How to mention unfinished PhD degree in CV ?

mbgnjasb
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:00 am

How to mention unfinished PhD degree in CV ?

Postby mbgnjasb » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:42 pm

Hi,

I would be applying to US Universities this year for PhD in theoretical physics. I did my undergraduate in engineering and then I went to UK for PhD in engineering as well. As I finally realized that I actually want to do physics, I dropped out of my PhD program in the third year. Now the problem is that I did not have any coursework in this PhD program. So I would like to know how to mention this unfinished degree in my CV. I did publish one journal article as first author and I did fair amount of work in my PhD. But since I did not have any coursework, I did not earn any credits. So I do not have any kind of transcript or official document from the program.So I am in complete confusion. Is there a good way to mention this work in a positive way in the CV ?

Thanks

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: How to mention unfinished PhD degree in CV ?

Postby TakeruK » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:46 pm

Are you sure you don't have any transcript? My transcripts usually start and end with details like the start date of my program and my exit date, with courses in between. So if you request a transcript from your PhD school, you might still at least get that to show that you were enrolled in the school.

As for the CV, I would write it something like this (using Canadian degree names since that's what I know best):

2010-2012 PhD Student in Blah Blah Engineering at University Y
(something about your research), Supervisor: XYZ

2006-2009 BASc, Blah Blah Engineering, University X
Thesis Title: ABC (Supervisor: XYZ)

I think if you do this, it will be clear that you were enrolled in the program but did not complete the degree. You can also write ("incomplete") after PhD Student, or write a third line in that entry that says "Withdrew from Program in 2012 to pursue Physics career" or something like that. Finally, you should also make it clear in some portion of the application so that you cannot be accused to trying to pretend that you have a PhD from University Y!

mbgnjasb
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:00 am

Re: How to mention unfinished PhD degree in CV ?

Postby mbgnjasb » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:40 pm

TakeruK wrote:Are you sure you don't have any transcript? My transcripts usually start and end with details like the start date of my program and my exit date, with courses in between. So if you request a transcript from your PhD school, you might still at least get that to show that you were enrolled in the school.

As for the CV, I would write it something like this (using Canadian degree names since that's what I know best):

2010-2012 PhD Student in Blah Blah Engineering at University Y
(something about your research), Supervisor: XYZ

2006-2009 BASc, Blah Blah Engineering, University X
Thesis Title: ABC (Supervisor: XYZ)

I think if you do this, it will be clear that you were enrolled in the program but did not complete the degree. You can also write ("incomplete") after PhD Student, or write a third line in that entry that says "Withdrew from Program in 2012 to pursue Physics career" or something like that. Finally, you should also make it clear in some portion of the application so that you cannot be accused to trying to pretend that you have a PhD from University Y!



Thanks for the prompt response. Actually in United Kingdom, we do not have coursework at all in PhD programs. I went for a research only PhD program directly after my undergraduate. So this is the problem. I didn't do any coursework and so no transcript. I just passed two annual oral exams for which you only get pass or fail and nothing else. On top of this, I asked my UK University administration regarding if they could provide me a letter mentioning all my details but they said they could only give me two hard copies of such letters (which are just letters and nothing like a transcript). The thing is that many universities like Stanford still ask for hard copies to be sent to them by mail. So with only two copies of such letter, it is quite a bit of hustle.

Also, the VirginiaTech graduate school website specifically asks not to send transcripts from any institution where I didn't earn a degree. check this link... http://graduateschool.vt.edu/applying/transcripts

Is this true for all US Universities ? And if all this does not work well, can I just put all the work I did in research experience section of my CV....with my position as postgraduate student and then mentioning that I withdrew from this program.

Many Thanks

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: How to mention unfinished PhD degree in CV ?

Postby TakeruK » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:04 pm

For schools like Stanford, that require hard copies by mail, I would say you should ask the department what they want you to do (say that you can only get 2 hard copies) and offer to send them a photocopy. You can also note this in the "other comments" sections of your application.

Many US universities I encountered only wanted transcripts from schools in which I received a degree. However, many of them also have special exceptions for non-American students--so they wanted all transcripts for international students but only transcripts leading to a degree for American students.

Many US schools are happy with unofficial transcripts/photocopies for the application though and only request the official mailed transcript when you have decided to accept their offer. About half of the schools I encountered had this policy. I appreciated this because at that time, one of my schools only accepted transcript request via snail mail or fax and was very expensive ($15) for the single course I took there!




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