Bachelor, Master, or Ph.D.

Many students are faced with the question as to which academic degree they need to have before entering the job market. The decision is not straightforward, since there are a lot of other things to consider when making career choices, like personal and family life decisions.

This page gives you more information on how potential employers might react to the different types of degrees and which ones are desired or required for working areas.

Science and Research

In science and research the question is quite simple to answer:

An academic career at a university or a research institute is almost impossible without having completed a Ph.D. or a higher degree. For a career in science, it is better to have completed your Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. in quick succession.

Public Service

This is highly dependent on the individual field, but generally speaking Ph.D., Master, and Bachelor graduates are in demand. Public service (local, state, federal) positions in their respective fields are usually very direct with their degree requirements.

The pay scale for public service jobs is highly dependent upon the degree obtained. The same high-end pay scale applies to both MA and Ph.D in public service while the level underneath is for BA in higher service.

Private and Non-Profit Sectors

An important part of all available jobs fall under these two categories.

There is no real segregated job market for BA, MA, and Ph.D. students in these wide and heterogeneous sectors. Most job advertisements in these sectors have vague requirements listed, and they tend to use terms like "A completed university degree program", "University degree", or "Degree in x, y, or equivalent." Most of the time, alumni of all education levels, Bachelor and above, are able to apply for these positions.

While the level of education (e.g. Bachelor, Master or Ph.D.) is a qualification that employers take into account when viewing applications, other criteria can also influence the employer's hiring decisions. Factors such as work experience as well as experience abroad are some elements that can enrich an application. Thus, employment chances at the company or institution applied for are determined not solely by the academic degree obtained, but also by the aforementioned factors, which play a major role in creating the applicant's tailored profile. With this information in mind, all students have to decide what their goals for the future are in order to determine which academic degree would suit them best to reach such goals.

Further Information

For further information and guidance you can visit us during our office hours in the Campus Center, if you're not available in-person due to the current situation, you can reach us via e-mail or via Zoom.

For your own research we recommend detailed career and application websites, for example 'Karrierebibel'. Please note that 'Karrierebibel' is only available in German.