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Candidate of Medicine (Latin: candidatus medicinae (male), candidata medicinae (female), abbreviated cand.med.) is an academic degree awarded in Denmark, Iceland and Norway following a six-year medical school education.
Medical students in Germany, Austria and Switzerland carry this title during their medical studies before being awarded the degree of Dr.med. (Germany) or Dr.med.univ. (Austria) after defending a doctoral or diploma thesis before a jury. Defence of a thesis is optional in Germany and can be prepared during or after the medical studies, while in Austria it is compulsory to defend a thesis before completion of the medical curriculum.
The degree can also be written as candidatus/candidata medicinæ (Æ instead of AE). In Danish and Norwegian, the degree is, similar to other Latin degrees, generally not capitalized (i.e. it's written as candidatus/candidata medicinae and abbreviated cand.med.). The abbreviation of the Latin term is almost exclusively used, i.e. they are not translated.
The term candidate refers to those running for public office in Ancient Rome. Traditionally, many doctors (and lawyers) in Denmark and Norway would hold positions directly appointed by the King.
In Denmark and Norway, a higher doctorate of medicine is known as dr.med. (doctor medicinae, literally, Doctor of Medicine). Formally it is not, however, required in Denmark to hold a cand.med. degree to acquire the doctorate. In practice most Doctors of Medicine are also Candidates of Medicine. In Denmark there are currently two research degrees that can be obtained in the field of medicine, the ph.d., which is not officially a doctorate (although being called the lesser doctorate informally) and the doctorate, dr.med. (informally the higher doctorate). Dr.med. was abolished in Norway in 2008 and replaced by the PhD.
In Norway the education is offered at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Bergen, University of Oslo, and University of Tromsø. Enrollment in a program leading to a medical degree is highly competitive in Norway. The required grades obtained in secondary education are consistently higher for medical degrees than for any other university subject. Following the education, candidates are permitted to work as rotation doctor, first at a hospital for one year and then six months as a general practitioner. After the rotation service, the candidate may receive formal qualifications as a medical practitioner, after which they may apply for training in a medical specialty.
The first Norwegian to receive this degree was Carl Schultz in 1817. Along with the cand.med.vet., cand.psychol. and cand.theol. it is one of the few Latin titles to survive the "Quality Reform" in Norway.
In Denmark and Norway, the term stud.med. (abbreviation of the Latin studiosus medicinae (masculine) or studiosa medicinae (feminine)) is used to denote medical students, at any stage, in a six-year programme leading towards a cand.med. degree. However, the descriptive Danish terms medicinstuderende and lægestuderende (meaning medical student and physician student) and the Norwegian term medisinstudent (meaning medical student) are commonly used in less formal parlance.
In Finland, Germany and Switzerland, the term cand. med. is commonly used to denote a medical student in a six-year program who has passed the First Medical State Examination after two years of pre-clinical study and has entered the clinical part.