How to become a medical professor-A comparative analysis of academic requirements in Germany and the United States

Seyed Arash Alawi, Rosalia Luketina, Nicco Krezdorn, Lukas Fabian Busch, Anne Limbourg, Ludwik Branski, Peter M. Vogt, Andreas Jokuszies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The acquisition of a medical professorship represents a significant step in a physician's academic career. The responsibility as well as the honor and the associated obligations are significant; however, the requirements to become a medical professor vary in Germany. We analyzed the variable requirements for prospective medical professors in Germany, with special focus on the tenure track concept and the U.S. system. Based on an online research, we queried German medical faculty regulations to obtain a medical professorship within Germany. We analyzed 35 German universities. On average, 11 publications are required after "venia legendi" to meet professorship (apl) prerequisites (median x̄ = 10, max = 24, min = 6, n = 16), whereas 6 publications with first or last authorship are required on average (x̄ = 6, max = 16, min = 4, n = 26). In most German universities, it takes an average of 4 years after gaining habilitation to apply for a professorship (x̄ = 5 years, max = 6 years, min = 2 years). Candidates for university chair positions, however, can shorten this period by an average of 38%. In the German academic system, the prerequisites to gain a professorship differ among universities. Due to different scientific cooperation and exchange programs, research and academic activities have reached an intense international exchange level. Yet there is no international or even national standardization, quality assurance, and comparability to gain a medical professorship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalInnovative Surgical Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • academic career
  • academic system
  • professorship
  • research and teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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