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BAT and TV Salary Scale

Most doctoral student positions in Germany are advertised as TV-L 13, or sometimes still as BAT IIa or BAT IIa/2. What is that? Here's a quick reference:


TV (or TVÖD) stands for Tarifvertrag im Öffentlichen Dienst while BAT stands for Bundesangestelltentarif—both mean tariffs for German civil service employees. The TV tariffs determine the salary based on experience and family situation; the older BAT tariffs depend on age as well as family situation; there is normally no variability based on negotiation or location. These tariffs are periodically adjusted for inflation. In the former East Germany, they are set a bit lower than in the former West, but this difference is decreasing and will eventually disappear.

TV-L 13 or TV-L E13

TV level 13 (Entgeltgruppe 13) is the tariff that doctoral students in engineering, computer science and applied math (high-demand occupations) qualify for. For a single person this means a gross salary of about €3110 per month and about €3450 after one year. Compared to many doctoral stipends in the US, this is a pretty good deal. Working hours are 39.83 per week. That's 10 minutes and 12 seconds less than 40—talk about German precision! Paid vacation is, depending on age, between 26 and 30 days per year, if that's what you're into.


This tariff was replaced by TV-L 13 in late 2006.


Doctoral students in other fields—pure mathematics, natural sciences, humanities—get half of the BAT IIa salary for the same amount of work. Bummer.


Some doctoral positions involve stipends rather than salaries; these are typically part of research training group (Graduiertenkolleg or GRK), i.e., a group of doctoral students working on a single theme. These range between €1100 (standard) and €1500 (augmented, or erhöhtes Stipendium). The advantage of these positions is a structured doctoral program that leads to a doctorate in about 3 years after M.S. Some program like the AICES graduate school offer stipends of €2000, which is more competitive with the TV-L 13 scale, while offering the benefits of a structured doctoral program.


Postdocs are often paid on the same pay scale as the doctoral students, i.e., TV-L 13 or BAT IIa. By virtue of being older and having more experience, that may mean higher salary though. Also, postdoctoral positions with special responsibilities, such as junior research group leaders, may carry higher salary category, e.g., TV-L 14 (formerly BAT Ib) or TV-L 15 (formerly BAT Ia), or even the highest TV-L 15Ü (formerly BAT I). Working hours remain, alas, at the magic 39.83 hours per week.


If you know a bit of German, a TV calculator or a BAT calculator can help determine exactly brutto salary, based on your age, experience and family status. Average salaries (including benefits) are also listed in a German document from the DFG (PDF).

Fascinated? We probably have some TV-L jobs available...

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