All But Dissertation Definition Of Job

When can you claim PhD ABD?

by Chris » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:43 pm

My understanding is that the ABD (all but dissertation) designation is used in the humanities, most commonly for those looking for adjunct (non tenure-track) teaching positions. These folks, once they have completed all of the other formal requirements for their doctoral degree, can often leave their institution and finish up their dissertations anywhere, because their work does not require the direct support of a thesis advisor or a laboratory infrastructure. Therefore, they could work as adjuncts while finishing up their writing.

In my opinion, the ABD is a meaningless notation in science because if you leave your institution before receiving your PhD, you will not ever complete that PhD (though you may go on to another PhD program elsewhere). People in this situation most commonly get a masters degree.

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"All but dissertation" (ABD) is a term identifying a stage in the process of obtaining a research doctorate in the United States.


In typical usage of the term, the ABD student has completed the required preparatory coursework, and passed any required preliminary and comprehensive examinations, but has not completed the research requirements, typically including the writing and defense of a dissertation.[1] A student attaining this level may be granted a formal Candidate in Philosophy degree or status at a few institutions. Some universities, including Columbia, Yale and George Washington, may award a formal Master of Philosophy (M.Phil. or MPhil) degree for these achievements.[2][3][4] In some universities, All But Dissertation is a formal status.[5]

The use of ABD, or the similar PhD(c) for PhD candidate (also PhD-c or PhDc), as a credential has been condemned as potentially misleading by some writers as the terms are not widely understood outside of academia,[6][7] or indeed outside of the USA.


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