Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Academic Hierarchy In Germany

New York Times carried a story on the controversial resignation of German Defence Minister  Mr. Guttenburg on allegations that he plagiarized parts of his doctoral thesis.

On what a degree means in Germany:

Ms. Merkel, a former academic married to a professor, was being accused of belittling intellectual property theft and, by implication, the value of an advanced degree, which is not a purely academic matter in this country. Many jobs require such degrees in Germany, where, as is not the case in America, calling oneself doctor for having completed a thesis in, say, political science or art history, is not embarrassing but normal, even when filling out Lufthansa’s online booking forms. (The airline generously provides three levels of academic achievement for its overachieving countrymen: doctor, professor and professor doctor, skipping the extremely rare but not unheard-of German mouthful Herr Professor Doctor Doctor).

If I had to fill a Lufthansa online booking form I would be the lowest rung...just a .. Doctor.

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