What title to put on a professional business card, for a person with a PhD

  • Is there a correct or preferred format for indicating 'Dr' or 'PhD' (or both) on a professional business card.

    Background: I am employed in the industry and I have just earned my PhD (in social science). My company wants to update my business card.

    The following are two options:

    • Dr Name, PhD, University Name
    • Name, PhD, University Name

    I am told that it may be a sign of arrogance but I am also told that if you have earned it, you deserve it.

    What country are you located in and what type of company is this?

    Its Australia and an advocacy company.

    I read it more of a sign of insecurity rather than arrogance when one seems to feel the need to shove your degree in people's faces. As you've pointed out, there are many feelings about this. I wouldn't do it but many do.

    I think that getting a PhD is an accomplishment and people's insecurities are their own issue, not the PhDs'!!!! If in our society we rethought and recognized how much we could learn from someone that is more educated then ourselves; maybe just maybe we could elevate USA right back to the number one nation in the world..... When did we chose to disrespect educated people and why? We are in peril as a country and have uneducated people leading our country, people that can't even balance a budget!!?! So I say USE YOUR PhD!!!!

  • "Dr Name, PhD" is redundant, so this usage is often discouraged. If you are going to indicate the degree, I'd recommend "Name, PhD" rather than "Dr Name" since it's more informative (at the very least it will keep anyone from thinking you are a medical doctor). In the U.S. it's not common to indicate the university, but I think I've seen it more often in other countries.

    I'd suggest thinking carefully before indicating your degree on a business card. Some people without PhDs may respond bitterly, like you are bragging about your accomplishments or implying that your expertise is more valuable than theirs. At the same time, some people with PhDs will look down on it as well, in a status hierarchy:

    1. Some insecure people without PhDs feel resentful and don't want to be distinguished from PhD holders.

    2. Some insecure people with PhDs try hard not to be confused with group 1, thereby irritating those people all the more.

    3. Some better-established PhD holders aren't worried about being confused with group 1, but now they don't want to be confused with group 2, so they pointedly denounce emphasizing your degree as being tacky and in poor taste.

    As a rule of thumb, I would omit the degree from your business card unless it's important for your credibility (i.e., the skills from your PhD are professionally important and people would otherwise assume you don't have them).

    The one situation in which you should absolutely not indicate a degree is if it's irrelevant. For example, if you're an accountant with a PhD in literature, then your business card should not read "Name, PhD."

    This is very dependent on culture. For instance, in Germany the "Dr." is pretty much considered part of your name once you earned it, and higher-ups in industry are said to respond almost irresponsibly well to it. Furthermore, I wonder whether -- if you put your degree on the card -- you should give the field you obtained your degree in (no matter whether PhD or Masters); the distinction may be relevant in interdisciplinary contexts of if your degree is not the obvious fit for your field.

    Nice answer. There's even an econ paper modeling the three-point scenario you describe by Harbaugh and To.

    If you feel the need to wave around your degree, I might think that *you* are insecure but I'm not particularly worried about other people confusing me as like you. I'm not going to "pointedly denounce emphasizing your degree" but if you ask a question in an online forum about how to style your name, I'll give you my advice. :)

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM