Where can I find information if the german Dr.med. is corresponding to the USA PhD? Did anyone with Dr.med. apply for USA PhD equivalent?

Thanks for the comments. Actually I don’t really think this has been answered here. I read the mentioned topics and they don't answer my question. MD in USA is a title students get after finishing medical school. In Germany this turns you in a Physician, but you don't have the title "Dr.med." To earn the title you have to write and defend a doctoral thesis. That's why MD in US and Dr. med. in Germany are not the same.

About transfer from US to Germany it says (Grundsätze für die Regelung der Führung ausländischer Hochschulgrade (PDF) auf kmk.org.):

“Inhaber von folgenden Doktorgraden …Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika: „Doctor of Philosophy“ Abk.: „Ph.D.“,…können anstelle der im Herkunftsland zugelassenen oder nachweislich allgemein üblichen Abkürzungen die Abkürzung „Dr.“ jeweils ohne fachlichen Zusatz und Herkunftsbezeichnung führen.”

This is what I find on Wikipedia, but I hesitate to huse this as my only source:

"There are a variety of doctoral degrees, with the most common being the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which is awarded in many different fields, ranging from the humanities to the scientific disciplines. There are also some doctorates in the US, such as ... Doctor of Medicine (MD) ..., which are generally regarded internationally as professional degrees rather than doctorates, as they are not research degrees and no defense of any dissertation or thesis is performed. ...

...Doctorate degrees in Germany are research doctorates and are awarded via a process called Promotion ("promotion"). The concept of a US-style professional doctorate as an entry-level professional qualification does not exist. ...

...In German-speaking nations; most Eastern European nations..., the corresponding degree to a Doctor of Philosophy is simply called "Doctor" (Doktor), and the subject area is distinguished by a Latin suffix (e.g., "Dr. med." for Doctor medicinae, ...)."

  • 1
    (1)The capitalization in your question is terrible. Please correct it yourself. (2) There are related questions on our site EU Ph.D. in Germany: Calling yourself "Dr." or "Ph.D." and How can one differentiate between Dr. (PhD) and Dr. (MD or DO)?. (3) Now, to answer your question directly, here on our site, you can find information about it.
    – Nobody
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 4:33
  • I think there may be at least two different questions here. What exactly are you trying to answer? It may make sense to submit the new question on its own.
    – Harry
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 16:41
  • 1
    Why isnt the question clear? Why 2 questions?
    – ann
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 1:28
  • (1) According to this article, a German "Dr. med." is only about 1 year of research work on top of a M.D. degree, so it clearly is less than the usual 3-5 year normal Ph.D. programs. So it's kind of a "lightweight Ph.D." which is usually not recognized as a PhD level degree in other countries outside of Germany. forbetterscience.com/2016/05/25/… (2) Clearly, marking this question as duplicate is an error. Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


The degree conferring the title Dr. med. does not directly correspond to the PhD as it is used in the US. There is some similarity to the MD-PhD dual degrees offered in the US.

From Wikipedia:

After at least six years of medical school, the students graduate with a final federal medical exam (Zweiter Abschnitt der ärztlichen Prüfung). Graduates receive their license to practice medicine and the professional title of physician (Arzt). The academic degree Doctor of Medicine (Dr. med.) MD is a postgraduate research degree in medicine. It is awarded if the graduate has, in addition, successfully completed a scientific study and dissertation. Many medical students opt to perform their thesis during their studies at medical school but are only allowed to finish the dissertation process after their studies.

And, appropriately, from an article titled "An Overview of German MD/PhD Programs":

The problem with combining medical and basic science training in Germany is not really a case of too many titles and too little time. It is, rather, that the academic titles given to medics and biologists are mutually exclusive--or were, until recently. In Germany, medical students who undertook a doctoral thesis get an MD (Dr. med.); students in biology, including basic biomedical science, got a PhD (Dr. rer. nat.). Different programs, different degrees.

  • 2
    You should mention that the "thesis" for the Dr. med. is written in a few weeks, months tops, often already during the study time (springbreak etc...). So it is not comparable with a general PhD, that normally takes multiple years. So I would compare it to the MD, not to a PhD. However, there is also a "real" PhD for medicine, taking multiple years in research in the field - but that one is rather rare.
    – Dirk
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 8:18

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