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Postdoc (rarely also: post-doctoral or Germans postdoctoral ) is a scientist who after finishing a doctorate the doctoral degree has achieved and now a University is limited active or research institute. During this time he works on research projects, with the postdoctoral position mostly being financed by third-party funds. In English, postdoc is the abbreviation for postdoctoral scholar or postdoctoral researcher , which is also the origin of this term in the context of the Anglicating of the sciences.


The employment usually lasts from six months to five years (two years are typical). Most countries have specific scholarships for postdocs abroad. In the natural sciences in particular - especially in basic research - it may be necessary to accept one or more postdoc positions instead of a permanent position.

Doctoral candidate is the name of people who are aiming for a doctorate (e.g. as part of a doctoral program ). Post-doctoral students (literally after the doctoral student) would also conceptually include people who finish or drop out without acquiring a doctoral degree. In contrast, a successful doctorate is required for postdocs. In this respect, the Germanization of “postdoc” for postdocs is not exactly exact.


The following aspects can be in the foreground:

  1. that a permanent position is usually not available at all,
  2. the deepening of scientific knowledge and skills of the postdoc and the expansion of his / her list of publications and / or
  3. Gaining experience, preferably with well-known and renowned personalities or working groups in the relevant subject area, if possible at a different university than that of the previous course and often abroad.

In the natural sciences in particular , a post-doctoral position abroad is often a necessary step towards a habilitation and an academic career as a private lecturer or professor. The postdoctoral degree is occasionally compared with the years of traveling of a journeyman craftsman , who should also gain experience outside of his traditional environment during this time.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. What is a Postdoc on
  2. Postdoc on