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Rational Decision-Making and Negotiation

Lawyers, managers, consultants, entrepreneurs as well as many other professionals are facing difficult choices and engage themselves in tricky negotiations every day. Their essential challenge is to evaluate decisive information and probabilities and to prospect counterparties' behavior. This course will introduce you to theories of rational decision-making and methods for successful negotiation. Among others, we will study the work of this year's Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler and 2002's Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahnemann. We will learn to judge a decision, as the latter put it, by "how it was made, not only by how it turned out".  Apply to the course and get ready to learn how to make wiser choices and better deals!

Course periodJan. 8, 2018 - Jan. 26, 2018
Category Religion, Ethics & Law
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

minimum: 8 students and max. up to 18 participants

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points and a certificate if they attend classes regularly (at least 80% attendance) and participate actively. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the course a Transcript of Records is issued by Humboldt-Universität.

Application deadline Nov. 15, 2017, or when participant quota is reached This course is fully booked.
Early bird discount50.00 Euro until Sept. 15, 2017
Alumni discount50.00 Euro
Course fee630.00 Euro


Every day’s challenge of attorneys is to reach settlements and court decisions most favourable for the client. For this purpose, they do not just have to apply the law, but must make a lot of strategic decisions and wise steps in complex negotiations. This course will introduce theories of and methods for rational decision-making and negotiation by giving an insight into probabilistic reasoning, institutional economics, behavioural decision science, social and cognitive-behavioural psychology and principled negotiation theory. Based on the theoretical groundwork, the course is to be understood as an experiential learning experience.

It will be highly interactive and studded with many exercises and class games, in which the students find strategies to create value, settle a dispute and make a good deal. The last week will be dominated by moot negotiation practices, starting from simple two-party encounters to complex multi-party deal-making.


Course Program (PDF)

Course structure

Academic lessons

  • You will receive a total of 45 hours (one lesson equals 45 minutes; 15 hours per week).
  • Lessons will comprise lectures, group work, discussion sessions, excursions


Schedule (Track C):

Monday: 5.05 pm – 6.35 pm & 6.45 pm – 7.30 pm
Tuesday & Wednesday: 1.30 pm – 3 pm & 3.20 pm – 4.50 pm
Thursday: 9.00 am – 10.30 am & 11.00 am – 12.30 pm


Cultural extra-curricular activities:

HUWISU offers a fine selection of interesting extra-curricular activities and aims to give all participants an unforgettable stay in Berlin. Your program includes excursions, sport activities and social gatherings providing you the opportunity to get to know the city, the university and your classmates better and to meet students from all parts of the world.

The costs for these offers are included in the course fees.

Activities and tours we offer regularly: Federal Chancellery, German Parliament, House of Representatives, Topography of Terror, Political Archive, Museum Island, Kreuzberg Tour, Daytrip to Potsdam, Ice Skating, Exhibitions, Farewell Party…

Language skills English: B2
Motivation Letter about one page in English
Student Profile

Advanced undergraduate students (at least 2nd year) and students with an academic background that qualifies them to participate in the course. The case studies will mostly - but not exclusively - take the perspective of a lawyer. However, the course is recommendable and explicitly open for students of all subjects. Except basic calculation skill, no prior knowledge is required.

For the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class a language level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required.

Students need to be at least 18 years old.

Mr. Tim Engel, LLM

Tim Engel is a research assistant and doctoral candidate at University Bremen and assistant of Prof. Grundmann at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He studied law at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and King’s College London. His research focusses on risk regulation and governance, European administrative law, regulation of financial institutes, and theory of negotiation. He studied Analytical Methods for Lawyers and Negotiation with Mihael Jaeklik at King’s College London, as well as Negotiation and Dispute Resolution with Toby Berkman and Carri Hulet at Harvard University in Cambridge, USA.

CoordinatorPierre Steuer | pierre.steuer@hu-berlin.de
Contact detailsInternational Office
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin

This course can be combined with: