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Possible Duplicate:
EU Ph.D. in Germany: Calling yourself “Dr.” or “Ph.D.”

I'm asking this question in relation to my doctoral studies in Germany. However, my question may be relevant to regulations in other European countries.

At the university where I pursue my doctorate, I have the choice between two titles. Upon successfully completion of my dissertation and all related examinations I can decide which title I want to hold: "Dr. rer. nat." or "Ph.D.".

In Germany, the traditional title is "Dr.". From what I understand the title "Ph.D." is being introduced at many universities for reasons of comparability with degrees from other countries (especially with the US and the UK). I'm guessing, the reasoning is that holding a "Ph.D." will improve your chances when applying for (academic) openings internationally. However, I have also been told that the German "Dr." has an excellent international reputation and may give you an edge over "Ph.D.".

EDIT: A couple of years ago, legal steps were taken so that a "Ph.D." issued by other European countries is automatically recognized in Germany (as long as the issuing institutions are eligible) and may be "translated" to "Dr." in Germany. There is also a question related to this here. However, a "Ph.D." issued in Germany may not be "translated" to "Dr."! Therefore, I have to decide for either one and cannot use both.

Hence, my question is: What are the advantages and disadvantages of either title with respect to academic careers in Germany and internationally? Is a "Ph.D." seen as less distinguished by German academics? How is the German "Dr." perceived by academics in other countries as compared with a "Ph.D."?

1 Answer 1

As someone living in Germany right now, I can attest that there really is very little difference between PhD's from countries like the US, the UK, France, and Australia, and doctoral degrees from inside Germany. In many cases, German universities are looking for people with international experience when hiring, and thus the external experience with having a degree that isn't a "Dr.rer.nat." or a "Dr.-Ing." can be helpful.

However, as mentioned in the above link, it now is acceptable for people with PhD's to call themselves "Dr." inside of Germany. It may not be allowed for someone with a PhD degree from inside Germany to call themselves "Dr."; however, the inherent advantage is relatively small, I believe.

Moreover, if you are outside of Germany, the possession of a doctoral degree is probably more important than the actual title of the degree: in the US, I don't think you will be treated differently holding a "Dr.rer.nat." than the PhD.