You can submit the thesis in the form of a complete book (monograph) or several essays (cumulative dissertation). You should decide on the format with your supervisor. For further details concerning the cumulative dissertation please refer to the corresponding guidelines.

In the defence you demonstrate whether you have met the requirements of the doctoral thesis. The dissertation committee hosts the defence and assigns an appropriate grade. The defence lasts at least 60 minutes and is open to the public.

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