PhD Program

The SEPT program offers graduates from all over the world the opportunity of further doctoral study at Leipzig University. The PhD students are able to conduct their research project in fields related to the development of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

The program relies on an interdisciplinary approach: it will give all participants the opportunity to become acquainted with various scholarly cultures through research activities conducted by international faculty and through research trips to partner institutions. PhD students will be given access to work facilities and computers - contingent on available funding - at the SEPT center.

PHD students, who wish to do so, may also take advantage of opportunities to teach and gain experience in academic management. Forums for the presentation of ongoing student research include doctoral student discussion groups and the Program's research seminars.


The ideal candidate for the SEPT PhD program must be highly qualified academically and have some relevant business experience. The total number of PhD students accepted each year depends on our capacity. Of this number, approximately 70% will be international, i.e. from outside of Germany.


  • A university degree, at least Master level, from a reputable university
  • Broad knowledge of economic issues
  • Good knowledge of English (German skills are recommended but not mandatory)

Admission Process

Applications for admission should be submitted on an official application form, which is obtainable as a download. The official application form has to be sent along with the following required documents:

  • A comprehensive research proposal (as the detailed plan of your doctoral thesis)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Certificates (officially authenticated copies, an officially authenticated translation into English or German, if applicable, accompanied by an explanation of the grading system)
  • All university diplomas and degree certificates indication the final grades
  • Language certificates, giving evidence of the applicant's level of proficiency in English and German at the time of application
  • Record of professional employment/practical work experience
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Letter of confirmation of scholarship-donor if applicable or the status of the application's procedure (i.e. copy of a letter of application)

The research proposal is a very important part of the application. The structure required for a proposal is obtainable from SEPT directly or as a download. The quality of the proposal is the decisive factor for student admission. Please return your application via email to the following address:


There are no study fees in our PhD program. Please calculate living expenses of about EUR 700 per month in Germany (including health insurance). A semester fee for the Studentenwerk Leipzig is mandatory. By paying this amount, you will have access to the students' refectories and cafeterias and gives you the right to apply for a room in the dorms.


SEPT has a keen interest in attracting a student body composed of talented individuals from around the globe. We cannot offer direct financial aid in form of scholarships, but we are willing to support excellent applicants in the process to obtain a scholarship from DAAD and other German foundations. Please download our list of scholarship providers to look for more financial aid.