I applied for a full professor position, and after the interview, I was asked for a copy of my PhD thesis.

I was confused and want to know if it is the common and normal procedure or happened for me based on a specific reason?

Because, my strong works were done after my PhD, and I didn't know that my PhD project would be used for judging me (frankly, I'm not proud of that project).

  • 3
    It's a little odd, I must say. Similar to asking assistant professor applicants for their "Ph.D GPA" :).
    – Suresh
    Apr 10 '14 at 17:26
  • 1
    It looks to me more like asking assistant professor applicants for their undergrad GPA. At the career stage where you're applying for a full professorship, your Ph.D. thesis is not nearly as relevant as a lot of more recent work. Sep 15 '14 at 1:09

One of the general prerequisites in this day and age for a faculty appointment is an earned (as opposed to honorary) PhD from a (typically accredited) degree-granting institution.

Consequently, asking to see either a PhD thesis, a transcript, or the degree certificate is would be ways of ascertaining that you do, in fact, have a valid degree. This by no means implies that only your PhD matters in the hiring process; just that it's part of the process to ensure you're eligible. I wouldn't read too much into this beyond that.

  • 4
    sorry I didn't get your answer. I understand that proof of the terminal degree is mandatory, and the proof is diploma and transcript. Why the PhD thesis is needed as a proof? Thesis is a scientific document, not official.
    – user13854
    Apr 10 '14 at 16:55
  • 5
    It's not unreasonable for them to want to see the quality of the thesis as well. It's another data point for them to use.
    – aeismail
    Apr 10 '14 at 20:48

I assume you are applying to a junior faculty line (your use of "full professor" would suggest senior faculty but this is belied by the rest of your post).

After they make the short list, we commonly ask junior faculty who do not yet have a research monograph to submit their dissertations. We do this for several reasons:

  • If they are ABD, it is an easy way to ascertain whether they will complete. If it is March and they say they are submitting in April and they only have 3 chapters, then we know to be cautious.
  • If they are recent PhDs, then often the PhD is the only piece of research writing that they have in their dossier. It remains one of the best gauges of their research competence until they complete more publications.

After responding, I looked at your profile and it seems that you might indeed be applying to senior positions. In that case, I'd be puzzled too -- unless you don't have many publications and/or your dissertation was at a university that is not well known. Or, alternately, the institution you are applying to has not had much experience with senior hires, and is defaulting to the junior practice.

Personal Aside: I'm a tenured associate. If I applied for a full position and they asked for my dissertation, I would be puzzled but not be offended IF they had also asked for everything on my CV. I would assume they are just being extremely meticulous in making my case to the Provost for the senior line. But if they asked for just a few of my publications and my dissertation, I might tend to becoming annoyed (by the insinuation that my PhD was suspect).


It depends on the field. What they generally want to see is a Terminal Degree, or exceptional achievement in lieu thereof. But in some fields no widely recognized PhD level really exists, and the Masters -- plus professional experience -- is as close to a terminal degree as it gets.

  • 3
    How does this answer the question? The OP is asking whether it's normal for him to be expected to show the hiring committee the PhD thesis, not whether he's expected to have earned a PhD.
    – ff524
    Sep 14 '14 at 19:41

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