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Can I apply as phd with all requirements but without actual degree?

  1. Feb 28, 2013 #1
    I'm scrambling to complete my dissertation before the end of the semester but I'm not sure if I'll make it in time (deadline is May 6th). I feel like if I had an additional month or so I could definitely complete all the requirements (defense, revisions, etc), but then my degree would not be issued until August. At the same time, I've begun applying for jobs and want to find a position in industry in time to start working in July or so. Barring a job in my preferred field, I would likely have to take one or two summer jobs and wouldn't have anymore time to be working on my thesis anyways. The fact of the matter is that I can't afford being just a TA for another summer.

    Am I at a serious disadvantage applying for positions without a degree in hand, even if I have all the requirements to graduate? How should I describe it in my resume or cover letter?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. Feb 28, 2013 #2

    Choppy

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    Re: Can I apply as phd with all requirements but without actual degree

    It's fine to apply to places before you have the PhD awarded. This happens in my field all the time. In your CV you would simply give an expected date of completion rather than the date it was awarded. In my experience employers are willing to extend conditional offers if completion of the degree is imminent. On the other hand, if you're still collecting data or haven't written anything up yet, they're likely to balk. This assumes of course these employers actually care about you having the degree (i.e. post-docs).

    Another term that I've seen around is "ABD" which means "all but dissertation" or more colloquially "all but done."

    One thing to consider, that I've seen is that people will start a new job (in my field this is usually a residency) after "almost" completing the PhD and then take over a year to do what they thought was only going to be an extra month. Of course, sometimes a good jobs is worth that kind of agony. It's just something to be aware of.
     
  4. Feb 28, 2013 #3

    Mute

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    Re: Can I apply as phd with all requirements but without actual degree

    What field are you in? Usually people are applying for jobs well before they actually have their degree in hand. The only problem is if they want you to start before you're finished your requirements. Even if you don't have the actual degree in hand when you start the job, usually a university will issue a letter saying you have earned it and will receive it soon.

    Some academic job postings even list "ABD" - All but degree - on their requirements for application. I don't think I saw that on anything when I was applying for postdocs, but I know it was on some job postings for someone looking at academic jobs in some humanities fields.
     
  5. Mar 1, 2013 #4
    Re: Can I apply as phd with all requirements but without actual degree

    I'm in physics, and my ideal position would be in R&D in industry. My thesis is on theoretical AMO, so it is primarily computer modeling.

    "One thing to consider, that I've seen is that people will start a new job (in my field this is usually a residency) after "almost" completing the PhD and then take over a year to do what they thought was only going to be an extra month. Of course, sometimes a good jobs is worth that kind of agony. It's just something to be aware of. "

    That is certainly a concern!
     
  6. Mar 1, 2013 #5
    Re: Can I apply as phd with all requirements but without actual degree

    As long as you don't claim to be a Ph.D. when you aren't (yet), I don't think you'll have any problem. "ABD" or "Expected Completion Date: xxx" is all you should need.
     
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