Is there any web site that shows average Ph.D. student salaries in European countries, and also information about living cost and so on?

update: what about France and Germany?

  • Do you mean the salary someone who has a PhD gets? Do you mean the salary in industry? What field are you referring to? Why would living cost be any different for someone with a PhD than for someone without? As it stands, your question could benefit from some clarification. – O. R. Mapper Apr 3 '15 at 11:38
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    I mean PhD student. On computer engineering(computer networks) – M R R Apr 3 '15 at 11:40
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    For comparing living costs (per city), I recommend a lot: numbeo.com/common. For expected salaries - it may vary a lot, even within an institute. (But it would be nice to have data somewhere.) – Piotr Migdal Apr 3 '15 at 12:04
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    @PiotrMigdal I agree that it would be nice to have the data somewhere, but letting random people post dozens of answers to an AC.SE question is not the way to collect the data. – yo' Apr 4 '15 at 11:54
  • @yo' Perhaps this can be converted to a community wiki? – jakebeal Apr 9 '15 at 3:36

Partial answer; In the Netherlands you have a couple of different possibilities when it comes to PhDs. You can be a student (and thus have to pay), a payed phd (who also has teaching obligations), and an external PhD (who, depending on the professor, might have to pay).

The paid PhDs salary per month vary from 2,125 euro in the first year to 2,717 euro (in the fourth year, which should be the last year) according to the VSNU (look at the P column). There is also a 13th month and vacation money. Of course tax and social premiums still has to be deducted to get to the salary you get on your account.

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    The amounts posted by Maarten are correct, but if you are a foreigner doing a PhD in the Netherlands you can get some substantial tax deductions (for all the details see expatax.nl/30ruling.php). Just to give you an idea, the 2015 net salary starts near 1600 the 1st year and reaches 1950 the 4th year. With the 30% rule, you start at 1850 the 1st year and get 2280 during the 4th year. – alezok Apr 4 '15 at 8:53
  • Do you pay the student fees from it? If yes, how much? – yo' Apr 4 '15 at 12:00
  • @alezok would you give a clearer idea about the 30%rule. a foreign student would not have to give the 30%tax or what is it exactly. it's still not clear. – MycrofD Dec 6 '16 at 15:12
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    @MycrofD It means that you pay taxes only on 70% of your salary, the 30% you get is tax-free. Details are explained in the link in my previous comment! – alezok Dec 6 '16 at 15:20

In Germany, PhD work contracts are typically under the TVL group "E 13" union contracts. Fresh PhD students start in stage 1, but if you have relevant work experience, starting in stage 2 or 3 is possible as well.
Usually, PhD contracts are part time, either 50 % or 65 %. In some occasions the PhD students are not paid for the PhD work, but explicitly for the teaching they do ("PhD is your private fun"), occasionally also only by HiWi contracts (much less hourly wage). A 50 % contract in E13 stage 1 yields approximately 1175 €/month net after taxes and social insurance (health insurances, unemployment insurance, pension fund contribution) have been paid. For more details, the linked page has a calculator that takes into acount further details.

If you are not paid by a work contract but by a scholarship, things are very different: firstly, scholarships can vary widely by the amount they pay and the additional conditions. Secondy, scholarships are not work contracts. Which means that you have to pay e.g. full health insurance yourself, and no pension payments are done. On the other hand, there is no income tax on scholarships, nor do they count for the tax progression (=> if you earn additional money e.g. for teaching, that will practically have no/very low income tax as well because of the income tax free limit).

As for how far that money gets you, this varies hugely between regions. E.g. Munich or Frankfurt are very expensive as housing costs are very expensive (shared flat > 25 €/m²), wheras other cities such as Leipzig are much cheaper to live in (maybe 10 €/m² for shared flat), have a look e.g. at WG-gesucht to get an idea of housing costs. Basic food stuff (= buying ingredients and cooking yourself) is cheap in Germany.

It is typically up to you whether you want to sign up as a university student when doing a PhD. People often decide this by comparing the semester fees with the advantages that come with the student ID such as public transport ticket or the lower mensa prices.

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    The "percentage" of a TV-L that is awarded varies strongly by discipline. In CS and engineering, for instance, it is almost unheard of to offer less than 100% of a TV-L position. – aeismail Apr 9 '15 at 11:56
  • It's not just "unheard of", there are official (though not binding) guidelines from DFG (in German only, sorry): dfg.de/formulare/55_02/55_02_de.pdf. Salary budgets in DFG grant applications should take that into account. dfg.de/foerderung/grundlagen_rahmenbedingungen/… – Blaisorblade May 24 '15 at 8:15

New partial answer : in Sweden it is pretty much like for the Nederland. The rules are the same but you're paid around 24 000 krona (around 2400€) a month. You then have to deduct the tax which depend on where you live. No extra taxes but I'm from the EU and it might be different if you're from outside the eu. The salary is based on the cost of living.

You have teaching obligation and are supposed to spend 20% of your time on work for the university (as in not on research).

You sign a contact with the university. So you're employed and you have all the advantages of a normal employee: health insurance and 25 days of holidays, for example. Security insurance might be only on campus.

For the savings, it depend on where you live and the way you live but you definitely can save some ;).

  • Please let us know the source URL. In other words, where did you get the info "you're paid around 24 000 krona" ? – scaaahu Apr 4 '15 at 9:31
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    I know it from my own PhD in Sweden and my friend's one. ;) – Malcolm Apr 4 '15 at 9:33
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    Is it before taxing or after taxing? Does it include social security/health insurance? Do you have to pay some extra taxes? Do you pay the student fees from it? – yo' Apr 4 '15 at 11:58
  • is that enough or you can save some money? (In case of student life and single ) – M R R Apr 4 '15 at 13:10
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    KTH is (as far as I know) one of the more generous Swedish universities when it comes to PhD student salaries, and you can find the current salaries here: csc.kth.se/student/doktorandrad/doktorandstegen . Entry level is around 26K SEK/month, and then it increases each year so that you are paid around 31K SEK/Month the last year. That is before taxes. We have universal healthcare, so you don't need health insurance. After taxes you get around 20K-23K SEK/month, which is enough to live comfortably. We do not have fees, other than a small sum paid to the student union (150 SEK/year). – pehrs Apr 4 '15 at 17:31

Another partial answer. In Italy there are two categories of PhD students: those who get a scholarship from the university or a government institution, and those who are funded by an industry or a firm (not many, actually).

For the first category, the scholarships are of about €1000-1200 per month, free of tax, and the students do not have to pay any yearly fee for the enrollment. For the second category, the salary depends on the funder, but it is probably of the same order of magnitude. In this latter case, however, students have to pay a yearly fee (around €1000-2000) to the school.

PhD students can have extra income from teaching assistantship or external contracts. The law does not limit the amount of extra income, but schools can set local limits. In any case, extra activity which involves a student for a significant amount of hours should be approved by the PhD program board and by the student's advisor(s).

  • Does it include social security/health insurance? Do you have to pay some extra taxes? – yo' Apr 4 '15 at 11:59
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    @yo': if you are an Italian citizen, you don't have to pay for social security, it's granted by the State. Foreigner students have to pay a small yearly tax, about €400, I've been told. – Massimo Ortolano Apr 4 '15 at 13:16

This is what I found with a simple Google search: The average PhD Student salary is US$28,928. This comes to about €26,322. The estimates are based on 1,086 salaries submitted anonymously to the Glassdoor website by PhD Student employees. Needless to say it will vary based on the area of research, location and University/Institution. It closely matches to my PhD salary though. I looked up the list and it featured entries from US, UK and Nordic countries.

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    Was there any data on Europe, which is what the OP asked for? – jakebeal Apr 3 '15 at 16:10
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    Could you please add a somewhat more specific source than "according to Google"? Maybe also a link? – Stephan Kolassa Apr 3 '15 at 16:11
  • @StephanKolassa Glassdoor is the specific source I mentioned in my answer. – mkc Apr 3 '15 at 16:15
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    @Ketan Can you please add that information to the answer? Your original answer claimed it was just from the US – jakebeal Apr 3 '15 at 16:57
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    I made 1500 a month in Ireland (tax exempted). In Finland PhD students get 2400 a month but they pay tax (I'm guessing between 15 and 20%). All in Euro. As a side note, you can afford more with the Irish salary. – Miguel Apr 3 '15 at 18:01

In the UK PhD salaries vary a bit by location but they are around 1000£ per month. It counts as a bursary and is thus tax exempt. The living costs vary drastically depending on where you live but generally it is enough to get by and maybe even safe some money. The rule of thumb is the further south you live the more expensive. Keep in mind that as taxes are quite high in the UK there are plenty of people working full time jobs that in the end will have less than that to live up on.

Switzerland, has a slightly wired system. The PhD salaries vary by field, fields in which it is hard to find anyone interested in pursuing an academic career will be paid much better then others. Most of my friends are paid around 3600Fr per month. Which would be seen as a low income in Switzerland but it is perfectly fine to live up on. One of my fiends has 2400Fr, you can just about live on that if you must but it will be tough. All incomes are taxed in Switzerland, no matter how low but taxes on low incomes are not high.

  • Does it include social security/health insurance? Do you have to pay some extra taxes? Do you pay the student fees from it? – yo' Apr 4 '15 at 11:59
  • @yo' In the UK, funding will provide both for the university fees and your stipend. PhD stipends are also exempt from taxes and social security. The UK has a national health system which is taxpayer funded, but if you are coming from outside the EU you will need to pay a newly instituted £150 per year surcharge to access the NHS. – MJeffryes Apr 4 '15 at 17:35
  • I don't know about PhD students but I've seen postdoc jobs advertised with a "London allowance", some sort of compensation on top of official salaries to make up for extra living costs in London compared to the rest of the country. I wonder if this is commonplace. – Miguel Apr 5 '15 at 6:47
  • @MJeffryes The NHS pretty clearly says students are exempt from charge. Do you have a link about this new surcharge. In another comment you said it was £200. I am a US expat living and working in the UK and have neither heard about this surcharge (although in general I ignore most of the news) nor been charged. – StrongBad Apr 10 '15 at 23:47
  • @StrongBad That guidance is sort of correct. The charge is flat, not matter how much treatment you require. The surcharge has only very recently been introduced (beginning of the month). It is £200 unless you are a student in which case it is £150. This is the government guidance on it. Since you already have a visa this doesn't affect you, but when you renew you will likely have to pay. – MJeffryes Apr 11 '15 at 21:43

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