International Programmes 2020/2021

Doctoral Programme ARUS - Advanced Research in Urban Systems Doctoral Programme - Advanced Research in Urban Systems

University of Duisburg-Essen • Essen

Doctoral Degree in Arts and Humanities
Doctoral Degree in Engineering
Doctoral Degree in Philosophy
Doctoral Degree in Natural Science
Doctoral Degree in Educational Science
Doctoral degree or degree awarded by
Via the respective doctoral committee of the University of Duisburg-Essen
Teaching language
  • German
  • English

Participants can choose to write their doctoral thesis in English or in German.

Programme duration
6 semesters
Winter semester
Application deadline

30 April for the following winter semester

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

In the context of this research area, the structured doctoral programme "ARUS - Advanced Research in Urban Systems" is based on previous academic achievements in selected fields within the Joint Centre "Urban Systems". It offers doctoral students the opportunity to explore their research interests in this interdisciplinary and international framework. ARUS is a bilingual (German and English) international programme aimed at graduates with backgrounds in engineering, planning, educational, social sciences and humanities courses who intend to pursue further research in an interdisciplinary urban studies context.
ARUS is a three-year programme which aims to provide an interdisciplinary research context for the scientific and scholarly training of experts in the sustainable development of urban space. In addition to intensive supervision of doctoral theses, it includes course offerings on specific topics in a range of selected urban fields as well as interdisciplinary courses. One of the key aims of the programme is to significantly speed up the average time of completion of a doctorate. ARUS supervisors have a track record of successful supervision of doctoral candidates.
Against the background of global urbanisation and its associated challenges, graduates of ARUS will be in a position to contribute to the improvement of living conditions of the ever-growing urban population. Their scientific studies enable them to identify, describe and analyse complex urban problems, to develop feasible solutions and to support their implementation.
ARUS currently cooperates with universities in the USA (University of Oregon, Portland) and Brazil (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro).
The following fields of study are primarily involved (further supervisors from other fields can be co-opted depending on the research projects submitted by the candidates):

  • Anglophone Studies - Urban Cultural Studies: Prof Dr Jens Martin Gurr (Project Director)
  • City Planning and Urban Design: Prof Dr J Alexander Schmidt
  • Urban Geography - Department of Geography, represented by Prof Dr Hans-Werner Wehling
  • Social Work and Social Policy, Sociospatial Analysis: Prof Dr Fabian Kessl
  • Municipal Water and Waste Management: Prof Dr-Ing Renatus Widmann and Prof Dr Martin Denecke
  • Transport Systems and Logistics: Prof Dr Bernd Noche

For more information see:

Course organisation

The official course duration comprises six semesters. ARUS fits into the Bologna system of Bachelor-Master-Doctoral Degree and is based on recommendations by the "German Council of Science and Humanities" ("Wissenschaftsrat") and the "German Rector's Conference" ("Hochschulrektorenkonferenz").
The main features of the bilingual (German/English) structured doctoral programme ARUS are the following: the combination of individual and group supervision, a structured admission process with an interview with the ARUS board, a broad research horizon in urban studies, completion of specifically designed courses accompanying work on the doctoral thesis, participation in international conferences, formal monitoring of progress, the possibility of acquiring teaching experience in the competition for teaching assignments in the Master's programme "Urban Systems", regular doctoral colloquia, close organisational and professional links with the Master's programme "Urban Systems", and institutional support for career planning in the form of a "scientific agora" which organises contacts with research institutions in the region. The aim of these measures is to significantly reduce the time of completion of a doctoral degree while ensuring a high quality of education.

The course of studies will typically be organised as follows (variations are possible depending on the requirements of individual research projects):

1) Study term 1: in the first semester (winter semester), in addition to refining their projects and working on their theses, candidates participate in courses in selected fields relevant to their theses.
2) Research term 1: research for the doctoral thesis (literature review, field research, empirical surveys, laboratory tests, etc.)
3) Study term 2: in the third semester, in addition to working on their theses, candidates participate in courses and present their research projects in a colloquium.
4) Research term 2: research for the doctoral thesis (literature review, field research, empirical surveys, laboratory tests, etc.)
5) Writing phase: from the fifth semester onwards, students focus on the completion of their doctoral theses; preparation of presentation in a doctoral colloquium and at a minimum of one international conference

For more information see:

Types of assessment

Written dissertation, defence of the dissertation and oral examination

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution
Approx. 350 EUR per semester (social contribution)
Costs of living
Approx. 1,000 EUR per month to cover personal expenses
Funding opportunities within the university
Academic admission requirements

MSc degree or MA degree or equivalent in relevant areas of urban studies

Language requirements

ARUS is a bilingual programme. Applicants need either language skills in English or in German.

Application deadline

30 April for the following winter semester

Submit application to

Universität Duisburg-Essen
Dr Elke Hochmuth
Raum R12 S01 H08
Universitätstraße 2
45117 Essen

Structured research and supervision
Research training / discussion

University of Duisburg-Essen

University location