Habilitation (lat. habilis "fit, proper, skillfull") is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis (often known as a Habilitationsschrift, or Habilitation thesis) based on independent scholarship, reviewed by and defended before an academic committee in a process similar to that for the doctoral dissertation. However, the level of scholarship has to be considerably higher than that required for a research doctoral (PhD) thesis in terms of quality and quantity, and must be accomplished independently, in contrast with a PhD dissertation typically directed or guided by a faculty supervisor.

In the sciences, publication of 10 to more than 30 research articles is required during the habilitation period of about 4 to 10 years. Sometimes (in the humanities) a major book publication is required before defense takes place. Usually the teaching ability of the habilitation candidate is evaluated as well. Thus, the level of academic achievement can be compared in many aspects to a North American tenure review but can take even longer. However, the outcome of the successful habilitation examination is a degree-like professorial certification rather than a tenured position. Whereas in the United States, the United Kingdom and many other countries, the PhD is sufficient qualification for a faculty position at a university with full privileges, in other countries only the habilitation qualifies the holder to independently supervise doctoral candidates. Such a post is known in Germany as Privatdozent and there are similarly termed posts elsewhere. After service as a Privatdozent, one may be summoned to the faculty as a professor.

Habilitation qualification exists in France (Habilitation à diriger des recherches, "accreditation to supervise research", abbreviated HDR), Switzerland, Germany (Priv.-Doz. and/or Dr. habil.), Austria (formerly Univ.-Doz., now Priv.-Doz.), Denmark, Bulgaria, Poland (dr hab., doktor habilitowany), Portugal (Agregação), Sweden and Finland (Docent or Doc.) the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Docent), Hungary (Dr. habil.), Slovenia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Lithuania (Habil. dr.), Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia (Doktor nauk). A similar qualification known as Livre-docência still exists in some private universities at Brazil, and at a university in state of São Paulo, but has disappeared in other parts of Brazil. In Spain it is called "acreditación" and it is a requirement for access to some kinds of posts in state-owned universities. Similarly, the so-called Libera docenza existed in Italy until 1970. The habilitation, derived from the Medieval Latin habilitare — "make suitable, fit" — developed in the eighteenth century.

The word habilitation can be used to describe the qualification or the process of earning it. It is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the thesis written as part of that process (what is called Habilitationsschrift in German). A successful habilitation requires that the candidate (called Habilitand in German) be officially given the venia legendi, Latin for "permission for lecturing," or the ius docendi, "right of teaching" a specific academic subject at universities for a lifetime. This status is called Privatdozent (for males) or Privatdozentin (for females), abbreviated PD or Priv.-Doz..

Read more about Habilitation:  Process, German Debate About The Habilitation, Similarities in Other Countries

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Habilitation - Similarities in Other Countries
... There is no separate notion of habilitation in Finland and Sweden ... are viewed as roughly equivalent to and sometimes translated as Habilitation (other translations include "higher doctorate", "grand doctorate" or "classic doctorate") ... It is now replaced by the Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches ...
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... Po awards a French postdoctoral degree called Habilitation qualifying the holder to supervise doctoral research in economics, history, political science and sociology ... Habilitation is the crowning degree for university studies in France it attests to the holder’s high level of scholarship, the originality of their approach, the ...
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... The French, German and Polish habilitation (a formal professorial qualification with thesis and exam) is commonly regarded as belonging to this category ... However, in some German states, the Habilitation is not an academic degree, but rather a professorial certification ("facultas docendi") that the person ... called "State doctorate" (doctorat d'État), but it was superseded by the habilitation in 1984 ...
Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities - Core Provisions - Habilitation and Rehabilitation
... Parties shall organize, strengthen and extend comprehensive habilitation and rehabilitation services and programmes, particularly in the areas of health, employment, education and social services, in such a way ... the development of initial and continuing training for professionals and staff working in habilitation and rehabilitation service ... persons with disabilities, as they relate to habilitation and rehabilitation ...
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... Environmental Studies (Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, doctorate, habilitation) Electrical Engineering Information Technology (Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, doctorate, habilitation ...