Should I use my academic title in official conversations?

60 posts in this topic

7 hours ago, PandaMunich said:

f someone claims to be a Dr. (which is an academic degree) and is not, that is a crime in Germany.

And people know that.

 

What isn't a crime in germany?

 

Back to my question:  Who's going to dispute you?  The "Doktor" police?  Are they investigating all those germans using the prefix?  Are you required to carry your diploma? 

 

If I go to a restaurant and make a reservation as Dr. catjones do I have to prove it?  You are ridiculous.

Signed

Dr. Catjones

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I clearly remember one of my colleagues bringing some champaign to the team after presenting his thesis. Someone called him "Dr." and he quickly and seriously said he was not yet a Dr.

Germans self correct, no need for Doktor polizei.

 

On the other hand, in Portugal everyone with a university degree (any level) demands to be called "Dr." or "Engineer".

Driver examiners also demand to be called "Engineers", although they have no degree.

 

After living in Germany for a couple of years, I went back to Portugal and had an appointment for a service provider there. The assistance introduced me to the manager, and called him "Dr". I asked him in what field he got his PHD. He got confused with the question and said he had none. I just said. "Do you know in Germany claiming academic titles you don't have is a crime?". Great way to start a conversation!

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19 hours ago, mtbiking said:

I assume she’ll be off the hook as soon as inbetween the gasps of pain she inquires about the relationship between him and his mother..

 

Hehe. She is a work and organizational psychologist, so she would have to ask about how his work-life balance is.

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My half American, half German dentist actually gave me a lecture about not referring to physicians as doctors because of the convoluted system in Germany.  He actually is a "doctor", having gone to dental school in the USA, but he said that in some cases, dental professionals have master's degrees... or something like that.  I know our lawyer had a doctoral degree, but her colleague didn't.  And her colleague, without the doctoral degree, was the more senior partner of the two.

 

On the other hand, I have a US based MSW and a MPH, and when I was in school, I was taught that a MSW is considered a "terminal" degree, even though one can earn a doctoral degree in social work.

 

And in England, surgeons are called Mr. or Ms.  Interesting!

   

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German dentists are a special breed descended from hairdressers. Kid you not... medical qualifications are a relatively recent requirement apparently ...:wacko: 

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I would put it in and on official correspondence. Once it is on your health insurance card, the doc's office will see at the latest when you show up. 

 

If anybody used their Dr. in a social setting or in personal interactions (i.e. introducing themselves with it), I would probably raise eyebrows or have to repress a snort. Wer's braucht! To me, it comes across as either desperate (doesn't have anything else to offer) or arrogant (thinks s/he's better than everybody else). 

 

If you send an e-mail to school, just put it in the signature with the contact info at the bottom, if you want. Don't end with "Viele Grüße Dr. Ing. Michael Schmitt" But that would just be my personal preference. 

 

In general/ rule of thumb/unless communicated differently:

- In a research and university setting, titles are not used.

- In companies, titles are used, if you address people by their last names.

- Only titles upwards of Dr. are used and only one. -> Prof. Dr. would be Professor Schmitt. Dr. Dr. would be Dr. Schmitt. Dr. Ing. ist Dr. Dr. h.c. is Dr. Dr PD is Dr. 

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2 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

I clearly remember one of my colleagues bringing some champaign to the team after presenting his thesis. Someone called him "Dr." and he quickly and seriously said he was not yet a Dr.

Super German. You are not a Dr, -Ing. when you finish your thesis, you are not a Dr. -Ing. when/after you present or even after it is accepted. You are officially a Dr. -Ing. when you get the paper stating you are a Dr. -Ing.

Professors have been known to stall even after accepting/grading a thesis and there is that last completely unnecessary step of receiving the sheep skin (I think the local library needs to have its copy also).. But is is Germany, not much you can do to pressure a professor/bureaucracy.

The Dr police are the Germans with the Dr. - title. A foreign professor at TUM wanted to call himself a Dr. -Ing. and the admin had to tell he couldn't for the perfect obvious to German reason, he wasn't, even if all other professors, who happened to be German, in his discipline were.

 

A job requiring a Dr title at a university will require you to show the certificate. That is a rare case but required for uni jobs requiring a title. Fire away with exceptions because you know somebody who knows somebody...

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It's just a degree that has zero relevance outside of academia. It just certifies that you are capable of doing research on your own, you can still suck as a researcher. 

Don't use the title if you are a democrat and a republican (not Republian and Democrat in the US, I refer to support of the democratic and republican political system). 

 

This doctor bullshit in German is a kind of Ersatz for aristocracy, claiming that you are better than others. 

 

9 hours ago, catjones said:

 

What isn't a crime in germany?

 

Back to my question:  Who's going to dispute you?  The "Doktor" police?  Are they investigating all those germans using the prefix?  Are you required to carry your diploma? 

 

If I go to a restaurant and make a reservation as Dr. catjones do I have to prove it?  You are ridiculous.

Signed

Dr. Catjones

Germans plagiarize (copy&paste) their thesis, get the genuine PhD and then use the title. This is also a crime, but only high profile politicians (sometimes) get punished for this because a lot of people read their theses. 

 

If you have a certificate of PhD no police will ever question you, even if your thesis was a total bullshit. 

 

P.S. I support the total abolishment of doctoral degree as a concept. It should be replaced with "x years of research experience" for job positions that require so. 

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Using any titles or names that are not official, stand the potential to fall into Chapter 23 (Forgery) of the StGB.  Forgery has a broader meaning in German Law than it does in English.  We tend to think of it simply on authoring someone else's signature.  If one uses a fictitious title or name that involves a public record, they can be prosecuted for Forgery and or Deception.   

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I just found out that my Hausarzt is not a doctor. Let me explain. Our HA was getting a bit long in the tooth so Himself changed over to one down the street. Much more convenient. Last year, I decided to also use that practice. I have been seeing the female "doctor". Himself just informed me that she is not a Dr. I checked the visiting card and, no, there is no Dr. before her name. I assume she is what we call a physician's assistant in the U.S. They can do everything the doctor can including prescriptions and Überweisungen. 

 

Anyway, I like her and will probably continue calling her Dr. I did notice that she sometimes defers to the "real" doctor. Only the 2 of them in the practice.

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9 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

"x years of ... experience"

 

 

My dad once commented that when interviewing people it is important to understand the difference between "x years of experience" and "1 year of experience x times".

Some people really don't learn anything new after the first year or so.

 

I totally agree with you, I think the whole degree/masters/doctorate program as it stands today is a bit dumb but just replacing it with years of experience and/or years of study isn't gonna work.

You do need people to actually have learned something from their time and to do that you probably need some sort of qualification gate at the end of each stage.

Once you agree on that there seems little harm in retaining the traditional titles.

 

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13 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

I just found out that my Hausarzt is not a doctor. Let me explain. Our HA was getting a bit long in the tooth so Himself changed over to one down the street. Much more convenient. Last year, I decided to also use that practice. I have been seeing the female "doctor". Himself just informed me that she is not a Dr. I checked the visiting card and, no, there is no Dr. before her name. I assume she is what we call a physician's assistant in the U.S. They can do everything the doctor can including prescriptions and Überweisungen. 

 

Anyway, I like her and will probably continue calling her Dr. I did notice that she sometimes defers to the "real" doctor. Only the 2 of them in the practice.


 No no, you have it wrong. She’s a medical doctor (Arztin) in all that matters. She just gave up or hasn’t yet finished the “facultative” dissertation all medical students in Germany start at university but sometimes take over a decade to finish (or never do in extreme cases). It’s basically a matter of professional pride for them, and more or less important to those MDs that open their open practice - many patients like you get confused if they don’t see the Dr. title.

 

basically, you can be an Oberarzt leading a huge team of other doctors and not  have the doctor title.

 

*my wife’s took around 12 years. It’s a matter of priorities.. It came after her Facharzt.

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29 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

Yes, similar to a PA in the U.S.

 

I'm not confused.


I thought you meant she’s anything less than a doctor. That’s not the case. An Arzt is an Arzt - the career ladder is: Assistant Arzt, Facharzt, Oberarzt, leitender Oberarzt, Chefarzt. The Dr. title is facultative and inconsequential in their job or pay grade, though naturally it’s a factor in their chances of promotion. It’s a pride thing.. my wife used to stress out that everybody addressed her as Dr. even though officially she didn’t have the title. It’s a bit crazy.

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Doctors in UK and US (amongst other places) do not need a PhD to use "Dr".  Here you do.  But you are stil an Arzt here without a PhD,  and do not have to work "under" anyone. 

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18 hours ago, PandaMunich said:
  • The academic titles Professor and Doctor are used when addressing someone; only the highest title is mentioned, i.e. Mr. Professor Müller, even if the complete title is, for example, Prof. Dr. med. Dr. med. dent.
    Bachelor's, Master's or Diplom-Ingenieur are not part of the form of address in Germany.

In my case, my degree's title is Dr. rer. nat.. However, it'd be so strange to call an office and introduce myself as Dr.rer.nat. smith! 

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Just now, snowingagain said:

Doctors in UK and US (amongst other places) do not need a PhD to use "Dr".  Here you do.  But you are stil an Arzt here without a PhD,  and do not have to work "under" anyone. 


Small correction: it’s an MD, not a PhD. The MD is easier to achieve than a PhD. Only a small minority of Arzt go for a PhD, basically only those who want to teach or do research.

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4 minutes ago, bobMorane said:

In my case, my degree's title is Dr. rer. nat.. However, it'd be so strange to call an office and introduce myself as Dr.rer.nat. smith! 


Dr. Morane is always correct, no worries :P

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15 minutes ago, mtbiking said:

It’s a pride thing.. my wife used to stress out that everybody addressed her as Dr. even though officially she didn’t have the title. It’s a bit crazy.

 

So when I see mine next week, I'll just call her Claudia. :lol:

 

ETA - I call my dentists Dr. Dan and Dr. Gabi. I've been with them since they opened their Praxis.

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