Curricula Vitae

What is a Curriculum Vitae?

Think of the curriculum vitae (CV) as an “academic resume.” It is a document intended to highlight education and accomplishments in order to persuade someone of your academic potential. It can be used to apply to Research Assistant roles, graduate schools, scholarships, Teaching Assistant roles, Professorships, and many other opportunities.

Unlike a resume, which is short and tailored to include only experiences that are most relevant to the role to which you are applying, the CV has no limit in length and includes information about every element of your academic career.

In some industries and parts of the world such as Quebec and Europe, the term "CV" is used interchangeably with “resume”. Research your industry and the geographic area(s) where you'll be applying. When in doubt, ask the employer what type of document they prefer.

How is a CV different from a resume?

Curriculum Vitae Resume
Audience Academics in your field of study Employers hiring you for a specific position
Length Highly flexible 1 to 2 pages
Focus Represents your academic achievements and your scholarly potential Represents skills, job-related experience, accomplishments, and volunteer efforts
High Priority Content List of publications, presentations, teaching experience, education, honours, and grants Skills and experiences related to the job you’re seeking
Lower Priority Content Activities unrelated to academic discipline, teaching, or research Technical details unrelated to the field in which you are applying
List of references You would typically include the references in the document. Do not include the references as part of your resume.
Goal Present a full history of your academic credentials, including teaching, researching, awards, and services. Present a brief snapshot of your skills and experiences that communicates your ability to perform the job you’re seeking.

Guidelines for Curricula Vitae

The following categories reflect the sections commonly seen in CVs; however, there can be significant variations in the structure and order of sections in the CV for different disciplines.

It is important to seek advice and recommendations from mentors in your academic discipline for structuring your CV.

Consider the specifics of the opportunity you are applying for, including:

  • Where the organization or company is located
  • The main focus of the role you are applying for (e.g., primarily teaching, primarily research, or a combination)
  • Your own particular strengths and accomplishments

Contact information

List your name, address, email, and phone number.


List degree, school, dates, city, province or country in reverse chronological order. You may include the name of your advisor and thesis title in this section, or include a separate section about your thesis.

Thesis or dissertation

Include the title of your thesis or dissertation and the name of your advisor. In some fields, it is expected to include the names of additional committee members and a short summary of the thesis.

Research interests

This section is typically used to show your compatibility with a particular role and should be tailored to align with the position you are applying to. Not all fields include it on the CV.

Scholarships, awards, honours and achievements

List your scholarships, awards, honours and achievements. Also include your name, grantor (e.g., NSERC, NIH), date, and project title if appropriate. In some fields, you may wish to include the dollar amount.

As you advance in your scholarly career, you may remove some older awards. So, someone at the PhD level should only include an undergraduate award if it was very prestigious. You may also wish to create subsections in this category to distinguish., For example, you may list "Fellowships" separately from "Awards."


Include publications you’ve authored or co-authored. Provide title, authors, dates, and publishers using the citation style appropriate to your discipline. If you have different types of publications, you may wish to use subheadings to organize this section. For example, you may list "Book Chapters", "Articles", and "Monographs".

It may be strategic to include sections for "Forthcoming" or "In-Progress" publications. Consult with your advisor to determine if it is appropriate to do so.


In some fields, you may combine presentations with your "Publications" section, but in many cases, this should be a separate section. Include the title of the presentation, the name of the organization, the location of the meeting or conference, and the date. List the presentations in reverse chronological order, meaning the most recent should appear first on the list.

You may use subheadings to distinguish different types of presentations. Example subheadings include "Conference Presentation," "Invited Talk", and "Public Lecture".

Teaching experience

If the position you are applying to will involve a strong focus on teaching responsibilities, you may wish to include this section quite early in your CV. Use subheadings to distinguish between different types of teaching experience. Examples include "Teaching Assistant" and "Instructor." List the title of the course and the institution and the department where it was taught. It is optional to include the course number (eg. CHEM 399).

Since you are writing to other academics who will typically have a good understanding of what is involved in post-secondary teaching, it is often not necessary to include bullet points describing the nature of your responsibilities (e.g., "Delivered lectures and graded exams"). Consult others in your field to determine if you need to describe your teaching responsibilities or simply list the courses.

Research experience

In some fields, it is common to include a section describing the projects you have worked on, often with the use of bullet points. This may include your work as a research associate or research assistant. Depending on your field and the position you are targeting, this section may appear considerably earlier in the CV. If you have experience with research outside of a university setting, consult with your mentor to determine if it should be located here or in a separate section.

Work experience

This section is optional, and should only be used to highlight work that is relevant to your academic discipline. Some fields have a close relationship with industry, and highlighting industry experience in this section can be very useful. You may also use this section to highlight how you are a practitioner as well as a scholar.

List your experience in reverse chronological format. Include job title, employer, dates, city or country, and possibly a brief statement or series of statements about your accomplishments in the role.

Skills, techniques, languages, etc.

Depending on your field and the nature of your research, it may be useful to include a point form list of the skills and techniques that are relevant to your research interests. This section is most common in STEM and social science fields, but many humanists may want to list skills related to digital projects and their fluency in relevant languages. Make sure to indicate written, read, and spoken skills.

Additional training

This section is optional but it can be a convenient place to list seminars, summer schools and relevant professional development opportunities (e.g., a pedagogical training workshop).


Membership in related scholarly or professional associations can demonstrate your commitment to your career and professionalization. List your memberships with the dates.


Include any service to the university or discipline in this section, such as participation in committees, organizing conferences, reviewing for journals, or participating in graduate student associations. You may use subheadings to create categories if necessary. You do not typically need to describe the activity. For example, you do not need to include bullet points for each service description.

Community involvement and outreach

This section is optional and may be included if you have community activities relevant to your scholarly interests. Examples include public talks at museums or volunteering with science education programs in local schools.


List the names and titles of 3 references with their email and phone information.

Sample CVs


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