Professorships and senior positions

The successful route to a professorship (or an academic leadership position at a non-university research institution) can follow different paths.

Professors are primarily active in research and teaching: conducting research, they continuously expand the knowledge and boundaries of their field, contribute to the development of specific as well as interdisciplinary approaches, and so also drive the formation of new fields within academia. Depending on their career stage, position and personal experience, it may be that their own research activities are increasingly replaced by managing larger research projects and leading other researchers.

In courses and lectures, they impart the knowledge of their discipline to students and doctoral candidates and provide them with insights into the latest state of research. University professors have a teaching load of eight to nine semester hours per week, depending on the federal state; at universities of applied sciences it can be considerably more. In addition, a professorship includes committee activities, the supervision of junior academics and the transfer of knowledge.

Subject-related and methodological qualification

Qualification and personal development

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A professorship involves a range of responsibilities that are very diverse and extensive. No wonder the requirements profile is correspondingly demanding: In the foreground of course — is the candidate's academic, subject-related and methodological qualification, which must be demonstrated through "additional academic achievements" following their degree program and doctoral studies.

There are many ways to achieve this in the German academic system: a junior professorship; leading your own independent junior research group; or the German Habilitation (post-doctoral qualification) which is still required in some subjects and can be carried out in a variety of positions — to name just a few examples. International networking and success in acquiring third-party funding also play a major role in an appointment to a professorship. In addition, there are didactic skills and competencies in the areas of communication and cooperation, leadership and management, as well as self-management and career development.

LMU Tenure Track Model

Detailed information on the LMU Tenure Track Model

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For young academics, the tenure-track professorship offers a particularly attractive and reliable path: although the appointment is initially limited in time, the tenure-track phase leads directly to a permanent professorship, following a positive evaluation.

LMU introduced its Tenure Track Model more than ten years ago and has continued to develop it ever since. The aim of this model is, early on, to lay out an attractive career path for junior academics that leads to a permanent professorship at LMU. Currently, more than 200 academics are on the tenure track under this model, or have already completed it.

Career options on the path to professorships and senior positions

Career advice for postdocs (restricted access)

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Once appointed to a professorship, further opportunities for development still exist: Specifically, the German civil service remuneration system differentiates between W1 or junior professorships, W2 and W3 professorships. Here, the "W" stands for the academic remuneration scale stipulated in the Federal Civil Service Remuneration Regulation (Bundesbesoldungsordnung). The basic salary and further structuring of a professorship differs significantly depending on the German federal state and university in question. However, as a general rule, the chance to negotiate both the basic salary and additional benefits associated with performance and facilities increases at higher appointment levels.

Senior positions are also available at numerous non-university research institutes, such as those of the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association and the Fraunhofer Society. Since directors of these institutions are often also appointed to a university at the same time, there is considerable overlap with the requirements for a professorship. In addition, each research institution has its own specific research profile, which stipulates additional focal points for its academic management.

At LMU, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your competencies and development goals in our career advice sessions. This will help you decide whether you want to pursue the career path to a professorship or academic senior position.

Moments of choice - The professor

Boris Čučković Berger - junior professor

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05:09 | 18 Jan 2023 | ©LMU

Scientists can find subject-specific information on career-relevant topics on the websites of the faculties, collaborative research projects, and doctoral programs.

LMU academics can find access-protected detailed descriptions of our services in the Service Portal. These include names of current contact people and the relevant application forms.

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