Currently, I am a PhD student on paper. However, I would love to apply for a PhD program abroad. I do not intend to finish my current PhD. I am doing nothing for it. I am just a student. However, I have been striving to find a PhD program abroad and become acceptable (money issues, language skills etc.) for a long time. My goals are concrete about my academic development and I feel I am highly motivated. I would love to complete my studies in a more respected university and experience a new academic environment. My current supervisor and former supervisor from MA fully support my decision and intention. In case of getting a certification of acceptance from a new program abroad, I will definitely leave the current program. I have to do that. So, how should I mention or imply on my CV that I will leave my current PhD in case acceptance for a new one?

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    Are you a "student on paper" in the sense of that you do literally nothing for the study and are only enrolled because of student discounts etc.? If so, I don't think you need to mention it on the CV (may depend on the country!)
    – user111388
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 16:59
  • yes, something like that. Being a student has been advantageous for me. However, I had to enroll in the current program in my country. It is because I did not have enough language requirements and personal savings. On the one hand, I feel moral responsibility towards that in myself. On the other hand, I feel worried as if it will be a huge problem. Will it be like hiding something? Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 17:10
  • If you are really talking about a CV (as in "a selection of the best things I did" or "the important things of my life", I don't think you hide anything (especially if you did something useful in that time). If somebody really wants a list of "all university proframms you were ever enrolled" or if you did something like writing a paper etc I think you would hide something.
    – user111388
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 17:17
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    If you are currently a PhD student and apply for another PhD position, the application by itself indicates that you will leave your current position if you get accepted. You don't need to mention this. However, you need to explain in your cover letter why you wish to change positions.
    – user9482
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 11:47
  • What if a university does not ask a cover letter? I just try to find a statement that does not invite questions. Could I ask what the statement "not in progress" would imply when I list a PhD program, which is never intended to complete, on the CV? Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


Your CV is not the right place to mention this. Instead, you should write a brief explanation near the beginning of your personal statement or cover letter which explains your reasons for applying to a new PhD. I would advise that you think carefully about how you explain your motivations. If you sound like an uncommitted student (even if that is down to your environment rather than yourself), a new supervisor or department are unlikely to want to take you on.

Make sure that your CV is an honest record of your past employment and education. You should not omit your current position as a PhD student, even if you aren't really working for it.

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    Actually, I doubt that it needs to be mentioned at all. It would be obvious to anyone, I think, that if you want to join a program you won't continue in other similar programs. But, yes, the CV is not the place for this. And also yes, don't seem uncommitted to your studies or your field.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 13:08
  • I have reference letters and the professors writing them support my decision. I guess the letters would show my determination and commitment somehow, right? I just try to find a statement that does not raise questions, even if when I apply to individual PhD programs without funding. For example,what would the statement "not in progress" would imply when I list a PhD program, which is never intended to complete, on the CV? I think to back up my applications with reference letters for individual programs. As I said, I just need a formal and clear statement on CV briefly reflecting my situation. Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 16:13

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