A basic precondition for starting a scientific career in Germany is a university degree. Due to the harmonization of university degrees within the so-called “Bologna-Process” executed in actually 40 European countries aiming to create a common “European Higher Education Area”, German universities switched over to the international Bachelor-/ Master-System.
In Germany the Bachelor as the first academic qualification normally can be acquired after three years of study. Those who intend to start a scientific career should have a Master degree or an equivalent, which in Germany normally is awarded after two additional years of study. The responsibility for the recognition of international certificates and qualifications to be admitted to a doctorate is defined in the doctoral degree regulations of the respective faculties.
With the admission to doctorate begins the “doctoral phase” which has for objective the award of the doctoral degree. The duration of the doctorate is individually very different and depends on the personal as well as on the structural framework conditions. A minimum of three years should be calculated at least. The responsibility for doctorates in Germany belongs to the departments of the universities which enact their special doctoral degree regulations.
A successfully completed doctorate authorizes to change to the next step, the “Postdoc phase”, for those who would like to become a professor. The most common option chosen is the Habilitation, but it is also possible to acquire the necessary qualifications via a Junior Professorship.
The successful completion of a Habilitation or the Junior Professorship does not lead automatically to a regular professorship but the candidates have to apply for positions which are advertised by the universities. As in Germany every Land has the right to enact its own legislation in the higher education sector, the appeals procedure for professors vary a lot from university to university: Normally an appointment committee at the respective faculty is responsible for the selection of appropriated candidates whereas the appointment of one candidate, provided that the appointment negotiations were successful, is mostly executed by the university management. The duration of appeals procedures in Germany varies a lot and ranges from several months to two years.
The legal basis for the procedures described above is the Higher Education Act of the Land Saxony, especially §§39 (University degrees), 40 (Doctorate), 41 (Habilitation), 58-60 (Appointment of professors) as well as 63, 64 and 70 (Employment of Junior Professors) SächsHSG.