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Projects – Current

Projects – Current


Careers of PhD Holders - doctorate conditions, career entry and career development of doctorate holders from the 2014 examination cohort

The Careers of PhD Holders project examines how far the formal doctoral context and the actual learning and development conditions (key word: learning environments) encountered by doctoral candidates during their doctoral studies influence their transition to a career after completing their doctorate and their further career paths within or outside the academic field. In addition to these contextual factors, we also aim to examine the significance of inequalities in gender and origin for the career paths of doctorate holders.

The education of doctoral candidates in Germany has undergone significant structural change in recent years. In addition to the traditional doctorate study forms, such as in relation to appointment to a professorship, in a research project or in the framework of a scholarship, there has been a considerable expansion in numbers of structured doctoral programmes. In comparison to traditional forms, the structured programmes are mainly intended to provide better supervision and support for the doctoral candidates. Currently, however, hardly any information is available about the influence doctoral conditions have on the doctorate holders' careers, e.g. whether they pursue an academic career, take highly qualified positions in private industry or public administration or become self-employed.

In 2015 the DZHW contacted all those who had successfully completed a doctorate at a German higher education institution (HEI) in the 2014 academic year. Altogether about one in five of those who had successfully completed their doctorate in that period took part in the study. This provided a nationwide representative data set that enables in particular subject-specific analyses and comparisons between different forms of doctorate studies. The survey focused on the topics of the doctoral context, entry into a career and career development of the doctorate holders. Further waves will follow the first survey; the aim is to carry out a further online survey each year. In this way a longitudinal study of the 2014 doctorate holders cohort with several survey waves is being developed. The later waves will continue to follow in particular the career paths and professional development of the doctorate holders over an extended period of time.

The project receives funding in the context of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)'s line of funding for Research on Young Researchers. In a first step, the project was scheduled to last three years. After a first period of funding, the project received grants for three more years.

Currently the BMBF is funding research projects by HEIs, HEI associations or non-university research institutions through its programme Research on Young Researchers. The programme aims to support the development of an empirically-backed foundation of knowledge on career conditions and career development of young researchers. Well-grounded empirical analyses aim to identify strengths, weaknesses and reform requirements in the qualification of young researchers in Germany. The aim is to contribute to improving access, qualification and employment conditions for young researchers within and outside the German higher education system.

Results at a glance (in German):

Ergebnisflyer (mobile Version vom 11.11.2016)
Ergebnisflyer (Druckversion vom 11.11.2016)

Subject-specific results (in German):


Erziehungswissenschaften, Sonderpädagogik





Naturwissenschaften, Mathematik

Humanmedizin und Gesundheitswissenschaften


Ingenieurwissenschaften, Informatik


* = with peer review

  • Jaksztat, S. (2017).
    Geschlecht und wissenschaftliche Produktivität. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 46(5), 347-361. *
    doi: 10.1515/zfsoz-2017-1019
  • Jaksztat, S., Brandt, G., de Vogel, S., & Briedis, K. (2017).
    Gekommen, um zu bleiben? Die Promotion als Wegbereiter wissenschaftlicher Karrieren. WSI-Mitteilungen 70(5), 321-329. *
  • Brandt, G., de Vogel, S., & Jaksztat, S. (2016).
    Entwicklung und Testung eines Instruments zur Erfassung der Lernumwelt in der Promotionsphase. Ergebnisse der Entwicklungsstudie. Werkstattbericht. DZHW: Hannover.


* = with peer review

  • Netz, N. ( 2018, Februar).
    Determinanten und Effekte von Wissenschaftlermobilität. Vortrag beim II. Hildesheimer Dialog "Going international - Internationalisierung und Mobilität in Wissenschaftskarrieren", Stiftung Universität Hildesheim.
  • Brandt, G., Briedis, K., Jaksztat, S. & de Vogel, S. ( 2018, Februar).
    Gekommen, um zu bleiben? Die Promotion als Wegbereiter wissenschaftlicher Karrieren. Vortrag auf der 6. Tagung der Gesellschaft für empirische Bildungsforschung (GEBF) in Basel, Schweiz. *
  • Netz, N. ( 2017, Oktober).
    Determinanten und Effekte von Wissenschaftlermobilität: Ausgewählte Studien des DZHW. Vortrag in der DAAD-Wissenschaftswerkstatt, DAAD, Bonn.

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Funded by:
Logo Bundeministerium für Bildung und Forschung


Start of the project: 01-Sept-2013
End of the project: 31-Aug-2019
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