Habilitation at UHH
Habilitation - What actually is habilitation and how does it work?
In Germany, habilitation has been the classic path to a professorship for over 100 years. It marks the end of the qualification phase for academia. Those who successfully complete it have proven their training in the subject matter, methodology, and pedagogy, and are awarded the teaching qualification (Facultas Docendi).
Depending on the university, habilitation holders receive the title "Privatdozent" (abbreviated PD or Priv.-Doz.) or may add the suffix "habilitata" or "habilitatus" (abbreviated "habil") to their doctoral degree.
Since around 2002, when the professorship was opened up to other qualification paths such as junior professors, junior research group leaders, and other scientists with comparable independent achievements, the importance of habilitation has diminished in many fields.
In the natural sciences, for example, actual scientific achievements hold more weight than formal criteria. In economics and the social sciences, the junior professorship is in higher demand. As a result, the number of habilitations is declining.
What are the requirements for habilitation?
The subject-specific and formal requirements vary depending on the federal state (state university law), the habilitation regulations of the respective university, and the faculties and departments. States and universities have different specifications, and in some cases, they are only vaguely defined. The following requirements may be necessary:
- Special aptitude for scientific work
- Pedagogical aptitude
- Several years of academic activity in research and teaching
- Successful completion of an interim evaluation
What is the procedure of the habilitation process?
To be admitted to habilitation, you must submit an application to the faculty (WiSo) or your department (MIN). Prior to this, you must decide on the format of your habilitation thesis and find a supervisor.
The common model now is a cumulative habilitation, even in economics and social sciences, although a monograph is also a possibility. Typically, you are required to have 5-8 or more articles published after obtaining your doctoral degree.
It is recommended, if not mandatory, to find a supervisor/mentor for the habilitation. The supervisor will support you and act as your advocate with the faculty. Often, the supervisor is a professor at the institute where you are working. It is also possible to habilitate externally at another institute. When choosing a supervisor, it is important to establish a basis of trust, inquire about their previous experience with habilitation candidates, and ensure they have a good reputation in academia. Ideally, the supervisor has expertise in your habilitation topic and can provide content-related support as well.
Links to habilitation procedures at UHH: