When addressing a female university professor, is the title Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. XYZ used in academic circles?

Is it the same as Frau Prof. Dr. XYZ?



When verbally addressing any academic, usually only the highest title in its basic form is mentioned

Frau Professor Müller, wann findet die Prüfung denn nun statt?

except for when the receiver is known to make a point of all his titles or even insists on them, or when covert mockery is called for, irony intended, or to suck up to the receipient -- all based on context and additional cues

Vielen Dank für ihren warmen Worte, Herr Professor Doktor Doktor Schneider.

This quickly gets ridiculous, of course, but only the basic form of each title is ever used in all these cases.

There used to be a german TV series about a public office setting, in which, if I recall correctly, the main character always had to address his boss with all his titles. This was used to portray said boss as slightly arrogant.

If the context is clear or the setting less formal, either the name or the title may be dropped from the regular address.

Eine Frage, Frau Professor!

Hallo Frau Müller, lassen Sie es sich schmecken.

What's basically never done when addressing a professor verbally is to mention all those specifics, like what kind of professor he is, or the field in which he received his titles.

Verbally mentioning these details can be used to slight the receipient, mock him or emphasize that eg. he's only a Junior-Professor, or only has a Doctorate in e.g. the Fine Arts, while e.g. an M.D. might currently be perceived as needed to reach an informed decision or something like that.

So, given all that, Frau Prof. Dr. XYZ is indeed equal to and a valid address for a female Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. XYZ.


In writing, mentioning all those specifics can be done in mailing addresses, as a symbol of reverence, on business cards, to make the status of the person instantly clear to every receipient of such a card, and of course on resumés, teacher profiles etc.pp.

In advertising himself (resumé, business, etc.), someone might also be required to specify where he got his titles.

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Bernd Meier - der beste Mann, für diesen Job!

This would signify that Mr Meier got his degree from a Fachhochschule, while by dropping the (FH), one would generally assume, he got it from a university. What's important is what's written on his diploma.

Mentioning where he got his degree most importantly applies to degrees received in other countries.

  • 1
    Some female professors will insist on Frau Professorin, though. Frau Doktorin, on the other hand, is rare. Even abbreviations Prof. and Dr. are sometimes amended by in, especially in Austria.
    – Crissov
    Mar 3 '16 at 9:39

In Germany, there are multiple Prof titles, depending how you got it. Those are:

  • Prof. = Professor normal title
  • Univ.-Prof. = Universitätsprofessor (university professor), obsolete in most Bundesländern.
  • apl. Prof. = außerplanmäßiger Professor (extra ordinary professor), mostly earned through teaching and research, the research has to be extra ordinary in the eyes of the faculty. This is not a complete professorship, but the person acts as one.
  • Stiftungsprofessor (foundation or trust professor), the finances for this professor are not solely paid by the university.
  • Jun.-Prof. = Juniorprofessor (junior professor), person who is qualified to be a professor. Designed after the assistant professor.
  • Seniorprofessor ([distinguished] senior professor), professor on pension, who is honored by still carrying his title without blocking the position.
  • Hon.-Prof. = Honorarprofessor (honorary professor), person who teaches or researches at a university but only as a side job.
  • Staatsprofessor or Ehrenprofessor (state professor or honorary professor), person who never taught at a university.

Translations are ad hoc and not necessarily the correct ones.

The appendix after the Dr. means in which research area the title was granted. phil. means philosophiae and indicates philosophy but could also be any other part of the humanities as area of study. For a complete list please look at German Wikipedia about doctoral titles


Depending on your research field you can also have different appendixes in the same field, e.g. I study software engineering and I could become a Dr. rer. nat or a Dr.-Ing. or a Dr. phil.

  • 1
    Just wanted to add, that in Austria the titles and academic grades (which are two different things!) are very similar to the German ones, but not exactly identic. For example there is no »Hon.-Prof.« in Austria. Instead we have »Prof. h.c.« (»Professor honoris causa«) and »Dr. h.c.« which both are titles, not an academic grades (all other Doctors are not titles but academic grades). Mar 2 '16 at 21:58
  • There’s also PD = Priv.-Doz. = Privatdozent for habilitated professors without a chair. I’ve never encountered Seniorprofessor, but Prof. em. for emeritus or emeritiert. A Honorarprofessor can also be called Gastprofessor.
    – Crissov
    Mar 3 '16 at 9:47
  • @Crissov A Privatdozent is not a professor, not even in name. At least in Baden-Württemberg. A Privatdozent is someone who taught at least three years and had a doctoral title. No achievements in research needed. And a Gastprofessor is not a Honorarprofessor. A Gastprofessor is a professor who isn't at his original workplace, e.g. you are a professor in Berlin and go to Munich for a year. Then you are a Gastprofessor in Munich.
    – Armin
    Mar 3 '16 at 9:53
  • 1
    @Armin, the way that I know it, a Privatdozent is someone who has a habilation at that university (I am simplifying here) and is therefore allowed to teach (it usually also comes with a requirement to teach). It does not imply employment. [And does a doctorate degree not represent an achievement in research?]
    – Carsten S
    Mar 3 '16 at 16:29
  • @CarstenS a professor has to do research half of his working time and teach the other half (roughly) a Privatdozent only has to teach
    – Armin
    Mar 3 '16 at 16:32

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