Academic Jobs in Germany


TV-L Salary Scale

Most doctoral student positions in Germany are advertised as TV-L 13. What is that? Here's a quick reference:


TV (or TVÖD) stands for Tarifvertrag im Öffentlichen Dienst – it means tariffs for German civil service employees. The TV tariffs determine the salary based on experience and family situation; there is normally no variability based on negotiation or location. These tariffs are regularly adjusted for inflation.

TV-L 13 or TV-L E13

TV level 13 (Entgeltgruppe 13) is the tariff that doctoral students in engineering, computer science and applied math (high-demand occupations) qualify for. For a single person, this means a gross salary of about €3600 per month and about €4000 after one year. Compared to many doctoral stipends in the US, this is a pretty good deal. Working hours are 39.83 per week. That's 10 minutes and 12 seconds less than 40 – talk about German precision! Paid vacation is, depending on age, between 26 and 30 days per year, if that's what you're into.

Other less-in-demand occupations often pay a percentage of a full salary, e.g., 50% or 75%. As mentioned above, this does not apply to engineering positions.


Some doctoral positions involved stipends rather than salaries; these were typically part of research training group (Graduiertenkolleg or GRK), i.e., a group of doctoral students working on a single theme. These ranged between €1100 (standard) and €1500 (augmented, or erhöhtes Stipendium). The advantage of these positions is a structured doctoral program that leads to a doctorate in about 3 years after M.S. Some programs like the AICES graduate school offered stipends of €2000, which is more competitive with the TV-L 13 scale, while offering the benefits of a structured doctoral program. Most of the stipend programs were phased out around 2017, and are using the TV-L contracts instead.


Postdocs are often paid on the same pay scale as the doctoral students, i.e., TV-L 13. By virtue of being older and having more experience, that may mean higher salary though. Also, postdoctoral positions with special responsibilities, such as junior research group leaders, may carry higher salary category, e.g., TV-L 14 or even TV-L 15. Working hours remain, alas, at the magic 39.83 hours per week.


If you know a bit of German, a TV calculator can help determine exactly brutto salary, based on your age, experience and family status. Average salaries (including benefits) are also listed in a German document from the DFG.

Fascinated? We probably have some TV-L positions available...