I am about to finish my masters from Sweden and have a PhD offer from Germany and in Sweden. I recognise the pros and cons of each offer, but I would like to have a more generalistic view on doing a PhD both the countries. P.S. The university in Sweden is: Chalmers university of technology The university in Germany is A research institute and with collaborations with industries.

  • Can you clarify what it is you want to know? In the title you refer to "the 3 year contract", but in the text you state that you "would like to have a more generalistic view". So – is your question about contracts or about doing a PhD in general? – Schmuddi Jul 30 '17 at 9:30
  • I want to know about the contract system in Germany and also the difference in doing a PhD in Sweden and in Germany – Akshay Nataraj Jul 30 '17 at 9:44
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    You need to ask the person offering you the position in Germany about your initial contract time. This vary quite a bit, as far as I know. – xLeitix Jul 30 '17 at 9:46
  • Small warning though - when you ask, I would frame it as important for visa or housing matters. Just asking whether you get a 3-year contract immediately without context may give the impression that you are not very confident in your fitness for the position, and want to know whether it will be hard to get rid of you if you don't perform. – xLeitix Jul 30 '17 at 9:49
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    Your question is unclear to me. On one hand, you said you recognise the pros and cons of each offer. On the other, you would like to have a more generalistic view. Your question title is about the length of the contract. What exactly do you want to ask? – scaaahu Jul 30 '17 at 9:57

In Germany, there are many possibilities for funding PhD studies:

  1. Scholarship: The research group can offer a monthly scholarship, but this depends on the financial power of the group, and his interest in the candidate. Otherwise, many programs offer scholarships to young talents (e.g. DAAD)
  2. GRK position: The German government ( Represented by the DFG) supports some field in some universities by introducing a limited program called "GRK: Graduiertenkolleg". This program offers full/half positions to PhD candidates to finish their studies.
  3. Project position: If a research group has a research project (German or European) with a budget for positions, it is possible to hire PhD candidates. However, their work must be within the project purpose. Usually, PhD candidates employed by projects write their dissertations in the same context of the project. Otherwise, it is tough to work on two different projects.

Almost in all the above cases, the duration is limited to 3-to-4 years. However, people can get another contract to finish their PhDs and in the same time help in other projects.

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    I'd break down #2/#3 in a quite different way. There are (a) faculty positions with obligation to teach and opportunity to write a thesis (initially limited to 3 yrs, with extension option), a so-called "Landesstelle", because the money comes from the state. And there are (b) project positions usually with obligation not to teach (funded by any 3rd party, like DFG, which is interested in the project only, not in upholding teaching). In the latter case, contract duration depends on whatever the professor negotiates with the PhD student (within the limits of project funds being available). – jvb Jul 30 '17 at 13:47
  • "However, their work must be within the project purpose. Usually, PhD candidates employed by projects write their dissertations in the same context of the project." - these statements should be qualified with an extremely bold and large "in theory". – O. R. Mapper Aug 14 '17 at 14:42

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