How To Write An Excellent Academic CV For a PH.D. Application?
Thus you are nearing the end of your ongoing degree or returning to education and you have determined to pursue a Ph.D. as the next step in your career. Although the road ahead will be overloaded with a-lot of excitement, you will be required to defend your position first. This will all start with a well built PhD application and an equivalently impressive academic CV and personal profile statement or cover letter.
Along with your cover letter or personal statement, your CV will demonstrate who you are as an individual and what you have to offer. It must be concise, well-formatted and well written to convince your chosen university and supervisor that you are the most appropriate student for the project.
This step-by-step guide will assist you craft an impressive academic CV for your upcoming Ph.D. application. We’ll go through the sections that your CV should be structured into, what each of these parts one should include, and how it should be written. We’ll also give you some helpful tips that are sure to grab your readers’ attention.
What Is An Academic CV For A PhD Application?
The full form of a PhD is a doctorate of philosophy. When applying for a Ph.D. position, it’s common for the university to ask you to submit a curriculum vitae (CV) with your application. While an academic CV may appear similar to a typical CV used for job applications, these two documents are relatively unique.
An academic CV mostly focuses on your academic background, experiences, and achievements, as opposed to a standard CV, which concentrates on your previous responsibilities and accomplishments.
Your academic CV will be examined by a PhD supervisor to decide whether you are up to the task of completing a demanding Ph.D. research project, as not everyone is capable of.
The same basic advice and rules apply to an academic CV also as they do to a standard CV. You should try to maintain an up-to-date, competent, appropriate, descriptive, and concise tone throughout. All data should be in reverse-chronological order (most recent first).
How To Write An Academic CV For A PhD Application
A good academic CV should be divided into nine sections:
- Contact Information
- Research Interests / Personal Profile
- Research and Work Experience
- Teaching Experience
- Relevant Skills and Experience
- Publications and Conferences
- Professional Memberships
Below, We’ll go through what each of these sections should contain and how they should be constructed.
- Contact Information
Start building your CV by providing your contact details first. All of the following should be necessarily mentioned:
- Full name – Your name should be your paper title, written in bold and in the middle.
- Email address and contact number
- Location – It is not necessary to mention your full home address; your town/city and country, will be sufficient.
- Profiles – Provide a link to any technical profiles you may have, such as LinkedIn or Research Gate.
- Research Interests / Personal Profile
Your ‘research interests’ section will double as your ‘personal profile’ in an academic CV written for a PhD. position. As a short introduction to yourself, this will be a crucial section as it gives the first impression of you for the reader.
Use a short paragraph or bullet points to summarize who you are, your research interests, your specific credentials, and your relevant skills and experience. While writing this part try to mainly focus on showcasing your ability to conduct a PhD and your enthusiasm for the project.
Follow below given steps to build an impactful research interests section:
- Tailor to each research project you apply for: One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to carefully read the project description attached with the Ph.D. advertisement, decide two or three of the most effective keywords, and utilize them in your writeup.
- Keep it short: This section is just an introduction, thus keep it snappy and short instead of detailed and lengthy; 50–60 words is a decent target.
- Make every word count: Since 50 – 60 words isn’t much, try to be as specific as possible. Attempt to avoid clichés like “I am committed to study as well as have a high attention to detail” at all costs; they are not just overused and generic, but they also don’t deliver the reader any insightful and interesting information about you.
As a Ph.D. CV is all about academic accomplishments and qualifications, thus your education section should be given precedence and form the majority of your CV, especially because it will be used to determine if you have the key skills required for the job.
Writing in reverse chronological order, provide the degree type, the full name of the degree, and the period in the form of the start and end years when listing the academic qualifications. This will constitute an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate Master’s degree for most of you. You do not need to restrict this to your past qualifications; Whereas if you are currently taking an external course or any training, include that also, but just mention that they are currently going on and write an estimated grade if you possess one.
If your undergraduate Bachelor’s degree is relevant to the Ph.D. project you’re applying for; add a list of modules you completed and their corresponding grades; the same also applies for your final year dissertation project.
- Research And Work Experience
Your related job experience and research are just as important as your educational background, if not more so. The reason for this is the majority of applicants applying for the post will have identical qualifications, thus your skills and research experience can also be the determining factor when all other factors are equal.
Your study experience may involve part-time and full-time work, both paid and unpaid jobs, as well as university project work. In all cases, though, the experience you include should be relevant to the project you are applying for or or have helped you acquire skills and expertise that make you a better researcher.
While mentioning any projects, add the following:
- What the project was about,
- What research methods you used,
- The skills you developed,
- Any noteworthy achievements or results
- Teaching Experience
Undoubtedly teaching is becoming a more crucial part of academic career, and having teaching skills or experience on an academic CV is always beneficial.
Though, it is usually accepted that not all candidates will have teaching experience, but if you do, add it here.
Discuss about your familiarity in preparing, demonstrating, coaching, mentoring, and supervision. Mention what grade level it was at, e.g. undergraduate or postgraduate, and any other work you performed to support this, like preparation, grading, supervising or organising.
- Relevant Skills And Experience
This section should demonstrate any additional perspectives or knowledge that can make your application stand out. They should be specific to your Ph.D. project or describe that you have the potential to become a better researcher. This includes the following:
- Technical knowledge and experience, like using computer software packages or research equipment that is relevant to the project you are applying for.
- Non-project related courses you have completed, e.g. communication course and academic writing.
- Languages you know with their levels of proficiency mentioned.
- Publications And Conferences
Most of the students may not have academic publications, but if you do, add them in this section. Formal publications will range from journal articles to published reports, which is most likely an adaptation to your final year dissertation project if you have one.
If you possess these, then insert them in reverse chronological order according to the university’s accepted reference system, as this is what the Ph.D. administrator would most certainly be acquainted with.
TIP: Consider attending several forthcoming conferences or workshops specific to the research field you’re interested in if you have not attended already. Not only is this an effective way to learn more about the field’s most recent developments and differences, but it may also be a great way to make your academic CV more relevant if it is currently light on research experience.
- Professional Memberships
Being a member of an academic society, culture, or professional body shows your enthusiasm and passion for your field and the desire to connect with other like-minded people in your community. When mentioning these, add the name of the group, the dates of your associated membership, and the position you have held within it .
- Referees / References
The final segment of your academic CV will consist of your references. Your PhD application should describe the number of referees you should insert, but if it does not specify, attempt to mention at least two, but preferably three.
If you don’t have two academic referees, you can use a trained or professional referee as long as they are still important and relevant to the project you are applying for.
When structuring your reference list, try to arrange your referees according to their relevance and familiarity with you, not in alphabetical order. The following information should be mentioned:
- Full name,
- Professional title,
- Name of current university,
- Phone number and email address.
- Funding And Awards
You should include any scholarships, honors, grants, bursaries, or fellowships you have gained in this section.
This can be for several reasons, involving:
- Research projects
- Academic posters
- Anything else relevant and appropriate
If you are a new research student, your academic CV shouldn’t be more than two pages long, but if necessary you can extend it to four pages. If you are required to go over two pages, just ensure that the most important and necessary information is on the first two pages.
Smaller specifications matter more than you imagine–
avoid jargon, write concisely, only use generic statements, use clear formatting, avoid overly long sentences and dense paragraphs. Double-check grammar and spelling, and get your document checked, preferably first by an academic such as your tutor, and second by a professional advisor or by a proofreader from the career team of your university.
As per a thumb rule, the academic CV you put forward as part of your PhD application should be preferably either the third or fourth version you make. Take your own time in writing the first version as a draft and then put it away for a few days. Attempt to keep a day or two between each version so that you always see it with a fresh point of view.
Show the second draft to some academics (most certainly those who are not afraid to point out mistakes!) once you’ve completed it. Do the adjustments as needed and double-check for errors in
grammar and spelling.
Simply search for “Academic CV Template” in Google or Yahoo to explore the examples of academic CVs. MaxeCV, for example, is a company that can offer you guidance and also helps you write your academic CV. It provides the best CV writing services in any field. If you need your CV to produce a statement about you, you can go with MaxeCV.