This question is similar to the following question:

Is it a good or bad idea to list declined fellowships (for a PhD program) on one's curriculum vitae?

Whereas that question focuses on fellowships for a grad program, I am asking about including other competitive fellowships and/or grants — those awarded after acceptance to a PhD program — in the CV.

Examples of these awards could include:

  • Travel grants
  • Research fellowships (e.g. NESSF, NSF, Early Career)
  • Research grants

Many will wonder why somebody might decline these awards after being nominated or applying for them. Possibilities could include schedule conflicts, conflicts of interest, and more. (This question is agnostic to the reasons for declining the award, though a follow-up question could be to ask when one should explain why the award was declined on one's CV....)

  • 1
    I think this is too individualized to have a general answer. It would depend on the grant, the circumstances. You might want to list some but not others. You might want to list an individual one for some purposes but not others. It would take analysis.
    – Buffy
    Dec 31, 2018 at 20:45

2 Answers 2


This depends largely on (like what Buffy commented) the circumstances and the grant. In my opinion, the circumstances may include where you are in your career. I see graduate students state declined fellowships on their CV relatively often, but I rarely see it on the CVs of professors who usually have enough (and usually more impressive) things on their CV.

But in terms of the grants, consider this example of the two of the most prestigious general graduate fellowships: the NSF GRP and the Ford Fellowship. Both offer honorable mentions. It's pretty common to see graduate students state on their CVs that they got an honorable mention. However, suppose that a student received both the NSF GRP and Ford Fellowship in the same year. Because the Ford Fellowship prohibits one from having additional fellowships simultaneously, the student decides to decline the Ford Fellowship and accept the NSF GRP and reap the benefits of a much higher annual stipend as well. Should this student not state on their CV that they were accepted for the Ford Fellowship? What about a student who got the NSF GRP but only an honorable mention for the Ford Fellowship? Should this student be able to list both awards on their CV? It doesn't make sense (in my opinion) that the prior student should not be able to list the declined Ford Fellowship while the latter student should be able to list an honorable mention for the Ford Fellowship when an acceptance is clearly better than an honorable mention (discounting all the minority statuses that Ford takes into consideration).

However, that example was for two very prestigious fellowships. For minor grants/awards like travel grants, listing declined grants can be seen as 'padding the CV' since many travel grants/awards can be based on lottery rather than merit.

To sum it up, if the fellowship or grant is very prestigious, I see no reason as to why you shouldn't have a declined offer on your CV. However, if the fellowship or grant is minor or small, and your CV is already riddled with other awards or grants, then consider how it may be padding your CV with relatively trivial things that distract the reader from the more important fellowships/awards/grants. It's similar to why graduate students should consider deleting their undergraduate research symposium poster presentations from their CV as they progress in their academic career...

  • +1 In my field (CS), I would not list travel grants at all. They are essentially a lottery, what's the point of listing the fact that you were lucky?
    – Spark
    Jan 2, 2019 at 1:15

If you got too scholarships or grants or the like and accepted one, I would list them both (or whatever the number is) and just put in parentheses that you declined it. Make it clear that YOU declined it, presumably from taking the best one. It looks good that you got several prizes.

Of course, I would not list awards or jobs that you did not earn (honorable mention is fine, still an achievement).

Make it clear the difference (that you rejected something) as it was not 100% clear from your question.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .