When is it appropriate to use (c) as in "EdD (c) or PhD (c)" meaning that a ...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Nilda Gonzalez, May 22, 2011.

  1. Nilda Gonzalez

    Nilda Gonzalez New Member


    I have seen colleagues use Ed D (c) and PhD (c) after their names on official work-related emails and documents. These colleagues are only a dissertation or thesis away from their degrees, but is this correct etiquette in academe? I am in the same condition as my peers -- I have completed all coursework and I only need to complete the dissertation, which I am currently writing. However, I struggle with the notion of using the title with a (c). Can someone tell me what's correct? :confused:


  2. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I had used PhD Candidate. I would say the (c) is acceptable when the school deems you ABD.
  3. edowave

    edowave Active Member


    There is no official "rule", but I think it is fine to use within academia. Outside academia, I would avoid using it. Outside academia I wouldn't even use PhD unless it is relevant to my work, or I can get a better hotel room or upgraded seat on an airplane. :headbang:
  4. BrandeX

    BrandeX New Member

    When you are trying to bullshit people who don't understand such labels into misguidedly assuming you have a doctorate.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I'd think about wagging a finger at BrandeX but I happen to agree with him. Persoanlly, I think that you get to say "PhD" (or whatever) once they hand you the diploma. I base this on the fact that we know that there are a skgillion people who are ABD and they NEVER FINISH. So, do they get to say ABD on their resume forever? NO! Lots of people are PhD(c) and they never finish. In my opinion it's proper to say that you are currently enrolled in a doctoral degree program. If you're ABD then you can say that too. But don't put the post-nominals out there and then say "but not really." PhD(c) = PhD(but not really).
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    +1, Insightful.

  7. nanoose

    nanoose New Member

    PhD Candidate is pretty standard on this part of the globe.
  8. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    While I do agree that in a world outside academia I never listed it (and still don't), when submitting for adjunct positions I have listed it differently depending on the stage I was in. Below are progressive examples of how I listed it.
    PhD - Northcentral University - currently enrolled
    PhD - Northcentral University - expected graduation date 2010
    PhD Candidate - Northcentral University - expected graduation date 12/2010
    PhD Candidate - Northcentral University - it's about damn time!
  9. bbmokc

    bbmokc New Member

    I don't think this should ever be used! It really tells a lot of nothing because many people continue to use this when they have timed out - seven years or more since they started their program. In my opinion, you should only use credentials that you have earned! Who cares that you are in the dissertation block - many of us are and I am at my last block - but I will not put a credential that I have not earned. Technically you become a candidate at most universities once you have passed the doctoral qualifying examination - but that really is a lot of nothing. I know people who have passed the proposal defense and stopped. That means they have written the first three chapters of their dissertation and nothing. Just to be on the safe side, don't use the credential until you earn it.
  10. bbmokc

    bbmokc New Member

    See I don't because there are tons of ABD's out there - that is the problem with doctoral studies. Students can get through the class work - but never attempt the dissertation so they are ABD and feel they have accomplished something. The only thing that they accomplished is that they did not finish.
  11. bbmokc

    bbmokc New Member

    Now I like BrandeX's response! Right on the money! Use the credential when the degree is in HAND!
  12. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I've never seen "Ph.D. (c ) used. The c in parentheses is typically used for "copyright." Ph.D. (cand.) is not uncommon, as is "ABD" -- but both can be misunderstood. Use "candidate" if you must use something. Better still, "Ph.D. in progress; anticipated in fall 2042.
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I once encountered a gentleman who had the post-nominal "Ph.D. (ABD)" printed on the nameplate he kept on his desk.

    But, with so many candidates coming into my office saying things like "And I earned my ABD two years ago..." I'm not sure how many of them are trying to bullshit me versus how many of them honestly believe that their "ABD" is a credential unto itself that they can use forever even if they're no longer candidates for the doctorate.

    At least the M.Phil. gives you a "thing" to talk about during a job interview without trying to mislead people into thinking you have a doctorate.

    But, back to the topic at hand, I assumed the (c) was for "candidate" though I've not seen it before. For employment purposes it is about as impressive as saying "Bachelor of Arts (All but graduation)," at least outside of academia.
  14. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    I prefer (and personally used) PhD Candidate. PhD ABD or PhD (c) seem to me to be trying to trick people into believing you have a degree that is really only in-progress.

    Of course, I remember the CEO of a competitor agency calling himself PhD Candidate after taking only one course.
  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, and so you could kind of interpolate a bit and say that a Freshman in high school is a PhD candidate, they're just shy a few credits, that's all.:yes(1):
  16. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    While the original poster is long gone, I like how the dissertation seems minimized by "....only a dissertation or thesis away from their degrees..."

    I have seen PhD (c) and I have always thought it was an attempt to trick people. I never thought ABD was a good idea because it comes across as if you completed something; all you completed was another phase of a PhD program. I have been a fan of "PhD Candidate" because it does not create an illusion that you have a PhD.
  17. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    In Britain, the issue isn't governed by law, but the cultural/institutional expectation is still very clear. You are not to use the term 'candidate' until you have passed your first year-review or 'mini-viva'. For the next two or three years, you are a PhD or DPhil candidate because after vetting you, your performance, and your research (usually proposal/outline and one chapter) the university has officially moved you into that status. It's considered appropriate to use that term in your department email and related places, but certainly not on a business card. Also, related to the permanent ABD status mentioned above, if you have failed out or 'timed out' of your doctoral program, you are no longer in candidacy.

    Before someone does an internet search of every institution in the UK, let me just add that I'm sure that somewhere, there is an exception.
  18. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    .And then there is the practice, not uncommon in Africa and the SubContinent, of stating, on a CV or business card, "Ph.D. (failed), University of London."

    And speaking of failure, I've often wondered if any other country does what the Germans do, with their two levels of academic failure:
    mangelhaft, which means you've failed, but have shown some promise, and can try again, and
    ungenügend, which is so thorough a failure, you cannot try again.

    Veering off on a tangent . . . one of my favorite misleading statements about degrees held was the bloke whose business card read,
    "John Smith, BA, MD."
    He had earned his BA from the University of Maryland.
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    At the University of Leicester, they had various forms of outcomes for the thesis defense:


    award of the degree with distinction (MD only)
    award of the degree
    award of the degree subject to minor amendments
    award of the degree subject to major amendments
    referral for resubmission for the degree
    award of a lower degree
    award of MPhil subject to minor amendments (PhD and EdD only)
    referral for resubmission for the degree of MPhil (PhD and EdD only)
    fail with no right of resubmission

    As I understand it, most resulted in either minor or major amendments. (Resubmission required a whole new thesis.) The difference was who had to approve them. Minor were approved by the internal examiner only; major were approved by both the internal and external examiners. But in practice, even major amendments were handled by the internal examiner; the external would just sign off. The thinking was that you shouldn't get to that point and fail. On the other hand, there's ALWAYS something that could be improved.
  20. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    So if I completed my BS from Furman University would by card read:
    John Smith, BS, FU

    Maniac Craniac likes this.

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