Post # 1
I’ll be getting married shortly after receiving my doctorate. Exciting but busy times!
I’m planning on changing my last name. A few things I’m wondering about, and imagine that others are too:
-Will you go by Dr. or Mrs. (in social settings or if you are employed outside of academia)? I don’t want to be pretentious, but I also don’t want to buy into a double standard where others think it’s appropriate to call a PhD ‘Mrs’ but would never think of calling a PhD ‘Mr’ That just seems wrong and something that I wouldn’t want to help perpetuate. Still, maybe male PhDs go by Mr sometimes? I’m not sure…
-Would you bother to change the last name on the diploma via the University (there are rules associated with this, but it can be done)? I did all my studies under name X, and will apply for graduation with that name, but by the time I attend convocation, I will have legally changed to name Y. I don’t want to hyphenate.
I look forward to your thoughts and good luck to all those fellow grad students who are wedding planning as well 🙂
Post # 3
– Personally. I’d go by Dr. You certainly can use Mrs., but I’d feel like after all that work, I’d want to use Dr.
– You can in Canada use your husband’s name socially and your maiden name legally. I don’t think you can do it the other way around, but as long as it is not for fraudulent purposes, it’s okay.
It depends by province:
Post # 4
I’m working on my PhD and I pretty much plan to go by whatever people call me socially. Professionally, I will be Dr. no matter where I’m employed, but socially, many of my friends (or husbands friends… lets face it, many of my personal friends are other program grads) will not have PhDs and probably won’t follow that etiquette when addressing invitations or anything. It will make me super stoked when they do though! I will probably self-ID as Dr. when I book plane tickets or something 😉
I’d keep your maiden name on your degree – you worked for that degree under that name and it seems fitting to be awarded your diploma with it. I was married a few months after obtaining my bachelors and I kept the same last name (although I moved my maiden to my middle, so maybe I still feel more attachment than you will?).
Post # 5
Is your Fiance a Dr. too or is your reception announcement going to be “Presenting for the first time, Mr. and Dr. XXXX?” If you’ve earned the degree use the title. Doesn’t matter what sex you are. 40% of the company I’m interning at has there PhD’s and introductions normally go like this “Hey have you met Dr. SoAndSo?”, “No I haven’t. Hi I’m XXXX.” “Nice to meet you. I’m William SoAndSo. Call me Bill.” And forever more he is Bill unless we are talking to people outside the company or referencing him in a report or memo. Of course the company president is always “Dr. A” and she seems to like it that way.
Post # 6
Personally, the only time I am regularly referred to as ‘Dr.’ is in the classroom, by students. I really don’t care what people call me outside of an academic context (and I know lots of male PhDs who are that way, too). The title really doesn’t come up that much in social situations — my Fiance and I are both PhDs so the more formal social situations we’re in tend to be with other PhDs and it just feels silly to go around a cocktail party referring to everyone as “Dr. SoandSo.”
The only advantage I can see to keeping your maiden name along with your degree title is if you’ve done significant publishing under your maiden name and want to be easily identified with previous work. But if you’re just starting a professional profile, might as well be known as Dr. Husbandslastname. And generally, I always refer to a woman I don’t know as Ms. SoandSo unless I know she calls herself “Mrs.” ahead of time. Just seems more neutral that way.
Post # 7
First off, congratulations on your doctoral degree!
Like corasong, I only use “Dr.” in the classroom. I was taught that a non-medical doctor only used “Dr.” as a professional title, but more modern guides appear to have relaxed that rule. Most of my colleagues–not all, but most–who insist on being addressed as “Doctor” in social settings are either dreadfully insecure or comically self-absorbed. However, if I was in a social situation where someone was addressing my male colleagues as “Doctor” (without being explicitly asked) and did not extend that courtesy to me, I would directly point out the inequity.
(This does not stop most of my very proud relatives from addressing personal mail to “Dr. MTMW,” and that’s fine, but I never insist and personally prefer to use “Ms.” for things like my frequent flyer account.)
I think that the name change matter is a highly personal matter. I know some women who publish and register for conferences using FirstName MaidenName while using FirstName HusbandName socially. I know other women who use the more old-fashioned (vis-a-vis hyphenation) construction of FirstName MaidenName HusbandName. Like corasong said, if you’ve got a publication record, you will probably not want to ditch your maiden name entirely because you will need to make sure that you are connected to all of your work!
Just be sure that you never call yourself Dr. OKJC, Ph.D. Titles are omitted if you are placing degree or professional designations after your name.
And once again, congrats!
Post # 8
Dr. You earned it, honey.
Post # 9
Thanks everyone for your advice and kind comments. Your thoughts give me an idea of the diverse views about the issue and of some of the reasonable options. Much appreciated! 🙂
Post # 10
I have only ever met 1 PhD that actually want to be referred to as “Dr.”. Everyone else I know (HHMI investigators, Rhodes scholars, and National Academy members and all) all introduce themselves by their first name socially and professionally. However, you may want to think on a strategy for your publications (ie if having them all under the same last name is important to you or not)….haven’t figured out what I am going to do about that yet…
Post # 11
I think I’m getting close to finally getting the PhD and am also getting married soon so I am in the same boat. I am not changing my name legally because I don’t want to lose my publication record. Socially, I don’t really know anyone who goes by Dr? I address faculty by Dr when I first meet them, but then they usually insist I use their first name (although how often do you really call people by name when talking to them?). When I address my invitations to coworkers I will definitely use their titles as a sign of respect/formality but I don’t call them Dr on a day to day basis except to tease them when they screw something up or are being pretentious. But when it comes to filling out forms, hell yea, I’ll put Dr.
Post # 12
I agree – going by Dr in a social setting seems weird or awkward to me too, but would you then go by Mrs or Ms? (Again, it’s true – how often does someone call you ‘mrs’ when talking to you either…) Good luck with your work!
Post # 13
I appreciate this thread because I am finishing up my doctorate and am wondering the same thing. I dont even know if I want to stay in academia. I doubt I will introduce myself as “Dr” and since I have publications I dont really want to change my legal name. I have been thinking about this a lot for about two years. I still dont know what to do. I like the idea of identifying as Mrs. Husband’slastname socially but keeping my maiden name legally but Im not sure how this will work in real life (for example when we are travelling together etc.). Very interested to hear the opinions of other phds.
Post # 14
I’m a vet, not changing my name. If people outside of a clinic call me Dr mylastname, Dr hislastname, Ms mylastname, Mrs hislastname, I really don’t care. FI is a vet too, so me being called Dr hislastname would be weird, because that is him!
Post # 15
Oh, I’m glad someone started this thread. I’m really concerned about what to do. I don’t have any publications yet, since I’ve just finished coursework.
I really think I do want to change my name, but I’m worried about the repercussions, and if I want to change my name, I sort of need to do it now.
However, I am known somewhat by my maiden name. My adviser and I started a website of dissertation reviews, and my maiden name is under the bio. I’ve also written a couple of editorial blog posts for a pretty significant blog in my area of interest. It was several years ago, and in NO way counts as a publication, but I wonder if it could cause confusion?
I’m really afraid to ask about this, because my adviser is male, and all the females in my department that I know well are either unmarried or kept their maiden names. Any women decide to LEGALLY change their names mid-Ph.D.?
Post # 16
honestly, I would never change my name in acedamia. As much as you never want to think about it, 50ish % of couples won’t make it. Do you really want to have to have people try to track you down and follow a name trail to read ur articles? Also do you want everyone reading your papers to know if you’ve gotten a divorce?
I also like the annonimity of not giving people the ability to find me in my personal life.