How to Put Your Thesis on a Resume

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In This Guide:

When it's appropriate to feature your thesis in a resume

A template and example on how to feature a thesis on your resume

Tips to list your thesis on your resume.

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A thesis is a statement that explains the general point of a project. Typically, this statement gives the reader a clear idea of the primary points so they can have more context when working through the information to follow. It may also offer a definitive hypothesis, statement, or personal perspective.

The thesis also refers to an academic project that a doctoral candidate completes in pursuit of their professional qualification. We’ll focus on that usage today, looking at how to add this project to a resume.

In this article, you’ll learn

  • When it’s appropriate to add a thesis to a resume
  • Tips on adding your thesis to a resume
  • Key takeaways

When it's appropriate to feature your thesis in a resume

Here are a few instances when you should add your thesis to your resume.

When applying for another degree

Thesis work looks good when you’re applying for other programs. It shows that you’re familiar with academic coursework and have completed significant challenges in your field.

When it’s relevant to the position

A thesis shows that you’ve earned specialized knowledge. When that knowledge pertains to a certain position, the employer must know that. Even if the relevance is a slight stretch, it’s still worth citing on your resume.

When you want to show transferable skills

Gaining a thesis requires refined skills. Those skills are likely transferable . Isolate those skills and think of ways they could apply to your intended position. If the skills relate directly, that’s a great reason to add the thesis to your resume.

Let’s see how you could add your thesis to a resume . It might be challenging to figure out where you should add the information. The following examples should give you some perspective.

Example of a thesis on a resume

Here’s an example of how to cite your thesis under “relevant experience.”

Doctoral Thesis

March 2019 - january 2020.

Produced an accepted thesis on the function of microorganisms in the onset of heart disease. Worked closely with University faculty to achieve insights that have since saved lives. Utilized intense research, communication, and organizational skills to complete the project.

A few concise sentences about impact, structure, and the effort required will help display the work you’ve done.

A thesis on resume template

You could cite your thesis in numerous places in your resume. However, it’s smart to find one place and stick to it.

In a template , you might find space for your thesis under “work experience,” “professional experiences,” “education,” or somewhere in an introduction.

Here are a few things you could note in your description of the thesis.

Make sure to mention your GPA

Your GPA holds a lot of weight. Noting that you could finish a thesis and maintain a solid GPA is smart. You can also note any grading that came from your thesis work, specifically.

List relevant research projects

Cite particular research projects that occurred within your thesis work. These will all highlight different skills or unique knowledge that you have.

A key thing to remember is that you can apply skills gained while earning your thesis. You can also use your thesis in numerous areas of the resume.

Understanding how to add a thesis to your resume intelligently can help you stand out and utilize the skills you gained through your doctoral process.

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How To Put Research On Your Resume (With Examples)

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Find a Job You Really Want In

Research experiences and skills are an incredibly important aspect of many job applications, so it’s important to know how to put them on your resume correctly. Hiring managers and recruiters want employees who can help drive innovation by being able to apply research skills to problem solve and come up with creative growth solutions.

If you’re a job seeker looking to include your research skills on a resume , we’ll go over how to list research on resume, where you can include it on a resume, and give you some examples.

Key Takeaways:

If you don’t have traditional research experience, highlight the skills used for research that you’ve used in past jobs.

Consider creating a separate research section in your resume if you have a lot of research experience or merge sections, depending on which section you want to bolster with research.

Research experience is one of the best assets to include on a resume so be on the lookout for more opportunities.

how to put research on your resume

What are research skills?

Where to put research experience on your resume

How to include research on your resume, examples of research on a resume, how to put research on your resume faq.

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Research skills are any skills related to your ability to locate, extract, organize, and evaluate data relevant to a particular subject. It also involves investigation, critical thinking , and presenting or using the findings in a meaningful way.

Depending on what job you’re applying for, research skills could make or break your ability to land the job. Almost every job requires some research skills and you probably already have some of those skills mastered by now.

For most careers, research is a vital process to be able to answer questions. “Research skills” are not a single skill, but multiple ones put together.

Some skills that are necessary for research are organization, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and specific technical skills, like coding, Excel, and copywriting.

Including research experience and skills on a resume can be incredibly flexible. When thinking about how to add it to your resume, you want to consider how the research experience adds to your resume.

Your research experience can be included in a few different sections of your resume. Some of those sections include:

Academic accomplishments

Research experience

Work experience/history

College activities

Volunteer work

Presentations and publications

Skills section

If you’ve had smaller research roles but no “official” research experience, you can highlight the skills associated with the types of research mentioned above in your job description under the work history section in your resume.

If your job history is a research position, then naturally, you would include research under the work history section. You can also merge your sections depending on what type of position you are applying for.

For example, you could create a “Research and Education” section or a “Research and Publications” section. If your research is not related to your education and you don’t have any publications, you can also detail it in a separate “Research” section in your resume.

To include your research on your resume, you should gather all the necessary information and then quantify your accomplishments to fit into specific sections. Here is a more detailed list of how to write about research experience in resume:

Gather all the necessary information. The first step is to collect all of the important details like the title of the research project, the location of the research project, the principal investigator of the project (if applicable), and the dates of the project. You will list these details much like you would list a company you have worked for in the past.

Read the job description carefully. Every resume and cover letter you write should be tailored to the job you’re applying for. When a hiring manager puts a necessary qualification in their job posting, you must be sure to include it in your resume.

Make sure that you highlight the right types of research skills on your job applications and resumes.

Quantify your accomplishments. When describing your role on the project, you will want to summarize your accomplishments and deliverables. Hiring managers and recruiters love seeing numbers. When you write out the deliverables from your project, make sure you quantify them.

Incorporate into your work history section. If there were times when you used your research skills in your past employment opportunities, include them in your work experience section. You can also include publications, conferences you may have presented at, and any awards or recognition your research had received.

If you have completed research in an academic setting, then presentations (oral and poster) are an important part of the research process. You should include those details along with the titles of your publications.

Add to your research section. Other aspects of research that you can detail to make your application more competitive are adding skills specific to your project to the skills section of your resume.

These skills will vary depending on the subject matter, but some examples include coding languages, interviewing skills, any software you used and are proficient in using, managerial skills , and public speaking if you have presented your research at conferences.

Add research to your skills section. If the specific research you did is less important than the skills you used to perform it, highlight that in your skills section. That way, you don’t have to take up a lot of work or education history with slightly irrelevant information, but hiring managers can still see you have research skills.

Just be sure you’re more specific about a research methodology you’re an expert in because the skills section doesn’t give you as much room to explain how you leveraged these abilities.

Sprinkle research throughout your resume. If you have a lot of experience performing research in professional, volunteer, and educational settings, pepper it in a few different sections. The more hands-on experience you have with research, the better (for jobs that require research).

Let’s look at some examples of how research can be included on a resume:

University research example

EDUCATION Undergraduate Thesis, University of Connecticut, Dec. 2017-May 2018 Worked alongside UCONN English Department head Penelope Victeri to research the poetry of New England writers of the 20th century. Explored common themes across the works of Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, and Robert Lowell. Performed online and in-person research on historical documents relating to each author , including information on the political, religious, and economic landscape of the US at the time. Analyzed poetic works of each author and drew on similar contemporary regional authors’ works. Prepared 20,000 words thesis entitled “Place, Allegory, and Religion: Three 20th Century New England Poets” and defended my written arguments to a panel of English professors.

Customer service research example

WORK EXPERIENCE Conducted interviews with 20 customers each week to gain insight into the user experience with company products Used Google analytics to determine which pages were driving most web traffic, and increased traffic by 11% Reviewed thousands of customer surveys and compiled findings into monthly reports with graphic findings Presented at weekly marketing meeting to inform marketing team of trends in customer experience with our products

Laboratory research example

RESEARCH Conducted experiments on rat brains by introducing various novel chemical compounds and levels of oxygen Ran electricity through brain slices to view interaction of different chemical compounds on active brain cells Prepared sterile samples for daily check and maintained 89% percent yield over the course of a 3-month study Presented findings in a final 15 -page research report and presentation to the Research and Development team

Examples of common research skills to list on your resume

Here are examples of research skills in action that you may have overlooked:

Searching for local business competition

Sending out customer satisfaction surveys

Summarizing current policies and laws in effect for a particular topic

Creating lesson plans based on current education standards

Reading literature reviews and implementing changes in clinical practice

Attention to detail

Problem-solving skills

Critical thinking

Project management skills

Communication skills

Why are research skills important?

Research skills are important because they can help you identify a problem, gather information, and evaluate that information for relevancy. Including your research skills on a resume will show hiring managers that you have the ability to suggest new ideas and help their organization adapt and change as the industry changes.

Some common research skills include:

critical thinking

Computer skills

Can I list research as a skill?

Yes, you can list research as a skill on your resume. Including your research skills in your resume can help show a potential employer that you have the ability to suggest new ideas and use critical thinking to find solutions to problems. Most research skills will use attention to detail, problem-solving, and project management skills.

California State University San Bernardino – Incorporating Research Project Experience on Your Resume

University of Missouri – How to Put Research on Your Resume

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Heidi Cope is a former writer for the Zippia Career Advice blog. Her writing focused primarily on Zippia's suite of rankings and general career advice. After leaving Zippia, Heidi joined The Mighty as a writer and editor, among other positions. She received her BS from UNC Charlotte in German Studies.

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CV Formatting Essentials

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In general, the main thing to consider when developing your CV is readability.  It is important because reviewers will likely read 100s of CVs for applications. Therefore you want to make this as easy and painless as possible.  The following are just a few tips we think will help you get started.

  • To start, make sure to use 12 point font (or no smaller then 10) and one inch margins (or no smaller then 8)
  • The following are some common sections found in a CV:
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Professional or Work Experience
  • Community or Academic Service
  • Honors & Awards
  • When describing your experience a CV generally uses a paragraph structure, compared to a resume which is typically formatted using bullet points.
  • The emphasis for a CV is on academic accomplishment, research inquiry, methods or techniques used, and analytical approaches.
  • Briefly highlight your dissertation or thesis in the Education section. When describing your dissertation or thesis in a CV, you typically include the title within the Education section included just under the degree. The details of the work will be include later within the Research Experience section. For those in the Humanities, you will add a Dissertation section with a brief synopsis of your research. See Humanities  CV sample .
  • A CV could include names of collaborators and your PI, research outcomes or future areas of inquiry. Skills and abilities are also included in a CV. Those skills particular to graduate students and postdocs include the ability to analyze data, conduct archival research, test hypothesis, and reason logically.
  • Include a reference section.  A Reference section is typically included when applying for a faculty or postdoc position. Follow the instructions. If the position description calls for three references, provide them with three. Be sure to include the name, department, email, address and phone number. Referees for academic appointments generally send the reference letter directly to the institution, so you will want them to know exactly how to contact your references in case the letter does not arrive.
  • Include a footer starting on the second page with your name and "page 2 of X".

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Highlighting Your Thesis Information and Research Projects on Your CV/Resume

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Yes! You should include your thesis information and research projects on your CV/resume. Check this article out for tips, examples, and a template.

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Undergraduate Research

How to put research on your resumé.

Resumés are important documents for all kinds of application packages — jobs, scholarships, grad school, etc. Your resumé should fit within the total package highlighting your achievements in a concise manner that can be further expounded upon in your personal statement, cover letter, or your letters of reference. It is important to custom tailor your resumé to any particular position, or program you are applying for. Some information needs to be emphasized more than other depending on what the reviewers may be looking for.

Using Your Space Wisely

In general, a resumé should be no more than two pages long — unless you have a large number of presentations or publications that need to be listed. Avoid the tendency to add more “stuff” to your resumé to try to look impressive. Use the relevant experience you have and determine what was impressive about it (for example, demonstrated independence, innovation, grit, or tenacity; helped improve ways of doing things in the lab; were given additional responsibilities as time went on; etc.)

  • A reviewer would rather read about the two positions you had that are relevant, than try to sift through seven or eight clubs or fast-food job descriptions.
  • Transcript?
  • Recommendation Letters?
  • Personal Statement?

Typically, resumes are formatted so that your most recent position is listed first. However, don’t put working at Dairy Queen first, if you are applying for a research position. Instead, consider using some of the following sections:

  • Academic Accomplishments
  • Research Experience
  • Work Experience/Employment
  • College Activities
  • Volunteer Work
  • Presentations and Publications

You do not need all of these categories, especially if you do not have relevant, interesting, or recent experience with them. Do not feel forced to try to fit your resume into someone else’s template. Make a list of what you want to include then design categories that fit your experience and story. Keep in mind that these categories will change over time (for example: five years after college, you will no longer need to include a section on “college activities”).

Research Mentor

  • Area of research
  • Not only does it show that you worked directly with a faculty member in your position, but reviewers might be familiar with your mentor’s work which could put you at an advantage.
  • Consider listing projects and accomplishments the group achieved first before breaking things out on a year to year basis.
  • If you were funded by different sources at different times, put a list of these sources at the bottom of the experience in this position.

Job Titles, Time Periods

  • Use something that makes sense (sometimes HR titles do not)
  • Instead of “MUURS Scholar” say “Student Researcher funded by the MU Undergraduate Research Scholars Program”
  • Summer 2017 (9 weeks, full time internship)
  • Academic Year 2018-2019 (15 hrs/week)
  • What does that award mean?
  • Will anyone outside of campus know what that is?
  • Was the program selective?
  • What was the award amount?
  • What was the duration of the award?
  • You can list various funding sources at the end of the relevant section
  • External funding (from a government entity such as NIH, for example) is impressive. Be sure to list it.

You need to take the time to seriously consider your experience and how that allowed you to grow and mature as a researcher. Ask yourself these questions when brainstorming about your experience:

  • What are areas you excelled in?
  • What are lessons you learned?
  • What are things you improved upon from the person before you?
  • How did you spend your time?
  • What skills did you gain?
  • What research outcomes were reached?
  • How long were you in the lab?

Use specific numbers or other qualifiers when applicable to show just how much work, effort, independence, or tenacity you had.

If your publication and presentation experience is limited, it is recommended that you include it with your relevant experience. However, if you have extensive or otherwise impressive experience (won a presentation award at a conference, or presented your work to state legislators at the Undergraduate Research Day at the the State Capitol, for example) then include a new category specifically for Presentations and/or Publications.


  • Include full list of authors
  • Include full and official title
  • Include if it was poster or oral presentation (ie, 15 minute presentation)
  • Include location, event
  • Include date (at least month and year)
  • Include any award
  • Check in with your mentor, to find out if a poster you co-authored was presented elsewhere.


  • Full citation when published
  • In Press – journal, date?
  • Submitted for review – journal/date
  • In preparation
  • Check with your mentor as many projects are not completed by the time as student graduates.

Final Reminders

  • Know your audience
  • Explain (or spell out)
  • Organize to fit your own situation
  • Make it easy to follow – esp. if you have ‘time away’
  • But have on comprehensive and cohesive running resumé.
  • Have a system in place to update/organize your resumés.
  • Use professional language, as most files are submitted electronically — the reviewer will see if you named a file “Better Resumé”
  • ex: Jane Doe Resumé – Biochemistry REU, UT Austin
  • This will ensure that the reviewer knows who you are and what you are applying for without even opening the file.

We encourage students to visit the MU Career Center in the Student Success Center for help on their specific application needs.

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Curriculum vitae.

Curriculum vitae (CV, also often informally called a “vita”) is a Latin expression loosely translated as "course of life”. In contrast to a resume (also resumé or résumé) from the French meaning “summary”. 

Both a CV and resume represent you as the best qualified candidate, demonstrate your "fit" for a position, and are used in an application process to get you an interview. A CV presents a full history of your academic credentials so length is variable, while a resume presents a concise picture of your qualifications with length prescribed by years of experience. For more information on the differences between a CV and resume .

Many European countries use “CV” to describe all such documents and do not use the term resume. In the United Kingdom, most Commonwealth countries , and Republic of Ireland, for example, a CV is a short document, containing a summary of the job seeker's employment history, qualifications, education, and some personal information. Some parts of Asia also require applicants' photos, date of birth, and most recent salary information. When applying to international positions, be sure to check if you are unsure just what kind of information they want.

Check with your advisor about any discipline specific variations when preparing your CV.

When to use a CV

A CV is used when applying for:

  • Graduate school
  • Academic (research and teaching) positions in a four-year university, state college, community college, or liberal arts college
  • Fellowships and scholarships
  • Research funding and grants

Although largely the same format for all academic positions, there is some variation and a difference on emphasis for a CV depending on the type of institution you’re applying to (e.g. community college vs. four-year university).

Review discipline specific CV samples .

CVs for Undergraduates Applying to Graduate School

When applying to graduate school, the application instructions may request that a CV be included in your application packet. You can check with the admissions office at the institution you are applying to, but in general this request is not for a full CV, but rather a more comprehensive resume.

The graduate school application CV will still be no longer than 2 pages. Items to include on the graduate school application CV might include (if applicable):

  • Descriptions of academic projects
  • Presentations, posters, or publications
  • Teaching assistantships
  • Academic service, such as mentoring and/or leadership on committees

General tips and guidelines

See our CV/Resume builder to help you get started compiling your information.

General things to consider when developing your CV:

  • Readability is important Reviewers will likely read 100s of applications. You want to make this as easy and painless as possible. Use 12 point font (or no smaller then 10). One inch margins (or no smaller then .8). Include a footer starting on the second page with your name and "page 2 of X". See CV samples for footer options.
  • Briefly highlight your dissertation or thesis in the Education section When describing your dissertation or thesis in a CV, you typically include the title within the Education section included just under the degree. The details of the work will be include later within the Research Experience section. For those in the Humanities, you will add a Dissertation section with a brief synopsis of your research. See Humanities CV sample .
  • Include common CV sections The header with contact information ( see header samples ), Education, Research Experience, Teaching Experience, Publications, Presentations, Grants and Awards, Academic Service (could include mentoring, committee work, journal editing), and References. See additional CV categories for further explanation. Also see CV samples for formatting and layout.
  • Use paragraphs instead of bullets When describing your experience a CV generally uses a paragraph structure, compared to a resume which is typically formatted using bullet points. The emphasis for a CV is on academic accomplishment, research inquiry, methods or techniques used, and analytical approaches. A CV could include names of collaborators and your PI, research outcomes or future areas of inquiry. Skills and abilities are also included in a CV. Those skills particular to graduate students and postdocs include the ability to analyze data, conduct archival research, test hypothesis, and reason logically. For additional suggestions and a list of skills, view the CV supplement .
  • Include a reference section A Reference section is typically included when applying for a faculty or postdoc position. Follow the instructions. If the position description calls for three references, provide them with three. Be sure to include the name, department, email, address and phone number. Referees for academic appointments generally send the reference letter directly to the institution, so you will want them to know exactly how to contact your references in case the letter does not arrive.

Emphasis Depends Upon the Institution

A CV for an academic teaching position in a:

  • Community College Emphasizes teaching over research, pedagogical training and qualifications as a generalist as well as academic service, mentoring and work with undergraduate students. The Teaching Experience section on your CV will follow the Education section and include details about your particular role (e.g., Adjunct, Lead Teaching Assistant, Teaching Assistant) as well as a list of all of the courses (by course title, not course number) you have taught or supported. The Teaching Experience section may include lecture materials you have presented, class size, lab responsibilities, etc. Teaching-focused community college CVs may also have a research section, but will include limited detail. See community college CV sample .
  • State or Liberal Arts College Emphasizes a balance of teaching and research, thus will include equal emphasis on the research and teaching sections.
  • Four-Year University Emphasizes academic accomplishments, scholarly productivity, research experience, technical expertise, successful grant writing and collaboration potential. The emphasis for a tier one research institution will be placed on the research section, with a less prominent section on teaching and mentoring experience. The Research Experience section should follow the Education Section.

How to List PhD ABD on Resume

dissertation on resume

Ph.D. ABD is a term for Ph.D. students who have done everything, but their dissertation uses. They use this term especially when they need to apply for a job and update their education history and qualifications. People usually wonder, “Should I put my Ph.D. on a resume if I’m ABD?” to add value to their resume.

Some employers like to know that their applicants and potential employees are knowledge-seeking individuals. I think the inclusion of this status in your resume achieved this aim.

However, there are many things that could be improved about the use of this term, such as if it should be used at all, when, and how appropriate it is. One may also wonder what All But Dissertation Resume means, but we will find out in subsequent sections.

This article will address these situations. It will address how to list ABD on resumes if students can put their Ph.D. ABD on their resume clearly defines who qualifies to be classified as a Ph.D. ABD student. Let’s get started.

Would you be able to tell me how to list minors on your resume correctly? Please take a look at our article to find out .

What Does ABD Mean?

ABD stands for All but Dissertation. ABD resume is a thing. This is a term people use when they need to indicate that they have finished their Ph.D. Coursework but still need to do their dissertation. A person who has an ABD status is an individual who has completed all the required classwork and any other comprehensive mandatory examinations.

Although this term has no academic standing, it is used when informing others of the stage you are in your program — the Ph.D. ABD status is not a degree that can be obtained. It simply means you have gone halfway in fulfilling all the requirements of your Ph.D. program.

For there to be a degree, you must fulfill all the requirements mandated by the institution you are studying at. ABD can also be said to be a ‘degree in view.’ One must complete three steps before they refer to their Ph.D. status as ABD.

Should I Put PhD ABD on my Resume?

Students who are in the process of getting their Ph.D. but still need to complete or start their dissertation may list PhD ABD on resume. They can record it because it adds professional value to the student and lets people know they are working towards a goal. It is an outstanding achievement, and it would be best to let a prospective employer know you are on a journey to obtain your Ph.D. Your Ph.D. ABD should be listed on your resume.

However, if you do not intend to complete or fulfill the requirements of the Ph.D. program, you should not list Ph.D. ABD on your resume. This is deceptive and misleading to the readers of the resume. But the years of school leading to that point can be listed on the resume. This listing would still impress your employer. You don’t need to provide misleading information that may be perceived as deceptive, especially when you have no intentions of completing your Ph.D. program.

If you want help writing your resume from real professionals, check our list of top resume writers; they will assist you best.

If you are in this position where you think you should include Ph.D., ABD on your resume, you have to think long and hard about whether you would continue the program. If yes, you can consist of this status on your resume. If not, do not include it.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today” – Malcolm X.

How to List All but Dissertations (ABD) on a Resume

A student must understand the intricacies of listing an ABD on their degree, as it is a pending degree that has yet to be obtained. Please make sure to check your graduation status before checking that your institution’s credits and degree requirements are in your anticipated graduation date. This helps the student understand the requirements needed to complete the program and determine whether they will add ABD to their resume. This would help you greatly in listing your Ph.D. ABD on your resume.

On your resume, you can list your pending degree under the education section after the name of your institution. List your Ph.D. ABD status after your college has been listed. You may also write ‘pending’ if the graduation is near. Write this alongside your commencement date. But if the graduation is later, you can write ‘expected’ with the anticipated commencement date. Place a comma after the name of your institution and before any degree-related information.

For instance, Oxford University, Medicine, Pending, December 2021. This format is if the graduation date is near.

For instance, Oxford University, Medicine, Expected, August 2022. This format is if the graduation date is far away.

A popular question is: should I put a GPA on my resume? Read more on our blog.

When Should You List It?

You should list your Ph.D. ABD status if you intend to complete your program. Many students do not get to finish their Ph.D. degrees, but people who fit in this category have completed their coursework. You should only list the status of the pending degree on your resume if this is a program you intend to finish. The student must be sure of their ability to complete the program.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin.

When You Should Not Add It

You should not add your Ph.D. ABD status on your resume if you do not intend to finish the program. Some students have stopped their Ph.D. halfway because of lack of funds, external obligations they cannot fulfill, bad situations, and the realization that they do not need or want a Ph.D. degree, to mention a few. To avoid being perceived as deceptive, please make sure you finish the program. By the way, remember to add page numbers to your resume .

dissertation on resume

How to List Unfinished Ph.D. Degrees on Resume?

It would be best if you listed your ABD status the same way your Ph.D. degree would be listed. Although some phrases may be written in full form, others should be abbreviated. The ‘ABD’ must not be written in full. It should be shortened because the full term is too lengthy and wordy. The abbreviated form will match the abbreviated form of the Ph.D. This emphasizes the need for consistency.

Should I Put my Ph.D. on a Resume if I am ABD?

No, you should not put a Ph.D. on your resume if you are ABD. This is deceptive and a lie. You cannot assume a degree that you have not completed. An applicant must always list the true status of their education qualifications. List your complete most recent educational experience.

If you have not completed your Ph.D. degree, you should list your Masters’ degree instead. This gives your employer an insight into your education level so far.

How Do You Know If You Are ABD?

You have to be sure that you are ABD before you list it on your resume. If you are ABD, you must have completed these requirements:

  • You must have finished all the courses required for your Ph.D. program.
  • You must have passed the necessary and required examinations for your Ph.D. program
  • You must have defended your dissertation proposal. This ensures that your topic has been approved for completion.

If you have fulfilled these requirements, you can refer to your status as ABD. The only thing left for you to do, in this instance, is to conduct your research and write the dissertation. This is what is referred to as (ABD) All But Dissertation on a resume. You cannot include ABD in your resume if you have not fulfilled the highlighted requirements above.

Should your GMAT scores be on your CV? Find out from our article .

The Ph.D. ABD status has caused Ph.D. students looking to apply for jobs to be skeptical. Having a good insight into your goals and plans is usually helpful. The status can be included if the student is sure they will complete the program. If not, it is best not to include it.

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dissertation on resume

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Grad Coach

Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019

So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.

To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .

Dissertation structure and layout - the basics

*The Caveat *

In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).

So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.  

Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis

  • Acknowledgements page
  • Abstract (or executive summary)
  • Table of contents , list of figures and tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • Reference list

As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:

  • The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
  • The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
  • The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
  • The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question .

In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.

A dissertation's structure reflect the research process

To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.

Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.

The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:

  • Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
  • Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
  • Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)

Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:

  • The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
  • The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
  • Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or  mixed methods ).

For example:

A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].

Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).

Dissertations stacked up


This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.

So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:

  • Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
  • Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
  • Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
  • Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).

There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.

Abstract or executive summary

The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .

For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):

  • Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
  • Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
  • Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
  • Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?

So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.

In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .

Need a helping hand?

dissertation on resume

Table of contents

This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:

If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.

Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…

It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:

  • What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
  • Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
  • What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
  • What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
  • How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
  • How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?

These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.

If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.

Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:

  • What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
  • Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
  • How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
  • How does your research contribute something original?
  • How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?

Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.

Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.

Dissertation writing

Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…

In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:

  • Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
  • Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?

Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.

Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.

In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!

You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics , etc.

Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.

Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).

What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.

Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.

The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).

Dissertation and thesis prep

Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings . In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?

Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!

This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.

It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:

Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.

The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.

Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!

Time to recap…

And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:

  • Acknowledgments page

Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).

I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the  Grad Coach Blog .

dissertation on resume

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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The acknowledgements section of a thesis/dissertation



many thanks i found it very useful

Derek Jansen

Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.


Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!


what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much


Thanks so much this helped me a lot!

Ade Adeniyi

Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.

Thanks Ade!


Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..

You’re welcome!

Jp Raimundo

Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?

Karmelia Renatee

Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment

You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.


best ever benefit i got on right time thank you

Krishnan iyer

Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .

I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these

You have given immense clarity from start to end.

Alwyn Malan

Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?


Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!

yemi Amos

Thanks ! so concise and valuable

Kgomotso Siwelane

This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.

dauda sesay

Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.

Patrick Mwathi

Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times

Adao Bundi

Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.


Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills

mwepu Ilunga

Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear


Very nice and easy to understand. Thank you .

Chrisogonas Odhiambo

That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!


My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!


Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?

It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂


Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!

Simon Le

Great video; I appreciate that helpful information

Brhane Kidane

It is so necessary or avital course


This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you


Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates

Emmanuel Manjolo

wow this is an amazing gain in my life

Paul I Thoronka

This is so good

Tesfay haftu

How can i arrange my specific objectives in my dissertation?


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Trapped in dissertation revisions?

All but dissertation (abd): a complete guide, published by steve tippins on may 8, 2019 may 8, 2019.

Last Updated on: 2nd February 2024, 05:30 am

What does ABD Mean?

The term “ABD” stands for All But Dissertation. This means that you have finished everything in a PhD program except for the dissertation. Someone who is ABD has successfully completed all of the required classwork and any required comprehensive exams. The term itself has no academic standing but is used to tell others where you are in your program.

Having completed in the neighborhood of two years of classwork, it is nice to have something to acknowledge this accomplishment. Many use the term “ABD” to let others know their position in their doctoral journey.

However, this should not be a destination. ABD should just be a way to tell people where you are on your journey, similar to telling someone that you just passed the hardware store on your way home. Home is your destination, not the hardware store.

Can You Get a “PhD ABD Degree”?

The short answer is no, there is no such thing as a “PhD ABD degree.” Rather, the term “PhD ABD” is used to refer to a place in one’s journey towards getting a PhD.

Another term that has begun to be used to connote a similar message to “PhD ABD” is “PhDc” (also expressed as “PhD(c)” or “PhD-c”). This term has gained popularity recently but there is concern about its use. The APA has expressed concern that the general public may not know what the term means and believe that the holder has completed her/his PhD. Similarly, the term “ABD Degree” makes claim to a degree that was never completed.

When a similar question was asked online, one user commented, “A PhD that’s All But Dissertation is like an espresso that is All But Coffee. It’s hot water with a bit of sugar, thus defeating the entire purpose of the exercise.”

Neither PhD ABD nor PhDc represents the achievement of a degree, so the use of either in a formal setting, such as your CV or in correspondence, should probably be avoided. Avoid making claims like holding an ABD Degree.

However, a new type of degree has arisen lately for those who stop their studies having completed all but their dissertation. This gives people something to show for their time in the PhD program. Called names such as Certificate of Doctoral Completion, this is a way to allow students who leave a program to do so with a degree–albeit, one not nearly as esteemed as a PhD. This may serve the purpose as an ABD degree.

All But Dissertation: Why Do So Many PhD Candidates Quit?

close-up shot of an open laptop in a college classroom

Around 50% of those who start a PhD program do not finish . Many of those who do not finish get to the All But Dissertation stage before they leave their program. Why would someone leave a PhD program after such a big time and effort investment?

dissertation on resume

There are many reasons why people leave at the ABD level. Among the reasons are:

Lack of funds

Getting a PhD takes time and money. For many people the money (or access to loans) can run out. If that happens, there may be no other option but to leave.

External obligations

Life happens and situations change. Maybe you have had two kids during the process and they need your time and attention, perhaps your aging parents need your care, or maybe your Aunt Melville died and left you her $30 million estate. We cannot predict the future, and valid reasons may arise to leave a program.

Bad situations

There are many stories about abusive advisors/mentors in PhD programs. There is an uneven power distribution between committees and doctoral students. This can turn into a reason to not finish a degree.

Realization that they don’t want/need a PhD

One of the things that you learn in PhD classes is critical thinking and asking questions. What is not part of these programs is solving problems. You learn to answer questions and leave the application/problem solving to others.

Some people get to the ABD stage and determine that they are more suited to being advocates and solving problems than answering questions, giving them an incentive to go out and begin solving the problems that they see. The world needs both types of people.

All But Dissertation: How Not to Stay There

Many people get stuck at the ABD phase of the journey and do not finish their degree. Most of the time, this leaves them with nothing to show for the considerable amount of coursework they completed.

If you decide to leave a program at the ABD stage, having loans can make it seem worse.  Eight months after you stop attending school, student loan payments kick in. No one really enjoys making student loan payments, and they can seem even worse if you left a program without a degree.

Here is my advice for powering through the all but dissertation phase and earning your degree.

Know what’s coming

close-up shot of a big pile of books

When you were taking classes, your program was laid out in front of you. You knew which courses to take when and what grades you needed. As you enter the dissertation phase things are not as straightforward. You should read everything that your school provides on the process and become familiar with any templates that are provided. A good template can signal to you what sections are needed in each chapter and save you time.

Also understand the review process for the work you submit and plan accordingly. If it takes two weeks for your committee to review your Prospectus , then work on finding more literature for your eventual Chapter 2. If your Proposal is being reviewed, start preparing your IRB submission. Be as efficient as possible.

Work every day

There is a book titled “Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day.” The idea is that you need to work on your dissertation consistently, everyday. I find that people who put time in on a regular basis, daily if possible, tend to move forward faster than those who put in a lot of time on an irregular basis. If you have large amounts of time between sessions, you have to spend time remembering where you were. Make writing your dissertation a habit and you will move beyond the ABD stage.

Ask for help

In our society, we’re often taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But if you want to complete your PhD program, you’d better let go of that belief and recognize that asking for help is both wise essential for your success.

man and a woman having a discussion in an outdoor café

If you are in a graduate program there are people out there who can help you if you ask. For example, librarians can help you find material and save you lots of time. If your writing needs help, most schools have Writing Centers and if that is not enough, a good academic editor can save you a lot of time and help you move forward.

You dissertation chair and committee are resources as well. Ask the members of the committee for guidance (read: What to Do if Your Advisor is Ignoring You ).

If you are looking for more hands-on help, a dissertation coach can help you towards the finish line.

Be good to yourself

Graduate school is not a sprint. It can be a long, grueling process so you need to take care of yourself along the way. You don’t want to reach the end and be so burned out that you aren’t able to use the degree you worked so hard for.

Self care is very important. Try to add simple things like taking a walk of talking to a friend to your routine. This can save your sanity and help you move forward. For more on this see my article on self care .

Realize your progress

It is easy to get lost in the vastness of writing a dissertation and not realize how much you have actually accomplished. Sometimes it is good to stop and look back at what you have accomplished. For example, you have finished all of your coursework and comprehensive exams. You have done a great deal. Now you get to concentrate on something that truly interests you.

Reward yourself for genuine progress. Rather than paying attention to how much time you spent writing, set mile markers such as writing 2,000 words, finishing a draft of your Chapter One, or addressing all of your committee’s comments.

dissertation on resume

All But Dissertation: Summary

You have the chance to be one of the 2 percent of the population with a doctoral degree. Take care of yourself on the journey, stay dedicated to the process and call on all available resources. You can do this!

Steve Tippins

Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins

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May 15, 2024

Tips and Resources for a Successful Summer of Dissertation Writing

By Yana Zlochistaya

Summer can be a strange time for graduate students. Gone are the seminars and workshops, the student clubs, and the working group, that structured the semester and provided us with a sense of community. Instead, we’re faced with a three-month expanse of time that can feel equal parts liberating and intimidating. This double-edged freedom is only exacerbated for those of us in the writing stage of our dissertation, when isolation and a lack of discipline can have a particularly big impact. For those hoping not to enter another summer with lofty plans, only to blink and find ourselves in August disappointed with our progress, we’ve compiled some tips and resources that can help.

According to Graduate Writing Center Director Sabrina Soracco, the most important thing you can do to set yourself up for writing success is to clarify your goals. She recommends starting this process by looking at departmental requirements for a completed dissertation. Consider when you would like to file and work backwards from that point, determining what you have to get done in order to hit that target. Next, check in with your dissertation committee members to set up an accountability structure. Would they prefer an end-of-summer update to the whole committee? A monthly check-in with your chair or one of your readers? Setting up explicit expectations that work for you and your committee can cut through the aimlessness that comes with a major writing project.

For those early on in their dissertation-writing process, a committee meeting is also a valuable opportunity to set parameters. “One of the problems with the excitement for the discipline that happens post-quals is that it results in too many ideas,” says Director Soracco. Your committee members should give you input on productive research directions so that you can begin to hone in on your project. It is also important to remember that your dissertation does not have to be the end-all-and-be-all of your academic research. Ideas that do not fit into its scope can end up becoming conference papers or even book chapters.

Once you have a clear goal that you have discussed with your committee, the hard part begins: you have to actually write. The Graduate Writing Center offers several resources to make that process easier:

  • The Graduate Writing Community. This is a totally remote, two-month program that is based on a model of “gentle accountability.” When you sign up, you are added to a bCourses site moderated by a Graduate Writing Consultant. At the beginning of the week, everyone sets their goals in a discussion post, and by the end of the week, everyone checks in with progress updates. During the week, the writing consultants offer nine hours of remote synchronous writing sessions. As a writing community member, you can attend whichever sessions work best for your schedule. All that’s required is that you show up, set a goal for that hour, and work towards that goal for the length of two 25-minute Pomodoro sessions . This year’s summer writing community will begin in June. Keep your eye on your email for the registration link!
  • Writing Consultations : As a graduate student, you can sign up for an individual meeting with a Graduate Writing Consultant. They can give you feedback on your work, help you figure out the structure of a chapter, or just talk through how to get started on a writing project. 
  • Independent Writing Groups: If you would prefer to write with specific friends or colleagues, you can contact Graduate Writing Center Director Sabrina Soracco at [email protected] so that she can help you set up your own writing group. The structure and length of these groups can differ; often, members will send each other one to five pages of writing weekly and meet the next day for two hours to provide feedback and get advice. Sometimes, groups will meet up not only to share writing, but to work in a common space before coming together to debrief. Regardless of what the groups look like, the important thing is to create a guilt-free space. Some weeks, you might submit an outline; other weeks, it might be the roughest of rough drafts; sometimes, you might come to a session without having submitted anything. As long as we continue to make progress (and show up even when we don’t), we’re doing what we need to. As Director Soracco puts it, “it often takes slogging through a lot of stuff to get to that great epiphany.”

Yana Zlochistaya is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature and a Professional Development Liaison with the Graduate Division. She previously served as a co-director for Beyond Academia.


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