Use of Degree Status Designations

It is a matter of academic integrity that students, both current and former, correctly represent their degree program status and credentials. These guidelines are provided to help inform students of the appropriate ways in which to represent themselves. Students should not use designations that are not officially sanctioned by the University nor should they use acronyms that might be misunderstood by members of the general public who are not well-versed in academic requirements.

Students in master’s programs should not identify themselves as degree candidates (e.g., MA candidate) because candidacy is not an officially recognized degree program status at the master’s level while it is at the doctoral level. The appropriate designation is to merely identify as a student (e.g., MASc student in Geophysics).

Students in doctoral programs (viz., EdD, DMA, PhD) may identify themselves as degree candidates only when they have been officially advanced to candidacy (by completing all required coursework, passing the comprehensive examinations, and having an approved dissertation proposal), and not before. This degree program status should be expressed in words (e.g., EdD candidate, PhD all-but-dissertation) and not using acronyms that might be misunderstood by non-academics. In particular, acronyms such as PhD(c) or PhD (ABD), for example, should not be used as they could be mistaken for a conferred degree with some specialization.

Former students who have not earned their credential may identify themselves as former students (e.g., former UBC PhD student in Neuroscience), but should not give any indication that they maintain any current degree status.