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I attended Capella University from 2009-2016. I earned a Master's degree without any problems. I completed all of the coursework for the Ph.D. at the same university and spent two years in the dissertation program. Due to many hindrances by the university (Absenteeism of 4 dissertation chairs, Lack of guidance and direction/feedback and extremely slow response time- many weeks) I decided to withdraw from the university. My overall GPA for the doctoral program was a 3.8 and my total tuition was $185,000 for the two degrees. The university issued me a Ph.D. completion of coursework certificate. Can I use Ph.D. as an earned degree on my resume and other credential necessary situations?

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    Correction, your total tuition was $185,000 for one degree and a coursework certificate - not for two degrees. – Nuclear Wang Jan 9 '18 at 15:30
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    The dissertation/thesis is the "spine" of the phd. You categorically do not have a PhD, implying otherwise would most likely characterise fraud (IANAL, depends on the country). Bad idea all around tho. – Fábio Dias Jan 9 '18 at 15:35
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    You're pretty clear about the fact that you don't have a PhD before asking if you can tell people that you have a PhD. Exactly what sort of answer were you looking for here? Did you just need folks to tell you the obvious? – Nat Jan 9 '18 at 15:56
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    You can use the exact wording from the completion of coursework certificate to show what you did achieve. Just don't give the impression you completed the PhD. – Patricia Shanahan Jan 9 '18 at 17:34
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No, you cannot. Your GPA and the money you paid are irrelevant here – there is simply more to a PhD than coursework. What you can try to do is try to apply to another PhD program and see if they will waive the coursework requirements, as you have already completed them – I don't know if that's possible. But if you don't have a paper from your university with the words "PhD diploma" (or equivalent) on it, then you cannot say that you have a PhD without lying. If your (potential) employer catches you, they will be in a good position to fire you.

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    Consider that in many countries there isn't even any coursework in the completion of a PhD. – user9646 Jan 9 '18 at 15:38
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Absolutely not. Unless you have a diploma, you do not have a PhD! There are certain rules you have to follow to get a PhD, including a dissertation and a defense. The fact that you feel slighted by the university does not mean that you can re-define what rules apply for you.

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