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I already have an MSc from outside the EU. But, I also have an incomplete CS degree from Poland which I dropped out of.

Polish Ph.D. schools ask for a CV, not "all the transcript from all the attended programs" as they ask in North America.

Therefore, can I skip the information regarding my incomplete degree program(s)?

What is the regulation on this in Poland?

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  • It depends. If they are asking in the requisite "in possession of Master degree or equivalent" you still need to prove you have such a title. If they ask as a requisite "close to obtaining Master degree or similar" you have to explain why you are close to obtaining a master degree or similar.
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 19, 2022 at 12:50
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    Europe is a continent, not a country, laws vary a lot.
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 19, 2022 at 12:53
  • you are asking about law: therefore it is a good idea to ask explicitly about german and austrian law. In general: your CV will present what you did and it is the window you provide others to see your professional life. What do you want to show? Why? those are personal answers, beyond law: keep in mind that in your CV you may even decide to write down criminal experiences, which depending on the country you are based may as well be something like "working for the local minority political party" ...
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 19, 2022 at 14:00
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    Austria is a neighbor of Poland? Did I miss something?
    – user151413
    Apr 22, 2022 at 19:34
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    @BryanKrause From that point of view, pretty much all european countries are neighbors. Also removes the need to learn any geography :)
    – user151413
    Apr 23, 2022 at 16:15

2 Answers 2

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I think there are many ways to approach this particular situation.

Firstly, I don't necessarily think that the fact that you dropped out of a degree program will be perceive negatively. Personally I always feel most confident about applications when I feel like I have been completely open about my experiences and skills. There is likely a very good reason why you dropped out of your degree program that will not reflect poorly upon you, especially considering you have already attained an MSc degree which demonstrates you are intelligent and capable of completing projects and meeting deadlines. I also think that including the fact that you withdrew from a degree program could be seen positively. First of all, you likely gained valuable experience during that year, both professionally and in an educational sense. Even though you many not have completed the program you still gained a years worth of knowledge. Additionally, the fact that you withdrew from the program indicates that you either: 1) recognized that program was not a good fit for your interests or skillset; or 2) recognized that you didn't have the time, resources, etc... to fully commit to the degree at that point. I think both of these situations reflect positively on you as someone who can make good decisions and adapt to changing circumstances. I would recommend including the information about the degree program in you CV. You could write something like:

Computer Science Program

University of ???

(1 year - 2019-2020)

In this way you clearly state the dates you were part of this program and do not state that you completed a full degree. This is an excellent way to showcase that you have some CS skills and be honest about your educational background. If the committee is interested in why you left the program you can always provide more information later but I doubt it will come up as a red flag during your CV review and will likely look better than you having a year missing from your CV history.

If you really don't want to include the information about the CS program on your CV I don't think it is unethical to exclude it from your CV as long as they do not specify anywhere on the application posting that you must include all educational institutions attended. If the CS degree is completely irrelevant to the work you are planning to do now it is acceptable to remove that information from your CV. Often times people will pursue unrelated education and career paths for a few years that are not relevant to include on a CV for their new chosen profession. For example, if you worked in tourism for several years but now work as a biologist is is likely not relevant to include work and education experiences from tourism related past experiences. It would be advisable to remove those unrelated experiences from your CV. If you feel the year in the CS degree program is completely irrelevant to your current application I believe it is perfectly acceptable to remove it from your CV. However, if this leaves a gap in your CV the admissions committee may ask about the year gap and you can simply explain that you pursued a unrelated CS degree during that time.

I hope this is helpful. Personally I wouldn't worry too much about excluding the CS degree, I think this is a useful skill even though you didn't complete the entire program but either way I doubt it will be a big issue for the admissions committee.

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If you are ever unsure about anything you need to share, I highly recommend reaching out to the admissions people or the professor you are applying to work with themselves, it is better to ask "too many" questions than get in trouble for accidental academic fraud!

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