What does “Prof. Dr. ir.” mean?

  • I have a Belgian colleague who is “Prof. Dr. ir.”. What does it mean?

    I am assuming you are confused by the "ir" part. I think it is a reference to engineer/Ingénieur. I am not sure if it means the individual holds an EngD/ScD or simply a certification in engineering.

    @DanielE.Shub I am also somewhat confused by the addition of all those titles… does “Prof.” mean university professor? If so, I don't think you can get there without being “Dr.”, thus I don't see the need for “Prof. Dr.” compared to just “Prof.”…

    "Prof. Dr." is different from, for instance, "Prof. M.D." or even "Prof." alone since you can become professor without having a PhD.

    @SylvainPeyronnet how come you named Professor without holding PhD degree?

    I don't know the Belgian system, but in the German system it is not uncommon to list all honorifics, so something like Prof Dr. Dr. Dr. Smith would be someone with a single professorship and 3 doctorates. Sometimes you would see that as Prof DDDr. Smith. If Smith got a fourth doctorate, I believe the honorific would change to Prof. Dr. mult. Smith.

    @seteropere you can become a professor without a PhD. A doctorate (e.g., MD, EdD, ScD) is helpful, but not a requirement.

    @seteropere In France (only country for which I know very well the system), you need the "habilitation" to become a (full) prof. To have the habilitation, you need either a PhD plus a good research record with many publications, students, etc. or a very strong research record without the need of a PhD. For instance, there are researchers from industry who obtain professorship without having a PhD.

    @Pieter, I deleted my answer as it just duplicates information from an existing answer and existing comments.

    In The Netherlands the _ir_ bit is the equivalent of an MSc from a technical university.

  • Stylize

    Stylize Correct answer

    8 years ago

    Ir. means a masters degree in Engineering.

    source : Belgian Education :)

    I added a "reference". This Prof. Dr. Ir. received a M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven), Belgium

    Also, from wikipedia: Belgium

    In Belgium, there are two types of engineering degrees:

    • "Burgerlijk Ingenieur" /"Ingénieur civil" or "Master of Science in Engineering" (abbrev. "ir.") - 5 years study (3 BSc. + 2 MSc.)
    • "Bio-ingenieur"/ "Bioingénieur" or "Master of Science in Bioscience Engineering" (abbrev. "ir") - 5 years study (3 BSc. + 2 MSc.)
    • "Industrieel Ingenieur" or "Master of Science in Industrial Sciences" (abbrev. "Ing.") - 4 years study (3 BSc. + 1 MSc.)(3 BSc. + 2 MSc. in 2013-future) (for the Flemish Region)
    • "Ingénieur industriel" or "Master of Science in Industrial Sciences" (abbrev. "Ing.") - 5 years study (3 BSc. + 2 MSc.) (for the Walloon Region)


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