Career options for postdocs

If you decide to stay in science or research after completing your doctorate, there is a wide range of career options open to you. Whether you come to Germany as a postdoc, a junior professor or a visiting researcher, German universities, non-university research institutes and companies offer young international researchers excellent opportunities to gain research experience and qualify for the next step up the career ladder.

Typical career paths in Germany:

The way to a professorship

Different routes lead to a university professorship in Germany. Though the habilitation process is still common, there are now additional recognised ways of qualifying for appointment as a professor.

An art historian checks the structure of an exhibition in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuernberg.

Postdoc positions

Universities, non-university research institutes and companies offer research jobs or grants to support young postdoctoral researchers.

A researcher in the Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI) for researching electronic properties (PGI-6)

Research group leader

Working as a research group leader at a university or non-university research institute not only provides experience of managing a research team and conducting research on your own project; it also offers an opportunity to work independently and take responsibility for staffing and budgets.

Three art historians check individual shields for changes over the centuries at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuernberg.

Junior professor

A junior professorship has become an established alternative to habilitation. The focus here is on early independence in research and teaching. 

A young professor is standing in a seminar room and talking to students.

Researcher in industry

Do you enjoy a challenge and finding solutions to practical problems? Postdocs will find many interesting positions in research and development at German companies.

Two scientists at the control panel of a laser drilling machine at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen.

Research stays and visits

A research stay or visit will not only enable you to establish first contacts in Germany and gain an understanding of the research and higher education system; it can also make it easier to decide in favour of a research career in Germany.

Two Scientists talking in front of a computer screen at DZNE-Bonn (German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases)

International collaborations

Realising your own research idea with an international partner broadens horizons and enables new experiences. German universities, non-university research institutes and companies are excellent cooperation partners.

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

Dual careers

Highly qualified couples who are both planning a career in Germany can receive targeted support from dual career networks at universities.