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I'm applying to a Ph.D. program (in the field of robotics) and I have a hard time to fill the personal interests. I initially was going to avoid that section but then I got convinced that it's not a bad idea to have it. But I digress...

One of my hobbies is reading* about science, mostly in mathematics, [astro]physics and science in general. The problem is, I don't know how to write this in a clear, honest and concise fashion. I don't want to simply write "reading" because I don't want to be that generic applicant! Also I want it to be clear that this reading is not related to my professional field. And last but not least, I don't want it to sound fake!


*also watching or listening. Sometimes I also code for fun, generally speaking I fool around the science.

  • I hope this is not "too localized". If it is please let me know so I can make it a bit more general... – Pouya Mar 5 '14 at 10:49
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    I would say something like "In my spare time I enjoy learning about foo, particularly bar because I am highly interested in quux". If you are specific enough you won't be that generic applicant. – Marc Claesen Mar 5 '14 at 11:09
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    I'd note that expressing an interest in outside hobbies when you want to become involved in academia can work against you in some cases. It shouldn't (IMO), but it does. – David Z Mar 5 '14 at 17:23
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    There is absolutely no need to put this information on an academic CV. CV should just have a list of your professional accomplishments and relevant skills...what's the point of putting down your hobby? I think that will bring nothing positive. – socialsciencedoc Mar 6 '14 at 2:35
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Just don't.

As an applicant to a scientific PhD program, if you weren't doing a lot of scientific reading, that would just be weird.

Thinking it's something special to be reading scientific literature every day, is a small warning sign in itself.

And the interests section is there to indicate some kind of balanced personality and the existence of a life away from narrow study.

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    I don't want well rounded individuals as grad students. I want people who are singlemindedly obsessed with their field of study. – Jeremy Miles May 2 '14 at 19:47
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    @JeremyMiles Were you being facetious or sincere? I genuinely can't tell, and I'd like to know which is the case since I'm planning on going for a PhD within the next year myself. – G. Bach Jul 10 '14 at 16:45
  • @G.Bach - I was being (fairly) sincere. I'm not sure everyone agrees with me though. – Jeremy Miles Jul 10 '14 at 22:03
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I believe mentioning that is irrelevant to the contents of a resume. But if you really want to mention it, do so in the hobbies section:

  • reading science digests every morning
  • used to reading scientific papers
  • used to reading peer-reviewed publications
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    ...and then delete the hobbies section. – JeffE Apr 26 '14 at 20:43

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