Academic CV Template—Examples, and 25+ Writing Tips

A complete guide to writing a US curriculum vitae for academic positions, graduate schools, fellowships, research programs or grants. All you need to know in one place.

Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW
Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW
Academic CV Template—Examples, and 25+ Writing Tips

Summary: In this guide, you’ll see a sample academic curriculum vitae and a detailed breakdown of how to write and format each section to make the most of your education and credentials.

 

Let’s face it, today’s academic realities are pretty harsh.

 

So many talented scholars fighting for so few truly worthwhile fellowships, research programs, or grants.

 

And with the 5% cut in federal spending on higher education planned for 2019, things are only going to get worse.

 

You can’t change the economy, I’m sorry. But you can dramatically boost your chances of standing out from all other applicants.

 

Just follow the advice from this guide to writing an American academic CV.

 

First things first. See the below academic CV example for reference.

 

What does a perfect academic CV look like? See below—

 

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Sample Academic CV Template You Can Copy, Adjust, and Use

 

Meredith Gershowitz
CURRICULUM VITAE
2019/01/25

 

 

Meredith Gershowitz
Senior Lecturer on English
Director of Creative Writing
The State University of New York, Albany, NY
295 Johnson Rd., Corona, NY 11368
551-251-4884
m_gershowitz@suny.edu
linkedin.com/in/meredithgershowitz

 

EDUCATION

 

2011 Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Department of Creative Writing
Thesis Title: “The Hybrid Hero of Early Modern English Literature: A Synthesis of Classical and Contemplative Heroism”
Thesis Supervisor: Martina Knox

 

2004 M.A. in English, Graduated Summa Magna Cum Laude 
The City University of New York, NYC, NY
The Department of Modern Languages
Thesis Title: “Philip Larkin’s Distinct Post-War Aesthetic: An Analysis of Compositions and Narratives in ‘Jill’ and ‘A Girl in Winter’”
Thesis Supervisor: James Nutini

 

2003 M.Litt. in English, First Honors
University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK

 

PROFESSIONAL APPOINTMENTS

 

Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Senior Lecturer on English
Director of Creative Writing
The State University of New York, Albany, NY
Department of Creative Writing
2016–
Teaching a total of 12 undergraduate and 11 graduate courses. Supervised 7 MA theses. Director of the Creative Writing Board since 2018.

 

Visiting Lecturer on English and Drama
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Department of Modern Languages
2012–2016
Taught a total of 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate courses.

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Books

 

The Rustle of Language. New York: Hill and Wang, 2018.

Sexual Politics in Post-2000 American Drama. Woodstock and New York: The Overlook Press, 2014.

 

Book Chapters

 

"Difficulties with Girls." In Philip Larkin, edited by Stephen Regan. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, and London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 2015.

"Southern Gentle Lady Do Not Swoon." In Langston Hughes: The Man and His Work, edited by Michael Tomaszewski. London and New York: Faber & Faber, 2012

 

Selected Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

 

“Livy and the Pax Deum,” Modern Philology 111, no. 2 (April 2016): 170–193.

“Conundrum: A Story about Reading,” New England Review 38, no. 1 (2015): 212–230, Project MUSE.

“I Have Screwed the Pig That Was in the Icebox,” Verso Magazine 8, no. 4 (2013): 91–109.

“Don't Go Back to Dalston,” Poor Indie Music Review 69, no. 5 (June 2012): 420–434.

"The Crash Was an Accident. You Have to Let me Go," University of Stockholm Press 18 (March 2011): 37–53.

 

Other Publications

 

“The Prophet of Dystopia.” New Yorker, April 17, 2017.

“Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera.” New York Times, March 8, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/this-is-a-fake-url/technology/snap-makes-a-bet-on-the-cultural-supremacy-of-the-camera.html.

“The Squishy, Sugary History of Peeps.” Vox, April 11, 2012. http://www.vox.com/culture/fake-url-everybody/3012/4/11/15209084/peeps-easter.

 

AWARDS AND HONORS

 

2018, National Humanities Medal
2018, Ruskin Society Book Prize, Winner
2017 PROSE Award for Textbook/Best in Social Sciences, Honourable Mention 
2015, Choice Outstanding Academic Title, Winner
2011, PROSE Award for Single Volume Reference in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Honourable Mention
2003, Fulbright / The City University of New York Award in Humanities

 

CONFERENCES

 

2018, The Limits of an Institution, International Conference, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain; Paper title: "New York City's Art Museums and Activism: The Evolving Relationship."
2017, Prophecy or Randomness, The City University of New York, New York, NY; Paper title: “Carrie Ligon and the Questions of Identity.”
2016, Conflicting Futures, Lee Hansley Institute, Raleigh, NC; Paper title: “A Story About Space: Questioning Terry Eagleton’s Critique Methods.”

 

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

 

Teaching Assistant
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
2005–2011

 

Teaching Assistant
The City University of New York, NYC, NY

 

LANGUAGES

 

Hebrew: Bilingual
French: Advanced
German: Intermediate
Arabic: Can Read With a Dictionary

 

If you’re applying for a scholarship and have been asked specifically to send a scholarship academic resume instead of a CV, see: Scholarship Resume Examples and Writing Tips

 

Still a student? Writing an academic resume for school admissions or internships? Switch over to: Student Resume Examples and Writing Tips

 

Read on for an overview of an American CV for academic purposes. But before we jump into that, a quick note—

 

Academic CVs vary in content, chief focus, and length.

 

Obviously, a CV for graduate school won’t have all the sections a professor CV has. A research CV for scientists will highlight other sorts of achievements than an academic teacher CV.

 

There’s no one-size-fits-all template.

 

This guide’s purpose is to provide you with basic concepts and rules every academic curriculum vitae has to follow.

 

1. Use the Right Academic CV Template and Format

 

Before you start making your academic CV, take care of the formatting. Admission committees and other academic decision makers can be truly nit-picky when it comes to details. So—

 

Make sure your CV is scholarly and elegant. Avoid amateurish gaffes that would make you look like a rookie.

 

Academic CV Formatting Step by Step

 

  1. Set one-inch margins on all four sides.
  2. Writing “Curriculum Vitae” at the top is optional (if you’re in sciences, feel free to drop it).
  3. Pick one CV font and stick to it. Standard CV fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, and Georgia are best.
  4. Use 11–12pt font size for all contents and 13–16pt for section headings and your name.
  5. Set single line spacing.
  6. Left-align all contents. Do not justify right: avoid awkward, wide spaces.
  7. Write section headings in bold using ALL CAPS, and subheadings in bold only.
  8. Put an extra space before and after every heading.
  9. No verbiage, no bullet points, no storytelling. A CV is not a resume.
  10. Include all relevant academic details. Make your academic CV as long as it needs to be (even if that means double-digits page count).

Expert Hint: After you finish writing, save your Academic CV in PDF to keep formatting intact. The only exception is when the institution to which you’re applying only accepts academic CVs in Word. Unsure about that? Shoot a quick email or make a phone call and ask to stay on the safe side.

Now—

 

What goes where on a professional academic curriculum vitae?

 

Academic CV Template: Section Order

 

  1. Header with Contact Information
  2. (Optional) Research Objective / Personal Profile
  3. Education
  4. Professional Appointments
  5. Publications
    1. Books
    2. Book Chapters
    3. Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
    4. Other Publications
  6. Awards and Honors
  7. Grants and Fellowships
  8. Conferences
    1. Invited Talks
    2. Panels Organized
    3. Papers Presented
    4. Campus Talks
  9. Teaching Experience
  10. Research Experience
  11. Languages
  12. Skills
  13. References

 

Don’t have all of the above?

 

If you’re, say, writing a graduate student CV or even an undergraduate student CV, applying for a PhD, or seeking to get a part-time research assistant gig your at your campus, don’t worry.

 

Just skip those sections where you haven’t earned any experience yet. You’ll get there in a few years!

 

When it comes to outlining your academic CV, there’s one rule that never changes:

 

Education is always at the top, just below the header with your contact information.

 

Below that, you organize sections by competitiveness.

 

The more prestigious the accolade, credential, or achievement, the higher you place it.

 

But remember that academic CVs might vary depending on the type of position or program you’re targeting.

 

What exactly are you applying for?

 

An academic research CV for scientific grants should highlight research over teaching. A PhD candidate academic CV will have a more elaborate education section, while a postdoc CV will emphasize publications.

 

In other words: the template above works as a universal reference point, but feel free to adjust it so that it fits your specific needs.

 

Time to break down how to create each section of your curriculum vitae for greatest impact.

 

2. Create a Standard Academic CV Header

 

How to Format the Header of an Academic CV

 

  • At the top, in the center, write your full name. Optionally, follow it with the words “Curriculum Vitae” (this is more common in the humanities and arts).
  • Adding a center-aligned date is optional. Generally speaking, only senior scholars do it.
  • Put contact details on the left: your full name again, the name and address of your institution, your home address, telephone number, and email.

Expert Hint: Adding a LinkedIn profile address is also optional. Do so if you’re active on LinkedIn and your profile is up-to-date. Business and science scholars tend to add a LinkedIn handle more often.

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3. Optionally, Write a Research Objective or a Personal Profile

 

For experienced researchers and lecturers, this part is redundant.

 

Add it only if asked for in the CV guidelines of the institution you’re applying to. Undergrad CVs for grad school applications might benefit from this section.

 

Here’s how to write it:

 

Sample Grad School CV: Personal Profile

 

BA graduate in Psychology at Anytown University with a one-year study abroad experience at the Padua University and three semesters of experience assisting on-campus research projects. Made the Dean’s List for three years. Seeking to undertake doctoral research on Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Science.

 

4. Describe Your Education Right

 

List your institutions chronologically descending.

 

Include, in the following order:

  • Your degree and year of completion,
  • (Optionally) your honors,
  • Institution,
  • Department.

 

No further details required.

 

You might include your thesis title and supervisor, but that’s about as elaborate as you might get here.

 

Academic Curriculum Vitae Example: Education

 

2004 M.A. in English, Graduated Summa Magna Cum Laude 

The City University of New York, NYC, NY

The Department of Modern Languages

Thesis Title: “Philip Larkin’s Disting Post-War Aesthetic: An Analysis of Compositions and Narratives in ‘Jill’ and ‘A Girl in Winter’”

Thesis Supervisor: James Nutini

Expert Hint: Spelling out “Doctor of Philosophy,” or “Master of Science” will make you come across pretentious. As if you had that printed on your doorplate (you don’t, do you?).

5. List Your Professional Appointments (If You’ve Had Them)

 

Remember: on an adjunct professor resume or CV, there’s usually no place for this section.

 

Only contracted tenure goes here. And, only stints of 1+ year employment. List other types of teaching experience in the, well, “Teaching Experience” section below.

 

If you have had professional appointments (congratulations on your big break!), limit yourself to the following necessary details only:

  • Your position name,
  • Institution,
  • Department,
  • An outline of courses taught and/or theses supervised.

 

Like in every other academic curriculum vitae section, use the reverse-chronological order.

 

Professor CV Sample: Professional Appointments

 

Visiting Lecturer on English and Drama

University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Department of Modern Languages

2012–2016

Taught a total of 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate courses.

Expert Hint: I want to stress it so hard it causes mental fatigue: don’t use bullet points here. Or anywhere else. This. Is. Not. A. Resume.

6. Divide Your Publications into Proper Categories

 

How to List Publications on a CV?

 

Stick to one standard citation style (APA, MLA, or Chicago).

 

Organize publications by volume, peer-review and prestige:

  • Books,
  • Book Chapters,
  • Peer-Reviewed Publications,
  • Contributions to Edited Volumes Equivalent to Peer-Reviewed Journals,
  • Other Publications.

 

7. Showcase Your Awards, Honors, Grants, and Fellowships

 

This part has gotten all the more important recently.

 

Considering the planned heavy cuts on federal spendings on higher ed, your academic CV needs to prove that your research so far has been valuable enough to attract funding.

 

How to List Grants on a CV?

 

  • Enter only the year and the name of the award.
  • No backstories such as “chosen out of 800+ applicants.”
  • You can disclose how much you got exactly.

Expert Hint: Add the grants or scholarships you have rejected as well. You’re still a legitimate recipient. This is particularly important in artist CVs or CVs for fellowship applications.

8. Put Conferences Above Research and Teaching Experience

 

Especially invited talks outside of your campus.

 

Why?

 

In a word: competitiveness.

 

To get an invite to do a talk on another campus is insanely prestigious.

 

Not saying there’s anything wrong with TAing or RAing but, let’s face it, all PhD students, let alone postdoc scholars, have done it at some point in their careers.

 

But—

 

If you’re writing a junior academic CV for research projects or a part-time academic teacher CV, you might want to consider pulling your research/teaching experience above conference talks.

 

Always think about your target audience and what they expect from you.

 

9. Finish With Listing Languages, Skills, and References

 

Languages are a must. Describe all languages you know well enough to read basic academic texts in them. You can use the IRL scale (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), CEFR (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) or go for descriptive evaluation (basic, intermediate, advanced, native).

 

Listing skills is customary for technical fields such as computer science or engineering.

 

References are included on an academic CV only if explicitly asked for. You enter them at the very bottom. No need to explain your relationship with a reference unless you’re writing a CV for an undergraduate and only have one reference.

 

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Key Points

 

Here’s a recap of what’s most important in producing an Academic CV, regardless of your field and seniority level:

  • A well-written academic CV should provide a full overview of the candidate’s scholarly experience.
  • Education always goes first. Below it, organize items by competitiveness.
  • Begin with professional appointments, follow them with books and publications, list awards, grants, fellowships, conferences, research and teaching experience, and skills. At the bottom, list references.
  • Academic CVs’ guidelines vary across educational institutions. When in doubt, consult with a trusted advisor or contact the institution you’re applying to.

 

Questions? Concerns? I’m here to listen and assist. Drop me a line in the comments and I’ll make sure to get back to you straight away!

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Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW
Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW
Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Career Expert
Michael Tomaszewski is a resume expert and a career advice writer for ResumeLab. He is a certified professional resume writer (CPRW) and a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches. Michael works with candidates across all career stages—from entry-level job seekers to executive coaches. His insights have been featured in CIO and Best Life Online. His mission is to help you tell the story behind your career and reinforce your professional brand by coaching you to create outstanding job application documents. More than one million readers read his career advice every month. For ResumeLab, Michael uses his connections to help you thrive in your career. From fellow career experts and insiders from all industries—LinkedIn strategists, communications consultants, scientists, entrepreneurs, digital nomads, or even FBI agents—to share their unique insights and help you make the most of your career. Michael has a degree in Liberal Arts and specializes in personal and professional storytelling.

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