My thesis will be evaluated by a French researcher who has the academic degree of HDR, meaning he is habilitated and is therefore allowed to evaluate theses. But now I want to write his name with the correct academic title, and I have trouble finding anything about how this is usually done in France.

In Germany, a professor gets the title "Prof.", but since he also has a doctorate, the proper way to write the title is "Prof. Dr.", so a professor called Angela Scholz will be Prof. Dr. Angela Scholz.

I have never seen a similar way of writing the title of someone with an HDR. It seems to me that it is not common to refer to someone by their academic title in France. All information I could find was on the different academic degrees/ranks, but not about how they translate into academic titles.

I need to write the names of my professors on the final title page of my thesis. It currently looks like this:


  1. Prof. Dr. Angela Scholz

  2. Prof. Dr. Helmut Schröder

  3. Emmanuel Trudeau, HDR

I worry that this is the wrong way to do it, and I'd rather not have a large intercultural faux pas on my first page of the thesis. So how should I write this reviewer's name correctly?

  • In English, we do not say habilitated. It isn't even a word. HDR is a French thing. HDR is an academic degree in France. It is too bad Wikipedia uses this very unfortunate term in made-up, Euro-English. The term in English is research director.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 20:40
  • @Lambie I do not understand what this has to do with my question. I do not require the English word for HDR, and I know that an HDR is a "French thing" - hence my question here in French SE. Also I'm quite certain that there's no problem with me using "habilitated" here, which is most definitely a word and also the correct word to describe this kind of professorship.
    – PoorYorick
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 7:22
  • It has to do with the fact that in English, it is wrong. And Wikipedia is wrong. The word habilitate means: to make fit or capable (as for functioning in society). It is a false friend and therefore should not be used to describe this high-level diploma.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 18:04
  • You have to write his name,followed by: diplômes, and list them.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 18:10

4 Answers 4


Assuming he also has the grade of professeur, that might be something like:

M. Emmanuel Trudeau, Professeur, HDR, Université Paris 1

Otherwise, that might be:

M. Emmanuel Trudeau, Maître de conférence, HDR, Université Paris 1

M. Emmanuel Trudeau, Docteur en 'Pataphysique, HDR, Université Paris 1 ...

However, as Evpok commented, to mention HDR might be unusual, at least in some fields, so you might skip this title and use for example :

M. Emmanuel Trudeau, Docteur en 'Pataphysique, Université Paris 1

  • One question - how important is the "M."? In Germany we have "Herr", which is the translation of "Monsieur", but we would not use it in this context. I would not write "Herr Prof. Dr. Schröder", I would just write "Prof. Dr. Schröder". Should I still keep the "M." or should I leave it out, since I don't write "Herr" or "Frau" for the other professors?
    – PoorYorick
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 10:04
  • My answer focus on the French usage. What would be appropriate should you write these titles in German is off topic in FSE.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 11:51
  • My question is also related to the French usage. Would you always write the name with an "M." in front of it? No exceptions?
    – PoorYorick
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 12:33
  • Probably but you might have a look to recent thesis in your domain to see what the current usage is.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 16:03
  • In my field at least, it would be unusual to mention the degree, so I wouldn't even mention “HDR” so I would say “Emmanuel Trudeau, Professeur, Université Paris 1”
    – Evpok
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 19:03

As far as I know, the HDR is an additionnal degree in French universities that allows a researcher to evaluate thesis and to be candidate to become a professor. He must therefore have a PhD (or equivalent) but he does not have the grade of Professor. Therefore I would suggest :

Dr. Emmanuel Trudeau

Indeed, this would be consistent with the other members of the jury. He wouldn't be HDR if he was not Dr., but you cannot say that he is Pr. . Furthermore, he would not be in your jury if he was not HDR and HDR grade is quite specific to French universities (I'm a Belgian scientist, and we don't have this intermediate grade either), so it might not be necessary to mention it (but you could add it after the name if you are unsure).

Finally, I would suggest that you simply ask M. Trudeau about his preference (and then add his answer on french SE). There is nothing wrong with this kind of question.

  • In France, we only use “Dr Machin” for medical doctors. For a PhD doctor, we just say ”M. Machin“ or “Mme Machin”. Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 21:02
  • Thank you for your comment. But if I understand well it is about giving a title to someone with a PhD and HDR degree on the first page of the dissertation that is presented in Germany. If the dissertation is presented in France, it would be different.
    – radouxju
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 7:44
  • 1
    @radouxju Knowing how to give a title to a Frenchman in a section written in English belonging to a dissertation that is going to be presented in Germany is challenging...
    – jlliagre
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 22:01
  • @jlliagre, that's the problem exactly. "Dr." in German is actually kind of protected and recently there was a high-profile case where someone used the wrong title for their supervisor, calling them "Dr." even though they had a "PhD". The thesis was 10 years old but this had to be corrected when it was found out. Academic titles are important in Germany.
    – PoorYorick
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 9:45

Certains pouvant effectivement être susceptibles, la meilleure solution est sans doute de suivre le conseil de radouxju, (lui demander), mon opinion (que je crois partagée par beaucoup) est que le plus important est de faire état de sa fonction relativement à ton travail, et que cela soit précisé au tout début du document. (En général, juste après le titre)

En l'occurrence, si tu dis que cette personne va évaluer ta thèse il est, relativement à ton travail : Directeur de thèse.

J'écrirais donc :

Directeur de thèse : Thomas d'Aquin

(Voire Directeur tout court.) Sans mention d'aucun titre universitaire. Si la personne nommée est directeur de thèse, ses titres sont implicites.

Le cas peut être particulier s'il est Allemand.


A complementary answer based on my experience. In fact, I have posted a relevant question

Translate academic titles (lecturer, assistant and associate professor, tenure track, instructor)

for academic titles. Based on the feedback I consulted academia.stackexchange.com


Actually, the replies received helped me to post an answer to my own question. You can give a try there (i.e academia). See also the webpages https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habilitation and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_ranks_in_France.

In German habilitation exists:

Priv.-Doz. and/or Dr. habil (see also Junior Professor).

In English, I guess, depending on the experience, we can interpret it as

Senior Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor.

You could also leave it as it is. At least in my field of study (mechanics of materials) the French Academic titles are more or less well known abroad (i.e. outside of France). Hence,

Jim Dupont, Maître de conférences, Habilitation à diriger des recherches, (possibly accompanied by the translation "accreditation to supervise research") Nowhere University.


Jim Papas, Chargé de recherche (CR1), HdR, CNRS.

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