On Jill Biden’s doctorate saga

Leroy Yau
4 min readDec 19, 2020

Waking up this morning, my news feeds are flooded with the debate over Jill Biden’s Doctor of Education degree (or is it more about her attitude?). Time for me to chip in.

Well, it’s best first to present my positionality statement in a layman format:

  • I have a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from Northeastern University, along with quite a few other degrees I have obtained in the field of engineering, accounting, laws, and pharmacy (in progress). Here’s my profile.
  • I don’t like people calling me Dr. Yau simply for the fact that I don’t want to be called upon doing resuscitation for random strangers because they think I am a medical doctor.
  • Any university that has both Ph.D. and Ed.D. will tell you they are the same from the academic standard. Don’t trust me? Try Harvard. Graduates of the Ed.D. and Ph.D. in Education programs receive equally rigorous scholarly training.
  • Although I am about to receive my 6th degree, I do think generally getting a university degree/diploma is not as impactful as some people may think. And yes it can be considered “a waste of money” if your mind is anchored to believe that a university degree is more than who you are. I don’t buy into that idea. I am who I am. I am proud to be an alma mater of all my schools but they don’t represent me (even if one day I get one of those Ivy’s league school diplomas, they are not bigger than me).
  • My respect for medical doctors follows the same logic. Some should be highly respected whilst others are just… whatever they are, even they are all called “doctors”.
  • Academic level varies significantly across universities. I still think my Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Engineering) from the University of New South Wales is by far the most difficult degree amongst the ones I have graduated.

With these out of the way, time to dig into those news outlets.


A clear case of even prominent news outlets is dying for Internet traffic. A few examples of problematic logic in the article:

  • Dr Jill Biden sounds and feels fraudulent” Why? Because she has an Ed.D.? Sounds and feels to whom? To you? What should we care about what you feel?
Leroy Yau

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