Using Dr Title ...


It's definitely worth using it with banks and applying for mortgages - makes you seem like a better credit risk apparently. It has other uses, particularly for women it cuts through that irritating Miss/Mrs/Ms thing. Unless you go around being arrogant about it, I don't see the problem.


When I started my PhD I was of the opinion that I wouldn't use my 'Dr' title. But after 5 years of hard work, and researching in other countries and experiencing their use of the 'Dr' title, I believe I have every right to use it - and I will do. This doesn't mean I'll shove in people's faces, but I will use it in business and academic settings, and I will change my title on my bank account etc. In fact, just about everyone I know with a PhD does so.

Medical doctors have no problem using their title all the time (ie. outside their profession), and flashing it about (in my experience of newly qualified medical drs anyway). So why shouldn't PhD's? Do we have a lesser right to do this because some people are ignorant, and we may offend them? As for aeroplanes, they only ever ask for a 'medical doctor', they would never ask just for a 'doctor' as in many countries the 'Dr' title is used commonly by all doctoral holders. Airlines are not anglo-centric.


The UK seems to be stuck between the practice found in many continental European countries who make common use of the 'Dr' or 'Prof' titles (and are proud of it), and the North American practice where the 'Dr' title is not so commonly used, but rather 'Ph.D.' is prolifically stuck at the end of one's name. Of course, most N. American academics achieve the 'Prof' title earlier in their careers, so they are not so hung up on the notion of using 'Dr'.

Maybe a partial solution is to move to the North American title system. Then we can introduce ourselves as professors and no one is under the impression that should they keel over we can offer them medical assistance. Warwick has already adopted the US system: lecturers are now assistant professors.

(excuse the typos in other post).


I am against using the "doctor" title because:

1) When you do use it, and you aren't a clinical doctor there is all too often a conversation that goes like.

"Oh, Dr Badhaircut? Are you like a GP or you work in a hospital?"
"Uhm, no, I have a PhD. I do research in a university"
"Right? So you arent a real doctor then, that cures people"

Basically, I learned its the fact that you treat people is the part that earns the respect, not the advanced study or research. What was worst was my ex girlfriend who got a clinical psychology doctorate around the same time as I got my PhD, DID get all the respect because she had "patients".


2) It tends to show the users insecurity. In my observations, the people that do insist on being called doctor are unfailingly the ones that have personal insecurities. Or that they have had such a hard time they want everyone to know they "earned their spurs" the hard way. My ex supervisor used to write notes to the milkman signed "Dr" and he always made sure everyone knew about it at any occasion. That REALLY put me off using my title in a non-academic context.

3) I am wary about those that do flash their credentials. The likes of Gillian McKeith and almost every big brother talking head has cheapened the designation. Francis Wheen says it best with the examples of Dr Kissinger and Dr Paisley, that "people who insist on being called Doctor might as well have 'This man is dangerous' stencilled on their foreheads."

I think there is a lot of truth in that.


Interesting similar thread that shows how strongly people can feel about this.


I won't be using my title (when I eventually get it) outside of academia. My partner and I intend on getting married after we have both finished studying so I will be Mrs. G, and will only use my title at work with my madien name. I think it will be good to keep my professsional life seperate from my family life, and my family don't really understand the whole PhD thing- my big brother keeps telling people that I am going to be a Dr. but not like a medical Dr. like Dr. Who!!!


It HAS occured to me that the use of Dr will be handy to get around the Ms/Miss/Mrs thing...which by the way only seems to be a problem in the UK, not in the US, in that---I can use Ms Olivia without a problem in the US, but in the UK, the Ms option is rarely available. Its really annoying. I could use Dr already I suppose, having one professional doctorate under my belt, but its just not done customarily to use Dr with that degree, so I don't.

What's in a title anyway? As a divorced person I don't think the choice of Miss or Mrs are I put ex Mrs Blogs down? I have been tempted!

The UK is a bit too precious about the Miss/Mrs options. It IS a status concious country, in a way that the US, in my experience is not.


from a young person's perspective, coming from a society where Dr's are grey haired, am not sure i want to use my title til am in my fourties. first, people act differently around you, so its becomes a problem knowing your true friends. people also try to circumvent other things you're doing.

as for changing names, that am not doing. am staying Dr. J. X. If my neighbours want to call me Mrs. Y, thats fine. but am definitely not gonna be Dr. J. X-Y. I don't see why I should adopt a man's name just because he is my husband. am not property so that i have to change names when i change hands.


I hear ya JoJo. I never changed my name when I was married, although I understood this is a personal decision and people make their own choices. Still I got tired of being called Mrs Fred my name was neither Mrs nor Fred. I also hate the endless questions is this your married or maiden name...I reply Yes. Because its both. In a society where name changes are an option, but not mandatory, its annoying to have to clarify time and again what my name IS...after I have said what my name IS. I would use Dr to get around the idiocy of Ms/Mrs/Miss...


I use mine. I have no problem doing so, and I certainly don't feel "insecure". I think people like McKeith et al do those who have acheived PhD's by legitimate means a huge disservice, and it's up to us as genuine PhD's to maintain our credibility.

And no, that doesn't mean signing notes to the milkman as Dr. kronk - but if I am asked my title (in a call-centre conversation or whatever) I always say Dr. I've earned it. End of. Plus, it's amazing that some people still think a woman is limited in the title she might use. It's quite satisfying to reply with something different when a bored/rude sounding person drawls "is it Miss or Mrs?"


'I would use Dr to get around the idiocy of Ms/Mrs/Miss...'

I've been 'Ms' since I was 13 - I have no plans to ever get married as it's not my thing, however if I changed my mind - my partner has already said he would never expect me to take his name. He's 'Dr' on certain things.. I'm currently Dr on the British Gas Bill and my Bingo card (wow, go me) ....

I've been thinking about it, and I don't really care how I am addressed... 'Ms' is fine.. 'Dr' is fine (although sounds a bit weird).. but Miss / Mrs? no, no, no... my marital status is noones business but my own so everyone else can sod off!


A nice little story about Germany becoming over-zealous about the 'Dr' title:


There is nothing wrong in not keeping your maiden name after mother never kept her maiden name, so why would my parents expect me not to take Mr. G's surname? I have always hated my surname, as it is unusual and difficult to spell. My surname certainly does not define me, by taking the my partners surname i do not become his 'property', I just become a member of his family.


I plan on forcing all my friends and family to address me as 'Dr. Rosy'. Of course that won't last for very long as my friends will probably dump me if I do that and my family will disown me

On a more serious note I haven't even considered whether I would use the title (that's if I ever get it!) - except to worry about being asked to save someone's life on a plane! Maybe I should do a first aid course... just in case...