ONLINE COURSE: The German Welfare Model: "Social Market Economy"

Germany is a powerful exporter in various economic sectors and a large industrial power with global significance, but it is also a global leader with its social welfare system called the “Social Market Economy.”  How did Germany gain this power after World War II? How do capitalism and social welfare fit together? What are the pros and cons of the “Social Market Economy?” What kinds of reforms are debated in Germany, today? Come join this course and we will answer these questions!

Course periodJune 27, 2022 - July 15, 2022 Session I
Category Law & Economics
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

max. 15 participants

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points after successful completion of the online course. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the online course a Transcript of Records will be issued by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Application deadline May 15, 2022, or when participant quota is reached Application period over.
Course fee700.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)

Online Course Fee


Germany is Europe’s largest economy and it’s industrial powerhouse – selling cars like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and VW and chemical products like “aspirin” to the world. The quick recovering of the German economy after World War II still appears as an “Economic Miracle”.

The seminar will air the secrets of this success by exploring the sophisticated German system – the “Social Market Economy”: How is efficient capitalist order combined with a huge welfare state? How are conflicts smoothed by incorporating the unions into “Social Partnership”? You will be surprised how modern efficient capitalism and medieval traditions are merged into “Social Market Economy”.

The course will explore the German economic system by lectures, readings, facility visits to industrial plants (e.g. BMW), excursions to the Museum of History, the governmental district and to innovative projects (e.g. cooperatives). Furthermore, we will compare the German system with your country to find solutions for a better capitalism.


Syllabus (PDF)

Course structure

The course content is equivalent to an on-site course offering 45 contact hours.

The study time includes:

  • virtual class room lessons with the lecturer and the fellow students (50%)
  • group exercises (25%)
  • assignments and self-study (25%)


Weekly schedule of virtual class room sessions:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
1.00 pm – 3.15 pm (Berlin time, UTC+2)

7.00 pm – 9.15 pm (Beijing time, UTC+8)
9.00 pm – 11.15 pm (Sydney time, UTC+10)
6.00 am – 8.15 am (Chicago time, UTC-5)

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

Advanced undergraduate  students of business and economics, politics, history, social sciences and students with an academic background that qualifies them to participate in the course.

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.

Ms. Stefka Wiese

Stefka Wiese is a social scientist and urban planner. Her main interests are economic sociology (with a focus on socio-ecological transition and comparative capitalism) and transition processes within urban systems and regions. Her regional focus lies on Germany and Europe, including the transition in Eastern Europe. She studied at Technical University Berlin and Humboldt University Berlin. Beside her scientific work she is professionally working as a consultant in the field of ecological transition of economic and urban systems. 

She regularly teaches in the fields of political sciences and economics at Humboldt University and at International School of Management Berlin. 

CoordinatorPierre Steuer/ Carmen Opolski/ Sanja Müssig
Contact detailsInternational Department
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin