Degree initials after name?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by nobycane, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. ooo

    ooo New Member

    I consider degree initials after one's name tacky and very gouache.

    If a lawyer, on law firm business cards, add the Esq. or J.D. Or if a medical doctor, add an M.D. on emails/formal business cards.

    BA, MA, PhD etc ... tacky. The only exclusion is if publishing an academic paper, or a current professor, then add the PhD after you name on the research paper and in a long e-mail signature with students/faculty. Otherwise, tacky tacky tacky.

    If you have to do anything, I would do the full e-mail signature like this:
    Your N. Name
    Phone: (212) 777-8888
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Harvard University Class of 2015, BA in English
    University of Massachusetts, Class of 2017, MA in Journalism
    Yale University School of Law, J.D. Candidate, 2020

    Some people add their degree letters everywhere and anywhere they can. I view it as tacky. My opinion, my right: your opinion, your right.
  2. ooo

    ooo New Member

    True. Medical doctors need to add their degree titles for many reasons on all work related emails/letters/business cards/name tags, yes. Prescriptions included. An MD for work-related tasks is necessary for them. Really same with calling them "Doctor." Patients need to know who's a doctor, who's a nurse, who's a secretary, etc. so titles in a hospital setting is quite essential.

    Lawyers adding J.D. in all work-related things is also necessary. There's a difference in getting a "prescription request" from a RN vs MD, and a court research request from a PL (paralegal) vs JD.

    Ph.D. holders asking their friends/co-workers/etc. to call them "Dr." makes me cringe. However, if they're a professor, adding "Ph.D" after their name on university e-mails/business cards is appropriate. I've never, and will never, call a PhD holder "Doctor." They're not a doctor. They hold a doctorate. PhD holders that are my professors I simply call professor. I would never ask someone to refer to me as "Doctor" because of my PhD, not as a professor, not as their boss. On some TV shows like Big Bang Theory, they get a lot of enjoyment after calling them Doctor Cooper. PhDs are well-earned; just not a "doctor." They hold a doctorate, a well-earned degree... that they can find good use for those PhD initials for on all their university professor-related research papers/business cards/etc.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Not according to my local pharmacy.

    I'd feel similarly if I encountered that, but despite having worked for a variety of different universities, it hasn't.

    Sure they are, they're just not a physician. In fact, the word "doctor" actually means "teacher", and was applied to academics before it was applied to physicians.

    This all seems like much ado about nothing.
  4. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    The problem with pastors and the reason so many love the titles they proclaim for themselves or bestow upon one another in a quid pro quo arrangement is a shockingly high percentage of them are evidently malignant, conscienceless narcissists (see Canadian academic study on pastors, which revealed rates of NPD among the pastorate as much as 500% greater than the general population

    Of course, they completely ignore what Jesus said on the point (see Matthew 23).
  5. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Heard a story once about a professor who got on a plane and listed themselves on the ticket as "doctor" so-and-so, and when there was some kind of medical emergency on board, someone checked the manifest, saw there was a doctor on the plane, and a flight attendant went to them and with great embarrassment, they had to explain that while they knew a great deal about 18th century Irish literature, or whatever their field was, they knew absolutely nothing that could benefit a sick passenger. I hope that's not apocryphal, it's too good not to be true (and of course, hope the person with the emergency found a real doctor).
  6. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Just a few thoughts...

    For Physicians, MD or DO isn't just an academic title, it's very often an indication of licensure. You're not just saying "Hey, I went to Medical School!" you're holding yourself out as someone who completed a residency and has a license to practice medicine.

    Lawyers using "JD?" Well, I don't hold it against them. But it should be understood. If you're feeling fancy, throw the "esq" out there and feel fancy. But to each their own.

    In my humble opinion, one should not include a non-graduate level degree as a post-nominal except in a few limited circumstances. The most common being nurses. Joe Smith, RN listing his name as Joe Smith, RN BSN is actually pretty common. But once Joe Smith gets his MSN, the appropriate way to list that would be Joe Smith, RN MSN.

    Certainly there are people who use MA, MS, MBA. Depends on the culture of where you work and what, exactly, you're trying to convey. A PhD, or any doctorate, is fine to list on work documents unless it is in a completely unrelated field that might cause confusion.

    For myself, and I'd say for the bulk of office going professionals, it is best to list relevant certifications. I have a co-worker whose post-nominals extended onto a second line on her business cards. That's her choice. I opt to only include SPHR. The temptation to list everyone on a handy card was surely greater before LinkedIn. Now, if you want to see my degree stack you can just look at my LinkedIn profile (or my DegreeInfo signature).

    I am, of course, reminded of the old rhyme (which, if I recall correctly, was quoted by Dr. Bear in one of his books)...

  7. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Is academia wrong or are you wrong? Which of the following doctoral holders are doctors (hint: only one can claim to be a physician):
    - MD: medical doctor
    - DBA: doctor of business administration
    - PhD: doctor of philosophy
    - Etc.

    At many college and university websites:
    - Those without a doctorate are frequently listed as Prof. John Doe.
    - Those with a doctorate are listed as Dr. John Doe

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