This question has been discussed several times but there doesn't seem to be a clear answer for my particular situation.

I have a Dr.rer.nat from Germany but currently I am working for an institute in the United Kingdom. Is it legal or acceptable to continue to use the title Dr.rer.nat (First Name) (Last name) in the UK or do I need to change it to (First Name) (Last name), (Ph.D)?

  • I think '(Name) PhD' would generally only be used in contexts where other qualifications would also be used, such as '(Name) BSc FIA' (apart from the twice-a-doctor special case).
    – Jessica B
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 6:33
  • For what it's worth, the German law in most states requires you to use academic titles with the official abbreviation under which it was conferred. So ", PhD" would be wrong. Now that you are currently in the UK, that's probably not so relevant, but given that you will frequently communicate abroad, present on conferences also in Germany, etc., deviating from the official abbreviation seems like asking for trouble at pretty much no benefit. Admittably, the probability of this happening is epsilon.
    – DCTLib
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


In the UK the holder of a PhD (or other professional doctorate) will generally use the title Dr as opposed to Mr/Mrs/Miss that would normally be used.

Unlike in Germany there is no addition to field of study.

Therefore the correct title would be Dr (First Name)(Last Name).

  • 14
    @UweKeim In the UK at least both would be acceptable. I think this is a British vs American English thing. Dr without a dot is the more common British abbreviation. English wikipedia gives both as possible contractions of Doctor.
    – nivag
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 12:57
  • 1
    If giving a name, it is more usual to write it as Dr John Doe than Dr. John Doe but writing Dr. John Doe would not be considered an error. (In the UK) Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 13:23
  • 2
    And just for completeness: In the UK, while holders of Ph.D.'s may or may not use Dr, and medical doctors almost always will, a subset of medical doctors never does: Surgeons. They use Mr/Mrs/Ms. Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 14:36
  • 3
    I was taught to use a full stop after an abbreviation only if the last letter in the abbreviation is not the final letter in the full word/s. Thus, Dr should not have a full stop, whereas 'et al.' should, as 'al' is a contraction of 'alia'. Similarly, 'Mr' does not have a full stop as it is an abbreviation of 'Mister', whereas 'Prof.' does. Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 17:23
  • 8
    UK style does not have a full stop for contractions, but does for truncations, hence Mr, Mrs, Dr, Prof., Col., etc. This does not apply only to honorifics, hence Lat., Gk, etc. @UweKeim.
    – TRiG
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 17:33

It is certainly legal to refer to yourself by the title you would use in Germany - few titles are actually legally controlled in the UK - and I would say it is also acceptable. However, I would suggest that is advisable to use the normal UK convention so that your audience understands what your title means without you needing to explain.

I would therefore use Dr user23530 rather than Dr.rer.nat user23530.

  • 4
    You'd use Dr. user23530 in Germany. In official documents, such as a passport or ID, the name is prepended with "Dr." only. Adding the field is not commonly done and only if you want to emphasise it (e.g., to distinguish Dr. med. and Dr. rer. nat.). The question is apparently more about Dr vs. PhD.
    – user9482
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 14:48
  • 1
    @Roland In the UK a passport does not include the title at all for most people (I concluded that you can ask to have the Dr noted, but they will say `no').
    – Jessica B
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 19:43
  • 8
    @JackAidley Actually, 'Dr (name) PhD' would not be a good idea. You are not meant to use both together (unless you are both a medical doctor and a PhD holder).
    – Jessica B
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 19:44
  • @JackAidley I'm with Jessica B on this one; writing "Dr Name, PhD" reads as trying way too hard to me. Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 21:29
  • But the main point hold. Legally you can call your self more or less what you want. Culturally Dr Name is more normal. Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 12:19

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