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Doing a Doctorate at ZU

Since September 2011, it has been possible to do a supervised PhD program at Zeppelin University. Every academic looks forward to working with interested parties who cannot ignore their vocation, who cannot fight the urge to thoroughly investigate every phenomenon that piques their interest, and who want to forge ahead with their doctoral project at a beautiful lakeside location.

To date, more than 70 co-operative doctorates have been completed at ZU, while at present there are 75 doctorates being supervised. Meanwhile, a good number of ZU's junior academics were appointed to professorships across the globe.

"I chose ZU for my doctoral program because the personal and individual way people dealt with me in my application process has really impressed me. Right from the start I got the feeling that it is exactly here that I get the tools to realize my vision, my doctoral degree, successfully."

Alexander Jaroschinsky | doctoral candidate with Prof Dr Christian Opitz at the ZF Friedrichshafen Chair of Personnel Management & Leadership

With its research profile, ZU offers room for the exploration of interstices, for the conversion of side issues into central questions, and for refreshingly different technical perspectives – all of which on a solid disciplinary foundation.

As a matter of principle, academic orientation (and consequently junior academic staff who want to turn their passion for research into a profession) is at the center of ZU's overall research concept.

In exceptional cases, part-time dissertations which follow an approach which is clearly theoretically modeled or quantitatively empirical, can be supervised – however preferably those with a focus on an academic career.

Additional Features of a Doctorate at ZU

  • a partially-structured doctoral program with plenty of research freedom
  • the doctoral program is need- and demand-oriented and includes alternative attainments
  • independent co-determination of program content (PhD StudentStudies)
  • active inclusion in ZU research groups and clusters
  • inclusion in the teaching and assistance of third-level didactic education
  • honesty regarding interdisciplinary issues
  • second advisor of state and international universities in Quality Assurance and the expansion of academic networks
  • ZU's own research support system ("FUSY") for the subsidization of PhD proposals, if needed

Ideal Conditions for Great Work-Life Balance, with

  • optimal student-supervisor ratio
  • fellow researchers always close at hand to exchange ideas
  • 24/7 access to the library
  • the administration's commitment to excellent service
  • plenty of peace and lots of sport on the lake

Statements by Doctoral Students

Your question:

Golnaz Sarkar Farshi, doctoral candidate with Prof. Dr. Baecker at the chair for  Cultural Theory & Analysis:
„I am Iranian and learned about Niklas Luhmann's social systems theory as I was doing my Master's studies in drama. I knew that Germany, the land where the theory had developed, would offer me the optimal academic atmosphere where I could pursue my post-graduate studies. I am specialized in film and drama studies and sought a university which would support the interdisciplinary research that I was heading for: to study cinema as a social system. I corresponded with many universities in Germany, and Zeppelin University (and my supervisor, Prof Dr rer soc Dirk Baecker) was the only university that was open and welcoming to such diversity and interdisciplinarity. Having spent two semesters at ZU, I have enjoyed the kind and unconditional support of ZUGS staff who made it possible for me to stay here and focus on my research despite all the difficulties that I had as an international PhD student."

Julius Nowack, doctoral candidate with Prof. Dr. Birger Priddat, Guest Professor for Political Economics
"As an external doctoral student, I decided to do my PhD at Zeppelin University because it's really flexible.
The partially-structured program gives the doctoral students lots of freedom to choose the events to attend. The personally-tailored curriculum can be customized to suit your daily routine, and you decide yourself when you want to be in the university.
The variety of seminars and colloquia on offer does'nt just help with the further development of your own dissertation theme – above all it promotes interactive exchange between professors, teachers, and fellow students.
The direct channels of communication in ZU's administration, and the helpfulness of everyone involved, mean that doing your PhD at Zeppelin University is far more than just writing an academic work."

Selected English doctoral theses

Your question:
  • Kay Hendrik Hofmann: Co-Financing Hollywood Film Productions with Outside Investors - An Economic Analysis of Principal Agent Relationships in the U.S. Motion Picture Industry | Thesis defense: 14 June 2012
  • Annette Horváth: Studies on Cross-Industry Innovation. Search, find and apply extra-industry knowledge | Thesis defense: 27 February 2013
  • Linn Viktoria Rampl: Branding in complex markets – The role of emotions and trust Thesis defense: 28 February 2013
  • Inga Kristina Wobker: Emotions in economic exchange processes revisited: Systematization and further empirical evidence | Thesis defense: 29 August 2013
  • Florian Günter Mezger: Business Model Innovation – Empirical Studies from a Dynamic Capability Perspective | Thesis defense: 09 December 2013
  • Sandra Margraf: Organizational Learning in Innovation Networks: Exploring the Role of Cognitive Distance and Absorptive Capacity. An Agent-Based Model | Thesis defense: 30 September 2014
  • Sebastian Heil: Cross-industry innovation – A theoretical and empirical foundation on the concept of absorptive capacity | Thesis defense: 23 April 2015
  • Karoline Bader: Open Innovation – Empirical studies from a resource-based perspective | Thesis defense: 28 April 2015
  • Malte Christopher Doehne: Quality matters on markets: The use of screwcaps on fine wines, 1970 - 2010 | Thesis defense: 20 May 2015

Work as a Research Fellow

Should you be interested in working as a research fellow at ZU, you can find up-to-date information here on requests for proposals in various (post-)doctoral positions.


Kieser, Alfred Prof Dr Dr hc mult
Vice President Research & Dean of the Zeppelin University Graduate School
Chair of Management Theory
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1122
Fax:+49 7541 6009-1199
Room:FAB 18 | 1.13

Nau, Stephanie Dr phil
Head Coordinator ZUGS & Doctoral Program Director
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1205
Fax:+49 7541 6009-1299
Room:FAB 18 0.25

von Bischopinck, Simone Mag Art
Assistant ZU Graduate School and Research Funding
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1206
Fax:+49 7541 6009-1199
Room:FAB 18 0.23