The orientation phase comprises the first year (semesters 1 and 2).
In the first year doctoral researchers have to complete three courses in their disciplinary track. These will be advanced courses with a methodological focus determined as necessary for research into collective decision-making. Some or all courses in the orientation phase can be waived upon evidence that a doctoral researcher has successfully completed equivalent courses in a research-oriented master's program.
The interdisciplinary qualification program consists of three compulsory courses, an interdisciplinary research seminar and a summer school.
There are two compulsory courses on good scientific practice and sustainable research data management and one optional course on professional presentations and writing.