Professorships at universities of applied sciences (UASs)
Professorships at universities of applied sciences can be attractive career options for early career researchers. In 2014 there were around 18,600 professors at such institutions in Germany. They generally enjoy the status of civil servants and the majority are remunerated at the W2 level.
What are the prerequisites for a UAS professorship?
First of all, you will need a doctorate in a relevant area that demonstrates your capacity for academic research. A Habilitation (postdoctoral qualification) or equivalent, however, is not necessary. Instead, you will need to demonstrate five years’ work experience, at least three of which have to be outside the university sphere. During this time, you will be expected to have gained experience in applying and developing scientific knowledge and methods.
How do they differ from university professorships?
At universities of applied sciences, the emphasis is on teaching. Teaching obligations for professors are usually twice as high as at traditional universities, at around 18 hours per week during the lecture period. In the past universities of applied sciences did not have the right to award doctorates, and doctoral supervision is normally only undertaken in collaboration with a university. In some of Germany’s federal states, however, this has now changed. Some research-intensive departments in universities of applied sciences in Hesse, for example, have recently acquired the right to award doctorates. Finally, since UASs focus more heavily on applied research, they are increasingly prioritizing external funding procurement.
How should I plan my career path?
If you are interested in becoming a UAS professor, make sure you start honing your profile as early as possible. You will particularly need to gain practical work experience and develop your teaching skills. It is also important to have your own professional networks and potential cooperation partners. Like university professorships, UAS professorships are publicly advertised and appointments are made via a search committee.
Good to know:
- Universities of applied sciences are actively seeking future professors. They use roadshows at various German higher education institutions to inform potential candidates about what it takes to become a UAS professor.
- The national conference of women’s and equal opportunities officers at universities of applied sciences (Bundeskonferenz der Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragten an Hochschulen e.V.) has published an extensive, German-language brochure on how to become a professor at a German university of applied sciences (Auf dem Weg zur Professur an einer Fachhochschule/ Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften [PDF] ).
- UAS7, a strategic alliance of seven leading German universities of applied sciences, provides extensive information on career opportunities such as UAS professorships.