Professor at a university of applied sciences

Another career opportunity for postdoctoral researchers is a professorship at a university of applied sciences or other higher education institution. A professorship at a university of applied sciences places special emphasis on practice-oriented teaching. Increasingly, however, it is also focusing on research – especially in the engineering sciences.

Qualifications and application

Universities of applied sciences can offer an alternative to a professorship at a general university. However, the required academic profile is different.

  • Qualifications

    Universities of applied sciences place special emphasis on the teaching of practical and application-oriented knowledge. That is why applicants require several years of relevant practical work experience outside the university.

    The candidate’s academic qualification for a professorship is usually demonstrated by a doctorate.

    Pedagogical experience is also required.

    Candidates must also meet any relevant additional requirements of the respective position.

  • Application and appointment

    It is crucial in an application for a professorship at a university of applied sciences that you refer to the requirements outlined in the advertisement. You should pay special attention to the following:

    • As a rule, applications for a professorship must be submitted to the respective university of applied sciences.
    • In your application you should show that you have the formal and academic qualifications for the position.
    • In addition to a covering letter, you will generally be expected to submit a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and previous lectures/courses as well as testimonials and certificates relating to your education and previous employment.


    You will need to complete the relevant appointment procedure to become a professor at a university of applied sciences. The procedure can differ from institution to institution and state to state. Usually, the following steps are followed:

    • First, promising candidates are invited to present a test lecture, although the requirements can vary significantly from institution to institution.
    • Later, in an interview, candidates are questioned about their reasons for applying and their subject competence.
    • Next, the university of applied sciences compiles a shortlist of the three most promising candidates.
    • Then, the relevant committees and/or the responsible ministry usually appoint the person at the top of the list.

Responsibilities and salary

What you need to know about your work and remuneration as a professor at a university of applied sciences:

  • Duties

    The main emphasis of your work as a professor at a university of applied sciences will be on practice-oriented teaching. This kind of professorship is usually linked with an obligation to perform a specific number of teaching hours.

    In addition, you will also be expected to carry out general university duties and supervise students’ degree assignments or practical courses/internships.

    At art colleges, master classes are supervised by the responsible professors who determine the content and extent of the instruction.

    German higher education institutions are increasingly becoming involved in – usually industry-oriented – research. You should therefore take a closer look at the profile of the institution.

  • Salary

    In Germany, professors are remunerated in accordance with what is known as W-Besoldung, a salary scale for scholars (W stands for “Wissenschaft”, which means scholarship or science). Germany is a federation in which the individual states (Länder) have jurisdiction over their civil servants’ basic pay. As a result, salaries vary depending on the state in which the higher education institution is based and whether the researcher is employed by the Federal Government.

    In concrete terms, this means:

    • Professors at universities of applied sciences are normally paid according to the civil service W2 pay scale. The monthly starting salary for a W2 professorship in Baden-Württemberg is roughly 5,700 euros and in Berlin roughly 4,300 euros.
    • Some higher professorships at universities of applied sciences are also paid according to the W3 scale. The monthly basic starting salary is the roughly 6,500 euros in Baden-Württemberg and 5,200 euros in Berlin.
    • The basic salary can also be supplemented by appointment and retention payments, special performance-related payments, functional performance payments and so-called teaching and research allowances and family allowances.

    In most cases, as a professor at a university of applied sciences you will be appointed with civil servant status on a temporary or lifelong basis. Many professors at universities of applied sciences also work as regular employees. Their net salaries are far lower than those of lifelong professors.

    The German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV) presents information about the academic salary scales of the individual states and the Federal Government on a special W-Portal (in German).

Job search & funding

Professorships are advertised publicly. There are various ways of finding these advertisements. Here you can find more information:

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