Doctorate and Professor correctly lead

You want to know whether and in what form you are allowed to hold your foreign doctorate, a professorship or your academic degree in Germany?

If you commission us, we will check for you

  • whether you may use an academic degree or title obtained abroad in Germany
  • which abbreviation is allowed in Germany, also on business cards, letterhead and homepage
  • what additional mandatory information is required
  • what evidence you may need

Our assessment is based on an appraisal of the designation awarded in accordance with German law. In doing so, we examine the existence of any equivalence agreements with other states. You will also receive support in requesting evidence and advice on legalisation and apostille.

Please use our contact form.

Foreign degrees and titles

We had already received inquiries regarding master, doctorate and professorship, awarded in :

Albania, Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Greece, Great Britain, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Yemen, Jordan, Canada, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia, Comoros, Croatia, Cuba, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Morocco, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Northern Cyprus, Norway, Oman, Austria, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Czech Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Hungary, Uruguay, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Belarus, Cyprus

But: Every university is different. No two classes are the same.

Recognition of academic degrees and titles

No easy task: The 16 federal states in Germany have their own higher education laws. These are supplemented by numerous agreements between the inner-German and European as well as third countries. It is important to be careful when studying these regulations: According to § 132a StGB (German Criminal Code), it is a criminal offence to use unauthorised domestic or foreign official or service titles, academic degrees, titles or public dignity. This applies equally to doctoral degrees (Dr.) and professorships (Prof.) as well as professional titles. At the same time, the conduct may be anti-professional and anti-competitive and thus ultimately expensive. Above all, the loss of image following a withdrawal or injunction should not be underestimated.

How may I abbreviate my doctor or professor in Germany when I was awarded a foreign degree?

That depends essentially on how you were awarded the title abroad. The award certificate must therefore also be taken into account. Then it must be clarified whether there is an agreement between the country of origin and the Federal Republic of Germany or the respective federal state on the respective recognition. This usually also states whether the designation may be used with or even without a designation of origin.

No approval, recognition or equivalence

The authorities usually no longer issue permits. The title is therefore not recognized by any authority. The state higher education laws do not provide for an equivalence test for the titles Dipl., Dr. and Prof. either. Nor can they simply be translated into German. A corresponding designation is also taboo. In individual cases, however, the respective state law in its current version must always be checked.

Who then checks the legal situation?

The person who wants to use his title must check the entitlement to do so himself. If he cannot, he must have it checked.

You can find help at Anabin, the official information system for the recognition of foreign educational qualifications of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany. But even this is not always easy. Even if the result is sometimes not pleasant: you should trust in the objective opinion of a lawyer experienced in university law.

You should refrain from complaisant appraisals. And even if the awarding body itself is convinced of its title: Whether you can trust the legal assessment of the respective awarding foreign university, you must judge for yourself. This does not guarantee legal certainty.

Risk Doctoral Advisor

There are certainly reputable doctoral advisors who support mainly working doctoral students with the administration. Sometimes the line is not clear. However, some consultants operate – to put it mildly – in the grey area. At the latest at private universities abroad with promoting websites and glossy brochures, you should be wary. Further indications are sometimes missing attendance times and virtual seminars as well as missing scientific work. Unfortunately, many clients have already had dishonest experiences with such offers.

Do not be fooled: check the doctoral offer before signing it.

To buy a doctorate or professorship

To put it clearly: foreign degrees, university titles and university activity designations acquired in return for payment may not be listed as a matter of principle, cf. e.g. Art. 68 para. 5 sentence 2 BayHSchG.

Dr. Andreas Staufer
Dr. Andreas StauferPartner, Lawyer
Dr. Andreas Staufer is a specialist lawyer for medical law and a specialist lawyer for IT law. He has experience with academic degrees and university titles from numerous foreign countries.