Visiting professorship & visiting lectureship

German universities advertise for experienced researchers to improve the range of teaching and introduce new subject emphases within departments. And they do so with considerable success: by international standards, German universities score above average when it comes to international networking and especially in terms of their international scientific personnel.  As an international researcher you can teach and research for one or several semesters at a German higher education institution.

A group of lawyers discusses legal problems in a seminar room of the Max Planck Institute for International Private Law in Hamburg.

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 :

  • 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 often 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.

Grant programmes are also available for international visiting professors and lecturers . For many years, the DAAD has been supporting international visiting scholars wishing to teach at a university in Germany.  In such cases it is the German university that would apply for funding.

In addition to these 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 5,400 euros and 6,700 euros
  • If a visiting professor is paid like a W3 professor, the monthly gross basic salary is between roughly 6,500 euros and 7,600 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 and 5,300 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 universities 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:

Find a job

Looking for a new science or research job? Here you will find a list of job portals that specialise in academic and research-related job offers in Germany.

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Funding & awards

Can you win people over with your expertise, experience and research ideas? German research funding organisations award prizes and fellowships to support international researchers.