I have been a postdoc in Computer Science at a German university for the last year or so. Previously, I have been a postdoc abroad for another couple of years, and I also hold a PhD from abroad.

When I took up this post, I and my current superior signed a Habilitation clause in the 3+3 contract (this shows intent to do a Habilitation at the time of signing the contract, but it is not a necessity if both I and my superior agree not to do one).

In my current state, I am not really growing as an Academic. My superior only does administration, so I look after his BSc and MSc students and do also a bunch of teaching, but as you can imagine, I do not take any credit for the supervision of students.

I wonder if going for a Habilitation will allow me to get credit for supervising students and also allow me to do my own teaching, so that I can further build my CV and actually show some progress.

Thank you all.

  • Your question is not clear to me. What a PhD is for research, the habilitation is for teaching: proof that you are able to teach at an academic level without supervision. Having achieved a habilitation is obviously advantageous for an academic career, assuming you aim to become a professor.
    – user9482
    Jul 11, 2021 at 15:24
  • @Roland I do not really know the specifics of a Habilitation, but I imagined that it involves a mix of teaching, research, and supervision. I am mostly interested if I can be more autonomous in teaching and supervision during the period of Habilitation.
    – Chim3ra
    Jul 11, 2021 at 15:26
  • It involves research (but you are doing that anyway) and teaching. Usually no supervision. You should discuss all of this with your mentor. Specifics can differ slightly between universities and even faculties. Also read the Habilitationsordnung of your faculty.
    – user9482
    Jul 11, 2021 at 15:34
  • @Roland Thanks! Will do!
    – Chim3ra
    Jul 11, 2021 at 15:40
  • We cannot tell from the distance what will happen in your specific case. Reasons for for making a habilitation plan official vary. Might even be in order to be able to give you a new fixed-term contract. I voted to close. Jul 11, 2021 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


You only get proper teaching/supervision autonomy once you have your habilitation. Before that, there will always have to be an official supervisor, or a co-lecturer - that is, someone who has the right to independently supervise or teach (that is, a professor or someone with a habilitation).

This being said, there should be nothing which takes you from taking credit for supervising people and giving lectures - you can state this on the CV in a suitable form (e.g. "co-supervised jointly with", "taught X (jointly with Prof. Y)") - people will usually know how to read this.

  • Thank you for your response. Do you have any idea though whether this would constitute an improvement over my current status? For example, writing papers without the need for mentioning the supervisor and thus showing independence (officially, there is no need for that now either, but you can imagine how it is..), and having a more structured teaching load (specific courses and a well-defined teaching schedule).
    – Chim3ra
    Jul 12, 2021 at 16:13
  • What do you mean with "mentioning" the supervisor? Nothing will change in that regard (why should it?). More structured teaching: likely. But again, now you shouldn't be forced to teach - and if you don't manage to say "no" when asked whether you would take over teaching, why would that change by that?
    – user151413
    Jul 12, 2021 at 21:19
  • I mean listing him as a co-author, I'd imagine that if the Habilitation is about demonstrating independence, I would not have to do that. My current contract already has a teaching load of a specified amount of hours, but I have no say on how to use them, so I usually do tutorials, assignments, and things of that nature, I would like to use my teaching hours to actually do teaching.
    – Chim3ra
    Jul 12, 2021 at 21:45
  • Regarding the co-author issue, co-authors should be people who contributed scientifically to the work, not who funded you. This will not change if you do a Habilitation. If you supervisor contributes to the research, he/she should be on the paper, if not, not. It is up to you to say "no" (or just not to offer co-authorship!) if you feel it is not appropriate. Regarding teaching: Yes, if you do a Habilitation, you should/will teach courses independently (not formally independently, but in practice; your supervisor will just be listed as a co-lecturer formally).
    – user151413
    Jul 15, 2021 at 17:19

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