Doctoral Program (PhD)

Doctoral Program (PhD)

Doctoral Program

As an integral part of KLU’s mission to educate future leaders in logistics, supply chain management and management, we are offering doctoral candidates a program that prepares them to evaluate and reflect the state of knowledge in their particular field of research. 

KLU’s PhD program is a unique program in training academics to be future thought leaders with a thorough understanding of one of the world’s most dynamic sectors. Digitization, new value-adding processes, and a need for increased sustainability along the triple bottom line have globally a major impact on corporations and society in general, and logistics and supply chain management in particular. We do this from the perspective of all logistics and management disciplines, and welcome applicants from very diverse backgrounds including (but not limited to) business (including finance, marketing), (industrial) engineering, and psychology.

The PhD program is a four-year program mainly consisting of independent research under supervision by two academic supervisors of KLU’s outstanding faculty, encompassing a wide scope of social science and business disciplines. Furthermore, some coursework is required, consisting of courses taken at KLU, courses taken at our partner universities and broader networks, and relevant skills training. The course program is tailored to the specific focal research area of the student. Upon successful completion, the student will obtain the (German) degree of Doctor in business, economics, and social sciences /Wirtschaftswissenschaften (Dr.rer.pol.) or the (international) degree of Doctor of Philosophy in management (PhD).

KLU is not only an ambitious learning environment but also a warm and welcoming place. I genuinely enjoyed the interdisciplinary and cooperative spirit at KLU. In line with my thesis' objective to improve cooperation in aid operations, my fellow PhD peers and I had the enriching experience of thriving as a community and learning from each other's skills and perspectives. In the same spirit, my supervisors consistently provided the support necessary for my academic career development, generously sharing their experience, expertise, and network with me.

Lea Ruesch, PhD, Assistant Professor of Decision Sciences at IE University

Christina Imdahl, PhD, Assistant Professor of Machine Learning in Operations Management

KLU offered me an incredible array of academic opportunities that have greatly shaped my academic network and development. The university provided us with access to top conferences in our field and doctoral workshops worldwide. Moreover, I was fortunate to have an advisor who served as both an advisor and mentor, fostering my professional and personal growth throughout my Ph.D. and beyond. KLU has provided me with the best start for my career, and I look back on my time there with genuine joy and gratitude.

Dr. Christina Imdahl, Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences, Operations Planning Accounting & Control at Eindhoven University of Technology

Dr. Laura Turrini

Without KLU I wouldn't be where I am today! The PhD is a hard journey, and you need all the support you can get. At KLU, professors were always ready to lend a hand, irrespective of the stress they were going through. In particular, my supervisors helped tremendously not only in directing the scientific content of my thesis, but especially with teaching me how to be a successful academic. They introduced me to their networks at the top conferences in the field, pushed me to become a better version of the nerdy student I was and helped navigating the emotional hard times of papers’ revisions. My amazing PhD colleagues ensured that I remained sane through all this. I still look back to my KLU time very fondly: I worked hard, had a great time, and grew a lot, all at the same time.

Dr. Laura Turrini, Associate Professor of Operations Management at EBS Business School

KLU is a truly international university! After graduating from KLU with a Master in Global Logistics and PhD in Supply Chain Management, I had the opportunity to join the United Nations Secretariat in New York. As part of the Supply Chain Management function, we are strategically supporting the integrated end-to-end supply chain from planning to delivery of peacekeeping and security operations mandated by 193 member states. It is the combination of supply chain management, global operations in high-risk and geographically remote environments, and political affairs that fascinates from day one.

Jakob Heinen, PhD, Supply Chain Manager at the United Nations

I had a great time at KLU and also a great PhD experience. I am still in contact with my supervisor Prof. André Ludwig and have fond memories of my KLU time looking back. I was part of a program, where I researched half of the time and worked half of the time for the company sponsoring my PhD – which was instrumental for my research on digitally transforming automotive business models and helped me to build a career. The working environment was great and also the people!

Dr. Marcus Grieger, Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company


In accordance with international standards and practices, the program is laid-out for four years of doctoral studies. Course work that is encompasses the following categories: 

Course Category Content
Fundamentals (3 out of 3 courses)
  • Philosophy of Science and Ethics (5 ECTS)
  • Scholarly Writing (5 ECTS)
  • Quantitative Empirical Methods (5 ECTS)
Breadth Requirements (2 out of 3 courses)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (5 ECTS)
  • Modeling and Simulation (5 ECTS)
  • Experimental and Survey Research Methods (5 ECTS)
Depth Requirements A minimum of 15 ECTS in the field of the dissertation
Further course requirements
  • KLU Teaching Skills Seminar (1 ECTS)
  • Course work worth 4 ECTS (either teaching skills or depth requirement)

The courses are taught at KLU by its own faculty and complemented by internationally distinguished scholars. In addition, students will attend workshops or courses at other universities, such as one of our cooperation partners, Leuphana University Lüneburg. Furthermore, the doctoral candidate will be actively involved in research projects conducted by KLU’s faculty. The goal is to publish the results in highly-ranked academic journals. 

How to Apply

Admission Requirements

  • Completed or about to complete a Master degree (minimum overall grade of “good” – 2.0 or better for German degrees or an equivalent international grade) in business, economics, social sciences, or comparable studies from an accredited university with a good international reputation, and belonging to the best students of your class.
  • English language proficiency at a level that is equivalent to at least IELTS 6.5.
  • Support by at least one resident faculty member of the KLU.

Apart from entering information into our online tool you need to upload the following three sets of documents. You will be asked to upload those documents in the last section of your application.


  • Cover letter indicating the specific reasons why you should be admitted to the program and be selected for one of the Kuehne Foundation PhD Scholarships. This letter should also name specifically which of the resident faculty you are seeking to work with.
  • Full resume (CV) 
  • Two references (full contact details)
  • Evidence of your English proficiency (such as a TOEFL or IELTS test, or other evidence provided by your university)

Excellence portfolio

  • List of degrees obtained (Bachelor degree and Master degree) and quality indicators of the universities where you obtained these degrees. Quality indicators could include (but are not limited to): rankings (with URL to the published ranking), universities where your supervisor/advisor/teacher of key courses obtained their doctorate degree, or other quality indicators of your school or program. (Scanned copy of your degree certificate (undergraduate studies and graduate studies), scanned copy of your transcript of records / mark sheets (undergraduate studies and graduate studies)
  • Indicators of your excellence in the program
    • Excellence indicators could include (but are not limited to): full transcripts with grades and explanation of grading system, class rank, grade/rank of thesis.
  • Indicators of your individual excellence
    • Excellence indicators could include (but are not limited to): ranking in national university entrance exam, high school grades, GRE or GMAT results and ranking, admission to graduate programs of reputable research universities or business schools, competitive scholarships awarded, prestigious awards received.

Personal fit

  • Research statement (maximum two pages) in which you outline the research you would like to do, and with which faculty members there is most likely a good fit. Also explain how this research statement is linked to current or past research of resident faculty and the KLU. Feel free to get in touch with specific KLU faculty in advance of your final submission; however, please realize that faculty may not be responsive to all enquiries. If you have been in touch with a KLU faculty member, please mention this in your application file.
  • Document including a link to a video-file of yourself stating why you should be admitted to the program, and specifically why you expect you could be a future thought leader in your discipline (maximum 3 minutes).


You can apply to available positions. Please view our open positions. Should you want to apply initiatively please send your details to:


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