how to write a cv for grad school

How to Write A CV for Grad School

Here's what we'll cover

Before a student can be accepted into grad school, they will have to submit a CV. However, many students don’t understand the essence of the CV. We are going to learn how to write a good CV for grad school and what information to present. 

Apart from your transcripts and personal statement essays, you will be required to submit a CV for your grad school application. The curriculum vitae (CV) will play an imperative role in enhancing your chances for acceptance into graduate school.

Why Is the CV required for grad school?

As a grad school applicant, you will need to submit your personal statement essays for the sole purpose of selling yourself to the admission committee.

The role played by personal statements is the same as the role of a CV. Therefore, a grad school CV is a sales pitch that you present with anticipations of securing enrollment. You need to understand the difference between a CV and a resume and the CV’s role in your grad school admission process. 

Unlike a resume, a CV helps provide a detailed academic history, honors and awards received, work experience, accomplishments, and research interests that you have.

Therefore, the CV will showcase your background in a given field, justifying your need for graduate studies. The grad school admission board focuses on understanding how successful graduate studies will make you, and your CV help avail necessary classifications. 

How To Differentiate A Resume From A CV

Applying for graduate school would help if your counterchecked the requirements keenly to understand whether the applications necessitates a CV or a resume.

Grad schools will always specify their preference, but where there are no specifications, you are expected to write either. Nonetheless, you always need to consider writing a CV as it avails more room to sell yourself. 

Are there notable differences between a CV and a resume? First, CVs are commonly used in the academic world while resumes in the professional world.

Therefore, unlike a resume that focuses on your professional achievements and journey, a CV focuses on your academic history. CVs are also longer when compared to resumes. 

Tips On How To Write A CV For Grad School

To write a successful CV for grad school, you will have to understand what information to include and the sequence. To begin with, you will have to provide your name and contact details.

Therefore, ensure writing your full official name, contact details from home, email addresses, and phone number. Your name and contact details must appear at the top segment of your CV. It would help if you increase the font size and bold your name. 

Your CV must be numbered accurately, and a page number should be available in the bottom center, top-right, or bottom-right corner of the page. Below are the categories that you need to consider for your grad school CV. 

  • Volunteer Service
  • Education History
  • Work Experience
  • Fellowships, Scholarships, And Grants
  • Awards
  • Teaching And Research Experience
  • Skills 

Volunteer Service

Different students title this section differently, with some naming it “community service” or “volunteer work.” The idea is to showcase your volunteer activities over the years.

You need to state the kind of community service you were involved in, the name of the organization you volunteered under, the time, duration, location, position held, and a concise description of your achievements, responsibilities, and skills acquired. 

Education History

The primary purpose of a grad school CV is to present your academic history to the admission board. Therefore, you should always consider commencing your CV with a section of your academic history and achievements.

The section will help you pinpoint all your acquired degrees and the ones you are currently pursuing. You need to highlight information of all thesis and dissertations you have worked on before.

All the institutions you have attended in the past must be pinpointed with professors who helped you through your dissertation. 

Work Experience

There is no doubt that the majority of the grad school applicants eye on impressing the admission committee. However, there are instances when one can overstep and avail of irrelevant information.

Your employment history must be precise and highly scrutinized. Therefore, consider work experience details that are relevant to your preferred graduate studies or career. 

Ensure to detail companies that you have worked for or even working for currently and your title. You must consider presenting a comprehensive but concise description of your achievements, responsibilities, and skills acquired in your professional journey.

Fellowships, Scholarships, And Grants

Where you have received sponsorship in the past, you should highlight the information on this segment. Therefore, ensure to detail the name of the fellowship, scholarship, or grant alongside the amount received from each grant provider. 


It would be best if you highlighted academic achievements that led to you receiving honors and awards.

For instance, where you scored a high GPA and received a distinction, you should consider pinpointing the information here. Consider availing the title of the honors or award and the dates when it was received. 


It would help if you considered jotting the information in this section where you have authored a book or participated in writing any publication within the perimeters of your academic and professional field.

Your publications must be presented as citations. Ensure to avail of the publication title, authors, and publication dates. 

Teaching And Research Experience

It would help if you stated your research and teaching experiences. In most cases, science majors focus more on research, while humanities students focus on teaching. Ensure to highlight the institutions you worked with and the positions held. 

You don’t have teaching and research experiences but have interests; you should consider availing a short description showcasing your interests. 


The section will help you communicate all your skills and any relevant certification received over the years. For instance, speaking multiple foreign languages is a skill that’s relevant and uncommon. 

How well you craft your grad school CV determines how convinced the admission board will be.


Therefore, ensure that you understand all the segments and write concisely and articulately. The above guidelines, when followed, will help you learn how to write your grad school CV successfully.

Scroll to Top