I came across this blog post about the Harvard Extension School which says

Every student and alumnus at Harvard identifies with the school he or she is affiliated with. And, like it or not, “Harvard University” is synonymous with “Harvard College” in the eyes of the public, and many people in the corporate world. At the graduate level, “Harvard University” is associated with the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences programs that lead to MAs and PhDs. The Extension School is very, very different than the College or the advanced programs in GSAS.


I never followed those guidelines [which said you don't need to mention that you attended the extension school on a resume], either. I felt “Harvard University, Master of Liberal Arts, Concentration In History” was misleading and not representative of the degree that I earned through the Extension School. I have always used “Harvard Extension School” on my LinkedIn profile and paper versions of my resume, and clearly state this fact on this blog and elsewhere.

That blog also quotes a comment on this article (comments appear to be no longer visible) that reads:

I have a master’s degree from Harvard obtained through the HES. My diploma says Harvard University (in latin no less). I have had headhunters and recruiters question me on it and state that it was misleading for me to list Harvard University as my school. My diploma says Harvard University, my classes were all taken on campus at Harvard (before online classes were popular), so many had to be taught by Harvard professors and not instructors, I completed all the degree requirements. I don’t see anything misleading and I don’t know how else to list it on my resume.

The blog author agrees with the headhunters, claiming that this is misleading. The implication throughout the article is that anyone who goes to the college should write "Harvard College," the law school "Harvard Law School," etc. and that it is unethical and misleading to not identify the subset of the university that you attended. Is that correct? Specifically, is there an obligation to put the college/school/division/etc. of a university you attend on your resume?

I'm not interested in the case of getting your degree from different campuses of the same university (for example, University of Maryland College Park vs University of Maryland Baltimore County). Additionally, I agree that putting "Harvard University" and then lying about if you did SES when you are asked is unethical. But I don't see any reason why someone shouldn't put "Harvard University" on their resume in this case.

I can understand why some people would want to or choose to, but I'm curious if y'all agree that it is unethical to not put the name of the school. For example, you saw a resume which just read "Georgia Institute of Technology" (as mine does) and didn't mention which of several schools my CS degree is from, would you care that I was inspecific? I am primarily interested in general answers to my bolded question.

closed as primarily opinion-based by paparazzo, gnat, Twyxz, gazzz0x2z, JazzmanJim Oct 9 '18 at 13:38

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Can you get the same degree from multiple schools within the same university? – Dukeling Oct 8 '18 at 17:43
  • Isn't it obvious by your degree? For example, if you're applying at a law firm, isn't it obvious that any degrees listed be from Harvard Law? Very doubtful Harvard Law would issue out a computer science degree and I'd hope nobody get that confused. – Dan Oct 8 '18 at 18:29
  • @Dukeling I imagine that there are schools where you can, but I don't know. – Stella Biderman Oct 8 '18 at 18:33
  • @Dan I agree, to an extent. However, it seems possible that someone might care (as in the example in the answer by jcmack) about the difference between which school an interdisciplinary degree is officially from. For another example, someone might care if a MS in biology is from the medical school or the "real" bio department. – Stella Biderman Oct 8 '18 at 18:36
  • It's hard to say exactly what problem you're facing. Why couldn't you write exactly what your degree says? I graduated from the University of Blah, College of Science in Computer Science Year 20XX? – Dan Oct 8 '18 at 18:38

Specifically, is there an obligation to put the college/school/division/etc. of a university you attend on your resume?

No. There is absolutely no such obligation.

You are free to list the university name on your resume and leave any other sub-category off.

If it concerns the interviewer, they will ask at some point during the interview process. You can clarify the college/school/division if and when it comes up.

  • You would normally for Cambridge and Oxford add your college though. – Neuromancer Dec 9 '18 at 0:48

What does your degree or diploma say? If it says Harvard University, Harvard University it is.

When in doubt, you show a diploma/qualification.

  • I never heard of lugging a diploma into a interview. You usually get a official transcript from your school that includes a raised logo to identify them. Also it is very easy for any background agency to verify your credentials within hours (days) of submitting your background approval. – Dan Oct 8 '18 at 18:27
  • I assume this depends on the country. For first out-of-university job, it was not unusual for employer to ask to bring a physical copy of a diploma/graduation certificate for the interview (which I didn't have, which generally showed how well they read CV). – Marcin Raczkowski Oct 9 '18 at 17:09

The example is very school-specific and I suspect the general public isn't that well versed in the nuances. I would just list the degree e.g. "Harvard University, Master of Liberal Arts in History" and leave the extension school part off. The extension school is the modality (online vs brick and mortar), which I feel is unnecessary to include on your resume. A degree is a degree whether you got it online or not.

There are some cases where listing the school/college matters such in with interdisciplinary degrees. For instance, Georgia Tech offers a Computational Media degree which is a joint degree between College of Computing and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. Listing the College of Computing may add more creditability when applying to software engineering roles.

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