Graduate School of Decision Sciences


Decision making is the cornerstone of the social sciences. The processes that drive human behaviour are fundamental, not only for individual choices and personal well-being, but they are of foremost importance for our understanding of human interactions and hence for the organisation of society as a whole. Whereas economists and political scientists are primarily interested in the consequences of human decisions, behavioural scientists and psychologists are concerned with the fundamental processes that steer human decisions in different situations. In fact, there is a considerable discrepancy between the assumptions made about behaviour in social science models and the results of experimental behavioural science studies. For a comprehensive understanding of human decision making and its consequences for social science, a multidisciplinary research approach is therefore essential. The Graduate School of Decision Sciences offers an ideal training and research environment for doctoral students concerned with questions about decision making and its application to important social science problems. The Graduate School mainly focuses on the subjects economics, political science and psychology, but also includes researchers from a further three complementary disciplines (computer science, sociology and statistics). Its multidisciplinary character is exemplified by numerous existing connections and research cooperations between these disciplines, which are to be expanded upon within the framework of the Graduate School. The Graduate School builds primarily upon the existing Konstanz doctoral programmes in “Quantitative Economics and Finance” and “Politics and Management” and can therefore benefit from the existing, well functioning structures in areas such as the selection of applicants, exam administration and curriculum organisation. Furthermore, the Graduate School is connected to various research centres at the University of Konstanz, and it has several national and international network partners (see Section 5). Starting from these existing structures, our benchmark for the Graduate School are leading European social science graduate schools. The Graduate School concentrates on the following four interdisciplinary research areas, between which several cross-connections exist: (A) Behavioural Decision Making; (B) Intertemporal Choice and Markets; (C) Political Decisions and Institutions; (D) Information Processing and Statistical Analysis. The Graduate School therefore builds a bridge between the decision processes of individuals (A), the subsequent market outcomes (B), and the resulting consequences for normative and positive policy analysis (C). Area D deals with the generation and the analysis of social science data, and thus serves as the methodological foundation of this bridge. The students select a major and a minor subject from these areas, in which they acquire a research-orientated education. Existing Master’s programmes of the participating disciplines are to be extended and adjusted so that a fast entry of students with different Bachelor’s degrees to the Graduate School (“Graduate School Track”) can be realised. In each of the research areas, several doctoral seminars and workshops will be held, which offer the doctoral students numerous opportunities to present their research results and discuss them in a specialised circle of experts. In the final year of their doctoral studies, students will receive targeted career preparation to facilitate their entry into assistant professorship and postdoctoral positions in leading international research institutions or into leading positions in the private sector or the public service. This will guarantee the particularly high national and international visibility of postgraduate training in the social sciences at the University of Konstanz.

  • Department of Economics
Funding sources
Name Finanzierungstyp Kategorie Project no.
Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg third-party funds research funding program 563/10
Further information
Period: 01.01.2010 – 31.03.2011