I just got my Ph.D and I'm trying to work out how to do the full series of abbreviations after my name.

My scholastic qualifications are:

  • Ph.D University of New South Wales, Philosophy
  • Masters of Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, Information Technology
  • Bachelors of Science, RIT, Information Technology
    • RIT Scholar (University Medal)
    • Highest Honors.

Given that I have both American and Australian degrees, what series of abbreviations is appropriate to put after my name?

  • 2
    Two things are for sure: The bachelors is irrelevant, and your "highest honours" is something you can be proud of, but that's it.
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 7:59

5 Answers 5


This varies between countries. My impression is that listing titles after the name is more common in the UK and Australia, and there may be fixed conventions as to the ordering, but I can't address that. What I can deal with is the U.S., and my advice in that context is simple: don't do it. In the U.S., if you list one title ("John Smith, Ph.D."), you'll look a little pompous and like you are overemphasizing your degree (leading to questions like "Gee, is that Ph.D. still his proudest achievement?" or "Does he worry people will think he didn't get a Ph.D.?"), and if you list more than one it will look ridiculous. In particular, don't list titles after your name in academic job applications, CVs, signatures for letters of recommendation, etc. that are being sent to the U.S. Of course, conventions in other countries may be different.

  • 13
    This also varies between fields, apparently in direct correlation with how often people wear ties, or whether their students and assistants use their first names. Almost none of my colleagues in computer science, in any country, in academia or industry, ever write their degrees after their names. But medical researchers always append their highest degrees to their last names, to distinguish the mere PhDs from the "real" doctors.
    – JeffE
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 9:01
  • 5
    Thanks, that's a good point. Medical schools, community colleges, and perhaps some other cases are environments where people may be legitimately worried about being perceived differently based on their degrees (MD vs. PhD vs. MD-PhD, PhD vs. MA, or whatever is the key distinction in a given context). So I should have been less absolute: even in the US, if you're in an environment where degrees vary and these differences matter, then it's reasonable to highlight it. But if you're not conveying information your target audience will care about, then degrees after the name should be avoided. Commented May 3, 2012 at 12:29
  • 3
    As an Australian, I've always thought the practise of putting letters after your name was an American thing! In Australia, he'd usually be "Dr Brian Ballsun-Stanton" on his business card and formal email signature, with no letters afterwards, and would introduce himself simply as "Brian" or "Brian Ballsun-Stanton". In the US, I've been told that it is more common to omit the "Dr" and instead list "PhD" after the name. I agree, though, that even then, you'd normally only list the highest degree and possibly fellowships. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 5:04

Even in countries like Germany, where titles get stacked up, only your highest degree in a given field is listed. However, in your case, you have two different degrees in very different areas, so it might be helpful to list both the master's and the doctorate in your title. However, the bachelor's is superseded by the master's, so it doesn't appear in any case.

But beyond that, I think it's a function of context: whichever degree is most important for you in the situation should be right after your name, and then the other degree. If it's a IT-related issue, then the MSc is probably more important than the PhD; the PhD matters for philosophy-related stuff.

  • 1
    +1 for using only the title which is most applicable. The collection of all your titles can be found in your CV.
    – fgysin
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 14:05

As far as I know, once you pursue a Ph.D. you are encouraged to put only that achievement right after your name, since it is more relevant that everything else. I maybe wrong, but it's what I've seen for years.

  • 1
    In my experience it would be more common to use the title Dr in appropriate contexts, rather than adding PhD. The obvious exception would be a medical doctor with a PhD, who can then use both.
    – Jessica B
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 8:19
  • @JessicaB It depends. For instance on a CV in the Czech Republic, I would list both my master and my PhD for the name. The same would appear on academics' business cards, door labels etc.
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 7:58
  • 1
    @yo' On a CV I would never put the letters - your degrees should show up in the education section. Putting them on business cards and door labels I would consider pretentious in many contexts (see the answer by Anonymous Mathematician).
    – Jessica B
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 8:01
  • @JessicaB That's why I said: "in the Czech Republic". I now see I wrote something wrong. I personally wouldn't put the degree on the CV, but some people would (and do). As for business cards: again, in the academic world here, the titles are inevitable, and you commonly see "Prof. Mgr. John Doe, PhD." (yes, someone with a full professorship still uses their masters title).
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 8:04

It depends on local custom. Around here (Chile) titles are rarely used at all. In neighbouring countries it is extremely rude not to address somebody by degree, including bachelor.


You absolutely list your credentials. ALWAYS! In the U.S., list the highest one in each field. In the EU, it's more common to list them all.

  • Welcome to StackExchange. Sorry to say that, but your answer is really bad. It does not quite address the question (how to list all titles properly). The answer is vague and missing details or reasoning. (And I don't speak about the fact that calling someone "an idiot" is not a way to communicate. This got you the highly negative score. Being wrong or not accustomed to the site's format is acceptable, being this much rude is not.)
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 7:53

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