Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Help! Suddenly I'm not an economist any longer.

After a whole career working as an economist, I discovered yesterday that I have no evidence that I was ever qualified to be one.

In an earlier post (dated June 22nd) I mentioned that I only have one degree certificate from my three degrees, that being the Cambridge University certificate for my BA degree in mathematics, a degree programme that I completed with first class honours. However the degree certificate only mentions that I have been awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts (and that's not even in Latin, disappointingly), but says nothing about the subject area or class of degree. So to prove that I was ever a mathematician, my only recourse would be to ask my college to wade through their old records from the 1960s.

My subsequent degrees were from Oxford University, and what I thought they were was a BPhil in Economics (1969), and then a DPhil in Economics (1973). But I never got the degree certificates when I should have, and when I consulted Oxford University recently I was told that it was too late to get certificates. Instead, they could send me letters confirming that I had completed the requirements for each degree, and these letters finally arrived yesterday. Imagine my surprise when I read them! The letters did indeed confirm that I had degrees from Oxford University, and my dates were both correct. But both degrees were stated to be in Social Studies.

Now, to be fair, social studies is an extremely broad field and it does include economics. But it would have been nice to have qualifications that confirmed somewhere what I actually did. It seems I am out of luck in that regard - unless, again, I resort to writing to my Oxford college directly. It's just as well that I am pretty much retired, and hence not really needing to prove my qualifications at this stage of my life!

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