The doctoral programme „Health and Sustainability Communication and Management (HSCM)“ is interdisciplinary and provides the participants with extensive skills in communication and management in the health sector, for the area of sustainability and for assuming social responsibility. Another focus is on the efficient and effective communication of scientific knowledge in the health sector to the general public. By gaining these skills, the participants will find it easier to implement the knowledge gained in the health sector and in companies. Furthermore, the doctoral programme allows questions of high social relevance from the fields of Health and Sustainability Communication and Management to be dealt with at an internationally competitive level. The qualifications acquired during the programme allow the participants in the doctoral programme to publish research results in international journals and to present and discuss them at international conferences. The participants receive thorough training in qualitative and quantitative methods. A research seminar (interaction workshop) is planned for each academic year, during which the doctoral students present the papers they have written and the status of their dissertation.
Academic degree: Dr. rer. soc. oec. or Dr. phil or Dr. rer. nat
Duration of studies: 3 years
Languages of instruction: English
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heiko Breitsohl
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christina Seeger
- Admission to the doctorate in Social Sciences and Economics, admission to the doctorate in Philosophy, or admission to the doctorate in Natural Sciences at the AAU, depending on the desired degree
- Confirmation of supervision by an authorized faculty member (see the list below)
It is possible to enter into the doctoral programme HSCM at any time (including a transfer from an existing doctoral degree).
- Health Communication and Management, Communicative Health Management
e.g., support of preventive health care; changes in physician-patient-relationships; patient-oriented health; social media in health areas; usage of health- and physician rating websites; patient satisfaction; gender-specific health communication
- Sustainability and CSR Communication, Management of Sustainability and Social Responsibility
e.g., Integrated Sustainability Communication, CSR and (digital) media; effectiveness of CSR activities; leadership and ethics management; sustainable workforce, ethical consumption, Media Accountability
- Science Communication and Management
e.g., strategies and techniques of science communication; management of public communication in science
- Mental and Behavioral Health
e.g., public health interventions; epidemiology of common mental health and behavioral disorders; socioecological approaches to health research; family relationships and violence; implementation science, behavioral health, and technology
- Occupational health, safety, and well-being
e.g., work-related health behaviors, health and the work-nonwork interface, prevention and promotion interventions, workplace health management
Students are subject to the Curriculum for Doctoral Degree Programmes at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt in the applicable version as amended.
Candidates are invited to submit informative application documents:
- Detailed curriculum vitae
- Degree certificates
- Letter of motivation
- Indicating the desired degree Dr. rer. soc. oec or Dr. phil or Dr. rer. nat.
- Indication of two potential supervisors (from the list below), and two potential dissertation topics (title and brief description)
Submit complete application documents to hscm [at] aau [dot] at
- Thesis (preferably cumulative i.e. based on several academic papers)
Please refer to the corresponding regulation issued by the Vice-Rector for Studies. (Only available in German)
- Completion of courses amounting to at least 26 ECTS credit points (Dr. phil or Dr. rer. nat.) or at least 30 ECTS (Dr. rer. soc. oec), spread over 6 semesters. See the information on HSCM Coursework.
Students must complete coursework of 26 ECTS credits (Dr. phil.; Dr. rer. nat.) or 30 ECTS (Dr. rer. soc. oec.), respectively, from the courses listed below. Students may substitute specific courses based on agreement with their faculty advisor(s).
|General Academic Skills
Students must obtain 18 ECTS.
|Interaction Workshop I
||Students present the early–stage status quo of their research and discuss the research with professors and colleagues from other HSCM disciplines (recommended for Year 1).||4|
|Interaction Workshop II||Students present the mid–stage status quo of their research and discuss the research with professors and colleagues from other HSCM disciplines (recommended for Year 2).
The Interaction Workshops are usually scheduled on subsequent days (2–3 days in total) in the same week. It is highly recommended for all HSCM students (regardless of their respective semester) to attend on all days.
|Publications||Overview of the publication process in academic research. Based on selected journal articles, students analyze and discuss how the research was performed and which methods were employed.||4|
|Career planning||Research funding, research grants, submission of research proposals, career planning, implementation of research projects||2|
|Methodology and reflection of methods||Philosophy of science, reflection of scientific paradigms and methods||4|
|Specific Methodological Skills
Students must obtain 8 ECTS (Dr. phil.; Dr. rer. nat.) or 12 ECTS (Dr. rer. soc. oec.), respectively.
|Methods I: Quantitative methods
||State–of–the–art overview of key quantitative methods (taking into account students’ needs and interests), strengthening data analytical skills necessary for publishing, practical examples and applications||4|
|Methods II: Qualitative methods||Presentation of theoretical foundations, discussion of the specific characteristics of the most important qualitative methods, and practical case studies||4|
|Advanced methods||Advanced quantitative or qualitative methods, depending on the individual needs of each doctoral student||4|
Faculty and Potential Supervisors
Faculty members (potential supervisors, listed alphabetically, as of December 2022)
- Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sonja Bidmon (Department of Business Management, Marketing and International Management, AAU)
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heiko Breitsohl (Department of Organization, Human Resources, and Service Management, Unit for Personnel, Leadership and Organisation, AAU)
- Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Sandra Diehl (Department of Media and Communications Science, AAU)
- Dipl.-Journ. Dr. Tobias Eberwein supervising mentor (ÖAW Kooperationsinstitut CMC)
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heather Foran (Department of Psychology, Health Psychology, AAU)
- Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sonja Grabner-Kräuter (Department of Business Management, Marketing and International Management, AAU)
- Univ.-Prof. DDr. Matthias Karmasin (Department of Media and Communications Science, AAU)
Assoc. Prof. Dkfm. Dr. Guido Offermanns (Department of Organization, Human Resources, and Service Management, Unit for Personnel, Leadership and Organisation, AAU)
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christina Seeger (née Peter) (Institut für Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft, AAU)
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ralf Terlutter (Department of Business Management, Marketing and International Management, AAU)
- Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Franzisca Weder (Department of Media and Communications Science, AAU) – currently on leave of absence
The HSCM programme cooperates with KABEG (Landeskrankenanstalten-Betriebsgesellschaft – State Hospital Operating Association) in Carinthia (www.kabeg.at). KABEG is comprised of KABEG Management and the state hospitals in Klagenfurt, Villach, Wolfsberg, Laas, and the Gailtal Clinic. KABEG is represented by the chairman of the KABEG executive board, Dr. Arnold Gabriel. Some current research projects are carried out in collaboration with KABEG.
If you have any questions about the HSCM doctoral programme, please send an e-mail to
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heiko Breitsohl
hscm [at] aau [dot] at