Frequently asked questions (admission to the procedure, title management and universities approved in Europe)
We only offer doctoral courses that are assigned to the third stage of the Bologna Agreement. Thus there is legal certainty that after a successful public defense of the dissertation, the awarded title can also be used legally.
We arrange doctorates in a wide variety of fields. Click here for an Overview .
The use of academic degrees in Germany is regulated by the higher education laws of the federal states.
“Leadership” is understood to mean that you reveal yourself as the holder of an academic degree in public, for example by entering the degree on your business card or on business stationery, but also by verbal communication. Anyone who only indicates a non-existent degree in a small private circle (e.g. at a party) does not make a criminal offense in the sense of unauthorized guidance, but may make a bad impression. The use of an academic degree as part of a stage name (e.g. “Dr. Motte”) is also not included under “leadership” in the legal sense.
In general, degrees may only be used in the form that is stipulated by the award certificate or the examination regulations. If the diploma degree from a university of applied sciences was awarded, for example, with the addition (FH), this addition must not be omitted when using the degree. In Germany, in contrast to Austria, there is no legal regulation as to whether a degree is added to a name before or after the name. However, it is common practice for diploma and doctoral degrees to appear in front of the name and master and bachelor / master / PhD degrees after the name.
Special regulations apply to the use of foreign degrees, which can be found in the higher education laws of the federal states. Foreign degrees may generally only be used with the addition of the country of origin (the name of the awarding university), with the exception of university degrees from countries of the European Union including the Vatican. A literal translation of the foreign degree into German can be added in brackets.
The manageability is regulated by state law. The federal states are currently implementing the following resolution of the Conference of Education Ministers in their university laws:
Principles for the regulation of the management of foreign university degrees in the sense of a statutory general license through uniform statutory provisions
(Resolution of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of April 14, 2000)
- A foreign university degree that has been awarded on the basis of a university degree recognized under the law of the home country after a degree that has been duly completed by examination can be used in the form in which it was awarded, stating the awarding university. The lent form can be transliterated if necessary and the abbreviation approved or verifiably common in the country of origin can be used and a literal translation added in brackets.
- A conversion to a corresponding German degree does not take place with the exception of those entitled under the Federal Expellees Act. The same applies to state and church degrees.
A foreign honorary degree that has been awarded by a university or other body entitled to award under the law of the home country can be used in the form awarded in accordance with the legal provisions applicable to the award, stating the awarding body. Honorary degrees are excluded from the tour if the foreign institution does not have the right to award the corresponding degree within the meaning of section 1.
- The regulations under number 1 and number 2 apply accordingly to university titles and university job titles.
- Insofar as agreements and agreements between the Federal Republic of Germany and other states on equivalencies in the higher education sector and agreements between the states in the Federal Republic of Germany favor holders of foreign degrees other than those in numbers 1 to 3, these regulations take precedence in accordance with the implementation of state law.
- Any degree and title management that deviates from numbers 1 to 3 is prohibited. Degrees acquired through title purchase may not be used. Anyone holding a degree has to provide documentary evidence of authorization to do so at the request of a regulatory authority.
Agreement of the federal states in the Federal Republic of Germany on favorable regulations
in accordance with section 4 of the “Principles for the regulation of the management of foreign university degrees in the sense of a general legal license through uniform legal provisions of April 14, 2000”
(Resolution of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of September 21, 2001 as amended on May 15, 2008)
On the basis of section 4 of the resolution of April 14, 2000 “Principles for the regulation of the management of foreign university degrees in the sense of a general legal approval through uniform statutory provisions”, the states agree on the following favorable exceptions to the ones made in sections 1 – 3 of the above resolution Regulations:
University degrees from member states of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as university degrees from the European University Institute in Florence and the Pontifical Universities can be used in the original form without designation of origin.
Holders of doctoral degrees acquired in a scientific doctoral procedure, which were acquired in the countries or institutions specified in section 1, can optionally use the abbreviation “Dr.” without the abbreviation “Dr.” without technical addition and without designation of origin. This does not apply to doctoral degrees that are awarded without doctoral studies and procedures (so-called professional doctorates). It is not permitted to use both abbreviations at the same time.
Holders of the following doctoral degrees:
- kandidat biologiceskich nauk
- kandidat chimiceskich nauk
- kandidat farmacevticeskich nauk
- kandidat filologiceskich nauk
- kandidat fiziko-matematiceskich nauk
- kandidat geograficeskich nauk
- kandidat geologo-mineralogiceskich nauk
- kandidat iskusstvovedenija
- kandidat medicinskich nauk
- kandidat nauk (architektura)
- kandidat psichologiceskich nauk
- kandidat selskochozjajstvennych nauk
- kandidat techniceskich nauk
- kandidat veterinarnych nauk
can use the abbreviation “Dr.” without any technical addition, but with a designation of origin, instead of the abbreviation that is approved in the country of origin or that is generally proven.
Holders of the following doctoral degrees:
- Australia: “Doctor of …” each with a different abbreviation
- Israel: “Doctor of …” each with a different abbreviation
- Japan: “Doctor of …” (hakushi …)
- Canada: “Doctor of Philosophy”, abbreviation: “Ph.D.”
- United States of America: “Doctor of Philosophy”, abbr .: “Ph.D.”, Provided that the awarding institution is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “Research University (high research activity)” or as a “Research University ( very high research activity) “is classified,
can use the abbreviation “Dr.” instead of the abbreviations approved in the country of origin or the abbreviations that can be proven to be common in the country of origin.
With the resolutions of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of April 14th, 2000 and September 21st, 2001, principles for the regulation of the management of foreign university degrees in the sense of a general legal license are defined by uniform legal provisions, with their implementation in state law the previous authorization requirement – general authorization or individual case proceedings – is replaced shall be. The resolutions relate to degrees awarded by universities that are duly accredited as universities within the framework of a legally regulated procedure or according to the law of the country of origin.
The privileges existing under the previous legal situation with regard to the management of degrees in certain states will largely be maintained. In application of the European principle, according to which all member states recognize university degrees recognized in a member state by way of mutual trust, this applies to university degrees from member states of the European Union and the European Economic Area as well as to university degrees from the European University Institute in Florence and the Pontifical Universities, all of which are under Waiver of the obligation of the origin addition can be led.
The privileged status of these states and institutions also extends to the doctoral degrees awarded there, which can optionally also be used in the German form of the abbreviation “Dr.” without additional subject matter and without an indication of origin. However, only those doctoral degrees that were acquired on the basis of a doctoral procedure are included in this regulation. So-called “professional doctorates” are therefore not included, item 1 of the resolution of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of 21.09.2001 applies to them, ie use of the title in the original form without the addition of origin.
The resolution provides for a modified privilege (management in the German form “Dr.”, but with designation of origin) for individually designated doctoral degrees in countries with which special agreements in the higher education sector already exist (Australia and Russia) or close scientific relationships are maintained ( USA, Canada and Israel). For Russia, only those candidate grades were included that can be assumed to have a balanced skill level.
Since the holders of the degree cannot be denied the use of the original form or the supplement of origin according to the general regulation in the resolution of April 14, 2000, all favorable regulations are formulated in the sense of “optional regulations”.
According to Section 4 of the resolution of April 14, 2000, agreements and agreements between the Federal Republic of Germany and other states on equivalencies in the higher education sector that contain different regulations have priority. In order to have as manageable a range of leadership options as possible and “selective” regulations for the different groups of states
EU / EEA countries
- States with which equivalence agreements exist
- States according to section 3 of the resolution of 21.09.2001
- States to which the general regulations of the resolution of April 14, 2000 apply
In the future, the aim should be to adopt regulations on degree management within the meaning of section 1 of the resolution of 21.09.2001 in equivalence agreements and to adapt existing agreements and agreements that contain deviating regulations as soon as possible.
Austrian academic degrees are awarded after completing a regular course at universities, technical colleges, private universities, universities of teacher education, a university course, a course for further education, a university course or a course of a university nature. The legal basis for the award of academic degrees is the University Act 2002, the University of Applied Sciences Studies Act and the University Act 2005.
Austrian academic degrees in the three-tier Bologna system
The duration of the course is six semesters and the course concludes with the academic degree of “Bachelor” (transitionally also bachelor’s degree). Bachelor degrees are awarded by universities, universities of teacher education and universities of applied sciences.
In contrast to the old system with diploma and master’s degrees, graduates from universities of applied sciences who have been awarded the new academic degree Bachelor no longer have to use the addition (FH). Graduates who have already been awarded the academic degree of bachelor’s degree in the three-tier system may use the new academic degree of Bachelor as soon as the university or college awards this degree. The academic degree “Bachelor of Education”, abbreviated “BEd”, is awarded at universities of teacher education.
Abbreviation: B. …, e.g. BSc (Bachelor of Science), BA (Bachelor of Arts)
The course lasts eight to ten semesters and the course concludes with the academic degree “Master”. Masters degrees are awarded by universities and technical colleges. Master’s degrees can also be obtained through the successful completion of a university course, a course for further education, a university course or a course of a university nature. The “Master” replaces the academic degree of the Magister. In contrast to the old system with diploma and master’s degrees, graduates from universities of applied sciences who have been awarded the new academic degree Master no longer have to use the addition (FH). Graduates who have already been awarded the academic degree Magister in the three-tier system are allowed to use the new academic degree Master as soon as the university or college awards this degree.
Abbreviation: M …, e.g. B. MSc (Master of Science), MA (Master of Arts)
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Duration: Magister, Diplom or Master and under special conditions also Bachelor and Magister (FH), plus 3 to 6 years.
Abbreviation: Dr., as well as a Latin addition that indicates the approximate direction of the course (e.g.. Dr. rer. Nat. For Doctor of Natural Sciences).
Exceptions: The academic degrees Dr. med. univ. and Dr. med. dent. correspond to diploma degrees. The correct designation after completing the medical doctoral program is doctor of all medicine and medical science (Dr. med. Univ. Et scient. Med.)
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) can alternatively be awarded instead of the traditional doctoral degree (Dr.). Between Ph.D. and Doctor, there is no difference in value. The doctorate is the highest academic degree.
The doctorate can also be awarded on an honorary basis (Latin honoris causa) (Dr. hc). However, this does not represent an academic degree and is consequently not eligible for registration in documents.
Management of Austrian academic degrees
The use of academic degrees is regulated by the University Act 2002 (UG 2002), the University Accreditation Act (UniAkkG) and the University of Applied Sciences Studies Act (FHStG).
“Leadership” is understood to mean that you reveal yourself as the holder of an academic degree in public, for example by entering the degree on your business card or on business stationery, but also by making verbal statements.
The Universities Act 2002 permits use in private traffic and use in dealings with authorities, provided that it is a question of academic degrees awarded by recognized domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institutions.
The respective academic degree must be used in the authentic form that emerges from the award certificate. If the master’s degree was awarded by a university of applied sciences with the addition of (FH), this addition may not be omitted when using the degree.
Academic degrees can be entered in official documents (e.g. ID cards) upon request. The academic degrees Mag., Dr. and DI or Dipl.-Ing. must then be placed in front of the name, other academic degrees, such as baccalaureate, Ph.D., bachelor’s and master’s degrees, are to be followed (Section 88 (2) Universities Act 2002). An “ascending” order is common, for example Mag. Hans Müller and not Dr. Mag. Hans Müller.
Feasibility of foreign degrees
Foreign academic degrees can be used according to the same rules as domestic academic degrees. An essential prerequisite for the manageability of a foreign academic degree is the award by a recognized foreign post-secondary educational institution, ie an institution that is recognized as a post-secondary educational institution by the competent authorities of the state to whose educational system it belongs. However, entry in documents is only possible for academic degrees from EU and EEA countries and Switzerland.
The form in which a foreign academic degree may be used results from the foreign award certificate, whereby all officially approved alternatives – long version, abbreviation, etc. – are possible. The awarding institution does not need to be attached. Whether an academic degree is to be placed before or after the name is decided according to the rules of the state in which the award took place.
It is not permitted to convert the foreign academic degree into a corresponding or similar Austrian academic degree. If the form of the foreign academic degree is identical to the form of an Austrian academic degree, this form can be used without, however, developing the rights of the Austrian academic degree.
If a foreign academic degree was nostrified in Austria, the corresponding Austrian academic degree must be used in place of this degree.
Entry of academic degrees in documents
The possibility of being able to register academic degrees in certificates results from the registration guidelines 2007 of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the Republic of Austria as well as the corresponding Austrian laws.
According to § 88 Paragraph 1 of the Universities Act 2002, persons who have been awarded an academic degree by a recognized domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution have the right to use it in the form specified in the award certificate. This also includes the right to request entry in abbreviated form in public documents.
Criminal liability for unauthorized use
The criminal liability of unauthorized title use is regulated in § 116 University Act 2002.
(1) The one who willfully
- a designation peculiar to the domestic or foreign higher education system or
- one or more domestic academic degrees or
- unjustifiably awards, mediates or uses a designation identical or similar to the domestic or foreign academic degrees or titles,
commits an administrative offense which is punishable by the locally responsible district administrative authority with a fine of up to 15,000 euros if the act does not constitute a criminal offense falling within the jurisdiction of the courts or is threatened with a more severe penalty under other administrative provisions.
(2) The awarding, placement or leadership is unjustified, especially if the academic degree or the same or a similar designation
- comes from an institution that is not the same as a post-secondary educational institution;
- comes from an institution that is not recognized by the host state as a post-secondary educational institution;
- was not acquired on the basis of corresponding study and examination achievements or scientific or artistic achievements;
- was not awarded on an honorary basis because of the high reputation in specialist circles due to scientific or artistic achievements or because of outstanding services for the scientific or cultural tasks of the post-secondary educational institution.
Feasibility of foreign degrees
Foreign academic degrees may be used in the form in which they are allowed to be used in the granting foreign state based on the statutory provisions. However, they may not be converted into a Swiss academic degree. For example, a foreign diploma in economics cannot become a Swiss licentiate in economics.
Criminal liability for unauthorized use
The Swiss federal state does not regulate title protection comprehensively. It has only issued provisions to protect either the federally recognized specialist certificates and diplomas in the field of vocational training (industry, craft, trade, etc.), higher agricultural-technical and university education (only Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) and universities of applied sciences FH) or to make the use of professional titles and titles generally a criminal offense, provided that they constitute an offense of unfair competition (Articles 3 and 23 UWG), fraud (Article 146 StGB) or fraudulent property damage (Article 151 StGB). The private use of titles at the social level, on the other hand, is not regulated by federal law. Therefore, the use of a wrong title cannot (easily) be prevented.
The planned Higher Education Framework Act, which is expected to be implemented in 2012, regulates title protection in Article 19. Here penal provisions are provided for the use of academic degrees, which the holder uses without having been awarded them. Prosecution is transferred to the cantons.
Individual cantons, such as Bern, regulate the unauthorized use of academic degrees in their criminal law. Other cantons, such as St. Gallen, Nidwalden or Obwalden, on the other hand, do not regulate title protection at cantonal level in criminal law.
In Germany, the body responsible for matters relating to the assessment and classification of foreign educational qualifications is the Central Office for Foreign Education in the Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education in the Federal Republic of Germany.
The central office provides advisory and information services for the offices in the Federal Republic of Germany dealing with the recognition of foreign educational certificates (e.g. ministries, authorities, universities, courts); but it has no decision-making powers itself.
On the information website of the central office you can read about the status of a national or international educational institution:
- State-recognized educational institutions have status “H +”, which means you can use the title.
- Educational institutions that are not officially recognized in their country of origin have status “H–”, which means that you are not allowed to use the title in Germany.
- Status “H +/–” indicates educational institutions that have not yet been clearly assigned. Upon request, an expert opinion can be prepared that takes about twelve months and at the end of which the respective institution is assigned to H + or H–.
The education and science ministries of the federal states are based on this assessment of the KMK and accordingly only recognize titles from educational institutions with the status “H +”. When assessing foreign educational qualifications from countries with a well-developed accreditation system, the accreditation is usually taken as a basis.
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