European PhD Network in Socio-Economic and Statistical Studies

European PhD Network in Socio-Economic and Statistical Studies
The objective of the European PhD Network in Socio-Economic and Statistical Studies (SESS EuroPhD) is the scientific training of scholars who intend to dedicate themselves to academic careers or to serve as experts in national or international organisations where they are called to analyse social and economic data and address social issues with a broad perspective.

The founding principle and scientific aim of the SESS EuroPhD is the development of knowledge regarding the interplay of economic and social phenomena based upon empirical research, adopting the most appropriate and advanced statistical methods. The Sess EuroPhD is thus guided by the socio-economic paradigm – as first proposed by Max Weber – and its application to empirical social science research. Disciplinary specialisation in the social sciences on the one hand and in economics on the other tends to disregard the coherence underlying the structure and functionality of modern societies. The socio-economic paradigm is focused on overcoming this disciplinary fragmentation when studying societies and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships.

Sess EuroPhD is a network of institutions committed to the principle and aim as laid out above.  It also provides participants with the chance to obtain the additional title of Doctor Europaeus by meeting the criteria laid down by the European University Association:

  1. at least two professors from two higher education institutions of two European countries, other than the one where the thesis is defended, have given their review of the manuscript;
  2. at least one member of the jury should come from a higher education institution in another European country, other than the one where the thesis is defended;
  3. a part of the thesis defence must take place in one of the official languages other than the one(s) of the country where the thesis is defended;
  4. the thesis must partly have been prepared as a result of a research period of at least one trimester spent in another European country.

The European PhD Network in Socio-Economic and Statistical Studies strives to achieve the following:

  • the strengthening of European and international research through the transnational promotion of young scientists;
  • the harmonization of doctoral education in the partner institutions through a common curriculum, trimester abroad, the transfer of credit points and coordinated counseling;
  • the promotion of interdisciplinary research;
  • a greater understanding of the interdependence of social and economic phenomena;
  • data-based research through the application of advanced statistical methods;
  • the encouragement of inter-cultural and comparative research;
  • the development of a PhD culture resembling a graduate school, but preserving the specific national European traditions of the countries from which network partners are drawn.

The SESS EuroPhD is designed for doctoral students undertaking full-time study over a three-year period, or part-time study for an equivalent period. A preparatory phase of 6-12 months in the form of pre-programme academic training is available for candidates who need additional training to meet the admission requirements.

The SESS EuroPhD offers students the opportunity to perform their studies at different university sites and to familiarise themselves with the traditions, cultural activity and socio-political factors characterising different parts of Europe. It is intended that such eye-opening experiences represent a positive opportunity for personal development and, indirectly, for the improvement of international relations.


The European PhD Network in Socio Economic and Statistical Studies was initiated in 2001 by Sapienza Università di Roma. A Partnership Agreement with other European universities, based upon an International Interuniversity Co-operation Programme, was signed in 2002 and was followed in 2005 by a further Agreement allowing the delivery of the Doctor Europaeus.

The following partner universities are currently admitting and tutoring SESS EuroPhD candidates:

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Institut für Sozialwissenschaften

Department of Social Sciences/Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The Department of Social Sciences established in the process of German reunification stands out for its integration of Sociology and Political Science into all of its degree programmes and differs in this regard from other Social Sciences departments in Germany. The Department is deliberately oriented towards the shared theoretical traditions of Sociology and Political Science and aims to bring the classical heritage of social sciences research into dialogue with political and sociological theories, as well as with contemporary methods of empirical social research. The department’s Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences coordinates all activities of the SESS program at Humboldt-Universität. BGSS offers a three-year structured doctoral program with a strong methodological focus combining high-level courses on theory and methods, milestones assuring continuous progress and feedback, and practical elements like teaching, publishing and research internships. It was the coordinating institution of SESS from 2008-2017

Eötvös Loránd University Budapest

Doctoral School of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences

The Doctoral School of Sociology was created in 2000 under the leadership of Dénes Némedi by bringing together the Sociology doctorate launched by Tibor Huszár in 1993 as part of the previous institution and the doctorate in Social Policy run since 1995 by Zsuzsa Ferge, the first of its kind in Hungary. The School currently offers three study programmes. In addition to the two other programmes, the Interdisciplinary Social Research programme was launched in 2009 under the leadership of György Csepeli. The high standard of our doctoral training programmes is down to the Faculty’s teaching staff, who have acquired a broad range of experience both at home and abroad and who are recognised domestically and internationally for their work. 

University of Haifa

Faculty of Social Sciences

The Department of Sociology was established as an independent program of study in 1970, offering both first and second degrees. In 1990, a full-service department was created, with the approval of a Ph.D. program by the Council for Higher Education. Since that point the department has enjoyed an excellent reputation in both national and international circles, particularly in the areas of migration, ethnic and race relations, inequality and social stratification, Arab and Israeli society, and criminology.

Higher School of Economic National Research University Moscow

Faculty of Social Sciences

Consistently ranked as one of Russia’s top universities, HSE University is a leader in Russian education and one of the preeminent economics and social sciences universities in eastern Europe and Eurasia. Having rapidly grown into a well-renowned research university over two decades, HSE University sets itself apart with its international presence and cooperation. Our faculty, researchers, and students represent over 50 countries, and are dedicated to maintaining the highest academic standards.  Our newly-adopted structural reforms support HSE University’s drive to internationalize and the groundbreaking research of our faculty, researchers, and students. Now a dynamic university with four campuses, HSE University is a leader in combining Russian education traditions with the best international teaching and research practices.  HSE University offers outstanding educational programmes from secondary school to doctoral studies, with top departments and research centres in a number of international fields. Since 2013, HSE University has been a member of the 5–100 Russian Academic Excellence Project, a highly selective government programme aimed at boosting the international competitiveness of Russian universities.

Sapienza Università di Roma

Department of Economy and Law

The Department of Economics and Law was founded in 2010 as a result of the aggregation of the Department of Public Economics and the Department of Economics Law. Both these Department were, in turn, the outgrowth of successive evolutions that started with the Faculty of Economics, which is more than one hundred years old. The main objective of the Department of Economics and Law is to enhance - through research activity, graduate and undergraduate courses - the integration between economics and law which is today necessary in order to understand major problems and suggest solutions to them. Specific research themes of the Department are: the design of effective regulation mechanisms; the relationship between rules and incentives both in the market and within organizations; the evolution of the public sector and its multilayered structure; the relationship between public and private sectors in view of enhancing equity and efficiency.

University of Southampton

School of Social Sciences

University of Tampere

CAST –  Center for Applied Statistics and Data Analytics, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere

Doctoral education is a key part of the international and multidisciplinary research environment of Tampere University. Our doctoral education is based on the latest research knowledge and close collaboration with society, industry and working life. The Doctoral School and doctoral programmes offer high-quality learning and research opportunities. The scientific and artistic doctoral degrees are organised at Tampere University in the form of doctoral programmes. Tampere University has over 2000 doctoral researchers and over 200 doctoral thesis are defended yearly in our 23 doctoral programmes.  When you begin your doctorate in Tampere University, you also join one of our University’s doctoral programmes. Your doctoral programme enables you to pursue diverse opportunities for learning and development and to develop your research skills. In addition, the university’s joint Doctoral School provides systematic, up-to-date and high-quality education to all researchers at Tampere University across faculty borders. The Doctoral School supports the development of diverse, multidisciplinary and international expertise among doctoral researchers and works to promote employability of our doctoral graduates.

Masaryk University of Brno

Faculty of Social Studies, Faculty of Economics and Administration

The Faculty of Social Studies was established in 1998 and it is among the newest and most dynamic parts of Masaryk University. Its social science tradition dates to 1921, when I. A. Bláha, who studied under Émile Durkheim, established the Department of Sociology. Sociology and psychology were originally taught at the Faculty of Arts, but together with other disciplines they created the Faculty of Social Studies in the late 1990s. Today, the Faculty of Social Studies comprises seven departments and four research institutes. It educates more than 3,600 students in fulltime and part-time forms of study. In its teaching and research, the Faculty maintains high academic standards based on long-term cooperation with universities around Europe and overseas. The Faculty is located in the city’s historic centre, its building offering students and employees excellent conditions for study and work. It houses modern lecture halls, a comprehensive library, several computer labs, specialized desktop publishing studios and multimedia rooms, as well as a student club with a cafe and gallery for student activities.

Network Organization and Institutional Structure

The European PhD's institutional structure consists of:

  • the President representing the PhD Network;
  • the Scientific Board consisting of two representatives from each partner university; the Board meets on an annual basis to approve admissions, define core curricula, establish examination procedures and evaluate, based on shared methodological criteria, the progress of the network in achieving its aims;
  • the Doctoral Candidates’ Representation as a self-organised body for voicing the interests of the doctoral students to the Scientific Board;
  • the Network Management, located within one of the partner institutions, bearing responsibility for administering funds, and being in charge of the management and co-ordination of the Network.

Since October 2018, the coordination center is based at Doctoral School of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest.


Andrew Hinde (since 2015)

University of Southampton

Doctoral Candidates Representatives


Network Management

Professor György Csepeli, Professor Antal Örkény,

Doctoral School of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest

Programme Structure, Requirements and Degree

The European PhD Network in Socio-Economic and Statistical Studies is directed towards analysing the interplay of economy and society in various research fields.

Programme Structure

All students on the SESS EuroPhD will first be admitted to a PhD Programme at their own institutions.  Depending on which partner university they attend, they will be admitted first to a general internal PhD Programme, or to a specific PhD Programme designed for SESS EuroPhD students.

Most SESS EuroPhD students will follow a three-year curriculum including the following elements:

  • Dissertation supporting courses: seminars and methodological courses where projects are regularly presented in order to discuss and reflect on dissertation topics and projects with peers and faculty.
  • Research design and methods courses: courses aimed at deepening knowledge and understanding of qualitative and quantitative methods and applying them to individual projects.
  • Development of additional scientific skills: research stays, internships abroad at partner institutions, participation in conferences, teaching assistantships, submission of papers and articles.
  • Work on the dissertation.

Students who are accepted into the Sess EuroPhD Network but would benefit from additional training, may be advised to take substantive courses within associated Social Science or Economics Masters programmes at one or more partner institutions. Upon admission to the SESS EuroPhD network, the Scientific Board will advise which preparatory courses an individual student should take.

In addition, students on the SESS EuroPhD are expected to participate in three elements specific to the SESS EuroPhD Network

  • Annual Seminars
  • Semester abroad
  • Research internship

Annual Seminars

Annual Seminars, dedicated to topics relevant to the European PhD Network aims and objectives, are organized on a rotating basis by partner universities. These seminars provide an opportunity for teachers and students from different universities to meet in order to discuss their research. During these meetings all doctoral students are expected to present their ongoing work; some may be invited to give special lectures. Previous Annual Seminars  were held in Rome (2003, 2005, 2006 and 2014), Berlin (2004 and 2015), Brussels (2007), Southampton (2008 and 2016), Barcelona (2009), Villa Vigoni, Italy (2010), Tampere (2011), Haifa (2012), Budapest (2013 and 2018), Moscow (2017), and Brno (2019).

Semester abroad

An essential part of the curriculum is the experience gained through the study at partner universities abroad. PhD candidates within the SESS EuroPhd network are obliged to spend at least one trimester at another partner university within the network.  They are encouraged to make additional shorter visits as well. Visiting students are strongly encouraged to follow language courses in the countries of the chosen partner universities that host their visits.

Research Internship

In order to gain insights into ongoing research work and learn to conduct research independently, PhD candidates are encouraged to complete a research internship of at least three months before starting the PhD programme or after the first semester. The partner universities offer a great variety of interuniversity opportunities and research institutes with which they cooperate, where the internships can be conducted. PhD candidates should select a field of research for their internship that is in line with their own research ideas and interests. An internship report, in need of approval by the supervisor, may well be the first step in preparing thesis work. Often the internship will also be used to collect the data for the dissertation project. In any event, the choice of the internship should match the research interests of the candidates and should be discussed carefully with the advisors.

Mentoring and Support


The requirements for students within the SESS EuroPhD network may differ from candidate to candidate depending on personal qualifications and experience and vary among partner institutions.  Candidates will be expected to fulfil the requirements and milestones of their home partner institution.  These may entail research internships, literature reviews, an approved dissertation prospectus as well as various research seminars in order to enhance the theoretical, methodological, and empirical quality of the thesis. They may also include the presentation of periodic reports of the research undertaken, which might be assessed by an internal committee. The Doctoral Thesis may be written in a European language of the country where the doctorate is awarded. A concise summary of the thesis, however, must be written in English in a format of an article ready to be submitted to an international journal. This is the version that will be evaluated by the international members of the jury examining the thesis.  Status reports should be provided in English as well for the members of the committee.

Status and Supervision

Depending on the guidelines of the particular partner university, a Supervision Agreement is signed between the supervisor and the PhD candidate. This document lays down the rights and duties as well as eventual assessment modalities and procedures in dissenting cases.

Supervision of the PhD candidates entails the regular monitoring of candidates' progress in the academic curriculum and the passing of milestones. Candidates on the SESS EuroPhD network spending periods abroad at other partner institutions will have at least one supervisor appointed in their host University who will be their main advisor while they are abroad.


Many of the participating universities award scholarships to some of the candidates who have successfully applied. However, applicants are also encouraged to apply for funding independently at separate foundations.

Doctoral Degree

Students in the SESS EuroPhD network will be awarded a doctoral degree by their home university according to the regulations of that university.  In some partner institutions, participation in the SESS EuroPhD network is acknowledged in the form of a specific degree certificate unique to SESS EuroPhD students.  In others, participants are given the standard PhD certificate of their home institution together with an additional document, signed by the President of the SESS EuroPhD network, describing the activities they have undertaken through their membership of the network.

After the completion of their PhD studies, students who have fulfilled the formal requirements (see above) may be awarded the additional title of Doctor Europaeus.



Admission is based upon academic excellence and is open to students with an economic or social science background who meet the admission requirements of their home university. Candidates may be citizens of countries other than those of the partner universities. The general application process is similar in all SESS EuroPhD partner universities. Applicants should decide at which university their research interests are represented best and should direct their application to the respective university.

Evaluation is based on candidates' academic experiences in some of:

  • empirical research methods,
  • applied statistics and multivariate analysis,
  • general sociological theory,
  • microsociology,
  • macrosociology, social structure and institutional analysis,
  • microeconomic and macroeconomic analysis,
  • political theory,
  • social policy, welfare state analysis,
  • urban and regional sociology, social geography,
  • demographic studies,
  • cultural studies,
  • migration studies

Admission Requirements

  • Candidates must have completed an academic education with above average results of a minimum of five years in the fields of Social Sciences or Economics.
  • By the time they start their PhD studies, they should have fulfilled the degree requirements equivalent to a Master of Science as established by the respective national grant authorities or laid down in the guidelines of the respective university.
  • English language proficiency at an academic level. 

Please consult the websites of the SESS EuroPhD partner universities (please see the links in the below dropdown menu) directly for information regarding their application deadlines.

Application Process

The application process is in two stages.

Stage 1.  Application for admission to the PhD programme at one of the partner institutions.

This follows the admissions protocols of the relevant partner institution, and reference should be made to the information provided by that partner institution.

Stage 2.  Application for admission to the SESS EuroPhD network.

This is identical for candidates from any partner university.

The following documents are compulsory for the application:

  • statement of purpose
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • copies of degrees and certificates
  • certificates of English language ability
  • research plan
  • statement of skills and experience with quantitative and qualitative methods
  • two letters of recommendation

Where these documents have already been supplied as part of Stage 1, the same documents can serve for Stage 2.


later to be published; Online Application (currently under correction)

For questions about applying please contact the ELTE staff

Doctoral School of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest

Budapest, Pazmany Peter setany 1/A, 1117, Hungary

Program coordinator: Emma Majoros,



Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Weßels
Phone: +49-30-25491-315 (-313 Secr.)
Fax: +49-30-25491-345

Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB)
Research Unit "Democracy and Democratization" and Humboldt-University Berlin
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften (ISW)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Unter den Linden 6 D-10099 Berlin

Eötvös Loránd University Budapest

Prof. Antal Örkeny

Prof. György Csepeli

Eötvös Loránd University Budapest (ELTE)
Faculty of Social Sciences

Pázmány Péter sétány 1/A
H-1117 Budapest

Sapienza Università di Roma

Maria Caterina Bramati


Annamaria Simonazzi


Facoltà di Economia

Via del Castro Laurenziano, 9

I-00161 Roma

University of Southampton

Andrew Hinde PRA


School of Social Sciences

University of Southampton

Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

University of Tampere

Paulo Canas Rodrigues 

CAST/Faculty of Natural Sciences

School of Management

FI-33014 University of Tampere

Mika Kautonen


The School of Social Sciences and Humanities

FI-33014 University of Tampere

University of Haifa

Arye Rattner


Meir Yaish


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Benjamin Bental


Department of Economics

University of Haifa, Mount Carmel

Haifa 13905, Israel

HSE Moscow

Antonova Viktoria


Faculty of Social Sciences 

School of Sociology 

Department of General Sociology

Prospekt Andropova, 19–87 Moscow 115470 Russia

Masaryk University of Brno

Martin Guzi


Institute of Labor Economics

Jiří Špalek


Department of Public Economics – Faculty of Economics and Administration

Lipová 41a, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic

Active PhD Students

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

  • Sandra Bohmann
  • Rza Kazimov
  • Zbignev Gricevic
  • Alejandra Rodriguez

Eötvös Loránd University Budapest

  • Sara Simon
  • Aniko Kenez

University of Haifa

  • N/A

Higher School of Economic National Research University Moscow

  • N/A

Sapienza Università di Roma

  • Erica Aloè
  • Tommaso Bechini
  • Nikolay Bogatzky
  • Irene Maria Buso
  • Raffaele Ciula
  • Concetta Danese
  • Jessica Di Cocco
  • Francesco Fiore Melacrinis
  • Vitantonio Mariella
  • Francesca Parente
  • Giulia Porino

University of Southampton

  • N/A

University of Tampere

  • N/A

Masaryk University of Brno

  • N/A

Annual Conferences, Programs, Papers

Rome (2014)                        

Berlin (2015)                 

Southampton (2017)         

Budapest (2018)        

Brno (2019)