Underpaid and dissatisfied? Not at all! Doctoral students in Germany feel they are financially secure and do their research with great passion. This is now shown by a new study by the German Center for University and Science Research (DZHW), which is available to ZEIT. With more than 20,000 participants, it is the most extensive survey among doctoral students in Germany to date. She paints the picture of an optimistic generation who, despite the high workload, identifies with her research project. Scientific idealism and pragmatic reasons play a role in doctoral studies. Half of the respondents consider the doctorate to be necessary for their own career plans. The doctoral students are on average 31 years old. They make their living mainly with temporary part-time jobs. 60 percent are employed at a university or research facility, 17 percent work outside of science. 16 percent of doctoral students receive a scholarship; 13 percent are supported by parents or partners. That sounds like precarious circumstances, but seems to be okay for most: Over 70 percent say that they feel they are financially secure. There are striking differences between the subject groups: While 77 percent of doctoral students in engineering have a full-time position at universities, 84 percent of humanities scholars have to be content with part-time positions. The results also show how difficult it is for some doctoral students to free up enough time for their own research in the face of parallel professional commitments. And for many, starting a family also falls by the wayside: 83 percent of doctoral students are still childless.
Doctorate: Academic stepping stone
Doctoral students in Germany do research with little time, small salaries and great passion. A large study is now showing how they are doing - and what they expect from their work.