What you need to know

Useful information you need to know should you wish to apply for a post with us.

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What we offer

All the things we can offer you at Goethe University alongside exciting tasks.

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Privacy policy

When applying for a professorship with us, please note our information on the protection of your personal data.

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Understanding the fine print

We like to keep our job advertisements as short and sweet as possible, but if you are not familiar with the German academic system, some terminology might require a little more context. We have put together some key terms to help you navigate. You can also find more information under "What you need to know".

(1) The "W" system

The remuneration of professors at German universities is governed by the "W" pay scale ("W" stands for "Wissenschaft" [science]). W1 designates an entry-level salary, W2 aims at more established researchers and W3 is the highest basic salary. The basic salaries in each pay scale group are regulated by the Hessian Remuneration Act (Hessisches Besoldungsgesetz). In addition to the basic salary, you may receive a family allowance and other salary components. These additional components are part of the appointment negotiations and can include appointment benefits, performance bonuses or other one-time, short-term or permanent bonuses.

(2) Roles

Analogous to the pay scale, Goethe University classifies professorships according to seniority and reputation as Assistant Professors (W1), Full Professors (W2) and Distinguished Professors (W3). Assistant and Full Professors might also be advertised as tenure track posts for an initial six-year term. If tenure is approved at the end of the term, the post will be made permanent and promotion to the rank of Full Professor (W2) or Distinguished Professor (W3) will be granted.

(3) Employee status

Professors in Germany are usually civil servants (Beamte), which is a unique position within the German labour market. While public employees are generally subject to the same laws and regulations as employees in the private sector, civil servants have certain privileges and duties towards the German state. In general, both options are available to you, unless the job advertisement specifies that the post can only be filled with a public employee.

(4) Timeline

Posts will either be filled as soon as possible or by a specified date, which could also be a time frame such as the 2024 winter term. In general, appointment procedures may take about a year from the application deadline to your first day as professor at Goethe University. We have briefly outlined the different stages of the appointment procedure under What you need to know".

(5) Appointment requirements

Formal appointment requirements are regulated by the Hessian Higher Education Act (Hessisches Hochschulgesetz). Our job advertisements point you to the relevant clauses. We have also summarised the main clauses under “What you need to know".