Is including the manuscript of a rejected paper (without claiming that it has been published or mentioning any rejections) as a supporting document in my application ethical / would it in any way increase my chances of admission?

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    Why was your manuscript rejected?
    – Allure
    Feb 24, 2019 at 6:16
  • I was volunteering with a professor (in a different department at the same school) so I'm not the primary author. The manuscript was rejected for methodology concerns. My point of including it is to show my aptitude for research. Feb 24, 2019 at 6:27
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    @WantsToLearn The reason for rejection matters. If it was rejected for being fatally flawed, then probably it's best not to mention it. If it was rejected due to lack of enthusiasm or something more subjective like that, then I would include it.
    – Thomas
    Feb 24, 2019 at 19:17

4 Answers 4


I would recommend putting it in your cv as a Manuscript in Preparation section where you list authors, title only. If you don’t do that, it’s something to bring up very briefly as either a bullet point of writing a resume, or in the cover letter. You may wish to spin this as “motivated to disseminate research” rather than to prove your aptitude for research, since publishing and doing research aren’t synonymous. Good luck


No. Don't include copies of papers (published, in press, or rejected). That's TMI.

Just list research done as a bullet point on your CV or discuss in your cover letter or essay.

And I would be a little more positive. Say publication TBD.*

*Maybe they figure out how to clean it up and get something published. [And don't get into a discussion of "it was rejected, but I done good". Don't meander into details like that.]

  • “I done good” please use English like what she should be spoke....
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 24, 2019 at 6:53
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    What are TMI and TBD?
    – Pedro A
    Feb 24, 2019 at 16:01
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    TMI: Too much information (informal language). TBD: to be done (common abbreviation).
    – allo
    Mar 26, 2019 at 10:42

If this is an application for an MS in the US, it's probably not expected that you will have published papers.

Depending on circumstances, it might be worth mentioning that you participated in research. (For example, if you did computer coding or statistical analysis for a project in biology and your application is for a CS or statistics MS. In that case, maybe briefly mention computer language/methods or statistical methods--without going into details about the work not being finished.)

  • My issue is that my UG GPA is rather embarrassing, so I'm trying anything that would improve my chances of admission. Feb 24, 2019 at 9:35
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    Always best to ask your 'real' question first. Overall GPA may not be as important as GPA in major and other courses directly relevant to MS program. (But some MS programs have absolute minimums for overall GPA, which you might be able to discover in advance, saving useless applications.) Can you get an enthusiastic letter of recommendation from the prof with whom you collaborated on the unfinished research? And maybe someone in your field who believes you show promise for MS work?
    – BruceET
    Feb 24, 2019 at 16:56

Make the manuscript publicly available (e.g., in a technical report repository or on your personal website) and list it on your CV. There's no need to includ[e] the manuscript...as a supporting document, since it'll be publicly available.

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