Doctorandus (drs., Dutch pronunciation: [d?kto:'r?nd?s]; Latin: he who should become a doctor) is a Dutch academic title according to the pre-Bachelor-Master system. The female form is doctoranda (dra., though this abbreviation is no longer used). The title is acquired by passing the doctoraalexamen, the exam which usually concludes university study. Some students will continue to do research under the supervision of a professor, which eventually allows them to obtain the title of doctor.
In Dutch, the words doctoraal and doctoraat have different meanings, the first referring to the doctorandus, the second word referring to the doctorate phase or title. The word 'doctorandus' is based on the traditional principle that this degree is a prerequisite and intermediate step for obtaining a doctorate title. However, in the twentieth century the doctorandi have become considered to be graduates and when they can choose a scientific career, they do so usually as a paid promovendus and not as research students. An exception are medical students, where the doctoral exam is an intermediate step after which the students have to follow internships, in order to obtain the full medical degree of physician (arts in Dutch).
According to Dutch legislation, the Dutch doctorandus degree is equivalent to the MA or MSc degree in English-speaking countries, with the difference that the coursework and comprehensive exams for a doctorate are included in the academic study. After being graduated to "drs.", the candidate can start with PhD-level research and writing the dissertation without any further exams.
The abbreviation is drs. This means that Dutch graduates who received the doctorandus title may sign like drs. A. Jansen. After the Bologna process, the title doctorandus has been replaced by the degrees MA and MSc, and those who receive such Dutch degrees may choose: they may use MA/MSc behind their name, or continue to use drs., mr. or ir., reflecting the field in which they graduated. According to Art. 7.20 of the Dutch law on higher education and scientific research, a graduate of a master's degree granted through scientific education (i.e. by a Dutch research university) may sign as ir. (ir. stems from the Dutch 'ingenieur' (engineer)) for those who graduated in an academic study of agriculture, natural environment or technical field, mr. (mr. stems from the Dutch 'meester' (master) at law) for those who graduated in law and drs. by those who graduated in other fields. According to Art. 7.19a and the Dutch customs the degrees granted to such graduates are MSc for engineers, MA or MSc for doctoranduses and established by ministerial regulation for jurists (actually LLM). This means that two situations can be discerned:
In Belgium the title Drs. is only used for graduates working on a PhD, who eventually change their title from Drs. to Dr. The title Lic. (which stems from licentiaat) is used for those who have finished a masters' degree, but it is rarely used.
The degree was also used in Indonesia until 1994 (because of Indonesia being a former colony of the Netherlands), where it was given to all bachelors except law, agriculture, natural environment, and engineering. The title ir. for academic engineers is still used in Indonesia by those who obtained their degree before 1994.
In Sweden and Estonia the term is used in the form: "doktorand", with the same etymology: he who should become a doctor (but dropping the gender qualifier) to refer to a student reading for his or her doctorate. However, it is not a formal title and is never written abbreviated. Similarly, in Romania it is "doctorand", abbreviated "drd."