Becoming a junior professor

A junior professorship can open many doors if your goal is becoming a tenured professor. You can do independent research and teach. The junior professorship may even be a substitute for habilitation in some cases.

If your goal is an academic career in Germany, a junior professorship is worth considering. Since their introduction in 2002, they have become an accepted alternative to habilitation in several fields of study. The junior professorship was established to allow young scientists greater independence in research and teaching.

Junior professors have many of the rights full or tenured professors enjoy. They can supervise doctorates, teach, and play an active role in academic administration. However, the junior professorships are temporary, fixed-term employments usually lasting three to four years and can be extended up to six years. While they frequently lead to a tenured professorship, it is not guaranteed. If you are chosen for a tenured professorship, you may not have to do a habilitation after successfully completing a junior professorship. This, however, depends on your chosen field of study. In some subjects, a junior professorship is accepted as a habilitation substitute, in others, a habilitation is still advantageous if your goal is a full professorship.

Junior professorships have to be advertised publicly and are sometimes jointly created positions by a university and a research institute. They are aimed at outstanding post-docs with great academic potential. A university appointment committee usually decides which applicant is chosen and the selection process often requires a trial lecture.