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. 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. In some universities, All But Dissertation is a formal status.
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, or indeed outside of the USA.
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