Can a full-time Ph.D. student legally work in a private company, and draw the stipend from the university and the salary from the job at the same time?

I am interested to know the regulations of Germany and Poland.

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    I very doubt it. At least in my country, Italy, this would not be possible, and I suspect that also Germany and Poland may have similar regulations. Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 7:01
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    @user366312: I don't know about Poland but in Germany your income as a PhD candidate is not a "stipend" it is a salary and it is well above a poverty level (albeit low compared to what you can earn as a high performing graduate). Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 7:32
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    I agree that in Poland, as far as I know, the PhD salary is low (afaik around 400 €/month, at least a few years ago), even considering the low cost of living in that country, but in Germany a PhD salary is far from the level of poverty. Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 7:44
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    Please don’t change so substantially the question once it has already received answers. Having both perspectives is not bad anyway. Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 7:48
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    @JackAidley: "in Germany your income as a PhD candidate is not a 'stipend' it is a salary" Well, this depends. Technically, the status as a PhD candidate in Germany is not directly related to the question how the candidate is funded. Various options for funding include (i) salary from a "Landesstelle", (ii) salary from a grant, (iii) a scholarship from one of various public or private foundations, or (iv) to work in the private sector (potentially on a part time position) and use your spare time to do your PhD. Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


No. In many German contracts, it is explicitly mentioned that you are either not allowed to work anywhere else, or you need permission from your full-time PhD employer to work somewhere else. You can try to request but it will very likely not work.


  1. PhD is a full-time job.
  2. Read 1.

If you get a PhD position in Germany, you will very likely get a reasonable amount to support your livelihood. It is, I've heard many times, the opposite in Poland. I do not know the legal issues in Poland, but I suspect it must be possible to work. Otherwise, how else are so many students surviving from the money they get from the state?

  • While not necessarily accepting poverty, it seems students in Germany must instead accept slavery. While I certainly prefer my students focus on their graduate degree (and I make sure their have a stipend above poverty), I legally have no say in what they do outside their reasonable hours of work. Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 12:29
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    @ZeroTheHero: "it seems students in Germany must instead accept slavery": I've heard this quite often, but I have difficulties to fully understand this claim. As a PhD student in Germany you are indeed quite strongly dependent on your advisor. However, considering the countlessly many questions by desparate PhD students on Academia StackExchange I doubt that this is so much better in other places in the world (although I would indeed be happy to be false here). Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 12:45
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    @ZeroTheHero There are typically common rules for all people hired by the state about working on the side. So PhD students are typically not treated any different. Then, the claim that they cannot work on the side is typically not correct (see my comment above), but it is true that there is a limit on the number of hours (less so on the salary), with the typical idea being that working more than a certain numbers of hours per week (48h or so) is not beneficial.
    – user151413
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 13:00
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    @user151413: It seems that the 48 hours limit per week does not only apply to people employed by a public institution, but generally for most employees in Germany, no matter whether they work in the public or in the private sector (though there are some exceptions). See for instance here (in German). Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 13:33
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    @quantum The restrictions are for paid jobs, and I don't think there is a way around this in the public sector, at least if you are employed on a full-time position: You must inform your employer of your side job (or ask for permission, if there might be COIs), and you cannot work more than a certain number of hours. (There's also a softer limit on how much you can make.)
    – user151413
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 20:17

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