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all but

Doctor of Philosophy, All But Dissertation

The term all but dissertation (ABD) is an unofficial term identifying a stage in the process of obtaining a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in the United States. At this stage the student has not earned the Ph.D., but has completed the preparatory coursework and qualifying examinations. To complete the degree, the student must carry out the original research and write the dissertation that defines a Ph.D.

This stage is comparable with the Dutch degree of Doctorandus, earned through a matriculation exam for admission to study at doctoral level. The doctorandus allows the student to continue to do research, supervised by a professor to earn a doctorate.

This stage is sometimes referred to on resumes as Ph.D.(ABD). This usage can be misleading or confusing to non-academics as it may seem that the student has earned a Ph.D. when in fact, the ABD state indicates that the degree is incomplete.

Some universities offered Candidate of Philosophy degrees as official designations of this state.

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