You are likely to need an academic CV to apply for postgraduate courses or for academic jobs and funding.
Examples of academic CVs
As with CVs for other sectors, the purpose of an academic CV is to clearly set out the evidence that you have the experience and skills that the intended reader is seeking. In the case of an academic CV this means that you are likely to focus on your academic achievements and experience relevant to your chosen course of study or academic role. There is no page limit - although you should always keep it concise and relevant.
CVs for postgraduate study applications
As always with CVs focus on the recipient and what they need to know. Include relevant details of your academic courses, extended essays, dissertations, laboratory and field work and other experience that demonstrates your motivation for your chosen course and relevant skills.
Much of the advice that follows will be helpful for PhD applications, though it is likely that you do not yet have some of the experience referred to. See also our general advice on putting together an effective CV.
Before you start
First, look at the skills and competencies that the hiring department / research group requires. You can identify these from the person specification, the job advert, or your own research. Is this a research or teaching only job? Or will you be doing research, teaching and administration (typical for lectureships)? Do they highlight any particular skill areas, such as organisation or team work?
Look at what you need to do to apply. CVs are usually accompanied by cover letters, but they might also ask you to submit an application form, research and/or teaching statement.
Once you are clear what the employer wants, start to tailor your CV to the post.
A selection of the following sections are typical for the academic CV:
- Personal Information. Start the CV with your name, address, telephone number and email address.
- Research Interests. Write bullet points or a short paragraph summarising your research.
- Education. Include degrees, possibly titles of theses, and the names of supervisors.
- Awards and Funding. Include undergraduate/postgraduate prizes, travel grants, doctoral scholarships, early career fellowships, and grants you have led on or are named on.
- Research Experience. Include any post docs or fellowships and research assistant jobs. You might include more detail about your doctoral research in this section too.
- Teaching Experience. Note any lecturing, seminar, tutorial, supervising, demonstrating, mentoring experience, and potentially non-academic teaching. Give details about the role and responsibilities - even if it was informal - such as level of students, class sizes and topics you taught.
- Admin Experience. Highlight any conferences/seminars/reading groups you’ve organised, committees you have sat upon, and any other relevant administration experience.
- Relevant Training. Include academic teaching training, research methods training etc.
- Relevant research/technical/laboratory skills. You may find it useful to list these under one heading if you find yourself repeating throughout various sections.
- Patents. Give details of the title, inventors, patent number and date granted.
- Professional memberships. List these - e.g. the Royal Society of Chemistry or the British Association of American Studies. Include dates.
- Publications. Give full details as you would if citing them, and use a consistent style. You may wish to highlight (e.g. bold/underline) your name.
- Conference presentations and posters. Highlight whether paper or poster and cite similarly to your publications with full author list, title, date and location.
- Referees. Ideally these should all be academic referees. They should be people who know you well and who are known in your field.
- Make sure your CV is focused on academia. Include non-academic work experience or extra-curricular activities and interests if you feel they are relevant to the post you are applying for. You might also include languages and IT skills if they are relevant.
- You might include your nationality in your personal details if you think it will be an advantage – e.g. if you already have the right to work in the country you are applying to.
- If you have limited or no published work, consider including works in progress. Clearly label publications as ‘forthcoming’, ‘under review’ or ‘submitted’ if they are in process, but not yet in print or accepted. If you are unconcerned about giving your ideas away before they go to a publisher, you could have a separate heading for ‘Working Papers’ that you are preparing for publication but have not submitted yet. Include when and where you plan to submit them.
- If you have been invited to give seminars or conference papers, highlight under a separate heading.
- Translate jargon/acronyms that others might not understand, especially if applying abroad.
- Review our general information on crafting CVs for tips on how to describe your activities and more.