Unfinished graduate work on resume?

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mcdonrb
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Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby mcdonrb » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:54 pm

After undergrad, I enrolled in a PhD program at a pretty good institution (it also has a T20 law school). I completed coursework, but never wrote a dissertation prospectus or completed comprehensive exams. How should I address this in a resume? Would it be dishonest to write "PhD Candidate, 2006-2008" since I wasn't technically a PhD candidate until I was ABD? Or is this a distinction without a difference? I know I need to put it on there somehow, because otherwise I have a glaring 2-year gap in my employment history. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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djjf39
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby djjf39 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:01 pm

Did you ditch the PhD to go to law school or do something else, e.g. job, family crisis, etc? I would think about just listing the institution, graduate coursework, time spent doing it, and your grades, without making it obvious you quit during the program. If you really think the decision to not pursue a PhD deserves an explanation, then I would write a short addendum.

I would, however, refrain from listing yourself as a "PhD candidate", because if I was an Adcomm and was somehow able to put 2&2 together then I have to think it would be a black mark on your app. You might ask your former DGS for advice if you are still friendly.

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Iconoclast
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby Iconoclast » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:07 pm

Unless you have a solid reason for not completing the program, it's going to be a bit of a hit either way. Either you don't put it on the resume and you have a 2 year gap... or you include it and have to explain why you don't have the motivation/drive/dedication to finish what you started.

Either way, it's a red flag that is going to require some explanation.

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apaint
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby apaint » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:14 pm

I have the same issue. I was a PhD candidate and did well, 3.8 GPA, published and presented a lot, taught courses but I decided that I didn't want to be a child psychologist. I was burning out before I even finished grad school (kids are great....parents are crazy!!!). I have no idea how I am going to put it on my application.

mcdonrb
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby mcdonrb » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:18 pm

I realized that the program wasn't for me and I took a job teaching in the subject area my PhD was in. I was much happier. hat if I list it as "PhD Studies"?

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jackalope11
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby jackalope11 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:23 pm

I too have an unfinished graduate degree on my resume. Unlike previous posters, I would disagree that this is necessarily a strike against you. I have been told on three occasions that this has actually helped my app. rather than hurt them. (UG GPA was a little low from an early semester of underperformance...)

I never specifically addressed not finishing my degree in my apps, but I listed the amount of hours of coursework I completed in the program.

If it was your performance in the program that has you worried, that might warrant an addendum. If not, I think you're fine.

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apaint
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby apaint » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:25 pm

jackalope11 wrote:I too have an unfinished graduate degree on my resume. Unlike previous posters, I would disagree that this is necessarily a strike against you. I have been told on three occasions that this has actually helped my app. rather than hurt them. (UG GPA was a little low from an early semester of underperformance...)

I never specifically addressed not finishing my degree in my apps, but I listed the amount of hours of coursework I completed in the program.

If it was your performance in the program that has you worried, that might warrant an addendum. If not, I think you're fine.



Did you mention it at all in your PS???

kmap
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby kmap » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:27 pm

You people are talking out your asses. There's nothing wrong with changing your mind about what you want to do with your life and making a correction. I was in a PhD program for less than a year, dropped out, and did a bunch of volunteer work before applying to law school. I wrote my personal statement about WHY I did this. Why would you try to minimize such a critical change of course? It didn't hurt me one bit; if anything, I think it made me look ballsy.

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neimanmarxist
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby neimanmarxist » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:29 pm

Did you get an MA out of your time in the PhD program? You could just list it as work done towards your masters' .
Don't use the term PhD candidate, you have to be approved to advance to candidacy by a dean; it is a formal process.

If no MA, I would just list it as "graduate study" on the resume. Lots of people leave PhD programs and just list their time at the institution as an MA if one was conferred during that time, I get the feeling that is pretty standard.

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jackalope11
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby jackalope11 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:31 pm

apaint wrote:
jackalope11 wrote:I too have an unfinished graduate degree on my resume. Unlike previous posters, I would disagree that this is necessarily a strike against you. I have been told on three occasions that this has actually helped my app. rather than hurt them. (UG GPA was a little low from an early semester of underperformance...)

I never specifically addressed not finishing my degree in my apps, but I listed the amount of hours of coursework I completed in the program.

If it was your performance in the program that has you worried, that might warrant an addendum. If not, I think you're fine.



Did you mention it at all in your PS???



Nope! Didn't mention it at all...

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apaint
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby apaint » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:33 pm

jackalope11 wrote:
apaint wrote:
jackalope11 wrote:I too have an unfinished graduate degree on my resume. Unlike previous posters, I would disagree that this is necessarily a strike against you. I have been told on three occasions that this has actually helped my app. rather than hurt them. (UG GPA was a little low from an early semester of underperformance...)

I never specifically addressed not finishing my degree in my apps, but I listed the amount of hours of coursework I completed in the program.

If it was your performance in the program that has you worried, that might warrant an addendum. If not, I think you're fine.



Did you mention it at all in your PS???



Nope! Didn't mention it at all...


Thanks for the information! I probably will not either. My old advisor is writing a LOR for me so that should help. I don't want my PS to sound too much like an addendum.

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djjf39
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Re: Unfinished graduate work on resume?

Postby djjf39 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:35 pm

kmap wrote:You people are talking out your asses. There's nothing wrong with changing your mind about what you want to do with your life and making a correction. I was in a PhD program for less than a year, dropped out, and did a bunch of volunteer work before applying to law school. I wrote my personal statement about WHY I did this. Why would you try to minimize such a critical change of course? It didn't hurt me one bit; if anything, I think it made me look ballsy.



OP originally asked
mcdonrb wrote:Would it be dishonest to write "PhD Candidate, 2006-2008" since I wasn't technically a PhD candidate until I was ABD?


Hence my reply.




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