I'm a European doctoral candidate about to defend her PhD dissertation. I'd love to eventually get a job at a small teaching university with a relatively larger focus on education rather than research; I'm thinking of something like SLACs (small liberal arts colleges) in the US.

I am given to understand that early-career European academics are unlikely to be hired at a US SLAC. If this is indeed the case, where do I look for a list of such institutions within the European Union? Does such a list or database even exist? If not, how do I compile one?

(I am aware that some European countries are reluctant to hire you unless you speak the local language - let us please disregard this for now.)

  • 1
    Note that this site isn't the place to get specific recommendations, but since you ask "how to find them" I'll guess it will be kept open.
    – Buffy
    Aug 8, 2022 at 15:10
  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 8, 2022 at 17:40
  • I am not entirely sure what I am supposed to clarify. I am looking for a resource (such as a list or database) on teaching universities in the EU. In the absence of such a resource, I am looking for a heuristic to find small European universities with a teaching focus, comparable to SLACs in the US.
    – SLHsqua
    Aug 8, 2022 at 20:40
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    From Wikipedia: "Although it draws on European antecedents,[2] the liberal arts college is strongly associated with American higher education ..." I don't think we have an equivalent in the EU. Nor do we have a distinction between teaching and research universities. There are positions with a teaching focus but usually fresh PhD graduates are not hired for these. Rather, some post-docs are required to teach in addition to their research.
    – user9482
    Aug 9, 2022 at 5:15
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    So I think you might be more likely to get useful answers if you elaborate further on the notion "small teaching universities": which are the criteria you are interested in, besides the focus on teaching? E.g., which field(s) are you interested in? Are you interested in institutions that focus on vocational training or rather on institutions which focus on theoretical topics? Would you like to teach subjects which go considerably beyond a typical high school curriculum, or would you also be interested in teaching a curriculum close to (or equal to the higher grades of) highschool level? Aug 9, 2022 at 11:44

4 Answers 4


I'm a professor at a small liberal arts college (SLAC) in the USA. We have about 250 faculty, and I can think of around 20 from Europe (however, many of those got their PhDs in the USA). So it's certainly possible to get a job at a SLAC in the USA. The key thing is to demonstrate that you actually want to be at such a place, that your teaching is excellent, and that you want to live in the town where the SLAC is located. We put a lot of effort into mentoring new faculty and hate to hire someone who chooses to leave after a few years.

I am also aware of a few SLAC-like institutions in Europe, where we send our students to study abroad. The most relevant to the OP is probably Constructor University in Bremen, Germany. It has under 2000 students, is fully residential, and emphasizes high quality teaching. It used to be known as Jacobs University, and I visited there in 2017. It's a private university, but recognized and accredited by the government. They really run on a liberal arts model, even if their webpage now seems to be emphasizing research. I believe the vast majority of students are undergraduates, with only a handful of PhD students.

Another option would be to teach at a study abroad program like DIS in Copenhagen (or, they also now have one in Sweden) or AIT in Budapest (computer science) or BSM in Budapest (math). These programs often get a lot of students from US-based SLACs so they run on a teaching-focused, highly relational model.

  • Thank you for your detailed, informative answer. Do you have any info on whether DIS employs full-time staff / tenured faculty in addition to adjuncts / lecturers?
    – SLHsqua
    May 12 at 19:54

This is an answer for Germany, which is probably not applicable to other European countries.

I cannot answer where to find such universities, since no equivalent to SLACs exist in Germany. However, I can say where to find teaching focused jobs in Germany:

  1. Many of the rather teaching focused universities are called universities of applied sciences or Fachhochschulen. There are quite a lot of them with many open positions. (Note that there are quite specific conditions you need to have to be eligible to be hired, see e.g. this question. And note that the pure focus on teaching is in the process of been given up and much more research is being done.)
  2. As I guess is the case in many European countries, Germany also has many private universities. These are quite often rather teaching focused.
  3. There are some pure teaching position in all kinds of public universities. Look for positions called Akademischer Rat or Lehrkraft für besondere Aufgaben. Requirements vary widely, and research might be a requirement. And often people are being hired that are well-known to the university.

Academic job posting in Germany (at least for 1 and 2) can usually be found on zeit.de.

  • OP doesn't appear to be qualified for a teaching position at a university of applied sciences (i.e., they seem to have no industry experience). A teaching position at a university is the better option. E.g., one of our PhD graduates got such a position because the university had a vacant professorship and needed someone to fill in for a lecture. Naturally, such (temporary) positions are not really attractive.
    – user9482
    Aug 10, 2022 at 6:55
  • I would not quite say "no equivalent to SLACs exist in Germany." The answer I just posted mentions one such equivalent, in Germany. Mar 31 at 12:54
  • In France there is the professeur agrégé - and they may teach at any of the high school, classe préparatoire (equivalent to first two years of university), or university level. However this is an extremely competitive position.
    – xuq01
    Apr 8 at 3:28

There are many American universities abroad, quite a few of them in Europe. They are accredited by accreditation bodies in the US, follow an American-style curriculum, and teach in English. Usually they are teaching centric.


I'm not in the EU so this is a bit speculative. But this is how I'd go about it. I think many (most?) countries have a national education office (ministry). They may publish a list of accredited colleges and universities. A web search will probably turn up many of these, though you might need to know the local language to understand them. There may be some indication in such lists about the mission of those places. You can then go from there to the websites of places that seem interesting.

Another possibility is that such colleges (in the US, at least) are potentially members of various associations of similar places. If you can find one, you can, perhaps, go from there to the association to find a list of members.

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