Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 11 July 2023
The good news is that your university studies make you highly employable – the magic word employers use to describe someone that they want to employ. It is an indication of your intelligence, self-discipline and determination to succeed in life.
A question you are probably wondering is,
“How should I write my degree on my CV?”
To do justice to all your years of intense studying, it is essential that you effectively showcase your degree on your CV to capture the attention of potential employers.
In this guide, we will explore the best practices and strategies for representing your degree on your CV for maximum impact. From formatting to highlighting relevant achievements, we will provide you with the insights and tips you need to confidently communicate the value of your degree to prospective employers.
By mastering the art of writing your degree on your CV, you can effectively convey your academic accomplishments and secure more job interviews.
Let’s get started!
If you’re in your 20s or early 30s, your degree will probably form the most important part of your achievements. It represents years of hard work, dedication and academic growth.
Research has shown that graduates have higher employment rates, higher salaries and work in more high-skilled jobs than non-graduates.
Given the importance of your degree, it’s essential that it is properly and effectively highlighted on your CV to make it stand out from the crowd and impress employers.
Not all degrees are awarded with equal significance.
The weighting of the UK undergraduate degrees is derived from the following classifications:
Undergraduate degrees may be awarded with “Honours” (abbreviated in brackets (Hons)). Some, however, may be without honours; these are then referred to as “Ordinary” or “Pass” degrees. A degree with Honours indicates the successful completion of all (or most) of the modules.
If you have been awarded a good degree (1st, 2:1 or even a 2:2 in some cases) with Honours, it is highly recommended to use it as a selling point of your academic achievements by clearly stating your degree classification in full on your CV.
You must list the complete details of your degree in the “Education” section of your CV, which contains an overview of your academic history to date.
Ensure that your most important or most recent qualification is listed first and work your way backwards to the oldest. This format is known as the reverse chronological order.
You can also make a brief reference to your degree in the personal profile statement of your CV. For example, “Mechanical engineering graduate with a passion for designing innovative solutions and a drive to contribute to technological advancements.”
When listing your degree on your CV, you need to provide the following details:
|2008 – 2012:||BA Business and Management (Hons)||Cardiff University|
This is the minimum information required but it doesn’t tell the employer much about what you studied and learned.
To make your degree entry more meaningful and impactful, you should elaborate on your studies by listing all the relevant and/or significant modules studied, projects undertaken and research interests.
James Reed, Chairman of one of Britain’s biggest recruitment brands Reed, states in The 7-second CV: How to Land the Interview (pg.41): “Including individual modules isn’t necessary but could increase your chances if they relate to the role you’re applying for – this is a good way to demonstrate your skills and ability to do the job if you don’t have a lot of work history.”
|2016 – 2019:||BA Business and Management (Hons)||Cardiff University|
Final Year Project (Dissertation):
If you have achieved a first-class degree, you should be proud of yourself! It is the highest honours degree you can achieve and only about 30% of university students are awarded first-class degrees.
There are several ways in which you can write down this degree classification on your CV:
Personal profile example:
Education section of a CV example:
A 2:1 degree is also known as the Upper Second-Class Honours. As its name suggests, it is the second-highest honours degree you can achieve so it is a great achievement. You should simply write “2:1” to refer to this degree classification on your CV, there is no need to spell out the official name.
|2017 – 2020||Oxford University||Recently completed a BA Honours degree in Marketing & Business (2:1)|
Key course content:
A third-class honours degree: known as a ‘third’ or 3rd, is the lowest honours degree achievable. A level lower than this is an ordinary degree (pass) which isn’t issued with honours.
As these degree classifications are below average, they may harm your chances of securing job interviews. In this case, it is recommended to omit the degree classification when listing it on your CV; simply state the name of your degree without further details.
Similarly, if you graduated with a 2:2 degree, you should consider omitting the degree classification on your CV as many employers only consider candidates with a 2:1 or higher.
|University of Warwick||BSc Psychology||2010 to 2013|
Key course content:
Remember, the goal of your CV is to present a compelling case for why you are the right candidate for the position. Tailor your CV to highlight your strengths and accomplishments and emphasise your value as a potential employee. The fact that you graduated is a strong enough selling point on its own.
It may be that you have not completed your studies yet and still wish to include your degree details on your CV when applying for part-time, casual or summer jobs.
James Reed offers the following advice to university students who are still completing their undergraduate studies: “Include any predicted grades and completion dates and expand on the modules you have covered so far if they’re directly related to the role.” (The 7-second CV: How to Land the Interview (pg.41))
|Sept 2012 – Present||LLB Law||University of Leicester|
|Year 2 Performance: 68% overall|
|Year 1 Performance: 66% overall|
You would be surprised to know that a large percentage of undergraduate students drop out of their studies before qualifying.
Should they include their unfinished degree on their CVs? The short answer is, only if the course is relevant to the job that they are applying for.
|BSc Computer Science (Completed 1 year of 3-year course)||University of Leeds||2020 – 2021|
Modules completed in year 1 included:
There could be many reasons why someone might have dropped out of university before graduating but they don’t need to explain this on their CV. If this applies to you, just have a good answer ready in case you’re asked about it in the interview.
If you have gained postgraduate qualifications such as a master’s degree, postgraduate diploma and certificate or PhD, you need to place it at the top of the “Education” section of your CV and provide details of your dissertation, thesis and research interests.
|2017-2018||Kings College London, Geography Department||MSc Climate Change: Merit.|
Effectively representing your degree on a CV can significantly enhance your chances of standing out and impressing potential employers. Your degree serves as a testament to your knowledge, expertise and determination to succeed, making it a valuable asset in today’s competitive job market.
By correctly highlighting your degree, you give yourself a competitive edge over candidates who do not possess such high-level qualifications or those that cannot correctly list their hard-earned degrees as strong selling points on their CVs.
Good luck with your job search!