In a CV for graduate school application, should one use plural or singular for the section titles? My main confusions are at

  1. Research Experience or Research Experiences
  2. Publication or Publications (more than one paper listed)
  3. Education or Educations (two universities listed)
  4. Honor & Award or Honors & Awards (more than one award listed)
  • 4
    I think this is just a grammar question. Make the concrete nouns (2 & 4)plural, the abstract ones (1 & 3) singular. Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 8:58
  • 3
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about standard English grammar, not Academia Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


There is no general answer, I'll answer for the specific cases:

  1. Research Experience (singular)

  2. Publications (plural), or "List of Publications"

  3. Education (singular). A better term is "Academic Record" IMO.

  4. Honors and Awards (plural)

In points 2 and 4, going for plural makes sense because there is more than one publication and more than one award involved. In pt. 3 there may be more than 1 institution involved, but it doesn't say "institutions", it says "education", which means sum total of everything you obtained by going in these institutions. In point no. 1 also, the phrase "research experience" talks about all the research you have done in your academic career. "Experiences" would refer to the experiences you had during the course of your research. That's not what they are asking for!

Hope that helps :)

  • 6
    But there is a general answer. "Experience" and "education" are non-countable nouns, so they appear in the singular; "publication", "honor" and "award" are countable nouns so they appear in the plural, since you are likely to have more than one of them. (I suppose there's still a question as to whether you should title the section "Publications" even if you only have one publication, which is quite likely for an undergrad.) Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 11:53
  • @DavidRicherby - OP made it clear there are more than 1 publications listed, so I went for a plural. Besides this is EXACTLY why I said a general answer is not possible - in absolute generality, you can't say whether "one should use plural or singular for the section titles", because in general you don't know whether there is one item involved or more. English does differentiate between countable nouns when there is an issue of plurality involved. So, there is no general definite answer that can be taken as the standard and used for all cases. Anyways, thanks for your comment :)
    – 299792458
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 13:07
  • 1
    Huh? You can give a general answer that is conditional. For example, "Always 'Education', not 'Educations'; if you have more than one publication, 'Publications' and, otherwise, either 'Publication' or 'Publications'." The only question is whether one should advise the use of the singular "Publication" if there's only one publication. I think it doesn't matter, since "Publications" is the normal title but "Publication" is accurate, so either can be used without being misleading. Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 13:29
  • @DavidRicherby - "Huh?" This discussion looks like an overkill to me. You are free to post another answer. I'll be happy to upvote.
    – 299792458
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 14:56

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