Graduate Training: Integrating Doctoral Students

Supportive and intellectually stimulating

MaxPo attracts outstanding international graduates and provides them with excellent conditions for pursuing a doctoral degree. The graduate program offers student training in political economy and economic sociology with topics oriented towards the Center's main research framework. Since 2012 MaxPo has recruited two PhD students per academic year (each with a three-year fellowship). Recruitment usually begins in January each year with an international call for applications.

The eight PhD students (as of January 2016) are enrolled in the Doctoral School of Sciences Po in Sociology or Political Sciences. All PhD students are fully involved in one of the research groups, in the research program, and training activities of MaxPo. At the end of their fellowship, they defend their thesis at Sciences Po Paris or within the framework of a cotutelle.

The co-directors of MaxPo, as thesis supervisors, chair a monthly doctoral seminar where all PhD students discuss the progress they are making in their research projects and their dissertations. Doctoral students at MaxPo also have the opportunity to take part in graduate courses offered at Sciences Po. This training helps them prepare for careers in academia and beyond. Doctoral students and visiting doctoral fellows at MaxPo share a common office space equipped with eight carrels, and they have access to a meeting room.

Research facilities beyond MaxPo

Students at MaxPo have access to the libraries at Sciences Po and at the MPIfG in Cologne. Both libraries have online catalogues that can be accessed directly via the internet. The Sciences Po library is continental Europe's largest library for social sciences and humanities. In addition, students have access to the extensive MPIfG catalog enrichment service, which provides links to full-text resources, e-books, and digitized tables of contents for all new acquisitions.

Joint doctoral program: Cotutelle

Doctoral students at MaxPo have the opportunity to participate in a joint doctoral program (cotutelle) offered by the École de la recherche de Sciences Po and the International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE), the latter of which is run jointly by the MPIfG, the University of Cologne, and the University of Duisburg-Essen. Cooperation with the IMPRS-SPCE has increased steadily over the past years.

The joint doctoral program enables doctoral students at Sciences Po Paris and the IMPRS-SPCE to pursue a German and a French doctoral degree simultaneously (cotutelle de thèse). In Cologne, the program is part of the IMPRS-SPCE. The cotutelle option not only supports Franco-German cooperation but also makes both doctoral programs more attractive to graduate students from partner universities in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Up to two young researchers may earn the cotutelle degree each year. Students enrolled in the Franco-German Doctoral Program spend at least two semesters at the partner institution. During their participation in the program, they take courses, conduct research, and write a dissertation under the joint supervision of two advisors, one from each institution. They benefit from research seminars offered jointly to students from both institutions.

In addition, doctoral students enrolled in the IMPRS-SPCE and Sciences Po, including MaxPo students, can apply to be hosted for an exchange semester or a shorter research stay at the partner institution. This option does not entail a Franco-German doctorate, but allows the students to benefit from the research environments in both countries and to be guided during field research abroad, if necessary. To support the integration of the two doctoral programs, and to make the cooperation accessible to a broad range of master and PhD students, faculty from both institutions regularly offer joint courses in Cologne and Paris.

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