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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. 7, 2019 - Jan. 25, 2019
Category Religion, Ethics & Law
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

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, 2018, or when participant quota is reached
Course fee680.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)


Every day’s challenge of attorneys is to reach settlements and court decisions most favourable for the client. For this purpose, they do not only have to apply the law, but must take strategic decisions and engage in complex negotiations. This course introduces theories of and methods for rational decision-making and negotiation. It provides an insight into probabilistic decision-analysis, theories for interdependent decision-making, bounded rationality, and, last but not least, interest-based negotiation theory. The course puts an emphasis on behavioural decision science. You will learn about behavioural patterns, biases and heuristics and the predictability of risk preferences in decision-making and negotiation. 

The course will not be a teacher-centred theory and reading class but an experimental and highly interactive learning experience. There will be lots of team-exercises and class games, in which you will have to make wise decisions, develop winning strategies, learn effective collaboration, settle disputes and make good deals. In the last two weeks, you will have the unique chance to apply the theories learnt and practice your negotiation skills. We will engage in moot negotiation practices, starting from simple two-party encounters to complex multi-party deal-making. There will be an expert report by a professional negotiator as well, giving insight into recent challenges in political negotiations of the German government.

Syllabus will be available soon
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 discussed will not exclusively take the perspective of a lawyer. The course is recommendable and explicitly open for students of all subjects. Except basic probability calculation skills, no prior knowledge is required.

This course is taught in English, including readings in English. For the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class a language level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required.

Participating 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/ Carmen Opolski/ Sanja Müssig
Contact detailsInternational Office
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin


This course can be combined with: