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The doctorate (Latin doctor, female doctrix; meaning Lat. docere “teach”, doctus “learned”) represents the highest academic degree. It is shortened to Dr., the plural being Dres. (Lat. doctors). The doctorate (the academic doctoral degree) is achieved through doctoral studies and subsequent graduation at a university holding the right to award doctorates.
It is thus attested through achievement of a doctorate that the candidate is able to work independently academically. Habilitation usually requires a completed doctorate.
Habilitation is the highest-ranking university examination in Germany, Austria, France, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and several Eastern European countries, with which a teaching qualification (Facultas docendi) in an academic subject is ascertained within the framework of an academic examination procedure.