What goes in the Education section?

The Education section follows the Objective section. Your degrees and schools are listed from most recent to most oldest. For example, if you received your BS degree and are currently enrolled in a MS degree program, the university for the MS degree would be listed first followed by the university for the BS degree. The date listed for each degree program should be the Graduation Date or expected Graduation Date.

Here are some examples of the Education section:

  1. BS degree only
  2. BS and MS degrees from the same university
  3. BS and MS degrees from different universities
  4. BS with a transfer from another school
  5. BS with a Study Abroad
  6. BS and MS with a Study Abroad
  7. Joint degree program from two affiliated universities (ex. University of Michigan and Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
  8. Dual degree program from two affiliated universities (ex. University of Michigan and Spelman College)


What about Majors and Minors, University Honors, and a Master’s Thesis?

If you have a Major and one or more Minor degrees, these should be listed in the Education section. An example of this is shown in BS Degree Only. If you have written a Master’s Thesis, you can list the title in the Education section as shown in BS and MS from the Same University. If you received University Honors or have been on the Dean’s List, you should list these in the Education section as shown in BS Degree Only. These are the only awards that should go under Education, the rest should go under the Honors and Awards section.


Is it good to show Junior Standing when I am a Sophomore?

It is okay to show that you have Junior Standing when you are only a Sophomore. This usually occurs when you start college with many AP courses or college credits. As a recruiter, I treat Sophomores and Junior Standing Sophomores as second-year students because I understand the difference, but there are many recruiters who might think you have more experience if you list Junior Standing and may hire you into positions normally reserved for Juniors and Seniors.


Should we include course titles, course numbers or both and what coursework should we list?

The courses listed should include the name. You can also include the course number if you like. A course number above 300 usually indicates a more advanced course which can look good on the resume. Recruiters who come to campus often are going to recognize both the name and number of the course. It is not necessary to list every course you have taken, only the ones relevant to the job you are seeking. If you take the Introduction course followed by the Advanced course (ex. Introduction to Data Structures, Advanced Data Structures), then you should only list the Advanced course. If there is a sequence of courses (ex. Database Management, Web Database Design, Advanced Topics in Database Technology), then it would be good to list all three of these courses because this indicates that you have depth in this area.


When should I list my GPA on my resume?

The GPA should be listed on the resume always. I have heard many strategies for when to list the GPA (ex. Above 3.3) and when not to list the GPA. These strategies are all nonsense. The GPA must be listed for a recruiter to even consider hiring you. If it is not listed, the recruiter has to ask you for it. If you are not standing in front of them to answer this question, the recruiter will discard your resume because they don’t have time to track you down for the answer. There are many companies that have rules about minimum student GPAs, but not listing the GPA will not change whether they will accept you or not for a position.

As a recruiter, I put more weight on the GPA for the MS degree than on the GPA for the BS degree. However, if you are in your first term of your MS degree, you won’t have a GPA to list so I will want to know your GPA for your BS degree.


Should I include the Cumulative or Overall GPA and the Major GPA?

It is okay to include both the Cumulative or Overall GPA and the Major GPA when there is a vast difference between the two GPAs. If there is little difference between the two GPAs, then I would not include both of them as it takes up white space. As a recruiter, I am only interested in the Cumulative GPA. I might wonder why the two GPAs are so different and you should be prepared to answer why they are different if you include both of them on your resume. If you are only listing your Cumulative or Overall GPA, then it is not necessary to write “Cumulative GPA”, just put “GPA”.


What precision should I use and what about the scale?

The GPA can have one or two decimal points (ex. 3.4 or 3.44), but three decimal points is usually unnecessary (ex. 3.444). It is a good idea to show the scale next to the GPA (ex. 3.44/4.00). There are some universities that use a special scale in the graduate school. For example, the University of Michigan Engineering School uses a 9.0 scale. If the scale is unusual you can convert the GPA to the more common 4.0 scale. Alternatively, you can explain the scale as is shown in BS and MS from Different Universities.

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