What really gets MY goat though, is the increasing use of "ABD" and "ABT" as if they represent some kind of a degree in themselves. (ABD = "all but dissertation," and ABT = "all but thesis.") Once upon a time (maybe at degreeinfo, maybe on aed) there was a discussion of the whole ABD/ABT issue, but with a twist. The question was, "Can I list my PhD as ABD (such as those found at UNISA) The person asking the question wanted to list the ABD as soon as they enrolled in the program with the rationale being that since the entire degree consisted solely of the dissertation, they were being accurate by describing their degree status as ABD. I have a pretty clear memory of the consensus answer at that time, I wonder if people would come up with the same answer now?
Ph.D., American Studies, George Washington University, 1987
M.A.T., Museum Education, George Washington University, 1976
M.A., (all but thesis), Art History, State University of New York at New Paltz, 1972
B.A., English, Russell Sage College, 1970
(ABD = "all but dissertation," and ABT = "all but thesis.")
It takes a lot of time and considerable effort to teach a new researcher and scholar how to do excellent work, and some professors are only interested in managing their own careers. For this reason, the decision the supervisor in the “sham Ph.D.” article made, to push the student through the exit in the most expedient way (i.e., with a Ph.D.) was actually prudent, from his point of view. It was good for the supervisor to did it this way (just not good that he did it this way). It saved him months of hard work with this student. It also saved him having to go through a bureaucratic hassle of having the student kicked out of the program. (Here, we don’t have something equivalent to what you refer to as “All But Thesis”, at least no in most Ph.D. programs within the sciences or social sciences. The Ph.D. is only granted after a successful defence of the dissertation). I fully understand, I think, the motives of the supervisor in this case for wanting to pass the student through, even though it is in clear contrast to what we all believe a doctoral degree is supposed to denote. The supervisor should have taken one of the hard roads with this student, but he chose the easiest road, instead. One of the main problems is that there are few, if any, quality control mechanisms in most North American universities to ensure that individual faculty members and academic departments are upholding the high academic standards of the institution supposedly stands for.