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Doctoral Program in Psychology

The Center for Doctoral Studies in Social and Behavioral Sciences (CDSS) offers a three-year doctoral program in Psychology. The CDSS is part of the Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences (GESS) at the University of Mannheim. The graduate school provides doctoral training in empirical and quantitative methods and their application to business, economics, and the social sciences. GESS is funded by the "Excellence Initiative", a competitive funding program by the German federal and state governments to promote top-level research in Germany. This financial support is a clear mark of confidence in the graduate school's programs as a pioneering doctoral training concept in Germany.
The three-year doctoral program builds upon the coursework in the M.Sc. program. In the first year, doctoral students take two semesters of intensive course work and prepare their doctoral proposal. During the second and third year, students conduct the research for their dissertation. After three years, doctoral students submit and defend their dissertation.

All first-year doctoral students are fully funded (tuition and a fellowship stipend). After the first year, Mannheim's numerous research projects provide excellent opportunities for doctoral students to both fund their studies as research assistants and to gain invaluable insights into state-of-the-art research supported by national and international sponsors. Alternatively, after the first year, students may serve as teaching assistants or apply for externally funded stipends.

Alternative Doctoral Degree

In addition to the structured doctoral program offered by the Graduate School CDSS, the School of Social Sciences also offers the opportunity of acquiring a doctoral degree under the supervision of a member of the school. Prospective doctoral students interested in this alternative should consult the job announcements of the School of Social Sciences and its affiliated research institutes or consult a member of the school that might serve as a potential supervisor for the doctoral dissertation project.

Doctoral program at the transregional Research Training Group “Statistical Modeling in Psychology” (SMiP) at the University of Mannheim

The Research Training Group “Statistical Modeling in Psychology” (SMiP) offers a three-year doctoral program in Psychology, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The Research Training Group SMiP is a transregional collaboration of twelve renowned behavioral researchers from five German universities: University of Mannheim (Arndt Bröder, Edgar Erdfelder, Beatrice G. Kuhlmann, Thorsten Meiser, Sabine Sonnentag), Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, University of Koblenz-Landau at Landau, and Eberhard Karls University Tübingen.

Ph.D. students will develop their precise dissertation projects jointly with their advisor within the first months of doctoral studies. Roughly speaking, these Ph.D. projects can be assigned to three thematic areas: modeling cognition and social cognition, modeling motivation and affect, and modeling individual differences. Within each thematic area two complementary and intertwined approaches are possible: projects focusing primarily on model developments and statistical refinements (model development perspective) and projects aiming at innovative applications of existing models to new research questions (model application perspective).  Ph.D. students will profit from diverse opportunities to discuss their Ph.D. projects with fellow Ph.D. students, researchers from the SMiP group as well as external experts. 

To support and accelerate the Ph.D. phase, the SMiP group offers a unique qualification program. It comprises 6 semesters and includes different types of teaching activities covering, for example, core courses in statistical modeling, skill trainings (e.g., academic writing and publishing), and workshops on diverse topics given by members of the SMiP group or renowned international experts from partner institutions. In addition to the course work, active participation in teaching and in conferences will be supported. Furthermore, Ph.D. students will have the opportunity to visit external labs in research groups abroad.