International Programmes 2023/2024

International PhD Programme for Agricultural Economics, Bioeconomy and Sustainable Food Systems (IPPAE) PhD Programme Agricultural Economics

Justus Liebig University Giessen • Gießen

Dr agr
In cooperation with

University of Hohenheim

Teaching language
  • English

Courses are held in English.

Programme duration
7 semesters
Winter semester
Application deadline

31 August at the university for the following year
No letter of acceptance from the University of Giessen/Hohenheim is required for the application, and none will be given in advance.

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

This PhD programme is offered to candidates from developing countries (DAC) from all over the world. It is intended to provide excellent and motivated candidates with the opportunity to strengthen their research and analytical skills throughout the process of conducting a PhD. The PhD programme includes a German language course, subject courses, research design for the dissertation, field work in the home country, development analysis and future strategies as well as the writing of the dissertation. The dissertation addresses an important problem of agricultural development at the micro or macro level or a related field, such as environment or rural development in the candidate's home country. The aim is to qualify the candidates as researchers and teachers, who are then able to analyse problems and develop solutions for their home countries in a systematic way. Most former students act as multipliers at universities or other institutions in their home countries today. This objective is supported by many ongoing cooperation agreements and continuing exchange activities following studies in Giessen or Hohenheim.

Course organisation
  • A German language course (two months): This usually takes place at the Marburg language centre starting at the beginning of August each year.
  • Course work (four months): At Giessen or Hohenheim, three modules and exams are selected from areas such as economic theory, development strategies, project planning, management, computer applications, farming systems analysis, regional planning, environmental economics, and policy and rural development.
  • Proposal (eight months): This features the research concepts and design, a literature review and framing of the research questions, including the defence of the proposal in front of a committee.
  • Field work in the home country (about six months): PhD students go to their countries of origin for the purposes of collecting data for the dissertation project, fostering contacts with native institutions and ensuring a cultural link between candidates and their home countries. Since the time required for collecting information depends on the type of research, the period of stay may vary from three to twelve months. A close collaboration between Giessen/Hohenheim and the home institution/university is supported. The supervisor from Giessen/Hohenheim typically visits the home country of the PhD student at the beginning of the data collection effort.
  • Data analysis and writing (20 months): After returning to the University of Giessen/Hohenheim, students process their fieldwork data and present it to peers in a doctoral seminar. This is followed by the application of the chosen analytical tools to provide answers to the respective research aims and problem-solving research questions. During this period, the candidates are simultaneously encouraged to publish articles and to submit posters and papers to international workshops and symposia.
  • Defence of thesis and publication (four months): The dissertations are published and are thus easily accessible to the international research community.
International elements
  • Study trips
Integrated internships

A limited number of internships are available at international organisations.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

289.80 EUR

Costs of living

Approx. 795 EUR

Funding opportunities within the university
Academic admission requirements

Outstanding MSc or MA in agricultural economics, economics, environmental sciences or rural development, obtained not more than six years prior to the application

Candidates are expected to have relevant work experience, such as at least two years of work experience as a scientist at an institute of higher education or at a research institute in their home country. Preference is given to candidates whose employers offer a reintegration guarantee.

Before beginning the PhD work, candidates must:

  • pass a German language course exam
  • pass the coursework exam in agricultural economics at Giessen or Hohenheim Universities within the first year of the programme
  • include a research proposal on a relevant topic in their home country with the application documents

For all detailed admission requirements and the application procedure, please have a look at our website.

Language requirements

Candidates must pass the German language course exam (following a German language course during the first two months at Marburg language centre).

  • Very good spoken and written knowledge of the English language is essential: a TOEFL with a minimum of 233 points computer-based, 577 points paper-based, 90 points Internet-based; or IELTS 6,5.
  • A statement from your educational institution certifying English as the language of instruction used in the education programme and a copy of your MSc thesis (pdf) may suffice to prove your language proficiency if you have successfully completed your education (MSc programme) in English at a recognised university in the EU or in one of the following English-speaking countries: United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America, Antiqua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, or Guyana.
Application deadline

31 August at the university for the following year
No letter of acceptance from the University of Giessen/Hohenheim is required for the application, and none will be given in advance.

Submit application to

Interested and qualified candidates must send their application through the IPPAE application form on our website.

Justus Liebig University Giessen
IPPAE (International PhD Programme for Agricultural Economics Bioeconomy and Sustainable Food Systems)
Professorship for Agricultural, Food and Environmental Policy
Sandra Drebes
Senckenbergstr. 3
35390 Giessen

Possibility of finding part-time employment



Halls of residence and private accommodation:

Structured research and supervision
Research training / discussion
Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Tutors

Justus Liebig University Giessen

University location

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