Habilitation (Post-doctoral lecturing qualification)

The next step in an academic career (in Germany) after obtaining a doctorate is the “Habilitation”.

The “Habilitation” serves as proof of outstanding competence in independent scientific research and qualified independent teaching in a specific scientific field (“Lehrbefähigung”/ post-doctoral lecturing qualification). After “Habilitation”, the scientist may therefore independently offer courses at a university in a specific academic subject or field (“Lehrbefugnis” (venia legendi/ authorisation to teach). The award of the authorisation to teach also entitles the holder to use the title "Privatdozentin" or "Privatdozent".

Prerequisites for the “Habilitation”
The applicant must have obtained a doctorate from a German academic university or an equivalent foreign university.

Applicants must prove their ability to conduct independent scientific research by submitting a habilitation thesis (“Habilitationsschrift”). Instead of a habilitation thesis, previous publications and papers accepted for publication may also be recognised (cumulative habilitation) if they constitute equivalent proof of the ability to conduct independent scientific research and have not yet been used in a habilitation procedure. The habilitation thesis or the publications may also be written in English.

Habilitation procedure
Postdocs wishing to habilitate must submit a written application for admission to habilitation to the dean of the faculty responsible for the subject area within which the authorisation to teach is sought. The Faculty Council then decides on the application and the habilitation committee (“Habilitationskommission”) appoints experts to assess the written habilitation performance and the report on the research activity. The applicants have the right to make proposals.

After completion of the review process, the habilitation committee decides whether the written habilitation performance meets the requirements and is accepted. In addition, the applicants demonstrate their ability to engage in scientific debate in a colloquium. This takes place in front of the habilitation committee and, if necessary, other experts and habilitated members of the faculty.

If the colloquium is successful, the applicant is admitted to a university-public trial lecture (“Probevorlesung”). The habilitation committee selects the topic of the lecture from three proposals made by the applicant.

After the trial lecture, the habilitation committee decides on the result of this habilitation performance and on the designation of the authorisation to teach (venia legendi), if necessary with the participation of further experts and habilitated members of the faculty.

Detailed information on the requirements and the habilitation procedure (“Habilitationsverfahren”) can be found in the regulation on the post-doctoral lecturing qualification of Göttingen University (“Habilitationsordnung”) (in German).

Habilitation Committee
Members of the habilitation committee (“Habilitationskommission”):

The members decide, for example, on the habilitation procedures at the faculty, the interim evaluation for postdocs (“Akademische Rät*innen) and junior professors, and accompany tenure-track procedures.

Göttingen Campus Postdoc Network
The Postdoc Network is by and for postdocs of the Göttingen Campus. The Göttingen Campus includes the University of Göttingen, the University Medical Center Göttingen and seven local non-university research institutions, including four Max Planck Institutes.

The network facilitates communication and the exchange of information between postdocs in Göttingen, for example by sending out a newsletter, regular network meetings or workshops and seminars: More information (redirection to the online information portal of the Göttingen Campus Postdoc Network).