What determines the salary of doctoral candidates in Germany?
Most doctoral candidates are appointed at a university or non-university research institution through a third-party centre or funding centre. These are all civil service institutions, so the salary for employed doctoral candidates is either based on the collective agreement for civil service (TVoeD) or the collective agreement for the civil service in the individual federal states (TV-L). Hesse, which is not a member of the collective agreement community of the federal states, has its own TV-H collective agreement. Other ways to finance your own PhD as a junior scientist include a PhD scholarship, an industrial PhD programme at a research institute in the private sector or an extra-occupational PhD. Even in the case of an industrial PhD programme, postgraduates are usually paid on the basis of a collective agreement. For example, if you are completing your PhD while working for a car manufacturer, the company collective agreement that IG Metall has concluded with the company will apply.
Which pay band applies to doctoral students in Germany?
In the case of the TVoeD, TV-L and TV-H, employees are paid according to their professional qualifications and the demands of their job. There are 15 pay bands in this area. Postgraduates are paid in accordance with pay band 13. PhD positions with a classification in pay band 14 are the absolute exception. Advanced postdocs are usually only promoted to a higher pay band if the they take on additional research responsibility. PhD status is no guarantee of promotion to the next pay band.
What is the salary of doctorate students in Germany?
The collective bargaining agreements between employers and unions are regularly renegotiated. These negotiations aim to improve working conditions and increasing the monthly gross salary of all civil servants. This means that even postgraduates can look forward to a slightly higher salary. As postgraduates rarely fill a full-time position, their actual gross salary needs to be adjusted on the basis of their working hours.
What are levels of experience and how do I gain relevant professional experience during my PhD degree in Germany?
There are newcomers and old hands in every profession. For researchers with a PhD in science, this breadth of experience is taken into account in the experience levels, which each come with a significant salary increase, as is the case for all employees of the civil service. All three collective agreements for civil servants provide for six levels of experience. The time spent at each stage, the stage duration, increases by one year at each stage. According to this scheme, graduates are entry-level applicants. Accordingly, postgraduates start at experience level 1 with the lowest salary. In their first postgraduate position, it is essential that PhD graduates ensure that the contractual term is at least 12 months and that they will be employed for a full year with no interruptions. Employment contracts of less than one year do not qualify as relevant professional experience according to civil service regulations.
When starting in a new position, you are therefore allocated back at Experience level 1 – without taking the progress you have already made into account. This applies even if the change of contract is seamless and remains within the same facility. Experience level 1 must be fully completed in a single employment contract to qualify for Experience level 2. However, once these twelve months have been served, shorter contractual terms then apply as relevant professional experience. Students who are awarded their doctorate within the allocated six years and are employed as a research associate at the same time can therefore also achieve Experience level 4 with a considerable salary when they graduate. It is not important whether you have a full-time position while completing your doctorate or, as is the case for most PhD positions, have a part-time job (50%–75% position).