How to Write an Academic CV

Top Tips
Save to read later

Some universities, especially those ranked highly in the UK, will ask that you submit an academic CV as part of your application to postgraduate study. Read on for top tips from Team AppUK on how to write the best CV to showcase your talents.


What is an academic CV?

A CV, or curriculum vitae, is a way of showcasing your skills, knowledge, and experience in one concise document. The most effective CVs details your achievements in an organised, easy to read manner. An academic CV differs slightly from a professional one in that it is a form for you to present your research, published work, and previous funding award history, alongside the standard details required by a non-academic CV. Your CV should be tailored to its audience, ensuring they have all the details they need in order to get the best picture of your skills and suitability. Therefore, you may want to think about having a few different versions of your academic CV, specific to each course/university you are applying to.

Getting started

When sitting down to start writing your academic CV, there are a few things we would advise you to consider; length, structure, and formatting.

LENGTH – academic CVs require more information than their professional counterparts, therefore it is acceptable for them to be slightly longer. We would recommend that your CV is around two to four pages long.

STRUCTURE – choose a clear, logical structure for your CV. It is good practice to put the most relevant/important details at the top. Remember to always organise your education and/or employment history in reverse chronological order, i.e. most recent at the top. In general, start with your personal details, such as your name and contact details, followed by a brief summary of your achievements and goals, as an introduction.

FORMATTING – ensure the formatting of your academic CV is clear and easy to read. Include sub-headings and titles. Use bold and italics sparingly. Use a standard, smart font, and keep the sizing of to either 11 or 12. Check, and double check, your spelling and grammar. Above all, keep the formatting consistent and smart.

Things to include

·         Personal details

·         Education history

·         Work experience (including voluntary or unpaid experience, as well as unrelated part-time work)

·         Key skills

·         Reference details


This is a key part of your academic CV, and is essentially what differentiates it from a standard CV. Make sure you keep this section as detailed, but concise as possible. Include all the key information you need, but don't waffle! As a guide, look to include:

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE – detail your experience, your findings, methods, and general research interests. This is a crucial part of your CV, so list it first. Highlight your previous findings and accomplishments.

HONOURS AND RECOGNITIONS – toot your own horn! Here is where you get to brag about your successes. If you have won any awards, been recognised officially, or been honoured for your work, put it down. Keep it professional though, only mention official recognition from your peers, and superiors. You can't just say that your mum told you that you were the best!

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE – if you have any teaching, administrative, or professional experience in your field, write about it here. This includes internships and work placements.


Other areas you may want to list include; any professional body memberships you may hold, other qualifications you may have received, or any previous funding you may have been awarded.

Please see below for a sample academic CV:




If you have any further questions on writing an academic CV, or whether or not you need one for your desired course, please contact us on


ApplicationUK's easy-to-use online application portal provides a simple solution to postgraduate application stress. With its smart digital self-assessment tool, personalised application plan, and application tracking system, you can be rest assured that your application will go through smoothly. Our experienced counsellors are also here to provide expert advice, reassurance, and continuous support.


Keep up to date with all the latest news from ApplicationUK on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Cover image credit: