Academic Ranks and Degrees

Academic Ranks and Degrees

 

ranks and degrees conferred upon specialists with a higher education that define the extent of their graduate preparation and their scholarly qualifications and achievements in science, scholarship, technology, and culture.

Different countries have different systems of awarding academic ranks and degrees to scientists, scholars, and faculty members of higher educational institutions. The terminology used for academic ranks and degrees in each country is determined by that country’s historical development.

The academic degrees awarded in the USSR are the degrees of doctor of sciences and candidate of sciences. The academic ranks are those of professor, decent, senior research worker, assistant, and junior research worker. Academic degrees may be awarded to persons with professional expertise and scholarly achievements in a given branch of learning, with a broad scholarly and cultural background, with a mastery of Marxist-Leninist theory, or with outstanding achievements in scholarship, industry, or public service.

The academic ranks of professor, docent, and senior research worker are generally awarded to persons with academic degrees and proven expertise in teaching or research at a higher educational institution, research institution, or scientific-industrial association. The academic ranks of assistant and junior research worker are awarded to persons with a higher education. The awarding of academic degrees and conferring of academic ranks is regulated by the Statute on the Procedure for Awarding Academic Degrees and Conferring Academic Ranks (1975).

In the other socialist countries the systems of awarding academic degrees and conferring academic ranks, as well as the types of academic degrees awarded, differ somewhat from those in the USSR. In Hungary the least advanced academic degree, that of Habilitation, is awarded to university graduates who have passed two or three special examinations and defended a dissertation before a university committee. The next academic degree is that of candidate of sciences; the highest, that of doctor of sciences, is awarded by the Academy of Sciences. A person with the degree of Habilitation may become an assistant or adjunct, and a candidate of sciences may become a docent or the head of a department. Persons are conferred the rank of professor or made the head of a department by a decree of the Council of Ministers.

The German Democratic Republic has two academic degrees. The first is the degree of doctor of a given branch of learning, a degree equivalent to that of candidate of sciences in the USSR. The degree of Habilitation is equivalent to the degree of doctor of sciences in the USSR. The prerequisite for the academic position of assistant or senior assistant is the degree of doctor of sciences or extensive work experience. The degree of Habilitation qualifies a person for the academic positions of docent and professor.

Poland has the academic degrees of docent and doctor; the degree of doctor is equivalent to the degree of candidate of sciences in the USSR. The academic ranks at Polish higher educational institutions are assistant, senior assistant, adjunct, docent, ordinary (staff) professor, and extraordinary (nonstaff) professor. The rank of professor is conferred by the State Council.

In the capitalist countries the principal systems of awarding academic degrees and conferring academic ranks are the Anglo-American and French systems. However, these systems are not coordinated, and each higher educational institution generally has its own system of awarding academic degrees. Graduates of British and American universities and of other British and American higher educational institutions are awarded the degree of bachelor of science or bachelor of arts after they pass special examinations. The writing and defense of a short research paper is sometimes an additional requirement. The bachelor’s diploma is generally the equivalent of the diploma awarded to graduates of Soviet higher educational institutions who have completed a four-year course of study and passed state examinations.

The second academic degree in the Anglo-American system is the degree of master of science or master of arts. Prerequisites for this degree are a bachelor’s degree and an additional one- or two-year course of study. A further requirement in some universities is the writing and defense of a dissertation. The scholarly qualifications of persons with a master’s degree are approximately those of graduates of Soviet higher educational institutions with a five-year course of study who have defended a diploma thesis or a diploma project before a state examining committee.

The most advanced degrees in the Anglo-American system are the degrees of doctor of philosophy and, in some universities, of doctor of science. The degree of doctor of science is awarded in such fields as mathematics and physics. All universities that follow the Anglo-American system award the degree of doctor of philosophy, which is the equivalent of the degree of candidate of sciences in the USSR.

In France the academic degree of baccalauréat is awarded upon graduation from secondary school. The first higher academic degree is the degree of licence, awarded in such fields as mathematics, physics, and chemistry. To obtain this degree, a student must pass three or four special examinations during the second, the third, and sometimes the fourth year of study at an institution of higher education. He must also complete a certain amount of course work or of work that would otherwise lead to the degree of ingénieur de l’Etat. The degree of licence qualifies a person to teach in an academic secondary school. The degree of agrégé is awarded to graduates of a university who have passed additional examinations and defended a dissertation; it qualifies a person to teach in a lycée. The academic degrees of doctorat or of ingénieur de I’Etat qualify a person for a high position in industry or in an institution. The degree of doctorat d’état is the equivalent of the degree of candidate of sciences in the USSR.

In capitalist countries, the rank of professor is generally awarded to heads of departments. In institutions of higher education, promotion to the rank of professor is determined by seniority; in some capitalist countries a higher academic degree is not a requirement for such promotion.

In many countries, including Burma, India, and Iran, persons who graduate from a four- to six-year institution of higher education but who do not defend a diploma thesis are awarded the degree of bachelor of science or bachelor of arts, either with or without distinction. In Iran, students receive the degree of licentiate upon graduating from a university. In Tunisia this degree is awarded to students who complete both a one-year preparatory course of study at the university and a second course of study at the university.

In Mexico, students receive the degree of licentiate upon graduating from the faculty of the humanities. The next academic degree in Mexico is the master’s degree, which is generally awarded after the student completes an additional course of study lasting 1½ years, passes examinations, and writes a dissertation. The degree of doctor of philosophy is awarded in many countries, including Austria, Argentina, Denmark, India, Iran, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey.

The relative level of education and of scholarly training that academic degrees represent is determined at specialized international conventions. Conferences of the ministers of education of the European members of UNESCO were held in Vienna in 1967 and in Bucharest in 1973. At these conferences it was decided to continue conducting research on this issue.

In the USSR and in other countries, honorary academic ranks and degrees are awarded as well. Honorary doctorates are awarded in various branches of learning. Higher educational institutions confer honorary professorships, generally to foreign scholars, for outstanding achievements in science, technology, and culture.

B. S. ROZOV

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