What to do if you are ABD?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by jdlaw93, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. jdlaw93

    jdlaw93 New Member

    I am ABD in a PhD program from a fully regionally accredited university, but don't have the time nor the desire to complete the dissertation process. Are there any accredited universities that would confer a doctorate with either more course work or by examination, without a dissertation? Or does anyone have any suggestions on what can be done rather quickly to make the best of my ABD status without having to complete a dissertation?

  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Don't take this too personally, but how can you enter into a doctoral program--much less complete the taught portion--without an intention of completing the requirements?

    No, you can't take more courses or an examination to get the degree. That wouldn't be a doctorate. And no school is going to award you an advanced degree for work done at a different university.

    Here are your options:

    1. Finish the degree.
    2. Drop out.
    3. Negotiate a lower degree (a master's, perhaps), then drop out.

    Universities do not award doctoral degrees to students who do not finish doctoral degree programs. Does that even need to be said?
  3. jdlaw93

    jdlaw93 New Member

    Don't take this too personally, but how can you enter into a doctoral program--much l

    Hi Rich:

    Please don't take me wrong, what part of my question implies I had no intention of completing the Phd program? Now I would think with all the intelectual brain power here the logical assumption would be to the contrary and go without saying. But, if it needs to be said, my question finds its genesis in current circumstance. Between work, family and dissertation research something had to give. In this case my family and in particular my children have been through enough. There I lies the the reason for my question. Thank you for your feedback.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    No dissertation means no doctorate.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Rich and Ted are both correct. The primary difference between a Masters degree and a Doctoral degree is the dissertation. That is the reason that some universities have dissertation-only Doctoral programs. No legitimate school will do as your hoping. If you have, in fact, hit the wall, you might inquire of your school about whether you could take some time off. Perhaps a year, or even two years off might allow you to recover a bit, recharge your batteries and approach the next phase with some enthusiasm. If at the end of that time you simply don't wish to continue then you can ask for a Masters in recognition of your work to date (there's usually clear protocols for this spelled out in the university policies). Then you're done. Lot's of people have washed out, including me. Read all about it here:

  6. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    The dissertation IS the degree. The exams and coursework that lead up to the dissertation are just filler.
  7. OpalMoon34

    OpalMoon34 member

    If you don't have the desire to do the dissertation yourself then just pay someone else to do it for you. There are a lot of brilliant East Indians out there who will be more than happy to do it in your behalf for a few hundred dollars. I'm not kidding. I would say that thousands and thousands of distance learning (and even brick and mortar) theses and dissertations are being completed this way because there are people who actually make their living doing this. Just use Google and you will find many sites like [URL Edited By Mod].
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2012
  8. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    This is a terrible idea that could lead to untold amounts of trouble. I hope you are kidding and I hope you refrain from this kind of suggestion in the future.
  9. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    This is wrong and unethical. I hope this is some joke...
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2012
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Wow. And if you have trouble coming up with the payment you could always knock over a few liquor stores or something. Breath-taking.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Rather than simply be amazed, why don't you all remove the post? Surely it violates the terms of service?
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    The embedded link was removed because we don't like to help advertise such services. There is a specific provision in the TOS regarding advertising. Beyond that I'm not certain that the TOS specifies that a person is not allowed to suggest unethical behaviors. If I'm wrong in this (I haven't specifically reviewed the TOS recently) I'd be happy to have you provide a specific reference. Thanks.
  13. suelaine

    suelaine Member

    I got that right away. But the fact is I don't think there is much you can do at this point except perhaps see if you can get a Master's Degree out of it, or a CAGS, or just leave it as ABD. ABD does seem to be carry weight on the resume for some potential employers. You would likely have to explain the circumstances of not finishing, but this would not necessarily be a deal breaker for the potential hiring committee. Good luck!
  14. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    Some places will accept three published peer-reviewed research papers in lieu of a traditional dissertation. However, that might take longer than the dissertation process itself.

    If your university doesn't allow for this, changing to another one would mean 1) taking more courses because most places limit the number of credits that will transfer 2) selecting a new dissertation committee, and most won't bother with taking on a student who couldn't cut it somewhere else, and 3) taking your oral and written quals all over again. 'ABD' is not a status that transfers.

    Your best bet is to stay where you are and push through the pain.
  15. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Rich, I just almost had green tea come shooting out my nose!
  16. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    I have long thought that an ABD to PhD (or other doctorate) completion program would have a potentially huge market. A friend of mine at a large university that all of you would recognize proposed such a program at his institution. It was denied, as the accediting body (SACS) requires that at least 1/2 of the doctoral program credits must be from the school awarding the doctorate.
  17. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I think this model would still be great. The NCU PhD was 54 credits (I think) so if a school would take half of that, it could be worth it. If I was ABD I would be happy to take 27 credits to finish a PhD.

    There is another market that should not be over looked - students that are not happy with their current program but have too much invested to just walk away of only 6-9 credits can be transfered. At one point I looked at Argosy but they would only take 6 NCU credits. It was not worth the loss of credits to transfer. If they would have said, "We will take 18-21 credits" or what ever I had at the time, I would have done it.

    Perhaps Sullivan can offer something like this.....
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Hmm. Tony, if a doctoral program is 60 credits past the Master's, and half of those are in house, that's still accepting up to thirty credits, which would be a phenomenal option, particularly if up to 24 of them were research methods review and the dissertation itself.
  19. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I agree, there would be a solid market for such a program. I wonder if there is any way something like that could be worked out with the accrediting agencies.
  20. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Who would offer such a program, even if it were accreditable?

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