How to translate “доктор наук” (Doctor of Sciences) into English?

Interpretation, translation of academic degrees into English is often a headache for linguists specializing in the translation of the official documents (licenses, certificates of education) and directly academic papers. And it is not about small experience of a particular translator or the degree of knowledge of the language in such cases, it goes far beyond that, it affects the educational systems of different countries.

Our specialists previously prepared a detailed analysis on a similar topic, but they only wrote about the “кандидат наук” (“PhD”); in this material we briefly list a number of key features of such translations.

First of all, they concern the following:

  • In our country, there are two education systems at the same time: one founded in the Soviet period, and the Bologna one.
  • Other states have adopted their own approach to education and, consequently, their own approved standards and degree names.
  • Many international organizations and services often do not accept groundless “adaptation” in the official documents.

How to correctly translate the phrase “доктор наук” (Doctor of Sciences) into English?

We have identified three typical situations in which the translation of a doctoral degree (доктор наук) varies. First of all, this, of course, depends on the requirements of the foreign organizations that ask linguists for predominantly literal translations. As for the rest, the translator’s decision is directly related to the direction of each particular publication.

The examples of translation of the scientific degree “доктор наук” (Doctor of Sciences) into English


English translation

Nonthematic journalism

Feature articles, scientific magazines, conferences

Diplomas, certificates, other academic certificates

Доктор биологических наук Doctor of Biology Doctor of Sciences in Biology или D.Sc. (Biology) Doctor of Biological Sciences
Доктор географических наук Doctor of Geography Doctor of Sciences in Geography
или D.Sc. (Geography)
Doctor of Geographical Sciences
Доктор исторических наук Doctor of History Doctor of Sciences in History
или D.Sc. (History)
Doctor of Historical Sciences
Доктор математических наук Doctor of Mathematics Doctor of Sciences in Mathematics
или D.Sc. (Mathematics)
Doctor of Mathematical Sciences
Доктор медицинских наук Doctor of Medicine Doctor of Sciences in Medicine
или D.Sc. (Medicine)
Doctor of Medical Sciences
Доктор педагогических наук Doctor of Pedagogy Doctor of Sciences in Pedagogy
или D.Sc. (Pedagogy)
Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences
Доктор политических наук Doctor of Political Science Doctor of Sciences in Political Science
или D.Sc. (Political Science)
Doctor of Political Sciences
Доктор сельскохозяйственных наук Doctor of Agriculture Doctor of Sciences in Agriculture
или D.Sc. (Agriculture)
Doctor of Agricultural Sciences
Доктор социологических наук Doctor of Sociology Doctor of Sciences in Sociology
или D.Sc. (Sociology)
Doctor of Sociological Sciences
Доктор технических наук Doctor of Technology Doctor of Sciences in Technology
или D.Sc. (Technology)
Doctor of Technical Sciences
Доктор филологических наук Doctor of Philology Doctor of Sciences in Philology
или D.Sc. (Philology)
Doctor of Philological Sciences
Доктор философских наук Doctor of Philosophy Doctor of Sciences in Philosophy
или D.Sc. (Philosophy)
Doctor of Philosophical Sciences
Доктор химических наук Doctor of Chemistry Doctor of Sciences in Chemistry
или D.Sc. (Chemistry)
Doctor of Chemical Sciences
Доктор экономических наук Doctor of Economics Doctor of Sciences in Economics
или D.Sc. (Economics)
Doctor of Economic Sciences
Доктор юридических наук Doctor of Law Doctor of Sciences in Law
или D.Sc. (Law)
Doctor of Legal Sciences
Доктор физико-математических наук Doctor of Physics and Mathematics Doctor of Sciences in Physics and Mathematics
или D.Sc. (Physics and Mathematics)
Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Доктор психологических наук Doctor of Psychology Doctor of Sciences in Psychology
или D.Sc. (Psychology)
Doctor of Psychological Sciences
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