To be admitted to my PhD in Mechanical Engineering, I had to have a 1-year coursework, with 8 subjects and a research-proposal defense. Here in Portugal, an “Advanced Studies Diploma” in Portuguese "Diploma de Estudos Avançados" is awarded, but I would like to know what it’s really worth because I am thinking of moving to another country, and I am not sure whether I will finish my PhD.

  • What is that equivalent in countries such as England, Germany or the USA?

  • Can I ask for a degree recognition in an university of one of those countries? Here in Portugal it is not considered a degree, just a 60 ECTS diploma.

  • What does this diploma give me in terms of jobs? Do I have an easier access to some jobs? If yes, which kind of jobs? I am a Materials Engineer MSc., with an Advanced Studies Diploma in Mechanical Engineering

  • Based on the descriptions, I wonder if in the USA, at least, the best equivalent would be a Specialist. AFAIK it's only used in education fields so it's not the most well-known title, but it is an actual degree that is equivalent in credit hours to the PhD/EdD but without the dissertation. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 19:21

4 Answers 4


As a PhD student from the Universidade de Lisboa (https://fenix.tecnico.ulisboa.pt/cursos/deic/curriculo), who is also a student of mobility (Erasmus Mundus), I hope I can add some of my observations which might be helpful.

Advanced Studies Diploma is everything of PhD, except the PhD defence (since it also includes the research proposal defence, that we call "CAT"). In my university (IST-ULisboa), CAT usually comes by the end of the 2nd year. To pass that, you would already have a solid research plan with possibly a few publications and research done.

So, this is part of the PhD (in IST, "Advanced Study Diploma" is used interchangeably with PhD), than a prerequisite to be accepted to a PhD.

I would assume, you already have completed your masters and half-way through your PhD since you have completed all the course works and defended the research proposal, hence making you a "PhD candidate".

However, unless you already have some arrangement with another university or a professor in another country (as in Erasmus Mundus and other exchange/mobility programs), I would strongly advice you against contemplating the idea of migrating/halting half-way through. It is not going to be easy to move your credits to the new university.

With your advanced courses, you may have gained some expertise in academia and research. However, it will be still something half-done than a complete degree. But this part is just my personal opinion. You may list it as an on-going PhD in any case, I suppose.


Bouncing off @PradeebanKathiravelu 's answer, in the English-speaking world, the completion of all PhD requirements except for the dissertation is often called "All But Dissertation" (ABD) and is quite common.

If you find yourself applying to jobs in the USA, UK, or another English-speaking country, you could document your education like this:

Advanced Studies Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (Equivalent to PhD ABD), University of Lisbon.

Alternatively, if you are dealing with someone that you suspect has no knowledge of or does not care to learn much about foreign qualifications, or someone who "needs" to see the equivalent Anglophone credential out front, you could write it as:

PhD ABD Equivalency (Advanced Studies Diploma in Mechanical Engineering), University of Lisbon.


PhD ABD (Equivalency, Advanced Studies Diploma in Mechanical Engineering), University of Lisbon.

  • 2
    Of course you should probably keep the following in mind if you're thinking of listing "ABD" on your CV: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/28717/…
    – user9646
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 17:52
  • 1
    @NajibIdrissi that's true, but there are some contexts, especially industry ones, where the field-specific knowledge that one would gain during PhD studies is more important than whether one completed the dissertation. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 17:54

At ETH Zurich a CAS (certificate of advanced studies) is 6 months. DAS (Diploma of advanced studies) is 1 year. Those are "Continue education" plans, meaning, one may be able to do it besides a job (kinda difficult but theoretically possible).

DAS requires 30 points (ECTS).

A MSc (Master of science) requires 130 points, around 2 years full time.

A PhD is another thing and takes several years. It's a job itself.

I would say it worth to finish your DAS, that may be enough for applying to a PhD in another country.

In any case, you have to ask the university in your "target" country.


PhD and DEA are the same thing, DEA could have or not read the PhD Thesis, but certainly are in the same acadamic level and same degree.

  • 2
    I'm having a difficult time understanding what you have written. Could you please explain more carefully and in more detail?
    – jakebeal
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 20:44

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