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Typical sectors are:

Public Service

A career in university administration or in government is the most common career path for postdocs who opt to leave university research after their dissertation. At a university, possible roles include being referee for eg. EU funding, assisting a vice president, or managing a study module. In governmental organizations, you may use your field of expertise to serve as advisor to a parliamentary committee.

Other options include a post with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft or the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

While these careers may have been considered a second choice in the past, these fields have earned more recognition and benefited from specific training, such as research management. Jobs can found at websites of the respective institutions.

The Private Sector (Research and Non-Research Positions)

Research can also be performed at companies. Though this option is most common for natural scientists, large corporations sometimes employ historians who work on company history, while PR consulting firms may employ humanities graduates for of their strong writing skills. So it is worth while to think outside the box.

The typical sectors for finding work vary by field. Biologists often find jobs in the pharmaceutical industry for example, while banks and insurance companies may employ economists, and social sciences and humanities graduates are needed in education.

Regardless of field, extra qualifications like leadership ability or interpersonal skills will almost certainly be required. Find out what skills are relevant to your chosen field, and make sure that you supplement your doctoral studies with appropriate courses and respective experiences.


The doctorate phase can also from the basis for a start-up – through a product or technique developed during your research or skills and networks you acquired. Yet additional qualifications concerning management or legal skills are required to realize this goal. If you have an idea for a start-up, the ProFund team of Freie Universität can advise you on many important issues.