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Failed to graduate but landed a full time job

  1. Aug 14, 2011 #1
    Hi everyone (particularly practicing engineers and managers of engineers)

    I failed one of my classes senior year, therefore failing to receive my degree (B.S. Physics
    ). Before graduation I was offered a job in the exact industry I wanted to work in with great pay and benefits. As it stands, I walked the stage without receiving my degree and have been working at this job the entire summer.

    My question to you guys: Will I face any repercussions for working at this job without the degree? Its safe to assume they hired me under the impression that I was receiving my degree. Its been 3 months since starting this job and all is going extremely well.

    If you had hired me, could you see any reason that I would face repercussions of some sort?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2011 #2
    Additional info:

    Job title: Applications Engineer

    Class I need to graduate: Quantum Mechanics
  4. Aug 14, 2011 #3
    Have they given you a timetable on when you're supposed to be graduating? Have they asked about how you're advancing as far as getting a degree is concerned? As far as repercussions are concerned, if you haven't agreed upon anything in regards to your graduation, then you probably shouldn't be expecting any at this point. That said, I'm sure the topic is going to come up sooner or later, so I wouldn't try and conceal it or anything. I can't really advise you on whether you should broach this topic yourself, since I'm not sure what I'd do in your situation. But if they're happy with your work, and you have every intention to graduate as soon as possible, I'd have a talk with your boss, explaining your situation, and that you're working on it. The company I worked for had a couple of people still working on their degrees, as well, and they were (in my opinion, at times too) understanding of failed exams and whatnot.

    All in all, it's tough to give any specific advice, but it is what it is, and I think it's best you're honest about it and clue them in on what's going on before it starts getting suspicious you haven't submitted your graduation certificate.
  5. Aug 14, 2011 #4
    Ryker, Thanks for the advice. I have never actually mentioned it to my boss or anyone at work yet. I dont think I'm ever required to submit a graduation certificate... but I agree I should be open and honest about the situation with my boss.
  6. Aug 14, 2011 #5


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    I think the most important thing will be is whether or not not having your actual degree will prevent you from promotion. There are companies where if you don't actually hold the degree, they will not allow you to pass a certain level.
  7. Aug 16, 2011 #6
    Also consider that, realistically speaking, if you are forced to re-enter the job market, not having the degree might negatively impact your ability to find another job. Nothing is certain, so keep in mind that having that degree to fall back on might be to your advantage in the long run.
  8. Aug 16, 2011 #7
    "Class I need to graduate: Quantum Mechanics"

    So basically you just need to make that and you're done!

    Maybe in part time!
    I think that having the degree is very important in this ever changing world!
  9. Aug 16, 2011 #8
    Let me give you a word of advice. I just went through a long vetting process for a new job I am taking. Once I signed a disclosure they, ran my credit, verified my degree, checked references and confirmed dates of employment not only with them but with social security records, and drug tested. It is just too easy now for any employer not to check you out prior to hiring or promoting you. I'm in accounting so maybe it's more rigorous than other positions due to my proximity to the financials, but like I said before it's a lot easier for employers to check you out now a days thanks to the ease of access to public databases. If you need only one class to get your degree, GO TAKE IT. It's not worth this biting you in the long run.
  10. Aug 21, 2011 #9
    lol you realize that one class is making your other 60-120 credits useless right? Take the class asap, as long as it doesnt involve quiting your job. I would personally see when it is scheduled next and if you can take it off work-hours, be a little sneaky about it and just sink it in to accomplish your degree and give yourself a pat on the back. If it involves work hours you need to be honest and see if they will let you take it.

    Not having the degree will only hurt you, job promotion......raises.....new jobs. All these will suffer.
  11. Aug 21, 2011 #10


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    Well, that's certainly overstating it :smile:

    The degree is more like a kind of shorthand receipt useful when someone else that isn't into your field is about to judge what you know. It's the knowledge you hopefully have that is, or should be, important.

    I don't konw how you guys write your CV's but I've always listed the details. Every course I've taken and what my grades are, on a paper signed by a univeristy official. This really matter because anyone who has studied konw that there is a quite some dispersion withing a class. Beeing able to just pass, and to excel is quite some difference. The degree measn you've passed, but there is still a range of qualifications and quality of your skills that matters. Which may be reflected in your grades and the quality of your thesis paper.

    There are even plenty of people who don't care about the degree themselfs, they just study at the university and have all the education under their belt but never care to get the degree. Ontop of your education, the degree itself is usually just a ½-1 semester worth of self study and writing a thesis paper.

  12. Aug 21, 2011 #11


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    Except for the discussion of the formal degree, having failed in quantum mechanics, or have something as that missing, might look werid though. If you ever look for a job requiring some quantum mechanics and they see that this guy is a physicist, he didn't take (read pass) quantum mechanics, that's a little missing part of any physics eduation.

    If all you have left is the test, then it seems like a minor effort after all to complete.

  13. Aug 21, 2011 #12


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    Or maybe it's fair to say this like: IF you have low or moderate grades, then perhaps in your CV you would want to not expose them or the details, and THEN, beeing able to simply refer to a "degree" may look better.

    I guess you'd write an application and CV and make yourself look as good as possible. If you have top grades in every single class, that matters and there is no reason not to declare it, becauase it gives that impression that your not only an average this or that, you are top of your class. But if you do not, then it may be worse to not have a formal degree.

  14. Aug 21, 2011 #13

    I have seen what happened to a co-worker who claimed a degree from over a decade before, and after a series of promotions was discovered to not have ever received it. That was all it took for someone to fire this employee. There were other extenuating circumstances, but the lack of a degree was the formal reason for what got this person fired.
  15. Aug 21, 2011 #14


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    I think these are some of the most important points to keep in mind. Not having a degree may not be hindering you now, but the future can surprise us and often does. You may end up in a situation where you need the degree to keep your job, get promoted or get a new job. You don't know where you'll end up a few years down the road.

    It's one class. Retake it. Get the degree. Be proud of it!
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