I just passed my Ph.D. defence in a French speaking University. Ph.Ds, here, can be passed with different "distinctions" levels (from "acceptable" to "excellent"). What is the proper term in English for this kind of distinctions? (what we would call "mention excellente" in French...)

  • 3
    probably the closest is cum laude etc., but you should be careful about translating terms. – StrongBad Mar 28 '16 at 21:02
  • 6
    Here in the US, Ph.D.s have no distinctions. Distinctions are used only with lesser degrees. – GEdgar Mar 28 '16 at 21:40
  • 2
    @GEdgar There are often university awards given to the most outstanding theses. This happens at my large university in the US and I believe I've seen these in graduation booklets for other schools (Berkeley I think). If someone won one of these awards it wouldn't be surprising if it was included in their CV, so I'm not sure if I see the distinction (I'm sorry). – PVAL Mar 28 '16 at 21:45
  • 9
    If it's for a CV, I wouldn't bother translating. It's impossible to get translate the nuances of the levels, and it's very likely anyone who cares either knows enough French to know what they mean or knows a colleague who does. – Alexander Woo Mar 28 '16 at 22:31
  • 2
    @PVAL: In most European systems, all theses are given what amounts to a grade, although typically it is not called a grade, rather something like "distinction". This is what the OP means by "distinction". In the US some exceptional theses are singled out for what amount to prizes, but a thesis defense as such only results in a positive or negative decision. As a matter of course there is no distincion made between theses that are accepted. – Dan Fox Apr 28 '16 at 8:12

Just to echo what's being said in the comments, in the United States, there are no distinctions with degrees... you simply have either earned it or you haven't.

Also, for what it's worth, "PhD ABD" is not a real degree, even if you list it on your resume. Just sayin'.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    What's Ph.D. ABD? – YoTengoUnLCD Apr 28 '16 at 3:11
  • 3
    @YoTengoUnLCD ABD = All But Dissertation – mhwombat Apr 28 '16 at 8:17
  • 3
    "Almost Became Doctor." – Bob Brown Apr 28 '16 at 12:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.