What comes after the doctorate

After the doctorate: What are the prospects for postdocs?

Habilitation, junior professorship and postdocs

But if you tend to focus more on research and theory in the long term, you should apply for a university professorship. However, this route is arguably the most arduous, as universities offer only a few and temporary positions. In addition, young scientists usually have to cope with financial uncertainty due to scarce research funds (Reuter 2016: 8f.).

The classic route to the title of professor at the university is the habilitation. It is intended to test whether the young scientist can represent his department in every respect in research and teaching. There are different employment relationships - temporary, salaried or, in rare cases, civil servants. Young scientists work at a university for six years and write a habilitation thesis.

The second option is the junior professorship, which was introduced in 2002 and is usually limited to three years. This type of professorship enables young academics to conduct direct, independent research and teaching at universities without the habilitation that was common up until then. In addition, she qualifies for a lifetime professorship. A requirement for employment is usually an outstanding doctorate. In terms of content, the tasks of junior professors are very similar to those of other professors: they research and teach independently. However, these are temporary qualification positions with lower earnings and fewer teaching commitments.

Positions for postdocs, so-called postdocs, are on the rise. In the postdoctoral phase, the most important thing is to actively expand your academic profile and professional network (Müller 2014: 145ff.). PostDoc programs can look very different. They mainly differ greatly in the types of financing. Financing is often provided by third-party funds and the PostDocs themselves either receive research grants for stays abroad, temporary project positions or are paid for by the universities and research institutions. It is worthwhile to obtain information about funding opportunities and scholarships, for example the DAAD, or the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Ways into the free economy after the dissertation

But business also offers PostDoc positions. Long-term research for doctoral students is not only possible here, but also necessary and useful for the company. The classic divide between business and science is gradually being closed, because more and more doctoral candidates are looking for alternatives in view of the comparatively poor framework conditions in science and are not prepared to fight for a professorship at a university at any cost.

Scientists and engineers in particular have good chances of doing research in industry as postdocs under attractive conditions after completing their doctorate - often in an international environment with colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines. In the meantime, a postdoc position for starting a career in industry is becoming more and more relevant.