I am looking for US equivalents of Russian academic titles, such as "Kandidat Nauk" and "Doctor Nauk". I've done my research and come up with a list of translations of these terms. I'd like to know which of these translated titles are the most recognized/appropriate in the US academic world and whether they carry the full meaning of the Russian titles.

Кандидат наук (Kandidat Nauk) – Ph.D./Doctoral Candidate/First Doctoral Degree

Доктор наук (Doctor Nauk) – Grand Ph.D./Senior Doctoral Degree/Higher Doctoral Degree/Second Doctoral Degree.

Here are some of the Internet sources I used:


From how it should work, the situation is like this:

  • Kandidat nauk (кандидат наук) is a PhD holder. Not a PhD candidate, but a done PhD.
  • Doktor nauk (доктор наук) is something not really common in the US system. It's the higher doctorate in the UK or a habilitation in a European system.

Now what you get recognized depends on the local authorities, but ideally that should be it.

Bonus: the typical position names in ex-Soviet system are junior and senior research staff (младший научный сотрудник, старший научный сотрудник). Typically, you have the former when you are doing your PhD and the latter when you are a postdoc/tenure track researcher.

  • Oleg, a few more questions: (1) can you say a "doctoral candidate" about a "kandidat nauk", or would that mean the same as PhD candidate? (2) Can PhD be described as a First Doctoral degree? – miku Apr 6 '18 at 18:29
  • This answer is useful but it doesn't respond to a question about the equivalent of "Doctor Nauk" in the US. I guess the other way to look at it is whether there are other, possibly non-official, titles or positions which recognize an academic's achievements beyond PhD. Full professor? – miku Apr 6 '18 at 18:42
  • A. Well, in the old Soviet system "doctoral" was either Doktor nauk or a MD. Nowadays, as the Western terminology is quite widespread, you might say so, but you need to specify it's the "Western" doctor, i.e. a PhD. As for you second question, I don't quite follow. "First doctoral degree" seems to be a clumsy English translation of Kandidat nauk. Never heard it in the wild. B. Doktor nauk is not a full professorship per se, but something that entitles you to it. The closest analogy is the habilitation, I'd say that Doktor nauk is something like a positive evaluation in a tenure track. – Oleg Lobachev Apr 6 '18 at 20:55

Kandidat Nauk ≈ Ph.D.

Doktor Nauk ≈ Sc.D. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Science for details. Not very common in the U.S., but I've known a number of poeple who had one from European universities. Some people (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Science#United_States ) take a view that it's the same as a Ph.D., but they're mistaken.

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