I have 4 years' work experience as a software developer (industrial); then I moved to academia and completed one year of PhD study, with one publication. I want to quit my PhD and go back again to Industries because of lack of interest in the present topic. It is quite different to my previous research and work experience. I made a big mistake entering into this area. I am bit confused how to mention this (one year of PhD) gap in CV. Do you think is it good to put in CV or Just leave it as gap?

It would be great help and appreciate your valuable suggestions

  • 1
    Hello in Academia.SE! Please, do you speak about US (mixed masters with phd) or Europe (PhD after masters) or another part of the world/another system? Knowing your location and the degree of your previous studies could change the answer.
    – yo'
    Sep 7, 2015 at 6:51
  • I did Masters degree after that I worked for 4 years. I am doing doing PhD now.
    – peter
    Sep 8, 2015 at 8:22

2 Answers 2


You can just mention that you quit PhD. You already has research result and people in industry will not care much, especially when you already had 4 years experience.

You can also list your PhD experience as Research Assistant. A PhD student is definitely a Research Assistant, but a Research Assistant may not pursue a PhD degree.

In many universities, including Imperial College London, Research Assistants are people in the research group, who do not hold a PhD degree, and do not pursue a PhD in the university either. However, they often have significantly higher salary than PhD students (and significantly lower than postdoc/Research Associate).

However, are you sure you really want to quit?

  • In some parts of the world, a PhD student calling himself a "research assistant" would be considered wrong, since a research assistant is an employee (hired through a hiring competition), while a PhD student is a student on a scholarship (obtained by being admitted in the study programme). So one should be careful!
    – yo'
    Sep 7, 2015 at 6:53

Women who take some time off for family matters deal with gaps in the CV all the time -- it's not a big deal. In those cases, I recommend acknowledging the gap in the cover letter. I don't think that's necessary in your case.

In your CV, report the academic year under Education (two semesters of graduate study in [field] at [institution]). If the reader chooses to interpret this as meaning that you planned all along to spend exactly two semesters to get some theoretical underpinnings, what harm is done?

If an interviewer asks you why you didn't continue and get a Masters or PhD, you may tell a small white lie:

The computer science courses were interesting, but I'm really looking forward to getting back into industrial software development, because that's what I like best. For example, (and then talk enthusiastically about some work project that was rewarding and that came out great.)


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