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Author Topic: Noting ABD status on CV (atypical situation)  (Read 2621 times)
cassiopeia
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« on: November 07, 2012, 5:39:45 PM »

Hello from a long-time lurker.

I am ABD in my program, but will be switching to a different university (for reasons it may be best not to discuss here). I have been assured that my coursework and requirements will transfer to the new institution. I may need to do a brief oral defense of my proposal (similar to what I have already done to achieve ABD status) but that's it.

Because I am switching from a North American university to a European one, I would like to indicate somehow on my CV that I achieved ABD status at the NA university (i.e., I do not want all the coursework and infinite exams to go uncredited when I am on the job market, especially as my program has severely bloated requirements for both).

Can anyone recommend a way to elegantly note this without seeming obnoxious? I'd like to update my CV very soon.

Thanks for your help. I hope to be a more regular poster in the future.
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systeme_d_
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 5:56:03 PM »

I think this might be best (although very briefly) explained in cover letters rather than mentioned on a CV, if indeed it must be noted at all.

Did you earn a master's degree of some kind at the North American University?  You should put that on the CV if it is so.

The thing is, for purposes of hiring, search committees don't always care about coursework and exams.  When they do care about coursework (for instance, if they're a SACS-accredited institution in which all faculty must prove a certain amount of hours of study in areas in which they teach), they will ask for transcripts.

Perhaps others will have better answers. 
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 9:27:05 PM »

Ditto to systeme's response.  In many programs the difference between earning the MA and reaching ABD status isn't a whole lot -- at least on paper, right?  It means you've had your dissertation proposal approved (I suppose this might depend on your field).  Simply listing the MA from your previous institution without further comment sounds perfectly fine.  I'm curious that you are worried that there is some risk of seeming obnoxious in noting this information.
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heynonnynonnymouse
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2012, 1:41:57 AM »

I did some of my Master's credits through another university than the one I earned my degree from. (Long story.) I list it like this on my CV -

Master of Science, BlahBlah University
University Location, Year Granted

Additional graduate coursework,
ArghleBargle University
University Location, Year Attended

I probably won't do this once I finish the PhD and get a job, but as a grad student, I feel like it clarifies my transcripts, which are confusing.
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cassiopeia
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2012, 11:25:48 PM »

Ditto to systeme's response.  In many programs the difference between earning the MA and reaching ABD status isn't a whole lot -- at least on paper, right?  It means you've had your dissertation proposal approved (I suppose this might depend on your field).  Simply listing the MA from your previous institution without further comment sounds perfectly fine.  I'm curious that you are worried that there is some risk of seeming obnoxious in noting this information.
Ah, yes, in my field advancing to ABD status isn't easy and typically takes at least 2-3 years. The masters at my university is completely separate from the PhD (as are the exams/requirements). It's annoying because exams are not noted on transcripts at all, and let me put it this way, you need both hands to tally up the number of X-hour exams I had to pass to become ABD. That's in addition to the separate masters requirements. Outrageously bloated, yes?

Still, there are skills that I have been forced to demonstrate through these exams that can't always be taken for granted. For example, I witnessed a job talk delivered by a Cambridge PhD; when some very simple questions were asked about the subject matter, the person did not know the answers (I wish I could be more specific, but I think that's all I can safely say). But that's probably true for many fields - every school has its unprepared candidates. I will say this: out of a pool of other truly great candidates who knew their stuff, this was the dolt my university attempted to hire. It's ancient history now, though.

I was worried about noting ABD status only because I had read several online rants about people putting this on their CVs and how it was obnoxious. I don't want to be "that person" but at the same time when I'm on the market, I don't want people to think I couldn't hack the requirements in NA so went to Europe to do a diss-only PhD, you know? (Apparently that's a Thing for people who can afford it.) Hopefully search committees won't dismiss my CV so flippantly but one never knows. It's going to look weird either way, I suspect.

Thanks for all the advice - I appreciate it, and welcome any other perspectives.
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systeme_d_
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 1:16:08 AM »

Ah, yes, in my field advancing to ABD status isn't easy and typically takes at least 2-3 years. The masters at my university is completely separate from the PhD (as are the exams/requirements). It's annoying because exams are not noted on transcripts at all, and let me put it this way, you need both hands to tally up the number of X-hour exams I had to pass to become ABD. That's in addition to the separate masters requirements. Outrageously bloated, yes?

Still, there are skills that I have been forced to demonstrate through these exams that can't always be taken for granted.

Your field sounds quite similar to mine.
Still, putting quals/comprehensive exams and other ABD-type stuff on your CV just isn't accepted practice.
Explain what you absolutely need to explain when you write cover letters.  Otherwise, you need to resign yourself to the fact that this stuff is just not remarkable enough to warrant a special dispensation to somehow wedge it into your CV.
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heynonnynonnymouse
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2012, 1:22:55 AM »

Ditto to systeme's response.  In many programs the difference between earning the MA and reaching ABD status isn't a whole lot -- at least on paper, right?  It means you've had your dissertation proposal approved (I suppose this might depend on your field).  Simply listing the MA from your previous institution without further comment sounds perfectly fine.  I'm curious that you are worried that there is some risk of seeming obnoxious in noting this information.
Ah, yes, in my field advancing to ABD status isn't easy and typically takes at least 2-3 years. The masters at my university is completely separate from the PhD (as are the exams/requirements). It's annoying because exams are not noted on transcripts at all, and let me put it this way, you need both hands to tally up the number of X-hour exams I had to pass to become ABD. That's in addition to the separate masters requirements. Outrageously bloated, yes?

Still, there are skills that I have been forced to demonstrate through these exams that can't always be taken for granted. For example, I witnessed a job talk delivered by a Cambridge PhD; when some very simple questions were asked about the subject matter, the person did not know the answers (I wish I could be more specific, but I think that's all I can safely say). But that's probably true for many fields - every school has its unprepared candidates. I will say this: out of a pool of other truly great candidates who knew their stuff, this was the dolt my university attempted to hire. It's ancient history now, though.

I was worried about noting ABD status only because I had read several online rants about people putting this on their CVs and how it was obnoxious. I don't want to be "that person" but at the same time when I'm on the market, I don't want people to think I couldn't hack the requirements in NA so went to Europe to do a diss-only PhD, you know? (Apparently that's a Thing for people who can afford it.) Hopefully search committees won't dismiss my CV so flippantly but one never knows. It's going to look weird either way, I suspect.

Thanks for all the advice - I appreciate it, and welcome any other perspectives.

Despite my earlier comment, reading this makes me think you need to worry about it less. It's one thing to want to include the information for clarity/explanation of a convoluted path, but since your intent seems specifically to be a sort of "don't think I'm one of *those* people" while you're at the same time already mocking Oxbridge-level PhDs via one single example as ignorant because they didn't sit for the same more than five exams you did... I'm going to advise re-prioritizing.

Seriously, you already sound like "that guy".

Edit to add: My field is the same as yours. But seriously, nobody gives a damn about your exams or how rigorous they are outside telling funny stories about being nervous before defending them at social events.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 1:24:01 AM by heynonnynonnymouse » Logged
dr_prephd
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2012, 10:44:15 AM »

Can anyone recommend a way to elegantly note this without seeming obnoxious? I'd like to update my CV very soon.

I think you've gotten some good opinions & advice here. As for the elegant notation, I suggest something like this:

Doctoral Candidate, Fancypants European University

If you simply feel like you *must* note where you completed your coursework, you could expand the entry to read:

Doctoral Candidate, Fancypants European University
Coursework transferred from Bloated Requirements University (xxxx-xxxx)

And, while you may be ABD, if you don't have a defense date, most SCs aren't going to look seriously at your CV anyway. So, I'd suggest completing the diss. rather than worrying about making sure everyone knows where you completed your coursework.
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cassiopeia
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2012, 6:42:36 PM »

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'll leave it off my CV and also ask my adviser how to handle it in cover letters. I really appreciate the input.
Despite my earlier comment, reading this makes me think you need to worry about it less. It's one thing to want to include the information for clarity/explanation of a convoluted path, but since your intent seems specifically to be a sort of "don't think I'm one of *those* people" while you're at the same time already mocking Oxbridge-level PhDs via one single example as ignorant because they didn't sit for the same more than five exams you did... I'm going to advise re-prioritizing.

Seriously, you already sound like "that guy".

Edit to add: My field is the same as yours. But seriously, nobody gives a damn about your exams or how rigorous they are outside telling funny stories about being nervous before defending them at social events.
Just as explanation:
My primary concern is explaining the convoluted (and therefore lengthier) path. My secondary concern is about professional etiquette. Because CVs vary so much, I wanted to ask.

I don't see my example as mocking anyone except perhaps the lone person I described. I provided one example but followed it up by saying that every university has unprepared job candidates (my current uni absolutely does). There are duds everywhere, and I know that. I have been involved in a number of a searches as a student, and my concern partially stems from what I heard some professors say during those searches. If it came across as looking down on other universities, I apologize. That wasn't my intent, nor does it reflect what I personally think of those programs. I find my university's system ridiculous and a serious waste of time; there are benefits to it but the negatives far outweigh those benefits, in my opinion.
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