I'm currently a first-year PhD student in the US (in the middle of the first semester). However, I'm not satisfied with the program here and want to re-apply to other programs. While doing that, can I simply exclude the current PhD program in my CV? Will it be a serious problem of credit? (I have not had any course grade, nor am I asking for recommendation letters from any professors here)

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    How would you explain and discuss your activities during the period from starting the old PhD to an interview without talking about the PhD? Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 11:05
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    Please don't vandalize your question! We like to leave it up for other people to see too. Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


can I simply exclude the current PhD program in my CV?

No. Well, you shouldn't.

Listing your previous education and employment is a standard part of an application for a higher degree.

The fact that you are currently enrolled in a PhD program is certainly information you would be reasonably expected to disclose, and not doing so will look dishonest if this is discovered later.

Keep in mind that it is not just an application form you have to worry about, but subsequent interviews, discussions with potential supervisors, etc. Almost certainly, you will have to reveal this information to have honest conversations with people. So either they will find out the information later, making it look like your application was dishonest (bad), or you will have to be repeatedly, systematically deceptive in how you portray your current situation (also bad).

Just don't do it. Have your application honestly make the case of why you want to switch schools.

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    +1 Moreover, OP needs to explain in their application (and in interviews) why they are leaving their existing PhD program. Without disparaging the existing program. It’s not enough to merely admit that the existing program exists.
    – JeffE
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 13:45
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    Lying about one’s prior academic record—such as omitting the fact that one is already enrolled in a program—is usually sufficient grounds to revoke admission or enrollment at many schools.
    – aeismail
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 17:57
  • Thanks! A follow-up question: should I tell my current advisor about the application NOW or AFTER ADMISSION? It seems that I should be honest, but if I tell him now and fail to get admitted to other programs later, I may end up with "unemployment"...
    – Bill Duer
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 5:30
  • @BillDuer I suggest asking that as a new question (after first checking that it hasn't already been addressed here previously).
    – user24098
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 12:29

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