In some job advertisements from the high-tech part of the industry, I come across this phrase as one of the requirements: "Excellent degree (Ph.D. or Master) in .... ".

What do they mean by "Excellent"? Do they expect something like a "summa cum laude" score for the degree? Or does it mean something else?

  • 6
    We don't know what "they" mean, in particular because we have no idea who "they" are. Why don't you ask them? – Philip Kendall Jan 28 at 21:21
  • Are you asking out of fun or because you decide to apply? If the latter, I'd say when in doubt, apply anyway (expect you know your degree is bad, but then you would not ask this question). – guest Jan 30 at 17:36

Because I can't just let someone be wrong on the Internet: This does mean what you think and is certainly not a translation error. There is no real equivalent to "advanced degree", meaning MS or PhD, in German that could have been mistranslated. German job adverts instead usually say something like "Hochschulabschluss" (university degree) and specify if e.g. a PhD is preferred. Additionally, since "exzellent" is a German word that means... excellent, there is little chance someone would mistakenly use the English word to mean something else entirely.

In fact, job adverts calling for "above average" or "very good" degrees, especially in research oriented graduate roles, are common. What exactly that means varies from employer to employer, it just indicates that they care about your academic performance, not that they would outright reject you for not having a summa cum laude PhD.


My money says this is a sub-optimal translation. In English, the standard expression "advanced degree" means one above a bachelor's degree, i.e. master's or PhD.

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    This is blatently incorrect. No native German speaker who speaks even a little bit of English would confuse "advanced" and "excellent". Furthermore, phrases like "sehr guter Abschluss" (very good degree) are common, especially in roles that are research oriented, i.e. those were a PhD is desireable. – Peter Jan 29 at 16:59

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