Writing a Curriculum Vitae as a Graduate Student: Part I

A Curriculum Vita is a brief summary of your education experience and your academic background. The purpose is to outline what makes you stand out for various academic positions, fellowships, or grants. This document can range from 2 to 4 pages in length. While some fields have a very lax structure or a standard structure that can apply to many, some fields require a certain standard of listing. If you are unsure what standard your particular field or situation requires, you should consult your academic advisor.

When you are applying for an academic position, you will be asked for a CV, a Dissertation Abstract, a Statement of Research Interests, and a Statement of Teaching Interests.

All of the documents must be clear, and well-organized to catch attention and make the committee want to interview you.

Application Information

The application should include your name at the top of each page. The first page should include your name, address, phone number, fax number, and email address. The page numbers should appear on all document pages except the first. When you include your email address, make sure you use an email address that is professional. They do not want to see “nick names” or “cute” auto responses. Make sure to take this tip into account when you record your voicemail message.


Your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. It should list all of your degrees from college on, with the name of the college they were awarded from. You should also list the date you expect to receive the degree you are currently working on.

Also, it is standard to list the name of your advisor and the title to your thesis.

Honors and Awards

The honors/awards section should be near the top of your CV. This is standard unless you have very few, then you can put them later in the document, or omit them all together. This is a great place to list research-related and dissertation-supported grants, fellowships, awards and patents.

For scientists, they should include a section for “Research Grants” this will be placed later in the CV.

Research Experience

Scientists will need to briefly describe their postdoctoral, doctoral, and possibly undergraduate research. They should include both substance and techniques that were employed, if relevant. There should be a listing of the institution names, professor, project, and dates. Included should be descriptions and notes to any contribution they made.

Teaching Experience

The location of this section depends on the target institution, as well as the strengths you have as a candidate. The basic information should include: what, where, when you have taught, titles, and whether you were a teaching fellow or lecturer.

Publications and Presentations

The location of this section depends greatly on your strengths and the strength of the publication record. If the amount of publications you have are strong, you may want to put it first. If you have a lot of information to include, you may want to include sub categories.

Many times, the subcategories are publications and papers and presentations.

Publications: If you have enough, you can separate these into books, abstracts, reviews, and other publications. These should be listed in standard bibliographic form.

Papers and Presentations: This should include dates/ locations with the titles of your presentations.

Do not list abstracts with papers. They should always be listed to avoid the section appearing as though it is padded.

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