Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is DIW Berlin a university?

No, DIW Berlin is a publicly funded research institute. We cooperate closely with Berlin’s top universities to offer courses and supervision of PhD students.

Does DIW Berlin award doctoral degrees?

Our program participants enroll at the university where their supervisor holds a professorship. Typically this is one of Berlin’s universities. That university will award your doctoral degree. DIW Berlin does not award degrees.

Do GC students receive a scholarship?

Doctoral students receive funding for four years. They receive a tax-free scholarship of €1,200 per month during the first year. After the first year, there are a variety of ways to be financed: paid research positions, external scholarships, DIW Berlin scholarships, or a mix of these. There are no tuition fees.

What can I expect after completing the program?

Graduate Center graduates have outstanding qualifications in scientific analysis of economic and social policy issues: they possess excellent methodological skills, in-depth experience in handling empirical data, as well as detailed institutional knowledge of the economic and societal structure of Germany and other countries. In addition, they are able to present their results effectively at international congresses, publish their scientific contributions in internationally renowned journals, and successfully manage large-scale research projects. As a result many graduates have found attractive careers in academia, international organizations, government institutions, etc. For further information see our Alumni page.

Can I get credit for courses that I completed during my Master’s studies?

The GC coursework is at an advanced level for PhD students and typically goes beyond what you have learned in your Master’s courses. Even if you feel comfortable with the material covered, our courses will serve as a good refresher that you will need for pursuing a PhD with us. Receiving credit for a previous course in another program is only possible in exceptional cases.

Can I apply to the DIW Graduate Center without having the Master’s degree yet?

We are happy to receive applications from Master’s students with pending degree as long as the degree will be completed before the program starts. Applicants who only hold a Bachelor’s degree can be accepted into the GC if they are enrolled in a fast-track PhD (combination of Master and PhD) and if they can document completed coursework at a Master’s level. Eligibility of these candidates will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Do I have to choose a supervisor before applying to the DIW Graduate Center?

No, acceptance in our program is of general nature and not based on an existing supervision agreement.  You will have time to choose a supervisor during the first year of the program.

Do I need to speak German to gain admission into the program?

No, German language skills are not a prerequisite for admission into the program. Coursework and workshops are offered in English.

I have a Business degree. Am I eligible to apply?

Applicants with a business orientation are only eligible for the program if they also have a strong academic background in economics. They should have completed coursework in economic tools, such as econometrics, mathematics, or statistics.

I have studied one semester or more using the English language, do I have to take the TOEFL or IELTS Test?

If you have completed at least one semester in a program that uses English as its language of instruction, then the TOEFL or IELTS test is not necessary. If you have not done so, a TOEFL or IELTS test is obligatory.

Do I have to take the GRE?

The GRE test is required for all applicants who did not graduate from an ΕEA, Swiss, US American, Canadian, Australian, or New Zealand university. We put most emphasis on the quantitative part. There are no hard boundaries for being considered for our program.

How can I send you my GRE scores?

You can use our GRE Designated Institution(DI) Code "0096".
If this is not possible, please include a copy of your scores (PDF format) in your application documents.

Can I take the GMAT instead of the GRE?

No, we do not accept GMAT test scores as a substitute for a GRE test.

Why do I have to hand in a statement of objectives?

The statement of objectives is supposed to give us an idea of your previous experiences and your future research interests. It also helps us to judge where your ideas fit within the DIW’s areas of research. Please do not exceed the maximum length of two pages.

Do I have to hand in a research proposal?

No, we do not require a full-fledged research proposal. The statement of objectives is sufficiently informative. If you have a research proposal at hand, you may attach it to your application. It will help us to assess your research ideas, but it will not provide an advantage over applications without a research proposal.

Why do I have to hand in a cover letter?

The cover letter serves a formal purpose in that it helps us to see that your application has been completed correctly, including all required documents. If you need to provide any explanatory comments about your documents, please include these comments in your cover letter.

Who should send the recommendation letters?

We strongly prefer that your professors send us the recommendation forms directly by email or mail. However, if this is not possible, you may send us the letters. In this case, the letters must come in envelopes that have been closed and sealed by the professor (i.e. the sealed flap should be stamped with a university seal or signed by the professor).

 Can I send the recommendation letters prior to my application?

Yes, of course. Make sure they arrive before the application deadline.

I already have recommendation letters from other applications. Can I use them for the DIW Graduate Center?

We strongly prefer that your professors use the GC evaluation forms. We will only accept recommendation letters issued to other institutions in exceptional cases.

How does the selection procedure work?

The selection committee will make a first selection based on paper applications. If you are selected, you will then receive an invitation for a personal interview. The final decision will be made shortly after the interviews.

If I am selected for a personal interview, do I need to travel to Berlin?

If you are selected for an interview, we invite you to DIW Berlin to meet us personally and get to know the institute. No matter which country you come from, we offer compensation for your train or airplane ticket. If visiting Berlin is too inconvenient for you, we can also set up a video-based interview using the software Skype.


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