Program and Curriculum


The IMPRS Moral Economies is a structured, English-language PhD program that offers funding for up to four years. The IMPRS Moral Economies scholarship includes a stipend for living expenses, use of the resources and library of the MPI for Human Development, as well as research funds for the dissertation. Doctoral candidates are supervised by professors from the affiliated partner universities.

For a detailed description of the program of the IMPRS Moral Economies please see PDF Structure of the PhD Program.


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Coursework (Semesters 1-3)

The IMPRS Moral Economies offers two introductory seminars in the first semester. The seminars focus on fundamental theoretical and practical competencies, aimed at providing the doctoral candidateswith a common framework of knowledge. Further seminars and workshops on different aspects of moral economies in the second and third semesters help doctoral candidates to refine their refine their research projects. The course program is complemented by colloquia, conferences, and summer schools.
To get an idea of seminars offered, see Seminars and Events.

Empirical Phase (Semesters 4-5)

This time is devoted to the collection of source material from archives and libraries and/or fieldwork, as well as the presentation of preliminary findings at conferences and workshops.

Completion (Semesters 6-8)

In the final phase of the dissertation, students maintain close contact with their advisers and continue to collaborate with one another. Doctoral candidates should finish writing their dissertations by the end of the seventh semester. Detailed comments by peers and supervisors help them to fine-tune their texts and prepare for the thesis defense.

Further Academic Events

The doctoral candidates profit from Berlin's lively academic community. They are encouraged to attend seminars relevant to their specific research interests and to present research results at conferences. Students also profit from an international exchange program with the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley.

Each year, the IMPRS Moral Economies organizes an international summer school, which is also open to PhD students and young researchers from other universities. The summer schools consist of text work in small groups, presentations of ongoing research and talks by senior scholars.

Supervision and Evaluation

Doctoral candidates and professors meet regularly to discuss the progress and development of the dissertation. To ensure satisfactory progress, PhD projects are evaluated twice during the school’s annual retreat: once during the transition between the coursework phase and the empirical phase, and the second time before the beginning of the completion phase.