In an academic CV, how much information do you put in the education field for each degree (assume the person is a post-grad/early career)?

Option 1: Degree, Specialization, Department, University, Year, Advisor, Thesis

Ph. D. in Foo science (2012)
Some Named School of Science, University of Bar,
Thesis: Qux control in Baz networks
Advisor: J. Q. Public

Option 2: Degree, Specialization, Department, University, Year

Ph. D. in Foo science (2012)
Some Named School of Science, University of Bar

Option 3: Degree, Specialization, University, Year

Ph. D. in Foo Engineering, University of Bar (2012)

Option 4: Degree, University, Year

Ph. D., University of Bar (2012)

I've often seen options 1 or 2 and in some cases, where there is a bigger body of work (publications, grants, etc.) to speak for the person than their degree, I've seen option 3. Option 4 is rarer, but one common trait among those that I've seen it with is that they are now working in a field different from what they did their PhD in and do not wish to bring attention to that (lest it hurt any chances). For example, a PhD in Physics now working in Computational Biology. I think CGPAs are pretty silly when it comes to research positions, but I'm not sure if I'm the only one.

However, I don't know what the expectations of the person seeing my CV are. I don't mean random visitors to my website or corporate HRs, but other academics who might be interested in working with me. Granted, if they're an academic, they'll probably focus on my publications more, but there's also something that's expected from a CV.

  • 2
    I use 1. for academic CV and 2. for non-academic Resume, see migdal.wikidot.com/en:cv. However, as a PhD student, I don't know what is exactly expected. Dec 22, 2012 at 20:37
  • 1
    do not wish to bring attention to that (lest it hurt any chances) — Weird. I'd expect having a degree outside your current research area to help, not hurt. (I've served on CS faculty hiring committees for years, and my current CS department head does not have a CS degree.)
    – JeffE
    Dec 22, 2012 at 23:25
  • @JeffE In most places, CS as a department was established only in the 80s and later, and a good number of the older folks in CS probably have degrees in EE or Math (perhaps Physics). Besides, these areas have a decent overlap with CS (depending on the sub-specialization). However, for older disciplines such as ME/ChemE/EE, the requirements are a lot more rigorous. For instance, I know someone who did his Bachelors in ChemE., Masters in BioEng., and finally, a Doctorate in EE! Don't ask me how that happened, but it did, and he sometimes suppresses the Chem/BioE part of his academic background.
    – user4417
    Dec 24, 2012 at 18:35
  • ...the requirements are a lot more rigorous. — Them's fightin' words.
    – JeffE
    Dec 24, 2012 at 18:36
  • @JeffE Rather than "rigorous", I should've said "the requirements are a lot more traditional" i.e., they don't simply go by your body of work and pay unnecessary weight to the title of the degree. I didn't mean to imply that CS/other departments have less rigorous requirements :)
    – user4417
    Dec 24, 2012 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


I would agree that option 1 is the most likely option for someone who is just coming out of graduate school, and is looking to continue in the same field for a while.

The department should be listed when relevant—that is, if the program in which the degree is awarded is different from the specialization in some where. For instance, if your PhD is in engineering, but the department conferring it is materials science, you should say something like number 2, rather than number 3.

I don't think there are many instances in which number 4 is very useful, because it looks like you're hiding what you did for a PhD. There are very few circumstances I can think of where this would work—except if the job call specifically required a degree from a particular subset of disciplines, to which you don't belong. But then something will probably come to light from the letters of recommendation, or from some other part of the application.

So, I'd stick with options 1 or 2, for the reasons I've outlined above.


First of all, I would never use option 4 since the most important information (subject!) is missing and in my opinion it is more important than the school or the year.

To answer your question: Maybe a combination of the option 1-3 would be appropriate in such a sense that the latest degree is used with option 1 and the oldest degree is used with option 2 or 3.

For example: If you have a PhD and a Master degree in some subject, no one is interested in the name of your Bachelor Thesis or your advisor. People then are normally interested only if you did your Bachelor in the same subject and maybe in which year.

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