No, Dr. Jill Biden Shouldn’t Need to Drop the Doctorate

Source: Reuters, courtesy of Brian Snyder

By Ryan Chou

After the historic 2020 election, the world is watching as a chaotic transition period begins. On January 20th, 2021, a currently uncooperative President Donald Trump will have to give Joe Biden the Oval Office. Accompanying Joe Biden will be his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, as the first First Lady to hold a doctorate degree. But many people are not celebrating this fact—instead, she is now under pressure to drop “Dr.” from her name. 

There is not much of a legitimate case for this. The fact is, Dr. Jill Biden received her doctorate degree from the University of Delaware. It is not honorary, nor does it hurt anyone. Whether or not her degree is less prestigious than other doctorates is insane—she is an educator, her dissertation was written about education, and her doctorate is in education. What’s wrong with that? Some make the case that she should drop it because she is not a medical doctor, or that because she’s taking a prestigious public title, she should fully replace “Dr.” with “First Lady”. And for others, they view her dissertation as below the doctorate level.

However, I don’t believe Dr. Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state, was ever blasted like this for a simple title. And his doctorate was in political science, not medicine. What about Dr. Ben Bernanke? He is the former Chair of the Federal Reserve, yet he was never called out by The Wall Street Journal for not fully dropping “Dr.” from his name. And by the way, his doctorate was in economics. So why are people all of a sudden targeting Dr. Jill Biden for not fully dropping her doctorate title? There is no case for this. It does not matter if someone thinks her dissertation was bad, or if she is not a medical doctor—at the end of the day, she has a legitimate doctorate, and for some reason, she seems to be under scrutiny while other major public figures have not been for this absurd controversy.

Dr. Jill Biden should be celebrated for having a doctorate. A First Lady with a doctorate is an unprecedented occasion, and it is a symbol of women’s climb from subservience to independence. She should not need to drop “Dr.”, and there is no reason for people to even be making an issue out of this.


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