In STEM fields, US universities often spend 5+ months to finalize their decisions on assistant professorship positions, while UK universities do the same in almost a month. where do German universities lie in this spectrum?

In particular, I had submitted an application to a German university whose deadline was Sept. 15, 2022. I chased my application yesterday, and the secretary of the rektor told me

... thank you very much for your message. At the moment, I can only tell you that the work of the commission is not finished yet. We will contact you as soon as there is news.

According to the timing I cited above, is it likely that they have already conducted their interviews and those "news" would be just about rejection, or German universities are generally slow like Americans and there is a chance that they have not yet decided whom to be interviewed?

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    Oh well... do not expect it to be fast. In my experience, it can take ages, 5+ months is not unthinkable. It depends on a lot of individual factors, though. A neighboring institute here has been looking for a new head for 6 years now and managed to arrange two rounds of interviews during this whole time... that is a rather extreme example, of course, with a lot of 'politics' involved. Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 21:50
  • @Snijderfrey: Thanks for the comment. (This position in an (entry-level) W1 professorship.)
    – user41207
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 22:18
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    In that case, you may find this relevant: Academic Hiring Process and Practices for Junior Professors in Germany Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 10:39
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    German universities are, at least traditionally, rather slow with hiring processes. However, you would expect that state 1 - inviting people for interviews - happens relatively timely. Rejections, however, are usually only sent out after the whole process is concluded, which might well take a year (or more, if one or several candidates decline). Some places are nice and at least inform you that as of now, you are not actively considered, i.e. invited, but this is not very standard, I believe.
    – user151413
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


This varies a lot, but it may be slower that you think. From my experience it can take anything between 6 months and three years (really) to fill the position. In the majority of cases, the position was filled between 6 and twenty months after the closing of the deadline.

The time between the deadline and the interviews is usually between three weeks and a few months, but occasionally it may even be longer. Unfortunately, nobody will tell you if you are still considered for the position (i.e. if you are still in the game or not). I find this very unfortunate, but universities in Germany are very strict about this and all members in hiring committees are told multiple times that they shall not "leak" any information of the process to anybody not in the committee…

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