Curriculum vitae

What is a curriculum vita?

In the United States, a curriculum vita, often called a CV or vita, is used when applying for academic and research positions, fellowships, and grants.

Note: The term CV is also used in many foreign countries to describe a résumé. Keep in mind that overseas employers may expect to receive personal information that would not be included on a U.S. résumé such as a photo, place of birth, nationality, gender, number of dependents, and marital status.

A CV is longer than a résumé (at least two pages) and represents your accomplishments, areas of expertise, and skills in a detailed and organized manner. It is best to connect with a mentor or trusted member of your department for any special CV formatting your field may require (i.e., faculty member or advisor). As with a résumé, you may need different versions of a CV for different types of positions.

You can use this CV template [PDF] to get you started.

Writing a curriculum vita: vitae categories

A CV is a summary of your work, educational, and academic accomplishments. They may appear similar to one another, but are actually unique to each individual! The specific categories may include any combination of the potential sections below. Whether you are applying for academic or industry based positions, a clear and in depth CV can support your journey.

Personal contact information

Include your name, address, phone number, email, online portfolio (if applicable).


Educational accomplishments include your degree, major, institution (city & state), and date of completion (or expected date of completion). List the most recent or expected degree first and work your backwards (reverse chronological).

Dissertation or thesis

This section includes a title and brief description of your research work.


You can include scholarly interests, competencies areas, educational highlights, scholarly proficiencies, areas of expertise, areas of concentration, academic interests, research interests, and career interests.

Experience Sections

Experiences are typically divided into multiple categories to highlight your accomplishments. Below are possible experiences and potential titles for sections that your CV may include.

  • Teaching
    • Courses taught, student advising, guest lectures, training, seminars, workshops, and/ or invited lectures.
  • Research
    • Presentation Experience: Scholarly presentations, conference presentations, workshop presentations, conference leadership, conference papers presented, and/or poster presentations.
    • Publications: Published works, books/book reviews, professional papers, articles, conference papers, reviews, and/or exhibitions.
  • Service/Engagement
    • Academic Service/Leadership: Academic service, departmental or university committees, groups or task forces served or led, faculty leadership/governance, professional association leadership and activities, conference review, community service relevant to discipline.
    • Memberships: Memberships and affiliations with academic or industry specific associations, scholarly societies, conference membership or planning.
  • Work experience
    • Experiences: Career overview, fieldwork, experience summary/ highlights, administrative experience, consulting experience, entrepreneurial opportunities
    • Work Experience: Teaching assistantships, research assistantships, graduate fieldwork/ practicum/ internship.

Professional development

List special training or conferences you attended that helped you gain valuable skills. For example: Preparing for Future Faculty training, WebCT Vista Technology training, or SPSS Statistical Software competency.

Honors, awards, fellowships, scholarships

Include a list of recognition received from a college, university, association, or honorary society.

Other categories

  • Languages/International: International experience, study & research abroad opportunities, language competencies
  • Licenses/Certifications: Certification, licensure, special training, endorsements
  • Credentials:Placement/Credential file (such as Interfolio), dossier, references, recommendations

Strategies for success

  • Understand your values and the values of the organizations you are applying to. What is important for you to share as it relates to your identities, values, and career ambitions?
  • Curate your CV to a specific position using the position description and organize it so the most relevant categories come first.
  • Research the needs of the organization for the specific position and shift your categories in alignment with their priorities.
  • Keep the layout and design of your CV organized, consistent, and relevant. It may help to explore visual options for your CV.
  • Consider creating a complete CV and an industry/ academic specific CV, a shorter version which highlights some of your most relevant and reputable experiences.
  • Avoid the use of acronyms by spelling everything out.
  • Connect with your advisor, a career coach, industry connection, or other trusted mentor to help review your CV and ask questions.

Additional resources

Career Services for Graduate Students

CV Writing Online Workshop

Graduate School: Academic and Career Support

The Center for Educational Innovation