Recently, I stumbled over a CV in which the corresponding author included in the category of prizes and grants also Phd positions (with scholarship) which he/she was offered but declined. I never have seen it before. Of course, selection by the official committee of a PhD position together with a grant is of course an achievement, especilly if one is talented enough the get several positions. However, should one put in the CV? In the end, they have been declined, so one didn't benefit from the grant. What is the general philosphy on that? Is this a common thing?


3 Answers 3


It is perfectly fine. You were awarded the scholarship (presumably in a competitive process), whether you accept it or not.

Where someone has to be careful is in drawing a line between the worthwhile and the trivial. It looks like padding or boasting if every single scholarship - however small, accepted or not - is listed, especially of some of these are automatic. It can of course be difficult to check if a specific scholarship is competitive so a wise course of action is to list major scholarships or other awards and honours received, for which it is not so hard to find details confirming that the awarding of such honour is indeed something prestigious.

It also depends on the specific situation. It makes no sense for a senior professor to include small undergraduate scholarships in a grant application, but it could be valuable for an undergraduate seeking a graduate position.


I think the general philosophy is that what you put in the CV is up to you. And how it is evaluated is up to the reader. Such a statement is unlikely to carry much weight for obtaining a different position, I'd guess. But each reader makes their own determination.

I doubt that it is especially common, but might be more so for someone at the start of their career without much else to say.

I doubt that most people would even think to do it, but who can say for sure.

  • At later stage in their career (postdoc) some people put in fellowships/grants won that they refused. Which is somewhat reasonable, but probably in most cases makes not much difference.
    – spin
    Mar 25, 2023 at 15:19

It depends a bit on the type of the position you have declined (as ZeroTheHero mentioned before). Especially when you applied for (multiple) high-ranking fellowships and declined one or some of them, I would personally highly recommend to put it into your CV. After the all, the job market in science is tough and everybody has to show everything they've got. Some fellowships will even award you a certificate, independently whether you accept the position or not - exactly for this reason! It shows you were successful in an evaluation process before. But do not put trivial positions you declined in your CV and do not apply for positions for this purpose, if you know that you will not accept them. This would shed a very bad light on you.

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