Since 2006, Northwestern PhD students working in the areas of political economy and economic sociology have been eligible for an exchange program at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies based in Cologne, Germany.
The exchange involves up to two PhD students per year from each institution.
- Northwestern students go for a period of six months to the Max Planck Institute.
- Max Planck students stay for two quarters at Northwestern and have the status of visiting scholars.
During the exchange, students focus primarily on research for their doctoral thesis, but they also join in department activities like colloquia, external lectures, brown bags, as well as participate in courses related to their field of study. Students have full, free access to libraries and other research facilities generally open to students.
Each summer, the Max Planck Institute, Northwestern University, and other partner institutes (which currently include Columbia University, Sciences-Po in Paris, and the European University Institute in Florence) organize a summer conference in the field of economic sociology and political economy to bring PhD students from the different doctoral programs together to present and discuss their work.
Faculty from each of the partner institutes participate in the conference to comment on students’ work and to present their research. These conferences typically involve 25-30 participants and last about three days. Responsibility for organizing and hosting the conference rotates among the partner institutes.