What is a professorship?

Career paths at FAU

Professors’ tasks

  • high-level research that adheres to the principles of good academic practice and high ethical standards
  • innovative teaching that aims to educate students as critical and responsible members of society and provide them with advanced knowledge
  • an interdisciplinary perspective and collaboration with regional, national and international research institutions, educational and cultural institutions, and companies
  • implementing equal opportunities and principles relating to gender and diversity in all areas of university life in an exemplary manner
  • transfer of knowledge and technology, and professional development
  • management responsibilities including ensuring the welfare of research staff and other staff, and supporting them
  • for professors at the Faculty of Medicine: medical care and duty of care for patients and their relatives
  • active participation in the management of academic affairs at FAU and close dialogue with administrative departments

FAU professors have interdisciplinary and strong interpersonal skills. They treat all staff, colleagues and students with respect.

The language that is to be used when performing these tasks is German. FAU expects its professors to acquire a reasonable level of proficiency in German. Language courses are organised for them by the Welcome Centre and the Language Centre.

Types of professorships

  • Requirements for appointment as a W1 professor: PhD, doctoral degree or equivalent; excellent research profile, a maximum of six years since starting doctoral research (for physicians a maximum of nine years)
  • appointed for 3 years with subsequent review and extension for a further 3 years
  • possibility of a tenure track to a W2 or W3 professorship or appointment to a professorship at another university
  • a completed W1 junior professorship is generally considered to be a qualification that is equivalent to a habilitation
  • the title of ‘professor’ may only be used while employed as a W1 junior professor

  • W2 professors represent their subject or research field independently.
  • W2 professorships are usually not equipped with positions and equipment budgets; they may be associated with a chair for the administration of their equipment budget.

  • highest position in a university career
  • usually provided with positions and a budget
Professorships: career paths at FAU (Image: FAU)

Professorships: career paths at FAU (Image: FAU)

Requirements for W2/W3 professorships

  • Doctoral degree (e.g. PhD) awarded by a university
  • Habilitation or equivalent qualifications: the habilitation is intended to demonstrate a person’s suitability to teach and research at universities as a professor for a specific subject. Experience in independent academic teaching and the ability to conduct independent research demonstrated through a habilitation thesis or multiple high-level academic publications; can also be demonstrated in the form of a positive evaluation as a W1 junior professor. [legal basis: Article 65 BayHSchG (Bavarian Higher Education Act), Article 28 et seq. BayHSchPG (Bavarian Law on Academic Personnel of Higher Education Institutions), FAU habilitation regulations]
  • Peer reviewed publications
  • Acquisition of third-party funding
  • German language proficiency is desirable. If the professor teaches only in degree programmes taught in English, language proficiency should be acquired within, for example, 3 years as part of a target agreement. This is not a general rule and depends strongly on the requirements of the subject.

The requirements for a professorship are very demanding. Many years of academic experience and an excellent reputation as a researcher are expected.

Specific conditions

  • Professors are usually public servants (Beamte) (see Article 8 BayHSchPG).
  • In exceptional cases professors may be employed as regular employees (Angestellte).
  • In order to progress to a higher level in their career (from W2 to W3) professors must generally move to another university or external research institute. Higher level professors may only be appointed from within the same university in exceptional cases.
  • Advancing along a tenure track is therefore not intended and only possible for W1 professorships. Individual universities may have permission to make exceptions for tenure track models.