GESIS Summer School in Survey Methodology

The GESIS Summer School takes place annually in Cologne since August 2012. Our instructors and applicants come from a diverse set of countries and fields. The GESIS Summer School is unique in Europe with its focus on Survey Methodology and data collection. 

Scientific Coordination

Sebastian E. Wenz



+49 (0221) 47694-166

Sebastian E. Wenz

Administrative Coordination

Angelika Ruf



Nicht zugeordnet

+49 (0221) 47694-162

Angelika Ruf

Supported by:


Save the date: The 5th GESIS Summer School in Survey Methodology will take place from August 4-26 2016 in Cologne. Detailed information and registration here


The GESIS Summer School in Survey Methodology offers high quality training in state of the art techniques and methods of survey research. It aims to:

  • give a broad overview of survey methods;
  • equip participants with essential skills in designing, planning, execution, documentation and quality assurance of surveys;
  • provide an opportunity to deeply engage with the different tasks of survey design and implementation (such as questionnaire design, sampling, nonresponse and fieldwork monitoring), different survey modes (such as personal interviews, web surveys, and mixed-mode), and research designs involving surveys (such as mixed methods, factorial surveys, longitudinal surveys and cross-national surveys);
  • provide participants with good networking opportunities, a supportive social environment, and an exciting time in Cologne.



Summer School prerequisites

In addition to the prerequisites mentioned in the syllabi of the courses, all Summer School participants are expected to meet the following general criteria:

  • have basic knowledge of empirical research methods;
  • have a good command of English as the Summer School will entirely be held in English.



Participation fees and Registration

Student rate

Academic/non-profit rate

Commercial rate

short courses

100 €

140 €

280 €

one-week courses 
(normal rate)

250 €

350 €

700 €

one-week courses
(early bird rate*)

200 €

300 €

650 €

2 ECTS points

20 €

20 €

20 €

4 ECTS points

50 €

50 €

50 €

Please see Terms and conditions of participation for our cancellation and reimbursement policy. Detailed information and registration here

Certificats and ECTS

Certificates of attendance

Both, short course and one-week course participants will receive a certificate of attendance at the end of their stay, provided they have not missed a substantial part of the course. 

ECTS points

Participants completing a one-week course have the opportunity to gain European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) points from the Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences at the University of Mannheim. When registering for the Summer School, you have three options to choose from:

  • No ECTS points required (i.e. certificate of attendance is sufficient).
  • 2 points can be obtained for regular attendance and satisfactory work on daily assignments in a one-week course (4 points in a two-week course).
  • 2 further points can be gained by submitting a paper/report of about 5000 words to the instructors up to 4 weeks after the end of the summer school, after agreeing a topic with the instructors.


Applicants are advised to contact their home institution to enquire about the recognition of ECTS points from the University of Mannheim.

For the short courses we cannot grant ECTS points.

Course Structure

Short courses are two-day courses aimed at updating participants’ skills to better fulfill the entrance requirements of some one-week courses or at providing instruction in a specialized area. Short courses consist of about 6 hours of instruction per day (9:00-16:30).

One-week courses consist of 4 hours of in-class instruction a day, either in the morning (9:00-13:00) or in the afternoon (14:00-18:00). Outside of these hours, participants are expected to take part in guided individual or group study time for around 2 hours per day (details for each course are provided in the course descriptions). Given the workload of both in-class instruction and study time, participants can register only for one course per week.

Plenary and Social Program

To see the preliminary Plenary and Social Program, please click here (240 KB).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can register for the GESIS Summer School?

Anybody motivated to learn about survey methodology is welcome to apply. The Summer School is designed for PhD students and researchers at any stage of their career in the Social Sciences (widely conceived). Professionals in the area are also welcome to apply. See more in Target Audience on our Welcome Page.

However, participants benefit most from a course that matches their prior skills and knowledge. Hence, we recommend to carefully read course prerequisites described on the web page of the course or in the syllabus.

In addition to the prerequisites mentioned on the web pages and in the syllabi of the courses, all Summer School participants are expected to meet the following general criteria:

  • have basic knowledge of empirical research methods and the survey process, such as from a Social Science Master’s degree class on empirical research methods. (Exception: participants in the course “Introduction to Survey Design”);
  • the Summer School will entirely be held in English; thus a good command of English is required.


How to get access to ILIAS?

The main function of ILIAS is to easily distribute teaching materials as well as to foster communication among the Summer School participants/instructors. Here you find information on how to get access to ILIAS.

In addition, ILIAS will help you access all the necessary information about your Summer School participation as well as your stay in Cologne.

You can be granted the ILIAS access only after having paid the course fees.


What is included in the participation fee?

Apart from the training course itself, course materials (if applicable) as well as snacks and drinks for breaks are included in the participation fee. Meals, travel and accommodation for participants are not included in the participation fee. Please make your own arrangements. We will provide you with information on local facilities.

At the end of the event, every participant who has not missed more than 20% of the course receives a certificate of participation. ECTS points can be gained for a modest administrative fee.


What kind of financial support is available for Summer School participants?

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) provides 10 scholarships for the GESIS Summer School in Survey Methodology for international participants. Please find details here, application deadline is 15 April.

Furthermore, students and Ph.D. candidates who receive a scholarship can often apply to their scholarship organization or research council for a grant to subsidize or cover the costs of attending events like the GESIS Summer School. Please enquire with your scholarship organization or research council.

Some university departments, graduate schools, doctoral programs and research training groups may also provide small-scale grants for attending training events. Please ask your local mentor or supervisor. Research projects funded through third-party funds may also include a budget to cover members' training needs.

For UK-based Social Scientists, there are training bursaries available from the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM).


How do I find accommodation? How do I get to GESIS?

Look here (1.0 MB).


How can I prepare for the GESIS Summer School?

For each course, a syllabus with detailed information on the content of the course, topics, day-to-day schedule and the list of reading materials is provided. The syllabus is there to help you find out the course requirements and preparatory options. Some course syllabi have a section on “preparatory readings” to help you prepare or brush up your knowledge. The content of the preparatory readings is not obligatory. The purpose of the preparatory readings is to help participant familiarize themselves with the topic prior to the start of the course.

The literature available as electronic documents will be made available on our online learning platform in early July.


How much time per day shall I plan for studying?

All our courses are full-time courses. Short courses consist of about 6 hours of instruction per day. One-week courses consist of 4 hours of in-class instruction a day, either in the morning (9:00-13:00) or in the afternoon (14:00-18:00). In addition to in-class instructions, participants are expected to take part in guided individual or group study and take time for studying the course readings. Given this workload, participants can register only for one course per week.

To read more about workload of a particular course, please see section “Organizational Structure” on the course web page or in the course syllabus.


What facilities can I use at GESIS during the Summer School?

During the Summer School you are welcome to use:

  • The GESIS library, where you can find the literature listed in your course syllabus;
  • A PC Pool, which provides you with an opportunity to practice your statistical skills with various software packages: R, SPSS, and Stata.
  • A common room, which is a perfect place for group work.
  • The inner yard, if you want to take your work or group discussion outside.
  • Wireless internet, which is available in the whole building as well as in the yard.


Will there be internet access at the venue?

Yes, wireless internet is available at GESIS. Every summer school participant will receive login information in their course pack when checking in on the first day of their summer school participation.


Can I leave my luggage at the venue on the first/last course day?

GESIS does not have any dedicated secured space for storing luggage. Therefore please bring your luggage to the hotel before coming to the venue, and pick it up at the hotel after the summer school has ended. Cologne main station, a 5 minute walk from GESIS, has luggage storage facilities.


I have a place on the waiting list only. What are my chances?

Places become available again when participants cancel their registration or when they do not pay the participation fee on time. Therefore if a course is not heavily overbooked, it is quite likely that you may still get a place if there is still some time to go until the Summer School. We will inform you as soon as a place becomes available and ask you to react quickly to the offer.


What do I have to do if I need a VISA to come to the Summer School?

Depending on where you come from, you may have to provide a formal obligation when applying for a visa at the German embassy. Please inquire at your nearest German embassy which documents you need for your visa application and let us know as soon as possible whether a simple letter of invitation is sufficient, or if you will need a formal obligation.

GESIS can provide you with a letter of invitation but we cannot obtain formal obligations from the Foreigners Authority of the city of Cologne.


I would like to change the courses I have registered for. Can I?

You can change courses up to the end of the first day of the course if the desired course has a free place. Please email us to do so. Changing courses later is not recommended and is only possible if the instructor(s) of the desired course agree.

To avoid changing courses, we recommend to carefully read the course syllabus before registering in order to ensure that the course suits your needs and interests. If after reading the course description, you are still not sure if it’s the right course for you, please email the Summer School coordinators.


Can I cancel my participation in the Summer School?

Yes you can - please email us. For details on our reimbursement policy, see the terms and conditions.


Where can I read information about past Summer School courses?

You can find information about past Summer School courses in our archive.


What is the weather like in Cologne in August?

There can not be made any generalisations about the weather in August. At the 2012 Summer School, we were sweating at temperatures above 30° Celsius. In 2014 it was rather inconsistent with a mixture of rainy and sunny days. Temperatures in the mid twenties are more likely. Air conditioning is limited in Germany. Be prepared for rainy days or rain showers and low temperatures in the evening hours.


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