Visiting professorship & visiting lectureship

Visiting professorship & visiting lectureship

German higher education institutions advertise for experienced researchers to improve the range of teaching and introduce new subject emphases within departments. As an international researcher you can teach and research for one or several semesters at a German university.

Qualifications and application

If you are interested in a visiting professorship or lectureship in Germany, you will find the following information useful.

Although it is generally not necessary to hold a professorial chair to teach as a visiting professor at a German university, applicants must

  • usually meet the requirements for appointment to a professorship – in other words, you must have completed the habilitation process or achieved a similar postdoctoral qualification.

  • Depending on the vacancy involved, you may be required to demonstrate a specific standard of excellence and academic competence.

  • You can therefore also be asked to provide not only a list of publications, but also proof of acquired third-party funding or supervised PhD theses.

For visiting lectureships it is generally sufficient to have a university degree (under certain circumstances a doctorate is required) and several years of academic activity and teaching experience.

Visiting professorships and lectureships at German universities are advertised publicly. As a rule you must submit your application directly to the respective university. The procedure can vary from institution to institution and from state to state, but it usually involves the following steps:

  • First, a specially established selection committee will examine the most promising applications.

  • As a candidate, you will be invited to an interview.

  • You will possibly also be asked to present a test lecture.

  • The selection committee then presents a shortlist to the appropriate body.

  • As a rule, the higher education institution decides who to appoint as the visiting professor or lecturer.

In addition to these advertised positions, there are also prestigious visiting professorships, which are supported with prizes and fellowships by the Federal Government, German states (Länder) or foundations. It is not normally possible here to submit your own application. Internationally renowned researchers are invited to these visiting professorships (usually for one semester) to develop and strengthen the profile of the subject.

Responsibilities and salary

As a visiting researcher or visiting lecturer you will be involved in teaching, but possibly also research. Here you will find some information about what your duties will be and how much you will earn:

Among others, the following options are available for a temporary stay at a German university:

  • Visiting lectureships usually aim to expand and internationalise academic teaching.

  • Visiting professorships can also be linked with a research project to strengthen research-based teaching.

Payment for visiting professorships and lectureships can vary considerably depending on the status of the position, the state and the institution.

Visiting professors are often employed on a freelance basis, which does not have to comply with any collective pay agreement. In other cases, the remuneration for visiting professors is based on the pay scale for professors (more information: Professorship at a university > Salary). That means:

  • Based on a W2 professorship, monthly gross basic salary at the beginning of a professor’s career is between approximately 5,300 euros and 6,600 euros.

  • If a visiting professor is paid like a W3 professor, the monthly gross basic salary is between roughly 6,300 euros and 7,500 euros.

  • On the other hand, the remuneration for internationally renowned researchers can be much higher.

Visiting lecturers are often employed on a freelance basis and are not subject to collective pay agreements. Sometimes, however, remuneration is based on the W1 pay scale or the collective agreement for civil service employees (TVöD) for research staff. That means:

  • Monthly gross basic pay, if based on collective agreements, can start at between 4,600 euros to 4,800 euros.

  • Alternatively, lump-sum payments can also be made that are substantially lower or higher than these figures.

Job search & funding

Visiting professorships and lectureships at German higher education institutions are usually advertised publicly. In addition to regular positions, there are also funding programmes for international researchers who would like to come to Germany for a research stay. Here you will find information about where you can search for vacancies and funding opportunities: