German Scandal: Paying For The PhD Title

If you're a wannabe doctoral student, picking a good topic and supervisor is a pretty important thing, but would you pay thousands of Euros for this? Germany's academic community is being rocked by investigations by the city of Cologne's public prosecutor into a now insolvent consulting firm that connected students with professors at fees of up to €20,000. Professors taking in the students would receive €4,000 for their open door policy--a double payment for supervisory services already being compensated for by their academic salaries. Now the public prosecutor is investigating over a hundred lecturers, instructors and professors from all over Germany, and from a wide spectrum of disciplines, under suspicions that they received bribes to accept and then graduate possibly undeserving students. According to der Spiegel, it's the latest investigation in to the consulting firm, (Institut für Wissenschaftsberatung or Institute for Academic Consultancy), whose managing director was sentenced last year to three and a half years in prison for bribing a University of Hannover law professor. Annette Schavan, Germany's minister of education, said publically on Sunday that if the accusations are verified to be true, Germany's academic credibility could be damaged. Um, yeah. Der Spiegel has got a good piece on the whole bribing backstory here... Hat tip: Chemistry World

Author: Sarah Everts

Share This Post On


  1. The German academic structure is not really clear to me; it’d be nice to know what the institutional incentives are that allow this sort of thing to take place.

    Additionally, the Der Spiegel article quotes someone who kind of referred to it as an open secret. It this a Harvard State University problem?

  2. At least these profs got something out of it. Dumbasses have been making it out of my program for a while and the profs don’t get anything. They just do it ‘cuz they think it looks bad for the department to kick a lotta people out.

    You know how undergrads gripe sometimes about how a professor is an idiot? Usually they’re wrong, but I can guarantee that there’s some chem professors out there that they’d be right about.