I am currently enrolled as a graduate student and am working towards my PhD. I need to update my CV and was wondering how others reported ongoing graduate study when the completion date was uncertain. That is, I know that I'll be graduating in, say, 2019 +/-3 years, and therefore can't honestly list my graduate work as, say,

XYZ University, PhD, (Expected 2019)

Would something like:

XYZ University, Graduate Study, (2014-).

be clear enough? I think that most people in my field will correctly assume that this is graduate study towards a PhD. However, it is probably not ideal to rely on assumptions. Another idea is:

XYZ University, PhD, (2014-).

But I think it could be read as though the degree is practically complete, which might come off as a bit presumptuous. What about replacing "PhD" with "PhD (in progress)". This seems to fix the "presumptuous" question but also seems less clean.

To be clear, I'm more concerned about the phrasing than the formatting of line. (Although I recognize that certain formatting styles may convey the proper message more effectively.) Any thoughts or additional ideas appreciated.

3 Answers 3


I would recommend a slightly different phrasing, to explicitly stating the start and expected duration of your program:

XYZ University, PhD, (2014 - 2019 [anticipated])

This conveys clearly the important information of how far along you are in your doctoral studies. Most people know that there can be a great deal of variation in the completion of a Ph.D., and nobody expects that you can predict the future, so if you later shift the date forward or back, it should not be taken amiss by anyone reading the C.V.


I would write something like:

XYZ University, PhD, 2015 - present

I am not sure that the expected graduation date conveys any information since such plans are inherently subject to variations. Moreover the length of a PhD can be both country and institution dependent, hence to check of you're actually "on time" one would have to cross-reference your expected date with these two parameters. Franky I doubt that whoever reads your CV will actually compute this operation.

On the other hand the starting date is fundamental because it gives an exact measure of how long you've been enrolled in the program, and this calculation is quite trivial.


...can't honestly list my graduate work as, say,

XYZ University, PhD, (Expected 2019)

Sure you can. There's a certain typical length of a PhD program in your field; you take your starting date, add that length of time, and that's your expected completion date. Or if you have other information that allows you to refine your expectations about your own completion date, you can take that into account and list a different year.

It's given as "expected" precisely because you don't know if you'll actually be completed at that time.

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