I've been working as a software engineer at a government organization for ten years since graduation. Now I am looking for a new job and i need to work on my resume. There is one minor detail i am not sure about. I am a computer science graduate from a reputable university in my country (Turkey). Between 2007 and 2009 i attended a master's program and completed courses with 3,56/4 GPA. The courses i completed were strongly related with my career and work. Unfortunately i couldn't continue to thesis phase because of my work load. My question is whether i should include this information in my resume or not. Would i look like a quitter or someone with valuable knowledge about his field? Thank you.

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    As someone who hires programmers of various types including coarse work is beneficial so long as it's related. (which this is) as I said else where the important thing is I WILL ask why you didn't finish, but not finishing isn't necessarily a bad thing if the reasons are valid. (yours are you did a value comparison and work came ahead of more school) to be fair though I'm biased here as I also made almost the exact some choice many years ago... (I was well into my masters for digital forensics an opportunity more likely to improve my career presented itself so a acted accordingly) Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 20:01

3 Answers 3


My question is whether i should include this information in my resume or not. Would i look like a quitter or someone with valuable knowledge about his field?

I would include it.

Lots of people include "additional coursework" on their resume. As long as you don't claim to have attained the Master's degree, and as long as the courses are relevant, it shouldn't be too much of a worry.

That said, be prepared with a good answer in case you are asked "Why didn't you complete your degree?" during an interview.

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    The "why didn't you...." question is important because it shows how you managed a one-man project you were personally committed to. Commented May 9, 2013 at 17:18
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    My honest answer is "I wasn't doing the degree just for the title and if i had continued, i would have spent valuable time for it, but neither my work in my job nor my thesis would be good enough. So i had to make a tough decision and focused on my work. Although it might look like a waste of time but the courses i took helped me a lot with my work which was leading a massive change in our software architecture. If i hadn't taken these courses, we would be at least 1 year behind our requirements plan."
    – Mtoker
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 19:53
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    @Mtoker an honest and effective answer as any. I hire a lot in IT, responses like this are really good. Most of the time you hear excuses, people playing the victim, etc. Excuses are bad for interviews showing you compared your choices and determined what made the most sense based on the information you had at the time and acted accordingly is a surprisingly rare, but very good thing. Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 19:57

I think that including that is valuable information. It indicates additional course work and furthering of your knowledge base. In software development, what you know is far more important than degrees and certificates that you've completed. Including it on your resume also provides the interviewer an opportunity to ask about it in the interview, which will likely lead to discussion of your course work.

I think it helps to list it.

  • I would like a discussion about my course work to take place.. Thank you for your thoughts.. +1
    – Mtoker
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 21:06

The approach I'd use, if I wanted to include the classes I took while I was considering whether or not it was worth getting the MS, would be:

"Post-graduate studies: Additional classes in ..., ..., and ... (grade of A in each)"

Put the positive focus in the resume -- you like learning and you have additional skills -- rather than talking about what you didn't do (for whatever reasons). They may ask why you didn't continue to the degree -- but at that point they're already interested in you, and you'll have time to actually discuss it, so it's a better place and time for that discussion.

(I sorta regret not having gotten further degrees -- I would have loved to stay in academia -- but the way my career has gone, it was never clear exactly which additional skills were going to be of value to me, so I kept putting it off.)

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