Qualification Program

The RTG’s qualification program prepares students for successful research in the fields of the RTG. It conveys a relatively broad set of highly marketable methodological tools to all students and it introduces everyone to selected current research questions. It lays a common foundation for researchers of the RTG to fruitfully engage in research across sub-disciplines of the RTG’s overall topic. Another central goal of the qualification program is to support students in pursuing different career options (e.g. academia, organizations, private sector).

The RTG offers an innovative course program tailored to the specific research requirements. These courses cover theoretical and empirical methods as well as topical classes related to regional disparities. In addition, students are trained in handling research data, good scientific practice and writing a paper in economics. A- comprehensive list of items is shown in the following figures and details are given below. 

The qualification program is tailored to entrants with a strong background in research-oriented course work from their Master’s programs in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. This ensures that the RTG-specific course program outlined below can build on fundamental methodological skills and economic understanding at an advanced research-oriented level.

To efficiently ensure collaboration and coherence in the RTG across its locations, we concentrate main elements of the qualification program in an annual RTG Retreat in October and in an RTG Day during the semester (taking place on 12 Tuesdays each semester). These two components of the qualification program bundle RTG-specific courses, research seminars, office hours and meetings with visiting researchers. Other Additional RTG-specific and complementary training measures targeted at subsets of RTG members take place at various dates during the year.

The RTG Retreat contains the welcoming of the new cohort, a presentation of the research agenda and current ideas of the professors, a workshop in which second year students present work in progress or proposals and more advanced students present their job market papers. The RTG Retreat will also include social activities.

The weekly RTG Day involves the core lectures for first-year students, the research seminar and opportunities for bilateral / subgroup meetings of those working on joint projects and for open discussions within the group and with external guests.

First year students will attend the following core courses: Empirical Methods in Regional Economics (divided into structural estimation in the first part and reduced-form policy evaluation methods in the second part) and Theoretical Foundations in Urban and Regional Economics in the winter semester and two Topics courses in the summer semester.

The research seminar forms the platform for both top scholars working on topics related to the RTG and own students presenting their ongoing work.

Students also participate in several Mini Lectures that are held by visiting researchers in their area of expertise and provide in-depth and research-oriented treatments of certain specific topics or methods in the core research area of the RTG.

In addition, the qualification program includes further training and events that are either specific to the RTG or build on existing offers from the academic environment in the Ruhr Area like complementary courses (Writing a paper in Economics, Good Scientific Practice, and Research Data Training) and voluntary participation in other skill specific courses.

Finally, students are supported to attend Summer Schools abroad and present their work at international Conferences.