I have recently graduated in Germany and will be moving to the US. I have completed my medical degree (Staatsexammen) and my doctoral thesis in medicine (Dr. med), so I will have two degrees. For the latter, I published about 10 papers in various high impact journals, which fulfills the ERC criteria of the work "being equivalent to the work needed for a PhD".

How should I present my degrees in the US? I've seen people use just MD, I've seen others use MD/PhD. More confusingly, I've seen some using both alternatively (e.g. on LinkedIn vs. on the University Website etc.).

  • which fulfills the ERC criteria of the work "being equivalent to the work needed for a PhD". But you are moving to the US, so ERC may not be very relevant. Try to look into equivalent criteria from NSF or similar funding agencies in the US.
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 12:54
  • I would strongly suggest against using MD/PhD, based on what I have read in this paper. People already complain that the PhD portion of MD/PhD training in the US is too abbreviated.
    – Ian
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 14:47

2 Answers 2


On your CV and in author biographies, you should call yourself Dr. Med. as this is your title and since it is self-explaining. If you feel differently, then put the MD in parentheses as an explanation. You could also use MD and then put the German degree in parentheses afterwards or vice versa. In more informal settings, you can use MD as the nearest US equivalent. There are research Ph.D.s in medicine in the US, so I would not use the combination of M.D. / Ph.D. as it could be misunderstood to mean that you have two different titles.

You seem to have excellent credentials, so I would not expect anyone questioning you using an equivalent title.


I think this question is bordering the legal counselling, so please keep in mind I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

There are various official sources that will help you in deciding what you can and what you cannot do.



Regarding MD, the first link tells you:

Professional degrees such as these are roughly equivalent to the Staatsexamen (state examination) in medicine. The holder of a professional degree in medicine may only use the title in the original form in which it was granted.

Which I interpret as "you can sign as MD only if you a MD, i.e. you took your degree in the USA".

  • What business does the German institution have telling the US government what they can and cannot allow? I will say from my personal experience that my hospital's electronic health record routinely lists individuals with MBBS or MBCHB as "MD".
    – Ian
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 14:38
  • @Ian it is unclear to me what you mean. The link I posted are german institutions giving some official guidance on "Differences between 'Promotion' (Germany), PhD (English-speaking countries) and MD." (as per the title of the page)
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 7:21
  • 1
    The question author asked how how they should refer to their degree in the US. At least one US state grants "MD Licenses" to individuals with equivalent non-US degrees. A common electronic health record displays these individuals throughout the system (including the patient-facing side) as "MD". Therefore, I believe a German institution is not well suited to instruct individuals on US customs.
    – Ian
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 14:11
  • @Ian please make an answer out of your comments. It will be immensely helpful to OP, since they are even referring to ERC (European Research Council) rules!
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 14:31

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