Research Assistant

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Research assistant with Master, diploma or accredited master's degree ( WHK ), a research assistant with Bachelor's degree ( WHB ), a research assistant with college degree ( WHF ) or Student Assistant ( SHK ) are employees at German universities , the supportive services in research and Provide teaching and related administrative activities.


The official name is "research assistant" or "student assistant".

Colloquially, student assistants are often referred to as “HiWis” for short. This can be interpreted as an abbreviation for " auxiliary scientist ". Even in the 1950s and 1960s, the abbreviation aroused associations with the “ volunteers ”, also abbreviated as “HiWi”, during World War II - auxiliary workers within the German Wehrmacht and the SS who were recruited from among the population in occupied countries. The use of the abbreviations used in everyday language (HiWi vs. SHK) varies from state to state.


Scientific assistants can also work in the research area of ​​the public service (ÖD). The design of the employment relationships is reserved for the federal states or universities and can vary accordingly. Scientific assistants are excluded from the collective agreement for the civil service of the federal states (TV-L).

A general distinction is made between academic assistants with a Magister , Diploma or Master’s degree ( WHK ), academic assistants who complete a university course with a standard period of at least 6 semesters (e.g. a university of applied sciences course, a Diplom I course or a Bachelor's degree) have successfully completed ( WHB or (outdated) WHF ), and in a broader sense academic assistants before completing a degree ( student assistants , SHK ). What exactly is to be understood by a student or academic assistant is regulated in detail by the respective state university law .

The employment as a research assistant is independent of the possibility of a doctorate . In principle, however, this is given for an activity after a corresponding degree.

Research Assistants


Scientific assistants provide supporting scientific services in research and teaching and related administrative activities. They are assigned to university lecturers ( professors and private lecturers ), persons with independent teaching tasks or academic staff (Section 46 (1) of the University Act). The exact activity depends on the employment contract or instructions; teaching activities to impart specialist knowledge, practical skills and scientific methods can also be transferred. Scientific assistants are often also used as correction assistants, for example to correct term papers or exams. Of scientific staff , the scientific assistants differ in so far as they may be employed a maximum of 19 hours per week. These are also paid according to hourly rates and not employed and remunerated in positions (shares). Your work can, but does not necessarily have to, differ in the degree of independence of the work. In contrast to research assistants, research assistants are not subject to the collective agreement for the public service of the federal states.

Working conditions, remuneration

The contracts for research assistants are usually concluded for 3 to 19 hours per week.

The remuneration is determined by the federal state, partly also by the university:

  • Baden-Württemberg
    • WHK: winter semester 2011: 13.46 €, summer semester 2012: 13.71 €, winter semester 2013: 14.07 €, summer semester 2014: 14.49 €, winter semester 2015: 14.80 €, summer semester 2016; € 15.14;
    • WHB: Winter semester 2011: € 9.92, summer semester 2012: € 10.11, winter semester 2013: € 10.38, summer semester 2014: € 10.68, winter semester 2015: € 10.90, summer semester 2016: € 11.15

Student assistants


Student assistants are employed for research and teaching services and related administrative activities. The prerequisite is enrollment at a university as a student. After a first professional degree from a university degree, employment as a SHK is only possible if you are enrolled in a master’s degree or a second degree, although this is interpreted differently or varies from university to university and you will therefore be able to complete another master’s degree. A degree or a second degree cannot be guaranteed to be employed as a SHK at every university if you have previously acquired a master's or magisterial degree. Under certain conditions, student assistants can also lead tutorials as tutors .

Contacts for filling student assistant positions are often made in seminars or lectures , some are also advertised. In some cases, university professors choose students who have already caught their eye. In Berlin, as of 2011, the positions will be announced in a regular process and filled with the participation of the staff councils of the student employees.

Student assistants provide scientific services according to the definition of the Federal Labor Court . They support science and teaching through their own achievements, which are "by their nature a scientific service". A distinction is made between temporary work. If these predominate in the employment relationship, the collective bargaining regulations (including table remuneration, vacation, notice periods) for the public service also apply to these employment relationships ; They are then not subject to a time limit according to the WissZeitVG , but only according to the TzBfG . If both types of student employment are meant, the term “student employees” is often used in trade unions.

In the Berlin Higher Education Act, a different definition is used in Section 121.

Working conditions, remuneration

The contracts for student assistants are usually concluded for 3 to 19 hours per week. In order not to be classified as an employee under social security law, this activity must be less than half of the weekly working time in the relevant federal state, which is why the maximum duration may differ. More extensive contracts are permitted for the lecture-free period.

The remuneration is usually determined by the federal state, sometimes also by the university. However, there are maximum wages that were set by the collective bargaining association of German states (all federal states except Berlin and Hesse) in 1993. The remuneration corresponded to the hourly wage of remuneration group VIII / IX (equivalent to € 8.06) of the federal employee collective agreement . This guideline was last adopted on June 23, 2008 and has since been regularly adjusted with regard to the level of charges.

According to the decision of the general assembly of the TdL in April 2013, the maximum rate from April 1, 2013 is € 8.79 / h and from April 1, 2014 € 9.05 / h. In addition, the guideline gives the possibility to exceed these maximum rates by up to 10% and to pay Christmas bonuses if necessary . The guideline further distinguishes between the east and west tariff zones, in the former the hourly rates are lower due to the higher weekly working hours referred to. The federal states implement this guideline differently:

  • Baden-Württemberg: Since the summer semester 2014, € 9.16 for assistants without a university degree. Previously, the maximum rate was € 8.51 (WS 2011), € 8.67 (SS 2012) and € 8.90 (WS 2013).
  • Bavaria: € 8.84, € 9.30 with a bachelor's degree, € 12.00 with a master's / diploma (e.g. at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, the remuneration as SHK is linked to the minimum wage, regardless of the academic degree [as of 2017] Before the introduction of the minimum wage, the hour worked was remunerated at € 6 to € 7.20.)
  • Rhineland-Palatinate: 2016: € 9.70 without a degree, € 11.29 with a bachelor's or diploma (FH), € 15.33 with a master's or diploma
  • Berlin: € 10.98 (according to the TV Stud II collective agreement, closed in 1986, last changed in 2003); € 12.50 at the Technical University of Berlin (since January 1, 2018),
  • Brandenburg: € 8.50, with a bachelor's average of € 9.19, with a master's / diploma an average of € 12.45 (as of July 2013),
  • Hamburg: 9.90 € (since October 1, 2017)
  • Hesse: Average without a degree: € 8.50, with a BA degree: € 11.00, but varies from university to university, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (foundation university ): € 9.96, with a BA degree: 11, 22 €
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: € 9.05 as a student assistant (without a degree), € 10.54 as a research assistant (with a bachelor's degree), € 13.92 as a research assistant (with a master's degree)
  • Lower Saxony: without qualification € 10.55 (from summer semester 2021: € 10.69); with a bachelor's degree € 12.27 (from summer semester 2021: € 12.43); with Master’s degree 16.65 € (from summer semester 2021: 16.86 €)
  • North Rhine-Westphalia: At universities € 10.00 (as of 2015), at universities of applied sciences € 9.49 (as of May 2013),
  • Thuringia: € 8.56, € 8.79 (from January 1, 2014), € 9.05 (from April 1, 2014).
  • Saxony: € 9.24 (from January 1, 2016), € 9.45 (April 1, 2016), € 9.64 (October 1, 2017), € 9.87 (April 1, 2018)

The employment contract is concluded between the student or research assistant and the respective university, represented by its chancellor or rector / president . Universities are usually corporations under public law. The assistant is thus employed in the public service .

The statutory regulations for annual leave also apply to student assistants (with a weekly working time of 10 hours, 3 hours per full month of employment can be used), continued payment of wages, maternity protection, occupational health and safety and accident insurance as well as the obligation to advertise on a job reference. As a rule, however, these regulations are rarely used by those affected due to ignorance. The guideline already mentioned contains a model employment contract, but it does not contain any information on these issues and only makes general reference to the laws. According to Section 1 of the Federal Holiday Act, every employee is entitled to paid leave , including the SHK.

In 2012, the Education and Science Union presented a study sponsored by the Max Traeger Foundation, “Student employees - On the situation and situation of student assistants and student employees at German universities and research institutions”, which provides an overview of the situation of student employees in Germany Higher education and research system there. Included are u. a. Information on the profile, employment relationships and working conditions.

As a rule, auxiliary labor contracts are performed as part-time employment. In recent years, universities have also increasingly been issuing work and fee contracts that are formally to be classified as self-employed, although it is controversial whether these are independent types of employment in any case. Sometimes tutorials are required as an (unpaid) internship.


According to the employee representation laws of most federal states, student assistants are not defined as personnel and are therefore not covered by employee representation law. For example, the state of Thuringia stipulates:

"§ 88 Deviations for Universities
For universities in the business area of ​​the Ministry responsible for higher education, this law applies with the following deviations: (...)

Guest, part-time and part-time employees at a university as well as those who work at the university at which they are enrolled as students are not considered employees within the meaning of this law. "

Therefore, university staff councils can often only provide very limited help. According to Bremen law, this group is covered by the right of representation, but since the students “have been part of the office for six months or have been employed by public administrations or companies run by them for a year” (Section 10 BremPersVG) on election day, they have due the usual short time limit only rarely has an active right to vote. The situation is similar in Bavaria: According to the BayPVG (Section 13 (3) lit. a), there is no right to vote for people with a time limit of no more than six months. Only who can be elected

  • have been part of the division of their highest service authority for six months and
  • have been employed by public administrations or companies run by them for one year.

According to university laws, student representatives are not entitled to represent staff and can only accept the SHK politically or provide help by providing information.

Only in the state of Berlin is there a separate staff council for this group of employees. The Berlin Personnel Representation Act defines a separate department for student assistants at each university. Due to the regular minimum term of four semesters (Section 121, Paragraph 3, Clause 1 BerlHG), the minimum employment clause (three months) does not have as serious an impact here as in other countries.

In NRW, according to §46a of the State University Act of North Rhine-Westphalia, universities are currently obliged to create "representatives for the interests of student assistants".


Parliamentary inquiries have shown that auxiliary staff at universities now comprise a relevant proportion of the staff and that their work has become extremely important. In Thuringia, for example, between 15 and 46% of the workforce are assistants ( FSU Jena : 41%). Student employees sometimes work every fourth hour.

The temporary work as a research assistant does not count towards the maximum period of six years until the completion of a doctorate.

Typically, academic assistants are acknowledged in the acknowledgment of a scientific publication for their help in research.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Franziska Seng: Part-time job as a research assistant. I was a student assistant. Working at the chair - an idyll. The disadvantage: there is not much money. In: May 17, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2018 .
  2. a b c d Guidelines for the employment and remuneration of auxiliary staff ... (DOC, 28 kB) General template for North Rhine-Westphalia. In: Retrieved May 25, 2018 .
  3. Guidelines for the employment and remuneration of academic assistants and student assistants at the University of Bielefeld (Rector's resolution of December 18, 2007, last amended by resolution of the Rector's office of December 1, 2015). In: December 1, 2015, accessed August 25, 2018 .
  4. Guidelines of the collective bargaining association of German states on the working conditions of academic and student assistants from June 23, 2008 (changed by resolution of the 8/2015 general meeting of TdL from May 19 to 21, 2015). In: May 25, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2018 .
  5. a b Application by Abg. Johannes Stober and others SPD and statement of the Ministry for Science, Research and Art. The employment situation of student and academic assistants at universities in Baden-Württemberg. Printed matter 15/1156. (PDF; 767 kB) In: State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg. 15th electoral term, January 20, 2012, accessed August 25, 2018 .
  6. a b Guidelines on the working conditions of academic (WHK) and student assistants (SHK); here: Increase in the maximum rates from January 1, 2008 Discussion in the Universities group committee on November 27, 2007. (DOC, 32 kB) Employers' Association of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, November 28, 2007, accessed on August 26, 2018 .
  7. a b Counselor for student and research assistants at universities. (PDF; 3.16 MB) In: Education and Science Union. Main Board, April 2011, accessed August 26, 2018 .
  8. a b Leaflet on the recruitment process for academic assistants. (PDF; 127.8 kB) In: November 22, 2017, p. 3 , accessed August 26, 2018 .
  9. David Kreitschmann: Survey on student assistants: A lot of positive things, but also a lot to do. In: February 26, 2016, accessed August 26, 2018 .
  10. New maximum pay rates per hour for assistants. (PDF; 51 kB) In: November 6, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2018 .
  11. BAG, 08.06.2005 - 4 AZR 396/04 - Classification of a student assistant in accordance with the federal employee tariff (BAT); Provision of scientific assistance at a university; Use of the student's emerging academic qualification; Obligation of academic assistants to provide academic services. In: Retrieved August 26, 2018 .
  12. Law on Universities in the State of Berlin (Berlin Higher Education Act - BerlHG) in the version of July 26, 2011 § 121 Student Assistants. In: July 26, 2011, accessed August 25, 2018 .
  13. a b Remuneration of academic and student assistants from winter semester 2013 and summer semester 2014. (PDF) Staff Council of the University of Freiburg, accessed on March 26, 2015 .
  14. Remuneration for research assistants - TU Kaiserslautern (PDF; 6 kB)
  15. ^ The Berlin collective agreement for student employees. (PDF) GEW Berlin, January 1, 2003, accessed on March 18, 2015 .
  16. ^ Tilmann Warnecke: Berlin universities: students before warning strike. In: January 9, 2018, accessed August 26, 2018 .
  17. Landtag Brandenburg. 5th electoral term. Printed matter 5/7665. Answer of the state government to the minor question 2968 of the deputy Peer Jürgens parliamentary group DIE LINKE. Printed matter 5/7476. Student assistants. (PDF: 223.3 kB) In: July 29, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2018 .
  18. State Office Center for Personnel Services: PAISY information 21/2017
  19. ^ Hessian Landtag. 18th legislative term. Printed matter 18/965. Small request from Abg. Angela Dorn and Sarah Sorge (BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN) from July 21, 2009 regarding the situation of student and research assistants at the Hessian universities - Part 1 and answer from the Minister for Science and Art. (PDF; 72.4 kB) In: October 2, 2009, accessed August 26, 2018 .
  20. Increase in the hourly rates for student and research assistants. In: April 17, 2013, archived from the original on March 4, 2016 ; accessed on August 26, 2018 .
  21. Employment of scientific, artistic and student assistants. October 30, 2019, accessed August 1, 2020 .
  22. Small request for printed matter 6/4834 on remuneration for artistic and scientific assistants at Thuringian universities in the winter semester 2017/2018
  23. Effects of educational qualifications on the setting as SHK or WHK - TU Dresden
  24. Alexander Lenger, Christian Schneickert, Stefan Priebe: Student employees - On the situation and situation of student assistants and student employees at German universities and research institutions ( Memento from March 23, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF, 4.5 MB)
  25. Thuringian Personnel Representation Act , § 88 Deviations for Universities
  26. BayPVG: Art. 14. In: Retrieved August 26, 2018 .
  27. Employment relationships at Thuringian universities in 2011 (PDF) Major inquiry from the DIE LINKE parliamentary group, Ds. 5/5282
  28. Student and research assistants at Hessian universities (PDF; 60 kB)
  29. Employment relationships at Thuringian universities in 2011 (PDF) Major inquiry from the DIE LINKE parliamentary group, Ds. 5/5282, Appendix 11
  30. Employment relationships at Thuringian universities in 2011 (PDF) Major inquiry from the DIE LINKE parliamentary group, Ds. 5/5282, Appendix 12
  31. § 2 WissZeitVG paragraph 3 sentence 3. In: Retrieved August 26, 2018 .