Karlsruhe School of Services (KSOS)

KSOS offers an interdisciplinary PhD Program in Service Science, combining technological, economic, legal, and societal perspectives.

Over the course of their PhD journey, all KSOS fellows have to earn a total of at least 15 credit points as a necessary (not sufficient) prerequisite for thesis defense. As personal interests and also the individual timely and spatial schedules may differ from fellow to fellow, KSOS offers a great deal of flexibility. Hence, all fellows can choose quite freely how to collect their qualifying credits. This may be done by attending suitable lectures at KIT, including passing written or oral exams. A list of possible lectures on the extended topic of service research and the associated lecturers and credits is provided here. Moreover, KSOS acknowledges the large potential and growing importance of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and hence also accepts a set of such courses as well. Furthermore, in line with the structured program of KSOS, fellows also earn credits by attending PhD method courses (1 credit per course) offered by alternating principal investigators (usually held by professors, postdocs, and selected industry partners).


1st year



2nd year

Specia- lization


3rd year




Lectures & Methods
Research & Mentoring



Domain Knowledge

All fellows visit regular courses on service research during their PhD life cycle, which is certified by written examination. A large variety of courses is offered, based upon a specific syllabus of Master courses at KIT. Moreover, online universities such as Coursera and edX are part of the courses as well. As a result, all fellows gain fundamental knowledge and methodological skills in the area of service research, and also come to a mutual understanding in terms of scientific language and notation. During their PhD cycle fellows must at least pass 2 exams from the KSOS syllabus. Students that have attended KSOS courses (or comparable substitutes) can have these approved by the KSOS administration (with a weight of 1/2 of the course’s credits). A list of all currently KSOS-accredited lectures is provided here.


Methodological Knowledge

Besides the courses on service research, each fellow visits PhD method seminars over the course of the program. Varying courses are offered each semester, typically in the format of a partly interactive 90-minutes workshop with 3-10 participants. Past seminars covered topics such as Entrepreneurship and Science, Web-Scraping 101, Analytics and Statistical Learning, and Statistics in R. In general, the seminars are of practical nature and require active participation. Hence, KSOS fellows are encouraged to attend the PhD seminars frequently. Throughout their PhD journey a minimum of 2 PhD seminars must be attended by each fellow. A list of past and upcoming seminars is provided here. Each PhD method seminar yields 1 credit.


Supplementary Knowledge

As a doctoral degree is awarded for an original contribution to a particular field of study, KSOS provides the fellows the needed structure to do so successfully. Supplementary knowledge helps the fellows to acquire the requisite skills to develop the intellectual independence necessary to be an effective researcher. Therefore, KSOS fellows are admitted to attend any of the courses offered by the Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists (KHYS) and the House of Competence (HoC). As a consequence, the fellows benefit from a broad variety of courses, such as scientific writing and presentation. Moreover, workshops concerning intercultural communication or time management are offered. The PhD Key skills training helps the fellows to gain excellent analytical and language skills, which are indispensable for the vast majority of professions.

Moreover, KSOS believes that besides research training, job skill trainings are essential to prepare the fellows for their future career, either in industry or research. To develop leadership and management capabilities, KSOS fellows are admitted for the entire syllabus of KHYS and HoC. Hence, essential skills, e.g., for communication, self-management, or job application are available to all KSOS fellows.


Research Stay / Industry Stay

As a vital part of service research education, KSOS fellows are encouraged to get their feet wet and gain experience outside their university habitat. KSOS supports such endeavors by connecting them to partners from our academic and industry networks.