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Use of Academic Titles

The use of academic titles is legally protected in Germany. This means the use of titles and degrees received abroad is regulated by law. All 16 Länder have passed regulations on this, normally within the scope of Länder law on higher education.

These regulations are based on the corresponding decisions made by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) which are available here. The ministries of science in the respective Länder provide information about prevailing legal norms.

A foreign academic title may be used in Germany provided it has been properly awarded by a higher education institution or a public authority entitled to do so. Additionally, the university must be state-recognised or accredited in the country of origin.

Degrees must have been awarded on the basis of a completed study programme, except honorary degrees. These regulations apply to state and church degrees as well as academic titles and ranks.

If use of an academic title is granted under a Länder regulation, it is valid in all other German Länder as well.

Brief summary

Brief summary

  • Academic degrees are legally protected in Germany.
  • The foreign degree must have been awarded in due form.
  • The foreign degree must have been awarded on the basis of a completed study course (exception: honorary degrees)
  • It is not possible to convert a foreign title into a German title (exception: eligible persons according to the Federal Expellees Act).
  • Information about Länder regulations is provided by the respective ministries of science.

Documents and useful links