Dr, Mrs or both?



I'm getting married in April and I finish my PhD in January 2013. Assuming I am successful (which from the amount of time I spend on this forum at the moment is looking unlikely!!!) I have a question, mainly for the ladies but men feel free to respond too.

If you're married and you're a lady do you use (or if you're a chap and you're married to a PhD lady does your wife use), Mrs or Dr? Do you use your married name for one and your maiden for another? I don't have much faith in my university being able to change my name as they've struggled enough to change my address! I am planning to take my husband's name but I feel a bit funny about being "Mr & Dr" at home! I think I would like to be Mrs at home and Dr at work. Probably will be easier to stick to one last name though, huh!


I got married last May, and don't finish my PhD until September 2013, but I intend to use Dr! But I'm exactly the same, I think receiving letters addressed to "Mr and Dr" will be odd, although I find it funny rather than off-putting! The only place I won't change to Dr is at my GP; I can imagine him going off on a rant of medical terms, only for me to have to turn round and say 'erm, I'm not that type of Dr :$'


I think there are as many solutions to this as there are people trying to sort out what to be called... whatever feels right to you is what you should go with. I don't exactly fit your scenario, as I am divorced with my maiden name ( which I never changed whilst married) so am I Mrs Maiden Name, Miss Maiden Name, Ms Maiden Name... I hated all of that, and the UK does not seem to have a Ms option much. Being Dr nicely solved it all for me, anyway, when I am asked for a title, I give Dr.

Some of my students call me Mrs rather than Dr... which I do not mind, I sometimes think they find the Dr title a very masculine one and are more comfortable with Mrs.

I know lots of people who use one last name at work, and another socially/at home.


I mainly use Mrs, but for academic things I use Dr. So the post etc. to home is almost all in the form Mrs. We're actually a Dr & Dr household, but don't use the titles outside academia.

I got married just before I started my original (had to leave) full-time science PhD. So throughout that and my later part-time humanities PhD I've always gone under my married name. I do have a journal paper (during my BSc(Hons)) under my maiden name as well.

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

======= Date Modified 12 Jan 2012 09:23:09 =======
You might want to read the following old thread on this. Choice varies from person to person.


My own view now is Dr. in the correct professional setting and Mr / Mrs / Miss / Ms otherwise. Quite frankly people couldn't give two hoots if you're a Dr. or not unless they need to know your professional competencies. If anything, the Dr. title can actually create a barrier, either because people feel (wrongly) they are somehow inferior or because people see you as trying to portray yourself as something special (i.e. push it in people's faces). Never, ever, change your title at your GP to Dr., as this can be dangerously confusing.

As regards using your last name, how about 'Mrs. Married Name' and Dr 'Maiden Name'? This keeps work and home separate. Also looking at this practically, should your marriage not work out (and I hope this never happens) OR you already have publications using your maiden name, you would have continuity of identity if you stuck to your maiden name professionally and thus traceability of any publications and work to just the one name. This avoids any complications for people looking for your work.

Ian (Mackem_Beefy)


Thanks everyone for your replies, it's interesting to hear different views on it! I was considering using my maiden name for work, but I am worried what my fiance will think this says about our relationship! Luckily (?!) I haven't published anything yet so I don't have anything in my maiden name floating about. Some food for thought, thank you all!


I have been studying at university continuously (yes, that's right, non-stop) since September 1998. I will be using the title Dr all the time - and my husband doesn't mind because he knows how hard I am working for it.


I am married but, as I live in Italy, I have kept my maiden name. This isn't a problem here as everyone does it and your title isn't an official part of your name (you are automatically signora if you are not a child on documents etc). I am also a Dr! Or rather I am Dott.ssa - everyone with a degree gets this title in Italy. I only use it if it would be confusing not to. I work at a university and if I didn't people would assume I don't have a degree. If (should I say when?) I get my PhD then I will still only use Dr in an academic context. However, I will probably make an exception for my British Bank as they insist on a title and I don't like using Ms or Miss or Mrs with my maiden name!


I am married and use my maiden name (ie Dr maiden) on publications as I have several prior to marriage. Otherwise I use my married name with the Dr title. I would add that my job is a specialised clinical role where you do not have a medical degree but a vocational pgdip instead. The fact that I have a PhD means that I can be know as 'Dr married' which gives me respect from others for what I do. Quite funny though how the clinicians refer to me as a 'proper doctor' lol. I guess as I have a clinical background the obvious issue of being mistaken for a clinician doesn't really worry me. Outside of work I do use my Dr title sometimes, just depends on the occasion ie formal dinner has Dr on the seating plan etc. I often avoid the title issue by introducing myself using my first and surname without any mention of title.

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

Quote From marasp:

I have been studying at university continuously (yes, that's right, non-stop) since September 1998. I will be using the title Dr all the time - and my husband doesn't mind because he knows how hard I am working for it.

I enjoyed being a student (especially during PhD), but after 13 years I'd personally be ready for a change.

I can't say much as when I finished the PhD a few years back, I'd spent 10.5 years of my adult life as a student (2 years HND, 2 years to upgrade to degree, 2 masters - thought I'd failed the first hence the second, five years back in real world then the PhD).

Ian (Mackem_Beefy)


Hey all! I've been thinking about this recently, as I've finished my PhD (and all publications are in my current name), but I am getting married in February 2013. I reckon I'm gonna stick with Dr Maiden name, otherwise nobody would twig that my publications all belonged to the same person. And I like my surname- it's fairly unusual whereas my boyf's surname is a lot less distinctive! But I am going to take my boyf's surname when I'm Mrs X, and out of the academic context- I don't like the idea of being 'Dr' all the time! Best, KB

Avatar for sneaks

If I am lucky enough to pass my viva, I'll go with Dr. I work in academia now, so its kind of expected. But I also hate being defined in relation to my husband. I am a person in my own right, not just his wife. So I don't really like Mrs. He also has a PhD though, so it will be Dr. and Dr. Sneaks! Having said that, if he'd failed his viva, then I wouldn't have used Dr. because I'd feel like I was rubbing his nose in it. Wonder if he'll use his, if I fail?


Interesting, I suppose Sneaks, your husband had the upper hand because he finished before you! I confess I am an old romantic at heart and I love the idea of being "the Mrs"... but not at work! I have a rather peculiar vision of feminism where I love being girly and looking after my H2B, let him open doors for me etc etc but I want to be seen as an equal in the work place!

I try to keep work and home very separate but I do prefer my H2B's second name so I have no qualms ditching the maiden name!

Thanks for all your replies!

Avatar for Eds

I have a rather peculiar vision of feminism where I love being girly and looking after my H2B, let him open doors for me etc etc but I want to be seen as an equal in the work place!

Having one's cake and ... bon appetit!!!


Quote From lindalou83:
I have a rather peculiar vision of feminism where I love being girly and looking after my H2B... but I want to be seen as an equal in the work place!

Erm... that's not a peculiar view of feminism. There is nothing in feminism that says you can't do those things, rather that you (i) are not obliged to do those things and (ii) are equally valued as a human being if you do. You have no need to justify yourself.

Back to the topic... if/when I ever finish my PhD and/or get married, I intend to be Dr Birthname in professional circles and Ms or Mrs Marriedname (whether that's his name, my name or a hybrid) outside of that. I want my title to be reflective of context i.e. my PhD has no bearing on my status within my relationship or friendships, but it does matter at work.

That said, I currently work in a non-academic environment where PhD graduates (of which there are several) don't commonly call themselves 'Dr' (not least because we work a lot with clinical doctors, so it could get confusing). If I wanted to play the PhD card here it would be better to go with 'Hazy Jane, PhD'. I would still maintain my birth name in professional contexts regardless of title though, as it's taken long enough to establish myself and I don't want to 're-brand'!