How to List Your Education on a Resume (Expert Guide + Tips)

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: February 16, 2024

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Education is one of the most important aspects of a professional resume. Potential employers look for the educational credentials of even the most experienced job seekers because it provides more insight into their background and qualifications than work history or skills alone. 

In this guide, we’ll explain:

  • Where to place education on a resume.
  • How to format the education section on your resume.
  • What to put in the education section of your resume.
  • How to write the education section of a resume if you are a student.
  • What to write in the education section of a resume if you have an incomplete degree.

Where to place education on a resume

When writing a resume, you should always include an education section, even if you are a student or never completed a formal education. Where you put the education section of a resume depends on the format and template you choose, your work experience level, and the industry and role you’re applying for. 

  • If you are a recent graduate with one to three years of work experience, you can put your education section at the top of your resume, just below your contact information. Displaying education first highlights your academic accomplishments and shows potential employers you have the pertinent skills and knowledge for the job.  

          For example:

Functional-Resume-Examples-Education-On-Resume

  • If you have at least one year of steady professional experience, use the chronological format to display your education section at the bottom of your resume, after your work experience section. When you have some work experience, potential employers look for skills and work history before your education, unless they have specific education requirements.

          For example:

 

Chronological Resume Example Education On Resume

  • If you are a senior-level professional with a diverse skill set, changing careers, or you’re a mid-level job candidate and have your sights set on a senior position, then you might choose the combination resume format. You can list your education under your work experience, in a separate column using a two-column resume template, or above your education section if you are changing careers and working toward a relevant degree. 

          For example:

 

Combination Resume Education On Resume

How to format education on a resume

The best way to list education on a resume is in reverse-chronological order, starting with your most recent degree or school attended. Displaying your education history in reverse-chronological order makes it easy for hiring managers to see your highest level of education quickly. 

Include the name of each school, the city and state where each school is located, the degree you earned (if applicable), and the year you graduated (if applicable). Add additional information, such as teaching work or academic memberships.

For example: 

Education

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

2018 – 2020

Master of Arts, Public Policy, 2020

  • GPA: 4.0
  • Dean’s List
  • Research Assistant to Professor John Smith
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Public Policy

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

2014 – 2018

Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, 2018

  • GPA: 3.9
  • Dean’s List
  • Member of the Debate Team

A common format for education in a resume is a bulleted list. Bulleted lists are useful if you have several schools to display or want to highlight specific courses. List the most recent school first.

Here’s an example of how to write education on a resume with a bulleted list:

Education

Harvard Business School, Boston, MA, 2017 – 2020

  • Doctor of Business Administration, 2020
  • Coursework included: Strategic Management, Marketing, Operations  Management and Leadership

London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom, 2015 – 2017

  •  Master of Science in Finance, 2017
  •  Coursework included: Financial Markets, Corporate Finance, Investments and Derivatives.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2012 – 2015

  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics, 2015
  • Coursework included: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Statistic Econometrics, 
  • Game Theory and Behavioral Economics.

If you transferred from one school to the next, it might look like this on your resume:

  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI,  2010 – 2011

           Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

  • Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, 2007 – 2010

           Psychology major, Writing minor

What to put in the education section of your resume

As a general rule, include the following information when listing education on your resume: 

  • Your degree, major and minor (if applicable).
  • The name of the school you attended.
  • The city and state where the school is located.
  • The dates you started and ended each school you attended. 
  • Your GPA (if it is above a 3.0).
  • Job-relevant coursework or projects you completed.

Once you apply the basics, customize your resume to the job you are applying for and impress the hiring manager with your accomplishments. A Resume Builder can help you customize your education credentials quickly.

How to tailor your education on a resume 

Customize your resume education section by highlighting coursework, research, projects, papers, or theses relevant to the specific job or industry. Bonus if you received recognition, awards, or high grades in the coursework or project, or if your thesis or paper were published. 

Match your education accomplishments to the job requirements and use resume keywords from the job description or for the industry when possible. 

For example:

  • For a job in the tech industry, you might showcase coursework or projects in specific programming languages or software.
  • For a job in the healthcare industry, you could emphasize clinical work, research, or lab work, along with your knowledge of medical terminology. 
  • For a job in the finance industry, you could highlight coursework in financial modeling and regulations.
  • For a job in social work, you might include a research paper, a published report, or a community needs assessment project. 

How to highlight your academic achievements on your resume

To make your education on your resume stand out, it’s not enough to only display your degrees. Accomplishments on a resume show potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills required for the job. 

If you don’t have work experience, accomplishments in your resume education section can show hiring managers that you are as capable (or more) as the competition. When you have professional experience and display academic accomplishments in the education section of your resume, your accomplishments can distinguish you from other job applicants. Always include specific accomplishments that demonstrate your skills and potential and don’t ignore the details. 

You might include: 

  • Academic honors and awards you received.
  • Academic societies, fraternities, or sororities.
  • Scholarships, fellowships and grants you received. 

For example, someone applying for a job as an accountant might write about their education like this:

Bachelor of Science in Accounting, cum laude

University of San Francisco 

2010 – 2014

Accomplishments

  • Dean’s List every semester.
  • President of the Accounting Society.
  • Member of the Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society.
  • Received the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Scholarship.
  • Graduated with honors.

Here’s a tip to make your education accomplishments sing: Quantify achievements in your resume education section whenever possible. Psychological tests have proven that our brains are naturally drawn to numbers for several reasons like they make it easy for us to scan for specific information.

For example:

Accomplishments

  • Graduated magna cum laude with a 4.0 GPA.
  • Ranked in the top 2% of my graduating class. 
  • Dean’s list 2012 and 2013.

How to write the education section of a resume if you are a student

If you are a student applying for a part-time job or an internship, you can list your education in progress on a resume by emphasizing relevant work you’ve done, coursework you are taking, special recognitions and when you plan to graduate. See how to write an internship resume for additional guidance. Showcase your education section at the top of your resume, directly below your contact information and above your resume objective.  

 What to put on education for a resume if you are still in high school

If you are in high school, include your current high school name and where it is located,  your expected graduation date, and your GPA under education on your resume. Display honors, awards, or other recognition, along with extracurricular activities such as volunteer work, academic clubs or sports. 

Here’s an example: 

Valley High School, Boise, ID

Expected Diploma: 2026 

Member of National Honor Society 

Chess Club Secretary 2022 – Present

How to list education on a resume if you are in college

If you are in college with a degree in progress, include the name of your school, the city and state where it is located, the degree you expect to earn and your anticipated graduation date under education on your resume. 

To make your college resume stand out, display classes or special projects that are pertinent to the internship or job you are applying for and showcase honors, awards and scholarships you have obtained. 

Here’s an example of how to list education on a resume if you are a college student:

Temple University | Philadelphia, PA

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, expected May 2025

Relevant achievements:

  • Current GPA: 3.8.
  • Dean’s List, all semesters.
  • President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapter.
  • Member of the Concrete Canoe Team, which won first place at the 2022 National Concrete Canoe Competition.

Relevant coursework completed:

  •     Engineering Mechanics
  •     Statics and Dynamics
  •     Fluid Mechanics
  •     Structures
  •     Geotechnical Engineering
  •     Construction Engineering
  •     Environmental Engineering

Relevant projects accomplished:

  • Designed and built a concrete canoe.
  • Conducted a study on the effects of climate change on infrastructure.

What to write in the education section of a resume if you have an incomplete degree 

Listing education on a resume if you don’t have a degree might seem strange or intimidating, but it’s just as valuable as education with a degree or education in progress on a resume — especially if it’s pertinent to the job you are applying for. 

Many employers understand that people sometimes change their educational plans. As long as you have the skills and work experience that they’re looking for, many hiring managers will be more interested in what you can do for them than in what you didn’t finish. Shine the light on job-relevant coursework or projects you had, rather than focusing on your incomplete degree. 

Here’s how to write your education on a resume if you started a degree program but do not intend to finish it: 

In reverse-chronological list the degree program you started, the school(s) you attended and the number of credits you completed. Then highlight the relevant coursework you completed. 

Here’s an example of how to show education on a resume with an incomplete degree:

University of Hawaii | Honolulu, HI | 2019 – 2020

Relevant coursework: 

  • Digital Imaging
  • Graphic design principles
  • Branding and visual identity

Project completed: 

Developed a brand identity for a company by performing market research; created a logo and color palette; collaborated on website design; and proposed a social media strategy for the brand.

5 Expert tips for listing education on a resume

Here are some additional tips for writing education on your resume, no matter what your educational background might be.

  • Use action verbs to describe your educational accomplishments.
  • If you have an incomplete or in-progress college degree, it can help to indicate how many credits you earned.
  • Read the job description closely for educational requirements and match your education on your resume to the job description. 
  • Ensure your resume education section is ATS-friendly by using keywords from the job description, bullet points to break up a lot of information and clear formatting.
  • Resume templates are useful when crafting a resume because they ensure everything is in the right place and formatted correctly. 

Key takeaways

Here’s a run-down of what you learned from this guide:

  • Where you put education on a resume depends largely on your career goals, work experience and resume format. 
  • Emphasize and quantify your academic achievements in your resume education section.
  • Use bullet points to make your education information easy to read.
  • Order your schools from most recent to least recent.
  • If you have an incomplete degree, showcase job-relevant coursework, projects and recognitions in your resume education section. 
  • If you are a student, list your education in progress on your resume and include your anticipated graduation date.

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