Postdoc and PhD salary in Germany

In Germany, similar to Switzerland, DenmarkSweden and England researchers are generally employed by the host institution or received scholarship. Scholar holders are not covered by insurance and pension (because there is no tax or any other fee deduction) while the employed researchers pay various fees. The gross salary is defined according to federal rates known as TV-L (civil servant pay scale in the states). Both PhD students and Postdoc salary are paid under TV-L E13.

The net salary depends on monthly time of the work, age, tax level (family situation), and years of experiences. Generally researchers are employed for 50%, 75%, 67% or 100% of full-time contract (38.5 hours per week). Irrespective of your degree (MSc/PhD) and only depends on the funding, you might be employed half- to full-time. According to the years of experiences your salary varies. If you work one full year under a TV-L contract, your experience level goes up from level (Stufe) 1 to 2. You will reach level 3 and 4 if you have 3 and 6 years experiences, respectively. That means as a PhD student, your salary grows at the end of first and third year. In addition, you will get a special payment (also known as Christmas money) in November’s ranges from 600 to 1300 Euro.

For example, a fresh PhD student (Stufe 1) who is employed by 50% contract, and is under Tax level 1, will receive 1719.14 and 1184.18 Euro gross and net per month, respectively. It means that he/she will pay annually 31.7% of gross salary for Social fees, Health insurance, care insurance, Pension insurance, Unemployment insurance and some other governmental fees.

But if you are a Postdoc who is employed full time (100%) and have 3 years of experience, your gross and net salary are 4019.89 and 2309.7 Euro net per month, respectively. But, if you are married and your partner does not have a job (while the other condition is the same as above), your net salary will be 2635.76 Euro per month because your tax level will be 3.

In the following, the net and gross salary based on type of the contract (50, 67, 75 or 100%) and years of experience are listed:

TV-L E13 (50%) Stufe 1 Stufe 2 Stufe 3 Stufe 4 Stufe 5
Monthly Gross Salary 1719.14 € 1908.16 € 2009.95 € 2207.70 € 2481.05 €
Monthly net Salary 1184.18 € 1285.54 € 1339.53 € 1443.13 € 1583.68 €
TV-L E13 (67%) Stufe 1 Stufe 2 Stufe 3 Stufe 4 Stufe 5
Monthly Gross Salary 2303.65 € 2556.93 € 2693.33 € 2958.31 € 3324.61 €
Monthly net Salary 1492.81 € 1622.17 € 1690.70 € 1821.57 € 1997.20 €
TV-L E13 (75%) Stufe 1 Stufe 2 Stufe 3 Stufe 4 Stufe 5
Monthly Gross Salary 2578.71 € 2862.24 € 3014.92 € 3311.54 € 3721.58 €
Monthly net Salary 1633.18 € 1774.42 € 1849.13 € 1991.28 € 2173.69 €
TV-L E13 (100%) Stufe 1 Stufe 2 Stufe 3 Stufe 4 Stufe 5
Monthly Gross Salary 3438.28 € 3816.32 € 4019.89 € 4415.39 € 4962.10 €
Monthly net Salary 2048.52 € 2214.70 € 2309.07 € 2498.66 € 2742.86 €

All the numbers that I used in this post are based on the online portal of public service salary calculation (Link).

For those who are planning to study in German, some other useful links can be found in link.



Categories: Academic Career

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42 replies

  1. What are the requirements that you can get the EG 14 or 15 as a reasearcher?


  2. TVGU E13 65%, for a PhD , How much will i get?


  3. I have saw this post for several times and think it is very useful. Only some of comments of stipend/scholarship nonetheless are a bit misleading. Given the experience of myself and many others I known, if your PhD was carried out with a scholarship, it counts for experience as well, provided you was doing research during that time. But you need contact the responsible office in your current/new institution and provide them with proofs from your former institution and/or PhD supervisor.


  4. Hello,
    Interesting discussion. I’m a government engineer for more than 25 years now. I have a 2-years masters in engineering from a university in Pakistan. I have only studied and worked in Pakistan. I’m 52-years old. Do I stand any chance to pursue a PhD in Germany and be paid for it (rather than an independent PhD where there is no financial allowance)?
    Thank you.


  5. Thank you so very much for providing very useful info… I’m a PhD student with a work contract: TV-L E13 (50%), Stufe 3. I wanna begin a postdoc with a new work contract TV-L E13 (100%) in few months. I’d appreciate it if you could let me know my level (Stufe) will be reset to 1 upon starting my postdoc or I could keep my PhD level (Stufe) for the new postdoc position though my PhD is 50% and the postdoc 100%?


  6. Thank you for the post
    I’m about the start a postdoc in Germany and with my one year postdoc experience in Australia, my future boss thought that it wouldn’t count but he talked to HR and I’ll start at Stufe 2.
    I heard you better talk about this before they put you in Stufe 1 ’cause once you’re in it, very hard to change
    By the way Taxes are bloody high in Germany!


  7. Very Informative Page and Thank you for the information. I would like to ask your opinion on some of my concerns. To start with, I did my BS and MS from India. Afterwards, I worked (1.5 years) in an Indian MNC’s R&D center. Then in 2010, I completed my PhD from Italy. After that i worked as a postdoc researcher on various EU projects for 6 years. Now I got a post doc offer from a Germany research center. I am married and my wife is a PhD student in Italy. In this case, what will be my postdoc salary level to start with?
    looking forward to your valuable comments.


    • As long as your wife is living in Italy, you would not probably enjoy of tax deduction (you will place on Tax level 1). The starting salary level is however independent of your background and only the decision of your department administration matters, my guess is Level I.


  8. Ok, If I am a PhD student and my contract will be 50%, so according to the table my net salary will be 1184 €(Stufe 1) what about my family? I am married and have two kids. will I pay my health insurance also or the institute will do?


    • Since you are married, you will pay less tax (provided that your wife does not work) and your net salary will be then 300-400 € more. The insurance is anyway paid by the employer.


  9. Hey,
    Are Phd’s and Post docs in Germany exempted from tax.
    Any Info?


  10. This vary from case to case and your ability to negotiate. I did PhD in Australia, before that I worked 3 years in Japan and two years in New Zealand. I’ve placed tvl-e 14 stufe 4 here in Germany.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, If I was a employed PhD candidate in the Netherlands ( I worked here for 4 years with a monthly salary), which level is for me when I do a postdoc in Germany.


  12. Hi,

    You will start in level I.



  13. Hi there,
    I’ve worked for more than 2 years in a company (not in Germany). Now, I’m thinking about doing a PhD in Germany. Would I start on level 1 or 2?
    Thank you in advance


  14. You would probably start from level 1, since you have not earned any experinece in TVL (German) system. Nevertheless, you should negotiate with your employers and HR of the host institute to convince them to change your starting level.


    • OK thanks for the advice. I’ve been trying to negotiate with them but I’m unsure if anything is going to happen. If I would have gotten a B.S. and an M.S. before my PhD (in the USA or another country, like say England or Australia but not Germany), would I then start on level 1 or 2?


    • OK, I’m just trying to understand this a little better, so bear with me please. If a German student receives a German Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, when he begins his PhD work, does he also start at TV-L E12 or E13? Would this be the same as if he earned both BS and MS is most other countries (USA, UK, etc.)? If it took a student 3 years to earn a PhD in Germany, would he then be able to start a postdoc at TV-L E13 level 3? How does one get to TV-L E13U, E14 or E15?

      They are starting me at level 1 and I would really like to negotiate with them but it seems futile. My actual boss said that he has already asked the administration to count my PhD research experience and start me on level 2 but said that they usually do not listen to him anyway and the administration makes the decision.


      • No matters where did you gets the MS or BS, you would start TVL-e13. The difference is the level (stufe). It means that If you have not worked as academic staff in your MS or PhD, you would start your PhD or postdoc as level 1, respectively. In other hand, if you have earned your PhD through stipend or scholarship (even in Germany) you would also start as level 1 in postdoc.

        What it matters is the work experience under TVL system.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Are PhD students supposed to start at level (stufe) 1? If I was a PhD student for 4 years and 4 months, how much experience should be counted when starting my Postdoc? I do not have a Master’s degree because I studied in U.S. and those are normally skipped in Neuroscience and they are trying to start me at stufe 1 – is this right?


  16. PhD position done through working contract counts as experience not Stipend!


  17. What counts as experience? Does a PhD in Germany count as experience or a PhD on stipend?


    • Hi, Can you help me to understand the german salary system according TV-L. I have 8years of industry experience (after master, no phd) and there is a possibility to get the research position (in the field I gained experience in the industry). What ‘entgeltgruppe’ can be appriopriate? What level? The salary according TV-L seems quite low …



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