Dr May, I presume


After a 36-year hiatus, Queen guitarist Brian May has finally been granted his doctorate in astronomy. Not an honorary doctorate, this is a true-blue Ph.D., research, dissertation, oral exam, and all.

Congratulations, Dr May. You give hope to ABD’s everywhere that they, too, can follow their dreams.

Wouldn’t he be Sir Doctor May?

I think that’s great.

I think the “Sir” attaches to the given name, so it would be “Dr Sir Brian May” or maybe “Sir Brian Dr May”.

Nah, its just Dr Brian May CBE. He doesn’t have a knighthood (yet. Though maybe he should get one for going from data to written thesis to submission to viva within a month :eek: :wink: )

May has been awarded a category two pass, which means he must make a few amendments to his work in the coming weeks.

What is a category two pass? Is that good, bad or indifferent?

I don’t know specifically what a category two pass is, but almost everyone has to make revisions on their dissertation after the oral exam. He just has to make the requested changes and he’s good to go.


ABD = All But Dissertation

ABD = All But Dissertation. Applied to one who has completed all the requirements for an advanced degree (including the research), except for writing their thesis. Brian May was ABD - he even co-authored a couple of peer-reviewed papers - when he inexplicably decided to do other things.


In the British system there are 3 passes. The first pass is just a straight pass; your thesis is accepted as is with no corrections demanded. The second is that you have to make a few minor corrections, mainly typos etc; these just have to be OK’ed by the departmental examiner. The third type is pass with major corrections, i.e. that you need to rewrite small chunks of the thesis; these have to be OK’ed with both the departmental and external examiner. I presume that May (he’s not technically Dr May yet either ;)) has the sort of pass which requires minor corrections.

Yeah, heck. What was he thinking?

Oh, he’s got a book coming out, too.


Since he was in Queen, I imagine he ought to be His Majesty Dr. May.

The book has been released already, hasn’t it?