I will hopefully be starting a PhD soon, it will be in the sciences (so at least several hours a day will be spend in labs). It is a 3 year position, with a possible extension to 3.5 years, and it's in Europe.

It is possible that I will also start a job around the same time. It would be a remote job, in the same time zone as my PhD. It wouldn't be for the whole duration of the PhD, as the work position is limited to 6 months.

I know that a job and a PhD at the same time will definitely be difficult, but I really want to do both, and think it should be okay with good time management (e.g. my lab work will involve centrifuges a lot, so I could get some work done while the centrifuges run). Just want to get a second opinion to see if I'm being too optimistic about this?

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    this answer of mine on a different question might be also relevant . Oct 22, 2021 at 0:38
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    You don't specify the European country. Have you checked that your PhD funding even allows you to do this?
    – Roland
    Oct 22, 2021 at 6:50
  • Getting a job position for 6 months is not beneficial for your CV, you will not learn much, you will also not be so productive. The question is then: why? financial matters?
    – EarlGrey
    Oct 22, 2021 at 7:26
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    Would you stay in the lab observing the centrifuges, while you work a remote job for some company? Oct 23, 2021 at 23:19
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    @BernhardDöbler very good (and obvious, I missed it!) point ... put it even clearer and in indirect form: "If ou are the lab head, would you be happy your employee is doing another job while you expect him/her to work on the centrifuges (i.e. work and control, even if everything is running fine)?"
    – EarlGrey
    Oct 26, 2021 at 9:19

3 Answers 3


Yes, you are being too optimistic. As soon as anything goes wrong (i.e. your second job has some issues, or the centrifuges do not run as smooth as predicted) you will end up under huge stress.

And a PhD is already a lot of stress, especially in the first ... 4 years.


I'll focus on the formal/legal aspect of your question, as the issue of practical feasibility has been covered in other answers (in this and the linked-to threads). A second full time employment will most likely be impossible for formal/legal reasons alone.

In many places in a "PhD position" means you are an employee of the university. Sometimes these are part-time and sometimes full-time positions. If full-time, you have a contractual commitment to work 36-40 hours per week for your university, so this would absolutely preclude another job. If part-time, the contract would most likely require you to seek assent from your superiors, e.g. HR but de facto your supervisor, for any other employment you take on. The expectation with part-time "PhD positions" is that you work on your PhD project in your spare time and on your employment duties (teaching, research, administration) during your work hours, even if this distinction is often fictitious. You won't be able to do this if your spare time is consumed by another job. Thus you probably will neither receive assent for taking on a second position with any significant work hours nor have sufficient time for your PhD project anyway.

There is one exception, namely that the second job directly contributes to your PhD project. For example, industry internships in an applied/engineering filed, or government internships that allow you to conduct participant observation in political science are not uncommon. Nothing in your question suggests that this exception applies.

Moreover, the contract for your prospective second job will most likely also preclude you from taking on another full-time position.

You will have to talk to your supervisor about this, but it sounds very unlikely that you will be permitted and/or able to work full-time while being on a PhD position. If you are dead set on the second job, you could try to negotiate a later starting date of your PhD position and consider already enrolling as (self-funded) PhD student before. But even then, your chances of success are small, because your supervisor probably wants to fill the position soon.

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    @quantum Many PhD-students in Germany in MINT work under the public service contract framework TV-L in full-time. What's full-time varies for each state (Bundesland): oeffentlicher-dienst.info/tv-l/allg/arbeitszeit.html
    – Stephan Z.
    Oct 22, 2021 at 8:57
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    Yeah your assumption is right, my second job wouldn't contribute to my research. My PhD contract doesn't specifically disallow me to take on another full-time job, but I didn't think that my job contract could potentially do this (I haven't really worked before, part of the reason I wanted to do this), thanks for pointing that out! Oct 22, 2021 at 9:32
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    @IsabelleRoth Note that the contract may not need to disallow this for it to be disallowed. For instance, the work contracts at German universities often only have 1-2 pages, but the 112 page public service contract framework is also binding. And even that doesn't disallow a second job, and only contains the clause that a second job needs to be authorized. And this authorization will not be granted if taking up the second job will make you violate the law stating the maximally allowed numbers of hours worked per week.
    – DCTLib
    Oct 22, 2021 at 10:11
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    @quantum Literally all PhD students employed by Dutch universities are on contracts of 36-40 hours per week (most choose to go for 40), as stipulated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement for Dutch university employees.
    – user116675
    Oct 22, 2021 at 10:29
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    If you are in France and get a public funding, you need an explicit authorization of your lab and institute to be allowed to do something in parallel, and it is only allowed 1) on your free time or 2) during, but for very specific missions (teaching, outreach, expertise related to your PhD).
    – clef
    Oct 22, 2021 at 15:54

The link to other answers will tell you the same thing as I summarise in a few words: PhD is a full-time job. The relevant question you should ask is: can you do two full-time jobs?

Also, many works contracts in Europe prohibit a second job in written.

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