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What is your view using PhDc after you pass comprehensive examinations?


Specializes in Instructor of Nursing and Med/surg nurse. Has 13 years experience.

After I passed comps for my PhD, several colleagues of mine told me I should then put PhDc after my name until I graduate. I asked my professors and they said it was seen as derogatory. I thought how odd the difference of opinion. Is there an etiquette to using the abbreviation?

SummerGarden, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr. Has 13 years experience.

I think it depends. Mind you I do not have a PhD and I am not a doctoral student (yet). However, one of my former bosses received her PhD recently and used the PhDc designation for a few months prior to her graduation within the hospital setting. Also, two of the Universities I attended allowed the doctoral students to also carry the PhDc while assisting (they taught undergraduate labs and discussion sessions). On the other hand, I have a friend who has earned her DNP from another University. After her didactic she asked her University the same question and was told by her University that the little c was not recognized by them and that she was not allowed to designate herself in that way. Therefore, my understanding is if your University is against it (the Director of your program), then don't do it. If the professors of your University are against it, but the Director has given an OK, you might want to politely educate your professors.

By the way, congratulations on making it this far! Keep up posted on your progress.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

I think "etiquette" is a good word to use -- remembering that etiquette varies from place to place. Different cultures have different ideas about what is "polite" and what is not.

Where I got my PhD, it was common and proper to use the (c) after one was officially a "doctoral candidate" -- which was an official designation that was recognized when one had completed all coursework, passed the comprehensive exam and had only the dissertation to complete. (The status is also know -- unofficially -- as ABD, which stands for "all but dissertation.")

But that doesn't mean that every school officially designates such people as "doctoral candidates" as opposed to "doctoral students." If I were in your position, I would do what is common in your school. What have upperclassmen done in the recent past? Does you school make any official statements on the topic?

InSchool4eva20, MSN, RN

Specializes in Instructor of Nursing and Med/surg nurse. Has 13 years experience.

I played it safe and put doctoral candidate underneath my name and MSN, RN behind it for now. Other students have used PhDc, but some other professors say it means "almost" so should not be used, because a student could be at that status for a long time sometimes years. There is not much online about this topic. Thank you!

Bumex, DNP, NP

Specializes in Assistant Professor, Nephrology, Internal Medicine. Has 11 years experience.

I have discussed the same topic with colleagues over both PhD(c) and DNP(c) use. My opinion of not using this has been shared by the majority. A former professor of mine had a PhD in physiology who’s wife never successfully defended her dissertation. She continued to use the PhD(c) designation before and after dropping out post 2x dissertation failure. It was obvious he was resentful of this. Clearly there were problems with someone failing defense twice, but I digress.

My own opinion is use only official titles earned. Unless like the poster above, PhD(c)/DNP(c) are not awarded credentials at any institution I’ve studied at, therefore one should not use them. Personally, I wouldn’t use it anyways, as they come off as pretentious. Coursework is coursework, defense is what culminates the degree in it’s totality. Using the PhDc/DNPc, and ABD for that matter is nothing more than an ostentatious display.

But again, this is my own opinion.

TiffyRN, ADN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in NICU. Has 28 years experience.

Apparently it is very much dependent on how your department feels. The dean of my PhD program didn't like students to list PhDc so it wouldn't have been in my best interest to go against her.

As for ABD, I've never seen that as an official designation and if anything, I always thought it wasn't complimentary. Such as a lot of people out there are ABD but it took special persistence to actually finish the dissertation.

sleepwalker, MSN, NP

Specializes in Occupational Health. Has 17 years experience.

I wouldn't use it...you can remain a candidate for years and/or never complete and receive your degree. I find it misleading at best.