1. muhammad_alhor

    muhammad_alhor New Member

    Dear all,

    In some countries (e.g. Iraq, Egypt), they have something like this: PhD wth honors, PhD very good, PhD good, etc. Is this also applies to UK, Australia, South Africa, etc. Since usually I saw only PhD without any further details.

    N.B. All the mentioned countries (Iraq, Egypt, UK, SA) provide research-based PhD degrees.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    As far as I know, the countries you listed (England, Australia, South Africa) do not add any designation such as "Honors" or "High Honors" to their PhD degrees. I'm afraid that I know nothing about this practice in Iraq or Egypt. Since these are research degrees, can you tell us something about the differences between a plain old PhD and a PhD with Honors in places like Egypt?
    Just curious.
  3. triggersoft

    triggersoft New Member

    I reckon he's talking about the final GRADES of the Ph.D. examination... (what is usually written in Latin wording).
  4. muhammad_alhor

    muhammad_alhor New Member

    Thanks for your valuable replies. Actually, the PhD graduates from Iraq or Egypt when they pass the defence they committe tell them that they pass with distinction, very good, etc.
  5. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    I see. Thanks.
  6. marilynd

    marilynd New Member

    I don't know how common it is elsewhere, but several of the Ivys in the US use the "distinction" label as a sort of extra "well done" or "atta boy" with respect to PhD graduates. (All eight might all do it, as far as I know, but I'm only acquainted with three.)

    At Columbia, for instance, your comps and defense both are graded by your committees on a scale of "excellent," "very good," "good," etc. If you receive three of four excellents from your examiners, you are said to pass "with distinction," which appears on your transcript but not on your diploma. (Actually, I think the exact number of "excellent" votes required is determined by each department. The department simply notifies the Graduate School that the Ph.D. was passed with distinction.)

    Your transcript, in the degrees earned area, would look something like: Ph.D., with distinction, May 19, 1988 . . . followed by the title of your dissertation.

    It is an older way of identifying rather gifted Ph.D. graduates, so I don't know how widely it is actually used today.

    Hope this helps.


    BTW, there are of course all sorts of informal but nonetheless ceremonial ways of showing special approval to new graduates. One particularly prestigious professor at Columbia used to doodle during the comp exams and/or defense. He was quite a good doodler, I might add. If he was particularly pleased with your performance, he would sign and date one of his doodles and give it to you. If not, not. It was in some ways a sort of laying on of the hands, a sort of passing of the torch, so to speak. Very old school. It was a curious way, at the end of the process, of letting you know where you stood in the estimation of your professors in an institution notorious for never divulging this information while you're still a graduate student.
  7. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Don't recommendations accomplish the same thing?

    I'm a little skeptical about awarding different grades of Ph.D.s because it might not always be initially apparent how valuable a dissertation is. The work might just gather dust for eternity, or it might be picked up by other researchers, become widely cited and influence an entire field. In some cases a dissertation's importance might only become visible in retrospect, after other work is done. That stuff is going to be hard to predict in advance.
  8. muhammad_alhor

    muhammad_alhor New Member

  9. marilynd

    marilynd New Member

    I think you're right, Bill. The dissertation could very well change in value over time.

    My impression is that the "with distinction" monicker is at least as much a testament to the quality of the defense as it is to the quality of the dissertation. The defense is, after all, supposed to show the depth of understanding underlying and/or supporting the dissertation. So the grade is not just given for the dissertation alone.

    This information certainly could--and hopefully would--be passed along in recommendations. Those are not part of the university record, for whatever that's worth, and the defense is, when all is said and done, a university exam. I do not see why it should not be graded.

    I'm not sure where the practice started. Perhaps it is a carry-over from the British tutorial system?


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