Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (Doctoral Studies)

The International PhD Program for Agricultural Economics, Bioeconomy and Rural Development is a joint program offered by Justus-Liebig-University Giessen and the University of Hohenheim. The Program focuses on interactions between environmental, social and economic dynamics and where values play an important role.

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IPPAE – International PhD Program for Agricultural Economics, Bioeconomy and Rural Development

This program is offered by Justus-Liebig-University Giessen and the University of Hohenheim

Location The Justus-Liebig-University was founded as one of the first universities in the German-speaking world. Justus-Liebig-University combines up-to-date research and teaching with the tradition of a university which is over 400 years old. Today, the university has about 28,000 students, about 10 per cent of whom belong to the faculty of Agriculture, Food Sciences and Environmental Management.

The University of Hohenheim, which was founded in 1818, is located outside the city of Stuttgart close to the airport. The main building is an old castle surrounded by large parks and two experimental farms. Short distances between all campus facilities make the orientation for new incoming students easy and allow a familiar atmosphere. Agriculture is a dominant faculty with a large number of international students, extensive curricula and a high proportion of PhD students.

Course focus The IPPAE gathers PhD candidates from all over the world. The language of instruction is English, but the programme includes a German language crash course. Prior to the thesis research, candidates need to do course work for one semester.

Our era is one of wicked problems, characterized by strong interactions between environmental, social and economic dynamics and where values play an important role. Therefore, we warmly invite you to address in your PhD thesis key problems of rural development and to contribute to changing the course of the ecological and economic impoverishment taking place in many agricultural systems of the world. IPPAE aims to qualify candidates as researchers and teachers, who are then able to analyse complex and interdisciplinary problems and develop solutions for their countries in a systematic way. Today, most of the former IPPAE candidates are acting as multipliers of knowledge at universities or other institutions in their home countries. This objective is supported by the ongoing cooperation and continuing exchange activities that take place after completion of the programme in Giessen or Hohenheim.

Target group Young scientists from developing countries and emerging economies with two years of professional experience. Applications are invited primarily from universities and national and international research institutions for staff development, but applications from M.Sc. degree holders already employed in government, administration, consultancies, international agencies and industry are also accepted.
Course language English
Entry requirements
  • Master’s degree or equivalent is required with a minimum grade of A or B (the better the grade, the higher the chances)
  • You must have earned your last academic degree within 6 years before the application date
  • TOEFL with a minimum of 233 points computer based, 577 points paper based, 90 points internet based or equivalent is prerequisite
Degree Awarded Dr. sc. agr. / (Ph.D.)
Course Begins 1 June each year
Course Duration In total 42 months

  • a) German language course (4 months) at the language centre in Marburg starting on June 1st every year
  • b) Course work (1 semester) at Giessen or Hohenheim, three modules relevant to the thesis topic and exams
  • c) Research design (about 6 months), literature review, research design, proposal and  fieldwork preparation
  • d) Fieldwork in the home country (about 6 months). PhD students will go to their home countries to collect empirical data as the basis of their research work and promote contacts with native institutions. The supervisor from Giessen/Hohenheim will visit the field work site of the PhD candidate during field work.
  • e) Analysis and Problem Solving Strategies (17 months). After returning to the University of Giessen/Hohenheim, the candidate will process information and analyse past developments and the current situation related to the research problem and objectives. Following this, the candidate will model future impacts and test alternative strategies to assess future problem solving activities.
  • f) Submitting the dissertation and defense (4 months). During this period the candidates are simultaneously encouraged to publish articles and submit posters and papers to international workshops and symposia. The dissertations are published and are therefore easily accessible to the international research community.
Remarks The final decision on the topic of the thesis is made jointly by the candidate and the supervisor. The research should fit into the overall research programme of the supervisor. The language of the courses and seminars as well as of publications, including the PhD thesis, is English. Proficiency in English is a precondition for writing the PhD thesis.

The IPPAE strives to develop cooperation between the Universities of Giessen and Hohenheim and with the institutions the PhD candidates are affiliated to.

Prof. Dr. Ernst-August Nuppenau

Institut für Agrarpolitik und Marktforschung
Professur Agrar- und Umweltpolitik
Senckenbergstraße 3, D-35390 Giessen

Phone: +49 (0) 641 / 99-37033




Prof. Dr Regina Birner

Universität Hohenheim

Institut für Tropische Agrarwissenschaften, (Hans-Ruthenberg Institut)

Sozialer und institutioneller Wandel in der landwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (490C)

70593 Stuttgart, Germany

Phone: +49(0)711-459-22514

Fax: +49(0)711-459-23812