I am writing a cover letter to apply for a paid PhD position. I was thinking if I should include the experience of doing my master's dissertation. The methodology is very similar to that of the project, but the problem is I did a mediocre job in the dissertation (got a C, meaning "Good"). I am ashamed by the grade and was thinking for this highly competitive position, a "good" job might be kind of bad.. Should I include it in the cover letter or just leave it and highlight my other experiences (which are not quite research-related)?

  • @NateEldredge "relevant" sorry for the typo Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 6:36
  • Goid question!!!!
    – user111388
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 17:36

1 Answer 1


This may depend somewhat on your country and your discipline, but in general a PhD is a research degree. Research experience is the absolute most important and relevant experience. Any research experience at all is better than none. You should mention it.

  • Thank you for the response. I think you are right about this. I am asked to include my transcripts anyway, hiding it might seem suspicious. It could also be a good idea to explain what I've gained throughout the process other than the grade. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 14:47
  • This reminds me of a quote from a Scott Adams book: "Mathematically speaking, in the long run you are much better off doing a lousy job at something that looks good on a resume as opposed to doing a superb job at something that sounds dull."
    – zmike
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 0:00

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