As an undergraduate, I joined the Honor's Program, and completed the program by conducting original research and writing an Honor's Thesis. That Honor's Thesis has since been printed and shelved in the library. I never included it as "published" in my CV because I didn't think that it legitimately counted as a published document. However, I have been informed that professors and students and the local public have been checking out my Honor's Thesis over the last several years. In fact, I checked the university's library database and someone does indeed have it checked out for six months. But this work is still not considered officially published? Or is it? How do I list it on my CV?

  • I don't list my PhD thesis on my CV, much less my undergraduate thesis. – Jon Custer Sep 10 '16 at 19:23
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    There isn't really a universal "official" definition of the word "published", so I would just avoid using that word on your CV. You can certainly list it on your CV, but keep it separate from work that has been peer-reviewed. The fact that people have checked it out has no bearing on this question one way or the other. – Nate Eldredge Sep 10 '16 at 19:29
  • Include it in the 'Education' section, under your degree together with the name of your advisor; you may also add a 'Theses' section (for your Masters and PhD theses too). – user60569 Sep 10 '16 at 19:33
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    What stage are you at now? It isn't peer reviewed exactly, which is the main distinction of interest. Whether it is still important enough to include somewhere would depend on what the CV is for. – Jessica B Sep 10 '16 at 19:34

Any work that has been made publicly accessible in an archival manner can safely be considered published (along with some that are a bit more tenuous). That includes all manner of theses, whether or not anybody is actually reading or citing them. Thus, you should definitely list it in your CV as part of your publications.

In a typical academic CV, however, publications are separated into different categories. How many categories depends on the particulars of one's field and record, but it typically at least divides into peer-reviewed (e.g., journal articles) and non-peer-reviewed (e.g., your thesis). I would further recommend having a specific category for large non-peer-reviewed works like your thesis (on my own CV, it's "Book Chapters and Theses"), to distinguish them from smaller tech reports, abstracts, and the like.

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  • A thesis is typically reviewed by the committee. In spite of the fact that this process is not blind, it makes me wonder whether it is correct to state that a thesis is not peer reviewed. – Danny Ruijters Sep 11 '16 at 3:49
  • @DannyRuijters While the committee does review the thesis, their role (particularly the advisor) is more like that of co-authors than independent peer reviewers. They have a clear conflict of interest and are thus not considered effectively independent. – jakebeal Sep 11 '16 at 4:24
  • I agree about the advisor, but wonder whether the same can be said about the rest of the committee. I understand that there is a narrow definition of peer review as applied to journals and conferences, but doubt whether the statement that theses are not peer reviewed is true in the strict sense. – Danny Ruijters Sep 11 '16 at 4:48
  • @DannyRuijters I don't think the strictest sense is relevant: I think that what is relevant is that people typically expect theses to be in a different part of the CV than journal articles because the review processes are so different. – jakebeal Sep 11 '16 at 5:11
  • @DannyRuijters there's no requirement for peer review to be blinded - many journals operate open peer review. – rhialto Sep 11 '16 at 9:13

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