Doctorate – yes or no?
The reasons why graduates embark on a doctoral degree are manifold. In some professions, a doctorate is a compulsory requirement for beginning a career; in other professions, it can be an important stepping stone for progressing in the chosen line of work. Some graduates embark on a doctoral degree because they are fascinated by their subject. They simply wish to focus and work independently on a research project, but have no specific career plans for afterwards. Others are motivated by a desire to remain at the university after graduation.
Whatever the reasons for choosing to pursue a doctoral degree, graduates should examine their motivation levels honestly before they begin, and consider whether they are really willing to invest a considerable amount of time and energy on working to a high academic level on their chosen subject. Amongst these considerations, candidates should assess whether completing a doctoral degree is really the best next step for the chosen career path, or whether other advanced qualification options may be more suitable for achieving one's goals (postgraduate studies, vocational training, MBA, trainee program, second degree program, etc.).
If you opt for a doctorate, you will need to decide which type of doctoral studies you wish to pursue (individual doctoral studies, or participation in a doctoral program), find a supervisor, etc.
The GraduateCenterLMU regularly organizes events on the subject "Einstieg in die Promotion (Kurz & bündig)".
In May 2016, LMU Munich organized its first Doktorandentag on the subject of "Promovieren an der LMU". At this doctoral candidates day, various LMU institutions showcased their programs for doctoral candidates and graduates, who also had the opportunity to talk personally to representatives from the various institutions.
Comprehensive information on doctoral studies at LMU can be found on the GraduateCenterLMU website under Doctoral Studies and in the "Recommendations for the organisation of doctoral studies at LMU Munich (Code of Practice)" as well as in the brochure "Shaping a Doctorate Together" (PDF), published by the Qualitätszirkel Promotion (Quality Circle for the Doctorate).
The websites of various central institutions also offer general information on doctoral studies in Germany. Some of these are specifically geared to the interests of international postgraduates:
- German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
- Higher Education Compass - Offered by German Rectors' Conference
- Make it in Germany
- Research in Germany
Doctorate – what next?
Certainly by the time they near the end of their doctoral studies, doctoral candidates will ask themselves what comes next. Do they incline towards an academic career, or should they be looking for opportunities outside the world of academia? Which chances and challenges come with each respective option, and which path do they need to take to reach their personal goals? Will any additional skills or experiences, besides academic qualification, be of use?
Junior academics who are still indecisive about their future career, or who want to be sure they are making the right decisions, can attend various workshops and coaching sessions at LMU which will help them to reflect on their personal options and goals.
For doctoral candidates in the final phase of their doctorate, the GraduateCenterLMU regularly organizes workshops (some of which include personal coaching sessions) on the subject of "Was kommt nach der Promotion?". The doctoral candidates who participate in this workshop receive support in clarifying their own personal skills, needs and goals.
For female doctoral candidates and postdocs, the LMU University Women's Representative organizes workshops on career planning within the LMU Extra program.
The LMU Center for Leadership and People Management organizes the Karriere Café, an interactive and informal event where participants can chat about career questions.
Figures and Facts
Those who want to see figures and facts when they think about career options can read the National Report on Junior Scholars to find comprehensive statistics and research results on the doctoral and postdoctoral phase as well as on careers after gaining a doctorate.