Doctorandus (Dutch pronunciation: [dɔktoːˈrɑndɵs]; Latin: he who should become a doctor), abbreviated drs., is a Dutch academic title according to the pre-BachelorMaster system. The female form is 'doctoranda' (abbreviated dra., though this abbreviation is no longer used). The title is acquired by passing the doctoraalexamen, traditionally a matriculation exam for admission to study at doctoral level. In most cases this concludes university study, but occasionally students will continue to do research under the supervision of a professor, which eventually allows them to obtain the title of doctor.


According to Dutch legislation, the Dutch doctorandus degree is equivalent to the MA or MSc degree in English-speaking countries, with the difference that the coursework and comprehensive exams for a doctorate are included in the academic study. After being graduated to "drs.", the candidate can start with PhD-level research and writing the dissertation without any further exams. A colloquial term for such degree would be all but dissertation.

The abbreviation is drs. This means that Dutch graduates who received the doctorandus title may sign like drs. A. Jansen. After the Bologna process, the title doctorandus has been replaced by the degrees MA and MSc, and those who receive such Dutch degrees may choose: they may use MA/MSc behind their name, or continue to use drs., mr. or ir., reflecting the field in which they graduated. According to Art. 7.20 of the Dutch law on higher education and scientific research,[1] a graduate of a master's degree granted through scientific education (i.e. by a Dutch research university) may sign as ir. for those who graduated a field of agriculture, natural environment or technical field, mr. for those who graduated in law and drs. by those who graduated in other fields. According to Art. 7.19a[2] and the Dutch customs the degrees granted to such graduates are MSc for engineers, MA or MSc for doctoranduses and established by ministerial regulation for jurists (actually LLM). This means that two situations can be discerned:

  1. Those who received their doctorandus title before the Bologna process have the option of signing like A. Jansen, M, since the old doctorandus title (from before the Bologna process) is similar to a Master's degree, and the shortcut M may officially be used in order to render such title as an international title.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] This is especially useful when one has a combination of pre-Bologna and post-Bologna titles and degrees, since a combination of one or more recognized Dutch titles with one or more international degrees is not allowed.[8] According to the Dutch Department of Education, "The termination ‘of Arts’ or the termination ‘of Science’ are namely legally protected and may only be used by those who have got a degree therein after the introduction of the Bachelor/Master curricula (2002)."[7] In this respect, titles received before 1 September 2002 are considered old titles, while titles received after this date are considered new titles.[3][6] The old titles ir., mr. or drs. may be borne as M behind one's name, since the Art. 7.22a of the Dutch Law on higher education and scientific research refers to the old Art. 7.21 of this law, which allowed those who bear such titles to use the M (from Master) behind their names; Art. 7.22a maintains the application of the old Art. 7.21 proviso for the old titles although the old Art. 7.21 article has been revoked (i.e. it does not apply to new titles).[9]
  2. Those who received their master's degree from Dutch research universities after the Bologna process in other fields than agriculture, natural environment, technical field and law may also bear the title doctorandus and alternatively have the option of signing like A. Jansen, MA or A. Jansen, MSc,[10] but only as specified on their diploma. In this case, either a MA or a MSc is granted, which entitles one to bear the title doctorandus. This means that people who have graduated soon after 1 September 2002 have no (separate) bachelor's degree, but only a master's degree, which is their first degree.


In Belgium the title is used for graduates working on a PhD, which will then eventually change their title from Drs. to Dr.


The degree was also used in Indonesia until 1990, where it was given to all bachelors except law, agriculture, natural environment, and technical studies.


  1. Art. 7.20 WHW
  2. Art. 7.19a WHW
  3. 1 2 Titulatuur Nederland Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organization this source denies that one may bear a Bologna-style bachelor's or master's degree instead of the old titles.
  4. Opleidingen en titels Dutch Department of Education, Culture and Science. Archived February 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. Titulatuur website of the Royal Government.
  6. 1 2 Vraag en antwoord. Welke titel mag ik voeren na het voltooien van een opleiding in het hoger onderwijs? website of the Royal Government this source affirms that those who have an old ir., mr. or drs. title may optionally use M (from Master) behind their names, instead of the shortcut before their names.
  7. 1 2 Burgervragen Citizens' questions letter from Dutch Department of Education, Culture and Science.
  8. 1 2 Drs. A Jansen, MBA? OnzeTaal.
  9. 1 2 Message from the website NVAO Communication Department.
  10. Art. 7.19a, section 2, subsections f and g of the Dutch Law on higher education and scientific research.
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