What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

A curriculum vitae (Latin for “the course of one’s life”), or CV, is a comprehensive statement of your
educational background, teaching and research experience, and other academic qualifications and
activities.  In academia, the CV is the foundation of any application for employment, funding,
awards, fellowships, or grants.


What is the Difference Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae?

What is on a CV?

Research Experience

This category can include a dissertation and possibly undergraduate and internship research. Typically, you can describe your project(s) and list the affiliated lab and/or professor.

Teaching Experience

Include all full-time, part-time, and adjunct teaching experience. For each position, list your title, the dates of employment (or semester and year), and the name (not the mnemonic) of each course you taught. Include a brief description of your responsibilities and the size of the course. Since job titles vary from one university to another, you need to tell the employer something about your level of involvement in the course design, preparation of materials, weekly instruction, and grading.

Research Interests/Teaching Interests/Competencies

In Some fields, it is effective to list your current research and/or teaching interests. When listing your teaching interests or competencies, be sure to list general as well as specialized categories so that employers know you are capable and willing to teach the undergraduate and general education requirements offered in their departments. This is especially important for junior scholars who may not have yet had the opportunity to teach all areas of their expertise.

Professional Training/Related Work Experiences

List any special profession training you received in your department or through a professional organization in this section. Such training may include special courses on pedagogy or teaching techniques, professional seminars, or technical training completed in addition to your regular coursework. If you have non-academic work experience that is relevant to your application, list and describe such experience here.


List your language skills, as well as some indication of your level of expertise (e.g. "Fluent in Hindi").

Professional Affiliations and Service

List the major professional organizations to which you belong or with which you are affiliated



Include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail. Some people include both personal and department addresses to emphasize their current academic affiliation. In some circumstances, you may include citizenship.


List all institutions, degrees, and graduation dates in reverse chronological order. If you attended an institution but did not earn a degree, you do not need to list it on your CV unless the training you received was vital to your career.

Dissertation/Dissertation Abstract

List the title of your dissertation beneath the information on your doctoral degree, as well as the name of your chair/advisor and/or committee members. Some fields require a longer description (about a paragraph) of the dissertation on your CV, generally under a separate section titled “Dissertation Abstract,” while other fields expect dissertation research to be listed under “Research Experience.” Follow the norm in your field. If an abstract is not required, you may elect to include a very brief
description after the title – two to three sentences at most.

Awards, Fellowships, Honors, Grants

List all relevant academic distinctions, teaching awards, fellowships, honors, or grants you have received since you entered graduate school in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the department and institution bestowing the honor. Include undergraduate distinctions, honors, and fellowships if they are relevant to your field or indicate exceptional academic achievement (e.g., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, etc.).

Publications, Creative Work

Include bibliographic citations of articles, research reports, and book reviews that you have published. If applicable to your field, poems, musical recitals, or art exhibits may be included in this section. As you gain experience, you may further separate these items into different categories, such as “book review,” “articles in refereed journals,” “books,” etc. Use the form of citation appropriate to your field (MLA, APA, Chicago Style etc.). In order to list something as “forthcoming” in this section, you should have a reasonably firm sense of when the publication will appear in print, unless otherwise directed by your advisor.

Presentations/Meeting Abstracts

List all papers/talks you have given, along with the names, dates, and locations of the conferences or meetings where you presented that work. If you have numerous publications, you may choose to list only invited talks or selected abstracts.

Work Submitted/Work in Progress

In some fields, it is fairly standard for scholars to add sections titled “Work Submitted” and “Work in Progress” to their CVs. These can also be listed under a subheading in the publications section. If you have an article or book under review at a refereed journal or academic press, you should list it under the category “Work Submitted for Publication.” In this way, you can inform employers that you have enough confidence in your work to submit it for publication. If you are an experienced candidate, or want to change jobs, you will want to indicate the potential publication on new projects by reporting your progress in a section title “Work in Progress.”

Tips For Formatting A CV

CV styles and norms may vary from one discipline to another, so you should also have your CV reviewed by faculty in your department/field before sending it out! Generally, follow the guidelines for formatting a resume with these additional tips.

  • Content determines the length of your CV, but aim for a succinct and efficient presentation of your credentials.
  • Avoid overly dense text with little white space separating entries. 
  • Create an organizational hierarchy and apply it consistently throughout your CV.
  • Each page after the first should bear your name and the page number in a header or footer.
  • Do not pluralize section headings that cover one entry only.
  • Keep dates to the right. The reader’s eye naturally gravitates to the left – you want your biggest selling points there (e.g., school, job title).
  • References to electronic materials/web links: Feel free to cite electronic references to articles, portfolios, courses, etc. Personal web pages should be referenced only if all material presented is professional