I'm doing a PhD in Austria and I noticed that people are a bit weird around titles so I'm adapting to it. I also saw that some use the abbreviation Doz (Dozent) and others Prof (Professor). Are these equivalent/interchangeable?

I've read this wikipedia page where it says:

Docent is also used at some (mainly German) universities generically for a person who has the right to teach.

So I thought maybe it's the difference between actively being a professor and being able to teach, but later it says:

In Germany, Austria and in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, Dozent or Hochschuldozent denotes an academic appointment at a university or similar institution, at a mid-level ranking of seniority.

So is it related to seniority? Do you first become a Doz and then a Prof?

  • 2
    I don't have experience in Austria, but I have a little bit in German-speaking Switzerland. "Dozent" is not at all interchangeable with "Professor". There is a clear difference in seniority. A docent, as you say, is simply somehow who teaches. On the other hand, a professor is the head of their own group, hires students, postdocs, etc. in addition to teaching.
    – user9646
    Jul 27, 2018 at 13:45
  • 2
    Traditionally, I'm pretty sure, that Dozent (or Docent) originated, long ago, as a person who gave lectures and advertised them around the town. He or she was paid directly by the individual students, not the University. Typically they rented a room at the University for their talks. Your income depended directly on the number of students you could attract. It was useful to be a good lecturer. Maybe more useful to be entertaining. Several historical figures started out that way.
    – Buffy
    Jul 27, 2018 at 13:54
  • 1
    One thing to keep in mind is that there were a quite a number of reforms of the laws regulating Austrian university in the last decades that completely switched around job titles (and possibilities of academic progression) of the academic staff, so it's relatively common for someone to have entered a contract (and thus hold a title) under a law that no longer applies to later hires. The safe bet is to assume that titles are never interchangeable and to use it exactly as the person writes it. (Briefly, titles containing "Prof" and those containing "Dozent" form different equivalence classes.) Jul 28, 2018 at 10:22

1 Answer 1


A "Dozent" is just someone who teaches / gives lectures.

This means every Professor/Prof. is a "Dozent" (if he teaches).

But not every "Dozent" is a Professor (e.g. some people who are working in industry and give lectures as a side job or people who just haven´t made it to "Prof" yet.)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .