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Doctor Medicinae (Danish and Norwegian degree)

File:Universitetet i Oslo, midtbygningen2.JPG
Main building of the University of Oslo (the Royal Frederick University)

Doctor Medicinae, also spelled Doctor Medicinæ and abbreviated Dr. Med., is a doctoral degree (a research doctorate) in medicine awarded by universities in Denmark and formerly in Norway. It is often regarded as a higher doctorate compared to similarly named degrees elsewhere, and roughly corresponds to a Habilitation in continental Europe.


The degree has existed ever since the establishment of the University of Copenhagen in 1479, which was for centuries the only university of Denmark-Norway. The degree was first awarded by Norway's newly established Royal Frederick University in 1817 according to the regulations of the University of Copenhagen (despite Denmark and Norway no longer being in a personal union) and the Norwegian degree was a direct continuation of the Copenhagen degree, with Denmark and Norway largely sharing their degree system until 2003–2008, mutually recognizing the degrees as equivalent. In Norway, the Danish-based degree was last awarded in 2008.

As the American term PhD is much more widely understood internationally, the degree is frequently translated as "MD, PhD". This, however, is somewhat misleading, as the PhD is officially considered a lower degree than the Dr.Med. in Denmark, where both degrees exist. In Denmark, Dr.Med. is frequently referred to as a higher doctorate along with other traditional doctorates (in Denmark, the PhD is not considered a doctorate, strictly speaking, but a lower degree).

In order to be awarded the Dr. Med. degree, one has to hold a Candidate of Medicine (Cand. Med.) degree (the same as an American style MD, approx. 6 years of studies), and carry out a significant body of research, typically resulting in several publications in high-quality international academic journals.[1]

The degree can also be written as Doctor Medicinæ (Æ instead of AE). In Danish and Norwegian, the degree is, similarly to other Latin degrees, generally not capitalized (i.e. it's written as doctor medicinae or doctor medicinæ, and abbreviated dr. med.).

It should not be confused with the German degree Dr. med. In Dano-Norwegian tradition, the is a degree above the PhD, as is established by law in Denmark, whereas the German is an entry-level research doctorate corresponding to the PhD in the Anglo-Saxon system. The Danish (and former Norwegian) degree is considered equivalent to the Habilitation in Germany, and also gives the same formal rights at the universities as a Habilitation, for example the right to supervise PhDs and the eligibility to become Associate Professor or Professor (a Dr.Med. alone by definition automatically meets the requirements to become Associate Professor, whereas a full Professorship requires an evaluation and possibly additional publications). Whereas the German is often obtained in one to two years, the Danish (and former Norwegian) is seldom obtained in less than five years, often requiring 5–8 years, and those receiving a are typically mid-career to senior consultants in university hospitals. According to the Danish Agency for International Education, "mature researchers may obtain the traditional higher Danish doctoral degree (doktorgrad), usually after a minimum of 5-8 years of individual and original research (following a candidatus degree, a degree or a ph.d. degree in the relevant field of study) and public defence of a dissertation."[2] should also not be confused with the entry-level professional degree M.D., used in some English-speaking countries (not the Commonwealth).


  1. ^ Dagens Medisin (2007-04-12). "Flere ikke-leger tar med.dr.grad" (in Norwegian). 
  2. ^ "Higher education". Danish Agency for International Education. Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
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