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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 – Ph.D./Doctoral Candidate/First Doctoral Degree

Доктор наук – Grand Ph.D./Senior Doctoral Degree/Higher Doctoral Degree/Second Doctoral Degree.

Here are some of the Internet sources I used:

  • Aleksandr, are you speaking from your experience? I am most interested in answers by people who have met or themselves are actual "Kandidat Nauk" or "Doctor Nauk" from Russia or any of the former Soviet Republics who came to the US and were able to confirm or adjust their academic titles here. – miku Apr 5 '18 at 23:15
  • It's not quite correct, see my answer below. – Oleg Lobachev Apr 5 '18 at 23:44
  • @OlegLobachev I agree, my comment is not quite correct (not sure why I recalled it that way) and I will delete it. Your answer is, indeed, the correct one (+1). – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 6 '18 at 2:58
  • @miku See Oleg's answer below - it is the correct one. I know people who are actual "kandidat nauk" and are considered in U.S. and Canada as Ph.D. degree holders. Having said that, as Oleg mentioned, some institutions might not recognize such attribution. – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 6 '18 at 3:05
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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

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