Entitled to the title

July 12, 2018

Marrisa Joseph finding her PhD and honorific “Dr” routinely ignored or worse (“I have earned the right to be called ‘Dr’”, Opinion, 5 July) recalls the recent experiences of historian Fern 
Riddell and senior lecturer 
Priyamvada Gopal, whose doctorate was reported to stick in the craw of some porters at King’s College, Cambridge. It is a common problem.

As a man with a PhD, and in reply to Joseph’s question, “Do men with PhDs have to defend their doctorates?”, indeed, I have needed to defend my doctorate on occasion, particularly to fierce medical receptionists whose hackles rise at the idea that anyone but an MD deserves to be called “Dr”. But some of them even smile when I follow mention of my honorific with the (privately sardonic) phrase “but it’s only a PhD”.

Paul G. Ellis

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