I am a physics PhD student in Germany. During my PhD I got two children, and as a mother, I had to give major part of my time to my children. I started in April 2012, and I will finish in spring 2018. Is this too long time to get a postdoc position afterwards?

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    The question at the end of your post is a different one than the title suggests.The maximum time allowed, if there is one, will be specified by your Promotionsordnung. The influence of this on your ability to land a postdoc position is situational. Meaning, it depends on the views of the people you apply with, if they are willing to see your reasons or not and the competitiveness of postdoc positions in your field. Amongst other factors.
    – skymningen
    Nov 17 '17 at 10:04
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    One friend did his PhD over 10 years...
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 17 '17 at 11:49
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    Voted "unclear what you're asking" since the question's title and content don't match. Please clarify. Nov 17 '17 at 15:18
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    @Ian At my university, there is also no limit on the time you can be employed. BIG EYES. Where?? Nov 17 '17 at 15:53
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    @Ian You know that for a moment you rose a glint of hope for academic acquaintances/friends who desperately hope to escape the part-time pit of despair? Nov 17 '17 at 16:09

The typical times for a PhD in Germany vary mostly between three and six years, depending on the specific field you're in.

Legally, the university is allowed to give you fixed-term contracts for a total maximum of six years while you're working towards your PhD. However, there are extensions of this limit for childcare, so you would be well below this limit.

For a postdoc position, I don't think the time taken for your PhD would be a major factor in evaluating your application.

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    One should add: 1. Most universities have no formal limit for the length of a PhD (10 years plus happens occasionally). 2. Standard funding cannot be applied more than 6 years, but funding from external sources can be applied longer. Nov 17 '17 at 15:34
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    @J.FabianMeier not only external sources I presume, but also other positions of employ at the university? For example being employed as lab & teaching assistant in various courses on different faculties does not seem to be all that uncommon. Nov 18 '17 at 10:23
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    @mathreadler No in fact any fixed-term position, even at any university / research institution in Germany is counted towards this. After the limit is reached, only funding from external sources remains possible. Check the "Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz" for details...
    – silvado
    Nov 19 '17 at 12:19

In Germany you can be employed by the University, i.e., your salary comes from the federal government, up to six years. If you have external funding such as, scholarships or projects, by external companies there is no limit.

Moreover, for each child the contract can be extended one year.

  • Actually the limit is increased by 2 years per child.
    – silvado
    Nov 19 '17 at 12:21

I was a resarcher fellow in Fraunhofer institute in Erlangen for a few years (7). I was surprised by the time take by PhD Candidate to defend a thesis.

I think that the average is 6-7 years. In comparison to French system it's really long, 3-3.5 years here.

To get a post-doc position, I think age of candidate is not a problem. For me only the quality of the guy (or girl) is important!

  • " I think age of candidate is not a problem." - quite! I have a friend who is writing up at the moment. She is hoping to get a post-doc position, and she is in her late 50's. Her difficulty is not "age", it is that her speciality is EU law, and she is English :-( Nov 18 '17 at 15:27
  • @MartinBonner I'd rather say there will be so much unorganized mess, your friend will have a great, well-paid time to help cleaning it up.
    – Ambicion
    Nov 18 '17 at 17:05
  • Fraunhofer institutes are not "normal" in that respect because researchers have much more side activities than at other places.
    – silvado
    Nov 19 '17 at 12:21
  • Thanks to everybody taking time to answer my question. I am sorry for putting a wrong title to my question. It is nice to here that I could have a six years contract. My contract ended after 4 years and 9 months, after that I am working on my thesis without a contract. Dec 4 '17 at 10:10

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