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How to List Education on a Resume (20+ Examples for Any Situation)

How to List Education on a Resume (20+ Examples for Any Situation)

Maciej Duszyński
Maciej Duszyński
Resume Expert at Zety

Most of the time putting education on a resume is as easy as ABC.

 

Name of university. Degree. Graduation year

 

Done.

 

But what if you feel there’s not enough to show off?

 

Or there’s so much, you don’t know where to start?

 

Keep calm. And read on.

 

This article will show you:

 

  • How to write about any education on a resume and make it look good.
  • When to mention your GPA, Latin honors, and relevant coursework.
  • How to list education in progress on a resume.
  • What to do with high school education on a resume (and how to include education in progress.)
  • Plus, extra tips on additional courses and certificates you’ve earned.

 

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Sample resume made with our builder - See more templates and create your resume here.

 

 

New to the job-seeking game? We’ve got you covered:

 

 

Here's All You Need to Know About the Education Resume Section:

 

  1. Experience or Education First?
  2. How to List Education
  3. Adding Relevant Coursework
  4. GPA on a Resume
  5. How Do You List Cum Laude on a Resume
  6. Do You Include Dean's List
  7. How to List a Minor
  8. Adding Expected Graduation Date
  9. How to List Unfinished Education
  10. High School Education
  11. Other Things to Consider on Your Resume

 

1

Experience or Education First?

 

Here’s a trick before we begin—

 

Most chronological resumes start with the work history section.

 

But—

 

If you’ve just graduated, consider putting your education resume section up top.

 

Why?

 

So that you show off your strongest suit first.

 

If you’re lacking in experience, draw the hiring manager’s attention to your educational background.

 

The top third of your resume is prime real estate for showing off your best accomplishments.

 

Or perhaps you recently went back to school to get a new degree? Consider putting the education section of your resume first as well. That’s especially true if your new degree is relevant to the job.

 

If you are a seasoned professional, your education should basically become a footnote.

 

Hiring managers will find your work experience much more relevant at this point in your career.

 

But remember—

 

The rules are not set in stone.

 

If you’re fresh out of college but did an internship or have relevant work experience, your employer would love to learn about this first. And only then about your educational background.

 

By the way, you can easily change the order of resume sections in our resume builder.

 

Not sure what resume format will work best for you, here’s a guide that will clear things out: Resume Format: Samples and Templates for all Types of Resumes

 

2

How to Put Education on a Resume

 

Here are the basics:

 

  1. Start with your highest degree.
  2. Add all other degrees in reverse-chronological order.
  3. If you finished college, don’t add your high school information.

 

If you have a diploma from a college, your education section should include:

 

  1. The type of degree you received.
  2. Your major/minor.
  3. The name of your school.
  4. The school’s location.
  5. The year you graduated.

 

Here’s an example of education on a resume:

 

Education in Resume—Examples

 

2009 MA in English Literature

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

 

2007 BA in English Literature

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

 

Pretty simple, right?

 

Here are three tips to format the education section ever better:

 

  • You can either spell out your degree “Master of Arts” or just use initials “MA”
  • You can either use periods to separate initials “M.A.” or not “MA”
  • You can write out the name of your major “MA in Psychology” or simply separate your degree from your major with a comma “MA, Psychology.”

 

And—

 

You can order the information in various ways.

 

For example, the candidate above graduated from Harvard.

 

As a literature major, they may feel like their degree isn’t directly related to the job for which they’re applying.

 

In that case, they may want to draw the recruiter’s attention to the fact that they attended Harvard:

 

Education on Resume—Example

 

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

MA in English Literature

Graduated in 2009

 

Pro Tip: Make sure that the way you format the entries in your education section remains consistent.

 

If you have some professional experience, listing education on a resume is that straightforward.

 

But—

 

If you’re a recent graduate or haven’t finished a degree, your resume may benefit from some extra information.

 

Want to make the best resume for a job? Don’t miss our guide on How to Make a Resume for a Job [from Application to Interview in 24h]

 

3

Relevant Coursework on a Resume

 

A nice thing to include in a student resume is relevant coursework. Make sure to choose courses that are relevant to the job.

 

If you have little to no work experience, listing relevant coursework on a resume can show you’ve gained the knowledge and skill set required for the job through your education.

 

Also—

 

You can show off courses that aren’t directly related to the job but will matter. For example, when you’re applying for a job in marketing, but have a degree in psychology.

 

Relevant Coursework on Resume—Example

 

2008 Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

The University of California, Berkeley, CA

 

Relevant Coursework:

  • Business Communication
  • Social Psychology
  • English Language Studies
  • Grammar and Editing

 

This candidate is applying for a job in marketing and these courses are very relevant. It’s great she showed them off!

 

4

GPA on a Resume

 

Some employers pay attention to GPAs. However, putting your GPA on a resume is optional. It only makes sense if you graduated recently and your GPA was above average.

 

So, when to include GPA on a resume?

 

Put your GPA on a resume:

 

  • If the employer requests it.
  • If it was 3.5 or higher and
  • You’re applying for your first job or
  • graduated within the last 2–3 years.

 

GPA on Resume—Example

 

2009 MA in English Literature

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

GPA 3.8

 

Remember:

 

The entire point of your resume education section is to highlight your key achievements and relevant knowledge.

 

If your GPA was 2.9, there’s nothing to brag about.

 

If you’re a seasoned pro with bags of experience, listing your GPA will look pretty weird on your resume. Even if it’s 4.0.

 

Pro Tip: There are certain occupations (investment banking for one) where your GPA is of paramount importance and listing it on your resume is required.

 

5

Cum Laude on a Resume

 

If you’ve graduated from an honors program, graduated with Latin honors (magna cum laude or summa cum laude), or were the valedictorian or salutatorian of your class, put this next to your degree in your education section.

 

Here’s an example illustrating how to put cum laude on a resume:

 

Magna Cum Laude on Resume—Example

 

Honors BS in Biology, Valedictorian, magna cum laude

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Graduated in 2012

 

Pro Tip: Latin honors should be italicized and in lower case.

 

Other honors and awards could include:

 

  • Any academic award or scholarship.
  • Academic honors besides being in an honors program including making the Dean’s List or acceptance into honors societies (campus, national, or international).

 

6

Dean’s List on a Resume

 

Putting Dean’s List on a resume is optional.

 

To cut a long story short:

 

Put Dean’s List on your resume if you made it to the list all semesters. This way you’ll demonstrate a consistent level of high academic performance.

 

Otherwise—

 

Drop it.

 

Why?

 

Well, if you weren’t able to achieve it consistently but you decide to include Dean’s List on your resume, you can expect some uncomfortable questions from the recruiters.

 

And it’s better to avoid uncomfortable questions, isn’t it?

 

Pro Tip: If you graduated with Latin or Greek honors, putting Dean’s List on a resume only clutters the document.

 

Here’s how to list Dean’s List on a resume:

 

Dean’s List on Resume—Example

 

2009 MA in English Literature

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

GPA 3.7, Dean’s List all semesters

 

Making it to the Dean’s List consistently is a big deal. But don’t let your other accomplishments slip either. Make sure your resume packs a punch.

 

7

How to List a Minor on a Resume

 

Listing major and minor on a resume is optional. If you decide to include this information, simply list your major followed by a minor next to your degree.

 

Here’s an example showing how to list a minor on a resume:

 

Major and Minor on Resume—Example

 

2009 Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Bachelor of Arts, Major in Psychology, Minor in Economics

GPA 3.9

 

8

Expected Graduation Date on a Resume (and Education in Progress)

 

How to put college on a resume if you haven’t graduated yet?

 

Simple. Write the expected graduation date on your resume:

 

Expected Graduation Date on Resume—Sample

 

Bachelor of Arts, expected May 2020

Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY

 

Education in Progress on Resume—Sample

 

BA in English Literature in Progress

Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY

 

Plus—

 

Here’s a handy list of phrases to describe education on a resume if you’re still in college:

 

  • In progress
  • Anticipated + date
  • Expected + date
  • Expected Graduation + date
  • To be completed + date

 

Speaking of useful phrases—

 

Did you know your resume is very likely to be scanned by the so-called Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? In fact, over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use the ATS.

 

So—

 

Learn how to use resume keywords to optimize your resume for the ATS scan, and wield the power of action verbs for a resume to impress the recruiters!

 

9

Unfinished Education on a Resume

 

If you started but didn’t finish a college or university level degree (and you’re not planning on graduating), you can still put it on your resume. All you have to do is write in the credits you did manage to get.

 

Your education section on a resume could look like this:

 

Incomplete Education in Resume—Example

 

Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

2005—2007 Completed 60 credits toward BA in Psychology

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Graduated in 2005

 

Yes, it’s unfinished education.

 

But you paid for it and completed as many credits as you could. If the coursework is relevant, you can put it on your resume.

 

Pro Tip: Don’t be tempted to embellish things. If you haven’t completed a degree, that’s ok. What’s not ok is lying about education on a resume.

 

10

High School Education on a Resume

 

If your highest level of education is high school, make an entry like this:

 

High School Education on Resume—Example

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Graduated in 2005

 

That’s all you have to do. It’s not a joke.

 

You might also want to include a coursework description, adding classes that are relevant to the work you will do in your new job.

 

But what if you didn’t graduate high school?

 

Just write the name of your school and the years you attended. Here is an example of what it can look like:

 

High School Diploma on a Resume—Unfinished  

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Attended school from 2003—2005

 

or

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Expected to graduate in 2009

 

But what if you didn’t graduate high school but completed a GED later?

 

Well, here’s how to list GED on a resume:

 

High School Education and GED on a Resume—Example

 

GED High School Equivalency Diploma

Cherryville Adult Learning Center, Ohio, 2009

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Attended school from 2003-2005

 

Let’s say you graduated high school and then received a license or certificate that is directly related to the job for which you are applying. Put your license or certificate first followed by your high school information.

 

High School Education and Certifications on Resume

 

2009 Cosmetology License

Cherryville Beauty Academy, Cherryville, OH

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Graduated in 2005

 

Our resume builder (you can create your resume here) will give you tips and examples on how to write your resume summary or any other section. You can easily copy them straight into your resume - it will save you a ton of time.

 

Inside Zety's resume builder you will find tips and examples for your resume.

 

11

Other Things to Consider

 

Here’s a couple of other ideas:

 

Education on a Resume—Extracurricular Roles

 

If you’ve graduated within the last three years and need to flesh out your resume, add your extracurricular activities. Just avoid adding anything controversial (political or religious):

 

Extracurricular Activities on Resume—Example

 

2009 Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

The University of California, Berkeley, CA

 

Relevant Coursework: Business Communication, Social Psychology, English Language Studies, Grammar and Editing

 

Extracurricular Activities: Captain of the Lacrosse Team


Take a look at this list of skills employers look for on student resumes:

 

  • Adaptability

  • Oral communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Collaboration
  • Written communication

 

If you participated in any activity that would highlight these skills, you can add it to your education resume section.

 

Certifications on a Resume

 

At a certain point in your career, your college degree might become less significant than your certifications.

 

What to do then?

 

Simple—

 

Keep your education section to a minimum and add a separate section listing your certifications:

 

Certificates on a Resume—Example

 

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
  • Juniper Networks Sales Specialist Wireless LAN (JNSS-WLAN)
  • VMware Certified Associate (VCA-DBT)

 

Pro Tip: If your certifications have an expiration date, don’t fail to mention it.

 

Want to learn more about listing certifications on a resume? We have an entire guide just for you: How to List Certifications on a Resume

 

Education in a Resume Objective

 

That’s right.

 

Your resume objective is a place where you can mention your educational background.

 

Since a resume objective comes up top, it’s an especially attractive location if you’re a student or fresher, and you’ve got something to show off:

 

Education in Resume Objective

 

A motivated team-player working towards an MA in English at the University of California, Berkeley (GPA 3.8). Eager to join Online Blast as Junior SEO Researcher to assist in executing data-informed SEO campaigns, and optimize CRO. Strong background in language and statistical methods, previous internship experience with SEO and content marketing.

 

If you want to learn more, here’s our guide on how to write a career objective. You’ll understand how to write a career objective step by step, and see examples of the best resume objectives.

 

Now—

 

Before we finish, just remember:

 

Education isn’t everything

 

If you feel like there’s not enough in your education section, make up for it in other sections.

 

This NACE study shows that employers value internships, and previous work experience on a resume more than education itself.

 

Plus—

 

You can learn a lot of the skills that employers value outside the classroom.

 

What’s important, though, is how you demonstrate these skills on a resume.

 

So—

 

Find out how to make the most of your volunteer experience on a resume, and how to show examples of personal achievements.

 

If you’re a student writing an internship resume, learn how to nail it in our guide: How to Write Resume for Internship.

 

And make sure you nail all the other resume sections as well:

 

 

Key Takeaways

 

To nail your educational qualifications on a resume, remember:

 

  • Put your best foot forward by starting with education if you lack experience.
  • If your experience is substantial, reduce your education section to an absolute minimum.
  • Mention your honors, coursework, and GPA if you really have something to show off.
  • But remember: too much of a good thing is not such a good thing. Relevance is king.
  • You can also add information on your educational background in the resume objective and a dedicated section on certifications.
  • If you feel like your education section is wanting, make up for it in the other sections. Your previous experience, internships, volunteering, and other achievements count!

 

Do you have any other questions about what to write for education on a resume? Give us a shout out in the comments below.

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Maciej Duszyński
Maciej Duszyński
Maciej is a career expert with a solid background in the education management industry. Worked with people at all stages of their career paths: from interns to directors to C-suite members, he now helps you find your dream job.

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