I am trying to translate an expression from my mother tongue into english. A word-by-word "naive" translation would be

He was officially proclaimed Doctor of Philosophy of the Department of Mathematics.

I believe the intended meaning is apparent (he took the oath during an official ceremony of that Department and from that day on he was Doctor of Philosophy) however, I think that "officially proclaimed" isn't the correct the way to go...

I am aware that there are several correct expressions schemes. However, I am looking for that one verb (or more) to substitute "officially proclaimed" with, and have a valid formal expression

My intention is to have a translation which can be as near as possible to the expression as stands in my mother tongue. To this end, please note that the the original expression tries to place emphasis on the person having a new quality (he is now a Doctor of Philosophy, see PS) rather than on the fact that he has a new degree.

PS:He is now a Doctor of Philosophy, which means he has researched in science and extended its results, something that doesn't happen in previous degrees where you mainly get to learn results already obtained by the others.

In this sense, in a PhD you level up from "learning knownledge" into "producing knowledge". That is, you have a new "quality"/attribute -- besides being a scientist (you already were) you are now a researcher who has obtained a "complete" set of research results.

Apparently, this is cultural context hidden in the original expression that isn't immediately understood unless somebody is a native speaker of my tongue -- that's what we mean when we speak that expression in my tongue, and that is a point I would like to be conveyed by the (candidate) English equivalent translation.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 17:52

3 Answers 3


... from that day on he was Doctor of Philosophy

Although we say, colloquially and loosely, that so-and-so “is” a PhD, in fact she is not. Doctor of Philosophy (or of anything else) is not an identity or role which one can “be”, like President or Plumber: it is a degree, a status which one possesses.

Consequently you cannot be “proclaimed” a Doctor of Philosophy: the act of the Regents or Trustees of the University is typically a conferral of the degree upon the recipient, “with all the Rights, Privileges and Honors thereunto appertaining”.

The closest things we have to “proclamation” are press releases. There is, to be sure, a ceremony in which the graduate is hooded and handed a diploma which “witnesses” the act; MD's may even recite some version of the Hippocratic Oath; but these activities are not performative. The degree is conferred by the duly minuted act of the Regents or Trustees, the ceremony being merely a symbolic reenactment for the gratification of family, friends and (some) graduates. The graduate is not even obliged to attend it.

Most notably the Right to put “Dr.” in front of your name, the Privilege of needing extra umbrella coverage, and the Honor of being hounded for donations by the Alumni Association for the rest of your life.

  • Lol, nicely put. Note that the graduate is sometimes 100% obliged to take the oath and attend the ceremony (e.g. my case). Indeed a Doctor of Philosophy is not a role and thus you cannot be literally proclaimed one. It is considered though, besides a mere academic degree, also an honoring title -- this is the point of the original expression in my question.
    – niels
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 23:55

The most formal way of saying this would be:

He received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the Department of Mathematics on that day.


He was made a doctor of philosophy would be the usual way of saying it using the sentence order you require.

He was gazetted as a doctor of philosophy, would probably be understood, although gazetted is more commonly used with military or clerical appointments from the former practice of announcing them in the London Gazette.

More commonly we might say he passed his PhD, or gained his doctorate.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.