External PhD Program

With final exam for a doctoral degree at a cooperating university

Kühne Logistics University (KLU) is a newly-founded research-oriented university. Its mission is to educate future leaders in logistics, supply chain management, and management and to conduct research for the benefit of society. In particular, it seeks to advance scientific knowledge and to apply it in the interrelated fields of logistics and supply chain management, accounting, finance, marketing, and leadership. As the KLU does not yet have the right to grant PhD degrees, respective candidates will be examined and receive their PhD degrees from a cooperating university. To the benefit of respective candidates, the KLU will ensure that such a cooperation is in place for each starting PhD candidate. As an integral part of this mission, KLU is committed to offering PhD courses in logistics and management.


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Nicole Martinetti

Student Recruitment Manager

Tel: +49 40 328707-157
Fax: +49 40 328707-109

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Sophia Rösener

Student Recruitment Manager

Tel: +49 40 328707-160
Fax: +49 40 328707-109

Target group

KLU is seeking highly talented candidates from all over the world who want to pursue an academic career and are interested in doing research. KLU will screen every applicant to identify suitable candidates. Exceptional candidates may be awarded with a KLU scholarship. 

Duration and course structure

In accordance with international standards and practices, KLU expects from doctoral candidates who receive a scholarship by the KLU or are funded by third-party projects at KLU that they follow a  program composed of four years. The program may complement the one that the candidate has to follow at the cooperating university:

The first part (two years)

  • is devoted to course work: during the first year students are required to take at least four courses in methodology, including Operations Research, Statistics and Econometrics, Simulation, and Experimentation. The courses are taught at the KLU by its own faculty, complemented by internationally distinguished scholars, and students may attend workshops or courses at other universities. 
  • In the second year, students take four advanced courses in their dissertation topic, which should be logistics and supply chain management, marketing, finance, accounting, and / or leadership. 
  • At the end of the second year, every student must pass an examination that measures his/her depth of knowledge and comprehension of relevant methodologies, theoretical foundations and empirical evidence. Upon successful completion candidates are admitted to the second part of the Ph.D. program. 
  • The PhD candidate will be actively involved in research projects, with the faculty of the KLU. The goal is to publish the results in highly-ranked academic journals. 
  • The PhD dissertation will consist of a collection of such research papers if the examination rules of the cooperating university agree. 
  • In addition the candidate can participate in joint research projects. 
  • The final examination has to be done at the cooperating university according to their requirements.

The second part

The KLU PhD program provides opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members, which enable them to develop the research and teaching skills necessary to pursue their careers.


During the start-up period Kühne Logistics University cannot grant state accredited PhD degrees in its own right. Up and until receiving this right which will be supported by hiring professors with strong research capabilities, KLU will admit students to its PhD program only if there is a cooperating partner (e.g., from our program faculty) accepting a joint supervision including the examination at his or her university. PhD students will receive a close supervision from a KLU professor and one non-KLU reviewer.



Applications for becoming doctoral students are very competitive. We therefore advise applicants to provide the KLU with the result of a GMAT or GRE test. Applications with a GMAT of less than 650 points or a score of less than 700 for the mathematical part of the GRE cannot be considered at all.

Master’s degree or equivalent from a recognized university and an excellent academic record GMAT with a score of  ≥ 650 or GRE with score of  ≥ 700* for the mathematical part test results not older than 3 years proof of proficiency in English (Copy of TOEFL or IELTS score).

* Prior score scale 700; current score scale 155

Selection of PhD candidates

Step 1:

To express their interest to become a PhD student at KLU, candidates have to fill in the PhD Inquiry Form and indicate their research interest (logistics and supply chain management, marketing or leadership), describe their special research interest and outline previous gained knowledge of subject related methodologies.

Step 2:

Only after a positive review by KLU, candidates will be asked to hand in their complete application documents. If not asked to complete the application, the inquiry was rejected. Due to the large number of inquiries KLU will not send out e-mails or letters of rejections to candidates who have not been invited to apply!

Application deadline

Each June 30

Start of the program

Each September