I am currently looking to apply for a PhD program in physics. I was wondering what sort of information I should include on my CV/how it should be formatted?

Given that the PhD is a research degree, I thought I should highlight research experience? I am currently working on a paper from a summer internship that will shortly be submitted for peer review. How do I draw attention to this? My Master's research project is still ongoing - how do I mention this at such at early stage in the project?

Any tips at all will be very helpful.


  • Will the paper be submitted by the time you apply?
    – user38309
    Oct 14, 2015 at 21:38
  • Yes it should be
    – Tom
    Oct 15, 2015 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


Academic CVs vary quite a bit from a traditional CV in ways that will help you illuminate your research experience. While there are plenty of (conflicting) guidelines about how to structure or format an academic CV, the following sections are generally included (if you are at the stage of your career that they are relevant), not necessarily in the order below:

  • Basic demographic information (name, contact address, possibly birthdate and marital status and photograph, depending on the country)
  • Brief statement of your research area/interests/objectives
  • Degrees obtained/in-progress (institution, supervisor, thesis title, GPA)
  • Academia-relevant jobs (e.g., research assistantships, teaching assistantships, tenure-track appointments)
  • Publications (especially in the case of junior researchers, also papers that are under review/in submission)
  • Awards or honors or grants
  • Teaching experience (including in labs, if you are a junior researcher)
  • Supervisory experience (if you have helped co-supervise other students)
  • Service (reviewing duties, committees on which you've served, organization of workshops/conferences, editorial work)
  • Research project experience (where you can outline work that you have done in a research lab)
  • Presentations and seminars (especially if you have been to any conferences or workshops)
  • International network (if it is important to show that you have international collaborators)
  • References (presumably your previous supervisors)

In your case, specifically, the fact that you will have submitted the paper is quite important, because at that stage you can list it as a paper (under review) on your CV.

Regarding your masters thesis, you can indicate a working title for your thesis when you list your Masters under your education. This implies research experience and the area in which the experience has been acquired. You can furthermore describe under your research project experience what skills/roles you have had in the lab in which you have conducted your Masters research. (You can also indicate here your summer internship, since it sounds like it was research-focused.)

Furthermore, you can highlight the especially salient points again in your cover letter, especially if there are elements of your Masters experience that relate to the specific PhD programme to which you are applying.


Because your master thesis still going on, a CV might not be the big issue here. May I suggest a different approach?

Your best shot is to do well in your thesis, and get a good recommendation letter from your supervisor. I would suggest to talk about this with your supervisor, and ask him/her what he/she suggests. Perhaps, by now he/she has good understanding of you and your abilities and based on his/her relations, he/she can suggest you where and to which supervisor to apply for a position.

  • 1
    But it might be a nice break from the usual endeavors to work on the CV for an hour or so from time to time. It's not a big time commitment; it breaks up the day; it will be so much easier to write the CV later when you really need it if you've got the previous one to build on. Oct 17, 2015 at 2:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .