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Should I call this guy Doctor?

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Should I call this guy Doctor?

Old 09-18-08, 11:44 AM
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When I received my doctorate in clinical psychology I told my wife that she must now refer to me as "Doctor", I also required that she call me "Master" after first receiving my Masters degree...




of course, she is now my ex-wife...sooo...
Old 09-18-08, 11:48 AM
  #52  
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But Matta, you are missing the point a bit. The public perception is not what we know to be true. Our position as academics (sigh next year I can say Ph.Ds) makes our perception inherently different from the populations. The perception of a "soft science" PhD is different from a "hard science" PhD as well.
Old 09-18-08, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Pistol Pete View Post
That's because a JD is a textbook case of degree inflation. A JD is actually the equivalent of a master's degree. During Vietnam people with doctorates entered the service as a captain. So law schools started calling their law degrees doctorates in order to give their graduates a boost in pay and seniority when they were drafted.
I think a JD is different than an MS. If you want to look at it from purely a structural perspective, it's really just a BS that requires a BS for admission. The way classes are taught and the knowledge obtained is at a bachelor's level for lawyers (the way the programs surveys law with elective concentrations is exactly how a BS program works). An LLM is similar to a MS (1 year focus on a specific area beyond the BS level), and a SJD is similar to a PhD.

The fact that a law school will admit someone with a bachelor's degree in Art tells you how much knowledge is prerequisite to enter - they teach you everything you need to know in the JD program (just like a bachelor's degree).

I guess somewhere along the way, they figured that law is more complex than other fields, so it requires someone who's older (21+) and has demonstrated academic success previously (using a BS as a barometer of performance and persistence). Then it got stuck into a no-man's land of academics where it's a graduate degree, but it's structurally very different from all other graduate degrees, so they didn't know what to call it.

I'm not trying to knock a JD as being the same as a BS - obviously it's more complicated and difficult, which is why they want older students and only pick form the top students at the BS level. I definitely consider a JD to be more complex and "prestigious" than an MS.

My point is that it's structurally a bachelor's degree.

Last edited by matta; 09-18-08 at 12:15 PM.
Old 09-18-08, 12:50 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Decadance View Post
If you or I make a mistake in our research (incorrectly specify a model, handle missing data incorrectly, botch a theory), all that happens is someone calls us on it in publication and we take our lumps. However, when a MD makes a mistake in the practice of their craft there is a high possibility someone will get hurt.
Depending on your transgression, you will ruin your career as a Ph.D.. However, yes, it would be unlikely that someone could file legal proceedings and take your personal assets.
Old 09-18-08, 07:30 PM
  #55  
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A while back I remember hearing about this incident on a passenger plane.

Someone had collapsed on the plane, and the flight attendants ran through the passenger list looking for a physician. They found a man who signed up for the plane with a "Dr." before his name. They found his seat and took him to the unconscious man.

It was only then that they found out he was a Doctor of English literature.

Spoiler:
Fortunately, the sick man only had a split infinitive.


Spoiler:
Okay, I just made that last part up.
Old 09-20-08, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by matta View Post
Is an MD harder than a PhD? I don't think there's a way to make a comparison because of how incredibly different the fields are.
Old 09-20-08, 01:51 PM
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I have a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in Medieval Studies.

I have my undergrads call me Dr., primarily so that they understand that I'm not a grad student or an instructor. The title "Professor" is often used freely, and is no longer an good indication as to whether or not the person teaching the class actually holds the rank of professor.

It's really more of a "Yes, I really know what I'm talking about" and a "No, I'm not a graduate student, so don't treat me like you do some of your grad student TAs" kind of thing.

Grad students can just call me by my first name.

As for the work involved in getting a Ph.D., I agree that it varies tremendously depending upon field, project, and committee. Mine was difficult, but that's because I decided to tread new ground, and wound up having to finish the dissertation during my first semester of employment. I also had a tough committee--they asked lots of questions, refused to let me cut any corners, etc. In fact, I had a most memorable defense, both for all involved and all who were there to watch. It became rather heated for a bit.

But I know others who have breezed through the Ph.D., usually by staying in safe territory and not making any arguments with which their committee members might disagree.

Just my two cents.
Old 09-20-08, 02:25 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Ron G View Post
I have my undergrads call me Dr., primarily so that they understand that I'm not a grad student or an instructor. The title "Professor" is often used freely, and is no longer an good indication as to whether or not the person teaching the class actually holds the rank of professor.
Really? I think the title of Professor has a lot more meaning and importance than "Dr.". Anyone can get a Ph.D., not anyone can get hired as a professor (at least that is what I tell myself to reassure my employment choice).
Old 09-20-08, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mbs View Post
Really? I think the title of Professor has a lot more meaning and importance than "Dr.". Anyone can get a Ph.D., not anyone can get hired as a professor (at least that is what I tell myself to reassure my employment choice).
Grad students who teach (like me) and academic professionals also are often called "professor". No matter what you tell the students to call you, that's what they call you.

Actually, it's very easy to get a job at at a college as an academic professional (non-tenure track teacher), as long as you have a master's degree. A place like Harvard will require you to be the former head of state of a G8 nation, but a small school or a community college just requires that you have some practical experience and know what you're talking about.

Real professors generally don't want to teach (they want to research).

Last edited by matta; 09-20-08 at 03:00 PM.
Old 09-20-08, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mbs View Post
And you don't want to correlate time in post-graduate education to quality of degree/study. Seriously, I know idiots who got their Ph.D.s and took 8-10 years doing so (a decent graduate student in chemistry takes ~5 years). This leads into the fact that most anyone (regardless of intelligence) can get a Ph.D. in the physical sciences these days. You no longer need smarts, just patience. You can wait out degrees in Chemistry, Biology, etc. You just need to spend 8-10 years making little-to-nothing and presto! you too can become a fake doctor.
Most PhD curricula require you to pass some sort of qualifying exam to enter the PhD program. I've known a few reasonably smart people who left with a master's degree because they couldn't get through this screening.Of course, the difficulty may vary with the particular school (or department).
Old 09-20-08, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by matta View Post
I think a JD is different than an MS. If you want to look at it from purely a structural perspective, it's really just a BS that requires a BS for admission. The way classes are taught and the knowledge obtained is at a bachelor's level for lawyers (the way the programs surveys law with elective concentrations is exactly how a BS program works). An LLM is similar to a MS (1 year focus on a specific area beyond the BS level), and a SJD is similar to a PhD.

The fact that a law school will admit someone with a bachelor's degree in Art tells you how much knowledge is prerequisite to enter - they teach you everything you need to know in the JD program (just like a bachelor's degree).

I guess somewhere along the way, they figured that law is more complex than other fields, so it requires someone who's older (21+) and has demonstrated academic success previously (using a BS as a barometer of performance and persistence). Then it got stuck into a no-man's land of academics where it's a graduate degree, but it's structurally very different from all other graduate degrees, so they didn't know what to call it.

I'm not trying to knock a JD as being the same as a BS - obviously it's more complicated and difficult, which is why they want older students and only pick form the top students at the BS level. I definitely consider a JD to be more complex and "prestigious" than an MS.

My point is that it's structurally a bachelor's degree.
I concur with most of the above, bolded portion excepted. The JD was created as a 'professional' degree, following the English (and German?) models. It was not created because law is more 'complex' than other fields, but to be like the Europeans.

JD programs do not just pick from the top BS students. Perhaps at the top law schools they do, but that is true for any top grad program. Many dimwits and people lacking common sense go to law school. I've known quite a few. The bar is not that high.

And FWIW I can speak from personal experience that the hardest course I had in law school was no harder than the average freshman course in engineering. (Actually, those law courses, like Evidence, Corporations, Con Law, etc. were generally easier than, say Physics 1/2, B/C Calc, Lumped Parameter Systems, Thermo 1, etc.) There's no way I would consider getting a JD even close to the intellectual effort/achievement of a regular BS in engineering.

OTOH, lawyers tend to make a lot more money, so there is an advantage to a JD.

BTW, several state bars (incl.NY) allow some people to waive the law school/JD requirement entirely if they have sufficient experience working with lawyers. A paralegal at my last firm did this. Which means you don't even need a JD at all--everything you need to know from law school can be learned in an 8-week bar review course.
Old 09-20-08, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by matta View Post
Actually, it's very easy to get a job at at a college as an academic professional (non-tenure track teacher), as long as you have a master's degree.
Yeah, we're talking about two wholly different things (I was referring to tenure-track at a major research University).

Real professors generally don't want to teach (they want to research).
Yeah, I teach about 1/4 of a semester per year (on the order of 10-20 lectures per year). It's a pretty sweet deal.
Old 09-21-08, 01:05 AM
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I don't mind teaching, but there's a limit to how much I can teach, given tenure requirements. I teach two classes a term, but I need to churn out conference papers, articles, and at least one book if I want to stay here.

That's just the reality of academia, at least when you're in a field where there is no soft money to pay your salary while you research.
Old 09-21-08, 06:01 PM
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I'm away from "Other" for a little while, and I missed a chiropractor thread. I'm a D.C., and I really doesn't matter to me if I'm called "Doctor..." or not (unless someone purposely wouldn't as a sign of disrespect, which I don't think has happened-- except for a time or two in an anonymous online forum, truly among the bold and brave indeed ). There have been some pretty good points made already about the word and how many different people could refer to themselves as a doctor (those holding a D.C., J.D., D.O., M.D., Ph. D., etc). If I'm talking on the phone with any doctor (of any type) or an insurance company and I'm discussing an issue with someone under my care, I always use "doctor" when referring to myself so it's clear to them who I am in the context of the discussion. Any time I've ever been contacted professionally by a medical doctor (which is fairly common), I'm addressed as "doctor," but that doesn't mean that I insist on the use of the word by the public, which I'd find obnoxious.

My wife had a graduate school instructor who was a lawyer who called himself "Doctor..." She also had a boss who had a Ph.D (I believe it had something to do with education), and he'd refer to himself as "Doctor..." occasioanlly (but always when he was pissed off, when talking on the phone). I think that for many people who hold "other" types of doctoral degrees, they can take or leave the "doctor" before their name.

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