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Habilitation is the traditional path to qualifying for a long-term professorship. This process aims to test whether a scholar or scientist is able to represent the full breadth of his or her discipline in his or her research and teaching activities. Successful completion of the Habilitation process results in a candidate being granted authorization to teach in a specific academic discipline.

The requirements to be completed include a written research paper, which can be submitted either as a scholarly monograph (the habilitation treatise, or Habilitationsschrift) or, if the habilitation regulations permit, as a cumulative collection of the candidate’s published works. Candidates are also required to hold a public lecture and demonstrate teaching experience. At Freie Universität Berlin, the body responsible for admitting candidates to the habilitation process is the department council of the department in question.