Course Work

VGSE offers a three year PhD program. Students at VGSE spend almost two years on research and a little more than one year on course work and research training. The course work is spread over three years. In practice, many students stay a fourth year to improve the quality of their Dissertation. The most important part of the program are the research seminars. Apart from the research seminars, VGSE offers selected field courses (25 ECTS points) and skill courses (5 ECTS points). 

 Course Work Overview

Field courses Skill courses Research seminars Total
Overall 25 5 30 60
1st year 15 (3x5) 5 10 30
2nd year 5 10 15
3rd year 5 10 15

1st year

The first year at VGSE is dedicated to developing a research project and finding a supervisor. There are two major anchors for first year studens:

  • October: Faculty presentations - chosing a mentor

In early October all PostDocs and Professors of the Department of Economics give short presentations of their current research. This event allows students to tie their own research interests into the Departments research. During this day students will chose a mentor who will provide guidance through the first year and helps develop a dissertation project. 

  • June: Public presentation of the dissertation project - chosing a supervisor

In mid June all first year students publicly present their dissertation project. At this point students should have found a supervisor. In many cases the mentor becomes the supervisor of the student. In some cases the students found a different supervisor under the guidance of their mentor.

Research seminars

One of the more difficult phases any PhD student encounters is the transition from doing course work to being an active contributor to the scientific community. Questions that students commonly encounter are:

  • What are interesting research topics?
  • How should I start my own research?
  • How do I know whether this research will be novel enough?

At VGSE, students are intensively supervised while making their first steps towards becoming an independent researcher. VGSE organizes two brown bag seminars (one in microeconomics, and one in  macroeconomics) that run every week in every Semester. Students and faculty members present their preliminary research findings during the seminars. before and after the seminars there is the possibility to informally interact.

Students observe the research process from beginning to end, contribute to the research process of others, and benefit from the reactions of faculty members and other students to their work. 

Field Courses

Every year each of the two key areas organizes several field courses, exposing students to the frontiers of research. Field courses are taught by the permanent faculty and internationally well-recognized guest professors. 

The field courses will change from year to year, depending on to the availability of faculty members and guest professors and the research interests of the students. 

Transferable Skills courses

Students at VGSE also learn how to develop interesting research ideas into publishable papers, and interesting presentations. The Doctoral Center of the University of Vienna has developed a set of courses specifically dedicated to graduate students. Depending on the student's needs, courses will be selected on an individual basis.