"All but dissertation" (ABD) is a term identifying a stage in the process of obtaining a research doctorate in the United States.


In typical usage of the term, the ABD student has completed the required preparatory coursework, and passed any required preliminary and comprehensive examinations, but has not completed the research requirements, typically including the writing and defense of a dissertation.[1] A student attaining this level may be granted a formal Candidate in Philosophy degree or status at a few institutions. Some universities, including Columbia, Yale and George Washington, may award a formal Master of Philosophy (M.Phil. or MPhil) degree for these achievements.[2][3][4] In some universities, All But Dissertation is a formal status.[5]

The use of ABD, or the similar PhD(c) for PhD candidate (also PhD-c or PhDc), as a credential has been condemned as potentially misleading by some writers as the terms are not widely understood outside of academia,[6][7] or indeed outside of the USA.


  1. ^ Schuman, Rebecca (1 August 2014). "ABD Company". Slate. 
  2. ^ "Master of Philosophy". Columbia University. Retrieved 26 August 2017. 
  3. ^ "Doctor of Philosophy program". Yale School of Architecture. Master's Degree. Retrieved 26 August 2017. 
  4. ^ "PhD Requirements". Department of Economics, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, George Washington University. Retrieved 26 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "All But Dissertation (ABD) Declaration & Processing". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Amy Novotney (September 2016). "The misuse of PhD(c): Why a designation used by some students is seen as unethical". Monitor on Psychology. 47 (8): 36. 
  7. ^ Peggy L. Chinn (29 June 2011). "How to list your credentials and title when you publish". ANS: Advances in Nursing Science Blog. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. Retrieved 27 August 2017.