Do the professors in Germany have the authority to issue contract or hire a PhD students directly with a formal contract without previous advertisement?

1 Answer 1


Do PhD positions in Germany need to be formally advertised?

tl;dr: Theoretically uncertain, practically yes.

PhD students in Germany are generally* employed as civil service employees (Angestellte des öffentlichen Dienstes). For civil service employees, the law company Gloistein & Partner on their website gives a nice summary of various, partially conflicting judgements (see "2. Ausschreibung von Arbeitsplätzen im öffentlichen Dienst" - use Google Translate as required). An important one is from the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht), which rejects a general responsibility to formally advertise such positions, but leaves open the possibility that such responsibilities can arise in practice, for example, if an institution regularly formally advertises its open positions.

HR people at public institutions in Germany are typically keen to "cover their asses" and avoid uncertain legal situations. Therefore, in practice, very most if not all PhD positions are formally advertised.

* Actually, PhD students do not need to be employed, but most are (at least in STEM fields), and then they are always employed as civil service employees. Typical alternatives to employment are stipends and being self-funded.

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    May I suggest two improvements? (i) At first glance, it is unclear to which question your first line refers (since the question in the body of the OP is the negation of the question in the title). (ii) I think the remark "but most are" in the footnote would be better with a specification of the field; I'm quite confident that this is correct is STEM, but I'm not so sure whether most PhD students in the humanities are employed. Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 7:16
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    @JochenGlueck Thanks, I agree with both suggestions and have addressed them. Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 8:09

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