Monday, October 4, 2010

German academic title question

On page 7 of the quarterly report of the ZEW in Mannheim (one of the major German economic research institutes) you will find a box with a statment from institute director Wolfgang Franz that lists his title as:

"Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Franz"

Franz is a fine fellow but that fact is unrelated to my question, which is, what does "h.c. mult." mean?

By the way, the "Dr. Dr." is not a typo, it means he has two doctorates.


max said...

Double doctorates are indicated in the title by "Dr. Dr." or "DDr." and triple doctorates as "Dr. Dr. Dr." or "DDDr.". More doctorates are indicated by the addition of "mult.", such as "Dr. mult.". Honorary titles are shown with the addition of "h.c.", which stands for "honoris causa". Example: "Dr. h.c. mult."

Jason Kerwin said...

I emailed my German roommate to ask her about this; her response is pasted in below. (I put the messages in order so they can be read top to bottom).

My best understanding is that h.c. mult. is "honoris causae multi" meaning multiple institutions granted him the same honorary doctorate, as stated on. Flo thinks "mult." might just mean that he has multiple doctorates but that goes against my preconceived notions of German efficiency; we already know he has two, why tell us again?

By the way, I definitely disagree with Florence about her English - I didn't change her text at all and think it's excellent.


Hey Jason,
this guy did two PhD or one MD plus one PhD in different fields, the second one is h.c. means honoris causae, so not a thesis in itself but a university that wants to honor him for outstanding whatsoever results (research, humanity act etc.), for the multi. I do not know for sure but might just mean that he has multiple Dr.-degrees one could put before his name.


Flo -

Thanks for the translation/clarification. Is it just the second one that's honoris causae, or possibly both? What does "mult." stand for - multi, meaning more than one? That would seem to imply multiple honorary degrees.

Also do you mind if I post your response to the comments for that blog?

- Jason


Yes, the multi. stands for multiple titles but I think you can only have one Dr. honoris causa (I wrote it wrong in the other mail), though I just found this: "Franz was conferred with an honorary doctorate by both the European Business School (ebs) and the University of Magdeburg in 2003. Furthermore, he was awarded the Order of Merit by the German state of Baden-Württemberg." The link to his CV in English: If you want you can modify my reply and post it, it might just not be the best English.