FAQ Application


Application questions
Referees & recommendation letters
Technical questions
General program-related questions
Questions on the fast track option for applicants with a Bachelor degree

Application Questions

How can I apply to the BSE?
Application is done online via our application portal starting on November 15 of the respective year (the link to the portal will be made available on that day). Please complete and submit your application as quickly as possible, as referees must also submit their letter of recommendation before the deadline! Incomplete applications as well as applications sent via email will not be considered.

Which documents do I need?
You will need to provide the following documents with your application: motivation letter (max. 2 pages, this should state your motivation for applying to the program and should include a short outline of your major research interests); detailed curriculum vitae (without photograph); copies of academic transcripts and other certificates; two letters of recommendation by academic referees; GRE scores (institution code 3853); if you are a business applicant, GMAT scores are also applicable; and IELTS or TOEFL scores if applicable.

Do you accept applications from the field of engineering/mathematics/statistics?
Yes, provided you have a sufficient background in economics or business studies.

How does the selection procedure work?
After the application deadline, the selection committee will make a first selection based on the received electronic applications. If you are selected, you will then receive an invitation for a personal interview. Final decisions will be made shortly after the interviews. Please refrain from any inquiries about the status of your application until at least four weeks after the application deadline.

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 meet us personally and get to know the BSE and its partner institutions. 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 Skype.

Why do I have to hand in a motivation letter?
The motivation letter serves to indicate why you are interested in applying to the program as well as to give us an idea of your previous experiences and your future research interests. In your letter, you can describe what research topics you are interested in and name possible research questions/ideas. This helps us judge where your ideas fit within the BSE’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 fully-fledged research proposal. The motivation letter 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.

What is the status of my application?
After submitting your application, we will send you an automatic confirmation via email. This means that your application is officially registered. The actual evaluation will take place after the submission deadline. Therefore, we kindly ask you to refrain from any inquiries about the status of your application until at least four weeks after the application deadline.

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What GRE score do I need in order to be admitted?
Most successful applicants score at or above the 90th percentile in the quantitative section of the GRE General Test. Note that the results from all GRE sections are considered.

Is it possible to apply without GRE scores?
Your application will be considered without GRE test results, but your chances of being admitted are much higher if you submit them. We therefore highly recommend submitting GRE test results.

Is GMAT accepted as a substitute for GRE?
Yes, but only for business candidates. Please upload your GMAT test results as a PDF file in the application portal.

How long are the GRE results valid?
GRE scores are reportable for five years after the test date.

When are IELTS/TOEFL test results required?
Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency unless they hold a degree from a university in an English-speaking country or can document at least one year of studies at an English-speaking university.

How long are my TOEFL/IELTS results valid?
TOEFL/IELTS results are valid for two years after the test date.

What TOEFL/IELTS score do I need in order to be admitted?
As a rule of thumb, successful applicants will score at or above 7.0 (IELTS) or 95 (Internet-based TOEFL).

I will not be able to upload my test results within the given deadline. Can I send/upload them later?

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Referees & Recommendation Letters

Can I name business references?
No, your referees must come from academic institutions.

How can I change one of the referees/the contact information?
After you cleared your referees for contact, you cannot change your referee. Please inform your referee beforehand that he/she will be contacted by us.

Can my referees send their letters via email?
No, it is not possible for referees to send letters via email. Each referee will be contacted by us via email and asked to fill out a short questionnaire about you and upload his/her reference letter to our website.

My referee is very busy right now/on vacation. Can he/she hand in the letter after the deadline?
No, letters sent in late cannot be considered. In turn, your application will be considered as incomplete and will not be further processed.

Can I send three letters of recommendation?
Our application system only allows the upload of two letters of recommendation.

Can I upload the recommendation letters myself?

My referee was not contacted. Can you help me?
Please check if you allowed us to contact your referees (by clicking on “Contact referee now,” which turns the box green). If your referee still was not contacted, it is possible that we are still in the process of checking the information you gave us. Make sure the name and contact information is correct. Private e-mail addresses or referees with a fake identity will not be contacted.

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Technical Questions

Can I remove already uploaded documents and replace them with others?
As long as you have not submitted your application, you can delete and resubmit documents anytime. Once submitted, your application cannot be changed anymore.

Do you need original documents as hard copies or scans?
Scanned copies of original documents will suffice for now. We will ask you to provide the original documents after admission.

Is it possible to send the documents via mail instead of uploading them?
No, all documents have to be provided online. GRE/GMAT/ TOEFL/IELTS results can be sent to us via email as an exception, but in that case we cannot guarantee that they will be considered.

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General Program-Related Questions

What can I expect after completing the program?
Our 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, and government institutions, etc.

Do BSE students receive a scholarship?
Yes, PhD students will receive funding for the expected length of the program, i.e. for four years. For the course phase, a stipend of 1,200 Euro per month is provided; funding during the research phase is normally provided through employment at one of the BSE’s member institutions.

I already have a scholarship. Do I need to apply online?
If you already have an external scholarship, we ask you to apply online like all other applicants. During the application process, you will be asked if you need funding. Please hit “Other sources of funding available” and specify the issuing institution and the duration of the scholarship.

Are there tuition fees?
No, however, to enroll at one of the Berlin universities, there is a semester fee of approximately 300-350 Euro per semester. This provides access to public transport in Berlin at no additional cost and other benefits.

Which institution will award the doctorate?
Our program participants enroll at the university where their supervisor holds a professorship. Typically this is one of Berlin’s participating universities: Humboldt Universität, Freie Universität, Technische Universität, ESMT Berlin, or Hertie School. That university will award your doctoral degree.

How long does it take to finish my PhD within the BSE program?
It usually takes about four to five years (full-time study) to complete the program.

Are part-time studies possible?
No. The BSE program is a full time program that requires your full time participation in the courses.

How can I get a job at one of the faculty chairs/departments?
Job offers are regularly posted in the jobs section of our website or can be found on the respective partner university/institute website.

Are all courses taught in English?

Do I need to speak any German?
No, although it will be beneficial for living in Berlin of course.

Do I have to choose a supervisor before applying to the program?
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.

With what research interests can I apply?
Since BSE is a cooperation of various academic institutions in Berlin, our faculty covers a broad range of fields. You will find information on our faculty members at each institute's website.

I already took PhD level courses. Can I transfer my credits to your program?
No general assessment can be made whether previous courses can be accredited. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. In general, only credits can be transferred/approved, but not grades.

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Questions on the fast track option for applicants with a Bachelor degree

Can I apply for the BSE as a bachelor graduate?
Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree only are eligible to apply for the program, however, they must also apply for a Master’s program offering a so called “fast track” option at one of the participating institutions, which runs parallel to the BSE program. The BSE Core Courses as well as the majority of the BSE Elective Courses are approved for the available Master’s programs in Berlin. Furthermore, students must take additional Master’s courses in order to earn the required 120 ECTS in examinations as part of the Master’s program. The examination rules of the
respective Master’s program provide more details on whether BSE courses can be credited to the program and which additional Master’s courses must be taken in order to earn the Master’s degree.

Which Master’s programs offer a fast track option?
Currently, the “Master in Economics and Management Science” (MEMS, HU), “Master in Economics” (HU), “Master in Business Administration” (HU) and “Master in Public Economics” (FU) offer “fast track” options that are taught in English.

How do I apply for the BSE as a bachelor graduate?
If you are planning to enter the program with a Bachelor's degree, answer “Yes” to the question "Are you entering the program with a Bachelor's degree?" (section "research profile") during your application.

Can I apply for both BSE and MEMS/ Economics/ Business Administration through your application portal?

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