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Currently, I am in the second year of a Ph.D. program. However, I am really worried about the amount of time Faculty takes to confer the degree, since It could be detrimental to my academic and professional future.

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    Could you clarify why you think "it could be detrimental to my academic and professional future"? – user2768 Dec 18 '17 at 9:38
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    Tthis is a potentially useful question but I think the answers might be really country or institute dependent. – Herman Toothrot Dec 18 '17 at 14:04
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    Admittedly I come from a system (the US) in which the PhD is always conferred at the end of the semester during which it is successfully defended, but....2 years?!? That seems like an unreasonably long time. – Pete L. Clark Dec 19 '17 at 15:52
  • Many thanks for your interesting answers. I think It could be detrimental in terms of salary (probably universities pay more if I have the degree). At the same time I think it could be a problem if a want to get a tenure track position or to apply to a postdoc position. However, your answers have helped me to understand different solutions and perspectives. (Excuse for my English. I am a native Spanish speaker) – Jamoq Dec 19 '17 at 17:26
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Many academic positions after graduation are dependent on proof of degree completion, so this could potentially be a problem. The NSF math postdocs, for example, require a signature from the school that you've completed your degree, and some positions explicitly require a copy of your transcript or diploma that indicate your completion of a Ph.D. program. The institution where I completed a postdoc was in this latter category, and would only issue an informal offer (and not an official contract) until they received final documentation of my degree, which in my case took several months to arrive after graduation. One practical problem I faced as a result was difficulty arranging for housing at my postdoc institution; most rental companies want to see their tenant's signed contract as proof of income. I am also aware of tenure track jobs where the contract specified that the tenure clock only started after conferral of a degree. I suspect some institutions would be willing to bend the rules a bit in unusual circumstances, but it certainly could be a problem. (Note that this answer is based on experiences of myself and colleagues in the US. I have no idea how this practice varies in other countries.)

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    my post doc employer (US) did not require such certification. So it really is employer-dependent. – aeismail Dec 18 '17 at 17:33
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It's understood that it takes some time from the date the thesis is turned in until the examination, and then again from the examination to the final degree conferral. Consequently, most employers—business, industrial, and academic—who hire Ph.D.'s will be aware of this, and will allow people to start working once they have finished the defense (and sometimes even before then!).

The date of conferral has some impact on when you're eligible to apply for certain programs, but even then, it's usually a window of X years after the conferral date, so you're not going to "lose out" on opportunities just because your faculty takes longer than average. Even in the event where it's after the date of defense, usually schools can issue documentation that the defense took place and was successfully passed.

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  • In which countries is this true? – Herman Toothrot Dec 18 '17 at 13:54
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Once you've passed your PhD, ask your supervisor to write and sign a letter (on headed paper) that says you've passed.* (Explain to your supervisor why you need it.) That letter should be convincing enough to anyone that asks, even though it isn't a formal certificate.

*Selection of the right words is crucial. All statements should be honest.

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    A letter from your supervisor will not be convincing to (e.g.) many North American universities. For instance, in order to register as a postdoc in Canada I had to submit a copy of my PhD. I know the same is true at many (though certainly not all) universities in the US. – Pete L. Clark Dec 19 '17 at 15:49
  • @PeteL.Clark There are many ways to make a letter look convincing. Especially when a supervisor doesn't like bureaucracy. This method mightn't always work, but it should work in many cases. (Thinking of failure cases increases my confidence. E.g., a North America university questions the document's validity, verifies the supervisor's identity, and calls them. The supervisor confirms validity.) – user2768 Dec 19 '17 at 16:00
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    I had the occasion to inquire into the rules at my own university. In order to hire a postdoc, they either have to have their degree or a note from the registrar saying that all the requirements have been fulfilled and the degree will be conferred on such-and-such a date. I have been involved in cases where this forced the postdoc to get the degree earlier than was convenient for them. Again, this is not the case at all North American universities, but it will definitely be a problem in certain cases. – Pete L. Clark Dec 19 '17 at 16:44
  • There are of course cases when this won't work. In case of the requirement for "a note from the registrar saying that all the requirements have been fulfilled and the degree will be conferred on such-and-such a date," that seems possible to resolve: A student can draft a note that the supervisor agrees upon, and the supervisor can urge the registrar to sign. Of course, the registrar may refuse. But, it's worth a try. – user2768 Dec 19 '17 at 16:48
  • ¡Many thanks for your interesting opinions! You have helped me a lot to analyze possible solutions and cons. – Jamoq Dec 19 '17 at 17:20

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