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I accepted a position as a software developer at a large multinational company after having completed an internship there last summer. We negotiated the start date to what I thought to be sufficiently in advance for me to finish all my coursework and graduate by that time.

However, it seems likely to me now that I won't be able to finish all the requirements for a degree before my scheduled start date. My question is: is it likely that the company will renege on the offer?

Some clarifying details:

  1. Nowhere in the written documents I've signed (offer letter, contract, ...) is it specified that the offer is in any way contingent on my graduating, nor was the expected graduation time in my CV,
  2. I was given an offer mostly on the basis of my performance during internship.
  3. No matter what, I'll be able to finish the remaining requirements for the degree within 12 months of my start date at latest - while working full-time i.e. without delaying my start time. I can complete the coursework without being physically at the university, save maybe for an isolated day here or there for which I can take a day off.
  4. I'll be employed by the UK branch of the company (and work in UK).
  5. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Computer and Data Science.
  • @JoeStrazzere No need to delay the start date; I edited the question to clarify. – Buford Aug 24 '15 at 17:20
  • Is having a degree a requirement of the position you were offered? – Professor Allman Aug 24 '15 at 17:26
  • @Austin, not to my knowledge. It was nowhere in the documentation I signed and some of colleagues with the same title I talked to during my internship did not have a degree (though most did). Job listings for a similar position a the company don't have the degree requirement, just experience. – Buford Aug 24 '15 at 17:32
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is it likely that the company will renege on the offer?

There's no way to know ahead of time if your lack of degree will cause the company to withdraw their offer or not, unless it was stated as a requirement in the job description, or in the offer letter itself. My experience tells me that it usually isn't a problem, but I know in some companies it would be. (In some companies, they want everyone in particular positions to be have degrees.)

I personally know of cases where the individual expected to graduate before starting, but didn't. They were still hired for the position, and were expected to complete their degree requirements on their own time.

I would contact the hiring manager and/or HR immediately, explain what has happened, and emphasize that you won't let your unexpected continued studies interfere with your job work. Assume that this won't cause a problem. In that conversation, you'll learn whether they consider it an issue or not.

  • You said that in some companies it would be a problem. Could you elaborate on the circumstances that make those companies more likely to withdraw the offer? Or is it just a company culture thing? – Buford Aug 24 '15 at 20:51
  • "Company culture" -- or a bit more than that; this may make them nervous about your ability to finish other extended tasks on time. – keshlam Aug 24 '15 at 22:38

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