Non-academic title

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Non-academic titles differ from academic degrees in that they are awarded or awarded by government agencies or a corporation under public law as a state designation outside of universities and are not hierarchical or service or official titles .

In the German Empire until 1918, non-academic titles were awarded in the form of honorary titles (similar to the Habsburg Monarchy ). These titles usually related to the specific act for which the award winner was honored, for example: standard bearer of Mars-la-tour


Section 2 of the Ordensgesetz entitles the Federal President to award titles in accordance with a statute. Since no corresponding law has been passed, titles are only awarded at the state level.

The following titles are awarded at state level:


The Law on Awards of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Prime Minister, the designation of Professor or Professor confer an honorary title. In principle, it is also possible to award other titles that are not legally specified.


Titles that are not related to an office or occupation may not be awarded in Bavaria according to Art. 118 Para. 4 of the Bavarian Constitution .

The following titles are awarded in Bavaria

  • Bavarian State Actor ,
  • Bavarian Chamber Actor ,
  • Bavarian Chamber Singer ,
  • Bavarian chamber dancer and
  • Bavarian chamber virtuoso .

These service titles are awarded exclusively within the framework of a service contract to the Bavarian State Theaters or for artists who appear like ensemble members at the Bavarian State Theaters and who meet the necessary requirements. Requirements are at least five years membership in the Bavarian State Theaters and outstanding artistic achievements. At the suggestion of the artistic director of a state theater, the Bavarian State Ministry for Education and Culture, Science and Art can grant the right to use the appropriate designation.


The following titles are awarded in Berlin:

  • Berlin state actor ,
  • Berlin Chamber Singer ,
  • Berlin chamber virtuoso and
  • Berlin chamber dancers .


In Bremen, the following title is awarded on the basis of individual resolutions by the Senate:

  • Chamber singer


The following titles are awarded in Hamburg:

  • Chamber singer
  • Chamber musician
  • professor

North Rhine-Westphalia

The following title is awarded in North Rhine-Westphalia:

  • professor


In Rhineland-Palatinate, the following titles are awarded due to the prerogative of the Prime Minister:


In the Saarland, following the ordinance on titles issued in 1934, which continues to apply as state law and has been amended several times, the following titles can be awarded:

  • professor
  • Medical Council
  • Council of Justice
  • General manager
  • State actor
  • Chamber singer
  • Chamber musician
  • Economic Council
  • Technology Council


In the Free State of Saxony, the following titles are awarded to members of the ensembles of the Saxon State Opera Dresden and the State Theaters of Saxony :

  • Chamber singer,
  • Chamber musician and
  • Chamber virtuoso.

There are also initiative awards of honorary titles by the State Minister for Science and Art, for example to freelance artists.


In Schleswig-Holstein, on the basis of the Prime Minister's decree of July 27, 1964, the following titles are awarded:

  • State Council
  • State Secretary
  • Provincial Council

Other federal states

In Hesse, the title of honorary professor has been awarded since 2006 , which Brandenburg also awards.


A large number of titles were awarded in German history up to 1918. See the section Former Titles .

Article 109 Paragraph 4 of the Weimar Constitution regulated “Titles may only be awarded if they denote an office or a profession” and thus initially ended the tradition of honorary titles .

After the seizure of power by the National Socialists titles were reintroduced under the laws of 1933 and the 1937th The first ordinance on the award of titles of August 27, 1937 renewed the honorary title of professor . The second ordinance on the award of titles of October 22, 1937 also contained the titles of general director, general music director, state theater director, state opera director, state music director, state actor, chamber singer, chamber virtuoso and chamber musician. The third ordinance on the award of titles of October 18, 1938 regulated, among other things, construction, medical, veterinary and judicial council titles.

After the Second World War , these ordinances were repealed by Section 17 No. 5-7 of the Order Act of July 26, 1957 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 844, 847 ).


See job title .

Former titles

See also as "interdisciplinary":

All service titles of civil servants and the military are initially not linked to whether the institution has an academic education. This also applies to political officials such as councilors, mayors or state secretaries. The same applies to military rank designations. The general is not necessarily an academic either. Therefore, the above titles can be used by both academics and non-academics. Academic designations are, for example, Prof., Dr., Dipl., Grad.

The ranking of the titles is accordingly as follows:

  1. Military rank
  2. Academic degree
  3. Non-academic title
  4. Nobility title

An example would be: Major Dr. phil. Leg.-R. Count of ... to ... Mustermann

Non-academic titles have to be distinguished between the members of real advisory and decision-making bodies of the government, which in some German states from the 16th to the 19th century were often called the Privy Council , so that their members were also called Privy Council .

In the case of civil servants , council designates a higher rank and has an echo of the fact that this is or was a member of a college with voting rights: government councilor, Reich judge, regional judge.

The addition of secret expressed a higher rank, the predicate real indicated the highest level: real secret advice - in this case the person wearing the designation was entitled to the salutation "excellence".

All of these titles were basically official designations for active civil servants, but were also awarded as honorary designations for special merits.

Championship title

The titles of journeymen , skilled workers and masters are real professional titles , comparable to some service titles (such as detective chief inspector ) and in contrast to the academic degrees . In Germany they are bindingly regulated by the craft regulations.


  • Karin Kaudelka-Hanisch: Prussian commercial councils in the province of Westphalia and in the administrative district of Düsseldorf (1810-1918). (= Studies on economic, social and technological history , Volume 10.) Society for Westphalian Economic History / Verlag von der Linnepe, Hagen 1993, ISBN 3-925227-33-4 .
  • Ingeborg Kittel: The Lippe Court Suppliers. In: Stadt Detmold (Hrsg.): Detmold um 1900. (= special publications of the Natural Science and Historical Association for the Land Lippe , Volume 72.) Aisthesis, Bielefeld 2004, ISBN 3-89528-435-1 , pp. 157-183. (with references to the Lippe award practice for other honorary titles such as Kommerzienrat or Hofrat)

Individual evidence

  1. Hans-Ulrich Krantz (founder): Orders and decorations in the Federal Republic of Germany. Completely reworked by Johannes Ottinger. 2nd Edition. Mittler, Herford 1977, ISBN 3-87547-172-5 , pp. 127-131.
  2. .
  3. Press release of August 26, 2014 , formerly: Ordinance of July 31, 1962, amended on August 8, 1972, OJ. P. 1187.
  4. .
  5. ^ VwV honorary title .
  6. OJ. P. 365.
  7. ^ Law on titles, medals and decorations of April 7, 1933 ( RGBl. I p. 180 ); Supplementary Act of May 15, 1934 ( RGBl. I p. 379 ); Ordinance of the Reich President on titles of January 30, 1934 ( RGBl. I p. 73 ).
  8. ^ Law on titles, medals and decorations of July 1, 1937 ( RGBl. I p. 725 ), while maintaining the provisions of the annex.
  9. RGBl. I p. 913 .
  10. RGBl. I p. 1137 .
  11. RGBl. I p. 1455 .