Paid PhD Positions & Part time Jobs

Student drawing with chalk on a board
Student drawing with chalk on a board

In many cases, doctoral students work as research associates (paid PhD position) at German universities, in a research training groups or at a non-university research institute.



  • 1. Working at a German University

    When you are doing a individual doctorate, employment at a university is common. Often, PhD/doctoral students are employed as research associates on part-time fixed-term contracts at the institute of their supervisor, where they are usually deployed in teaching and/or in (usually third party funded) research projects.

  • 2. Paid PhD Position at a Non-university Research Institute

    Numerous support programmes and sponsorship organisations also support up-and-coming researchers outside higher education. Non-university research establishments – such as the Max Planck Society (MPG), Helmholtz Association, Leibniz Association (WGL) and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG) – that do not have the right to award doctorates themselves collaborate with universities for that purpose. They offer PhD/doctoral students scholarships and/or (usually fixed-term) contracts of employment – or a combination of the two. However, support is also possible in the form of regular research posts, which are especially typical of Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft.

    Many research institutes publish their job vacancies in online job portals and on their websites.

  • 3. Paid PhD Positions in Industry

    Doctoral posts in industry usually offer PhD/doctoral students fixed-term contracts of employment on a parttime basis, industry-related and application-oriented research opportunities and favourable prospects for the period after graduation. Research-based companies – for example, in the automotive industry – are especially interested in recruiting doctoral students. Additionally, cooperative partnerships between universities and companies also exist in the field of applied research. Here, the PhD/doctoral student is normally employed at the university and works on a research project in a mixed team of company and university employees.

    Many companies publish their job vacancies in online job portals and on their websites. Here you can search for companies by the research fields.

  • 4. Part time Job

    PhD/Doctoral students also have the option of meeting living costs with a part-time job. It is important here to observe possible restrictions. It is certainly advisable to seek the approval of the Aliens’ Authority and/or the Job Centre, because many exceptions apply, not only to citizens of new EU member countries. The same also applies to spouses if they wish to work in Germany. The Student Services employment agency can provide help in finding a part-time job.

    More information about:

The German doctorate − A guide for doctoral candidates (2015, 40 pages)

This booklet for (prospective) international doctoral students presents the different options for doing a doctorate in Germany. It explains the formal requirements and gives some practical advice on finding the right supervisor or doctoral programme. It also outlines different sponsorship and funding options. Download (PDF, 9.4 MB)