Career paths

Career paths after doctoral graduation


After doctoral graduation diverse career paths in universities, research institutions, the economy and in society open up to young researchers.

The period of doctoral studies can be seen as preparation for future tasks that require usually more responsibility. From the research and development department in a large company to the setting up of a start-up or takeover of a (family owned) enterprise - different career paths are possible.

Good, if you know about these different options early before finishing your doctoral studies, because for the successful establishment at the desired position more than just pure subject-specific knowledge and scientific expertise are necessary. Skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership ability are not automatically acquired during doctoral studies. However, this time of qualification can be used to acquire and develop these so-called key competencies.

For the planning of your career it is important to develop awareness for both academic and non-academic career paths that are open to doctoral graduates . Only about a quarter of young scientists want to hold on a university career as a target after graduation, 40% want to continue with research. But what aim the remaining 60% of the young researchers pursue after having successfully defended their dissertation? The following overview may help to find the right way.

Take advantage of our advisory services for an individual career development.

Possible career goals after doctoral graduation
1. Universities and Colleges

  • Research (Post-Doc, habilitation, professorship)
  • Teaching
  • Research and information infrastrucur (e.g. large-scale equipment, special laboratories, digitization projects, large surveys, data management, academic collections)
  • Science management
  • Knowledge and technology transfer

2. Research institutes

  • Research
  • Research and information infrastrucur
  • Science management
  • Knowledge and technology transfer

3. Economy

  • R&D in a company (can also be an important prerequisite for a later professorship at a university)
  • Research management
  • Other professional activities in a company (specialist)
  • Establishment of a start-op company / successor business
  • Consulting
  • Project management
  • Sophisticated and leading position

4. Society

  • Foundations
  • Associations / societies
  • Public sector / authorities
  • Non-frofit-organizations (e.g. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF))

More detailed information offer amongst others also the webpage of Karriereportal für Wissenschaft & Forschung von DIE ZEIT (availlable only in German) as well as Karriere-Ratgeber von Jobvector (availlable only in German), the specialized job market for scientists, physicians and engineers in all stages of their careers.