Is a doctorate worth the money

How to get a PhD

Not only in Germany, but also worldwide, the doctorate is one of the highest academic degrees that can be achieved. The ability to work independently on a detailed scientific work - the dissertation or doctoral thesis - generally concludes the scientific training.

What is a PhD?

The doctorate can be carried out after obtaining a diploma or master's degree. To do this, however, you must have received a good grade in your studies in order to be admitted to the doctorate. A doctorate enables the deepening of a university degree that has already been completed. Its aim is to make an independent contribution to research. The contribution takes the form of a dissertation or a doctoral thesis, where the results of the research-oriented specialization are recorded in writing. The doctoral thesis also contains a publication requirement and must therefore also be made publicly accessible within a certain period of time.

What speaks for a doctorate

A doctorate offers excellent career opportunities. A graduate not only receives a higher salary, but also a better reputation. Of course, a high salary isn't everything. You should love the path to a doctorate. You should definitely be enthusiastic about the topic and bring a good dose of patience and perseverance with you. This can be particularly useful for your later career, for example to get hold of top-class assignments and projects. After all, nowhere else do you get the unique opportunity to get a taste of a wide variety of companies. And at the same time you can also establish many valuable networks in industry.

Requirements for a doctoral degree

First of all, a doctorate requires a completed postgraduate degree with an appropriate average grade as a condition. Only then can you register for a doctoral thesis. But it also depends on the subject and the faculty or the university or college. For some doctorates, seminar certificates or language certificates are required. The search for a relevant topic and a suitable doctoral supervisor is not necessarily the easiest. A certain amount of motivation and interest in the topic should go without saying. It is usually not a good idea to try a doctorate just out of embarrassment.

Are you up to a doctorate?

Whether you want to do a doctorate after your studies depends on your own goals. A dissertation requires a lot of organization, willpower, and hard work. So, on the one hand, the question arises whether you are up to the demands of a doctorate and whether it is really worth all the work. Think about why you want to do a doctorate. Also consider whether you want to work in-depth on a scientific topic over the next three to five years and, above all, you can.

On the other hand, it is of course an extension of the student life somewhere, which sounds quite tempting to many, but should not really be seen as a reason for a doctorate. You also have a few years to plan your career better. Most of all, you end up having more options when you have a doctorate. However, the first reason to pursue a PhD should be to be interested in research. Without enjoying the job and without interest in the topic itself, sooner or later you may lose motivation relatively quickly. After all, you should definitely not do a doctorate to prove something to yourself or to show everyone else that you can get a doctorate. Last but not least, it is important that you want to do it on your own. No one else will force you to complete your doctorate. Your motivation alone counts.

How important is the doctorate really?

Of course, it depends on the field in which you work. There are areas where a doctorate is almost required. Examples of this are doctors or specialists in the German pharmaceutical industry. In other respects, too, the doctoral degree is extremely respected in Germany. The doctorate is a status symbol and on the one hand helps to increase your reputation. On the other hand, the chances of getting a job and the amount of the salary increase. So why not bother writing a dissertation?

Possible disadvantages of a dissertation

Perhaps simply because it means a lot of work and many don't know what potential problems may arise. It can be that there is a lot of pressure exerted on you, for example with regard to partial results or publications in specialist journals. You are also dependent on the mood of your doctoral supervisor, which can often lead to stress and frustration - in the worst case, to abandoning the doctoral thesis. And that's not all.

Such a doctorate has to be achieved first. There is a lot of work involved. Where your friends are having fun outside, you sit at home or in the library and browse through a pile of books or write your dissertation. Of course, if you sound like that, it's no picnic. You also have to be prepared to write on a topic for a very long time. To do this, you not only had to be patient and motivated, but also perseverance. Can you do that, only deal with one topic for 3-5 years?

You will invest a lot of time in the time you are doing your doctorate. And not only that. You also have to invest financially in your doctorate. Weigh what it would cost. Because during this time you could possibly earn quite well in a permanent employee relationship. But if you do your doctorate, you will have to be patient with a good payment.

You also have to be able to deal with strong fluctuations in your motivation. The mood can also suffer. You can certainly imagine that your motivation or your level of performance cannot always remain at the highest level. Find out in advance what is keeping you awake in the first place. It is therefore advisable to spend more time with family or friends from time to time. The fact is, however, that a doctorate can be very lonely. Many prospective doctoral students cannot handle this at all.

After all, most of them are not even aware of the challenges they face. Either they don't get enough information or they don't take the doctor so seriously. The more serious are the effects when it is too late. A doctor's dropout rate is high. This is no wonder and we have already mentioned the reasons.


There are many benefits to becoming a doctor. The opportunities on the job market are immense. And not only that. Even during your doctorate, you made many important contacts and networks. You will gain insights into renowned companies and get completely new insights and perspectives on your work. You get into conversation with company bosses and professors and you expand your experience immensely. On the other hand, you also have to consider the negative sides of a doctorate. This includes the high drop-out rate and the time that you have to invest in such a doctorate. You had to show commitment, interest and motivation for a single subject area, and that for a very long time. Furthermore, you will be very alone during your doctorate. Only you yourself can provide your own motivation, not your friends, parents or your doctoral supervisor. But hold on and you will be rewarded with a high salary. Furthermore, you will become a true specialist in your field and people will learn to appreciate you as an expert.