I am doing full time PhD and receive scholarship from university. I want to add that as a work experience. What job title will be appreciate for making resume for industry job?

  • 6
    PhD goes under education. Unless I am missing something.
    – user10399
    Sep 18, 2019 at 13:17
  • 5
    PhD Candidate is pretty standard. Sep 18, 2019 at 13:18
  • In Germany, where PhD students are often actual employees, you'd list this as "Scientific Employee" or maybe "Junior Researcher".
    – user29390
    Sep 18, 2019 at 13:46
  • PhDs, although they fall within 'Academia', are not 'School'... They are often paid positions (be that paid by a company/ industry body, or funded through grants). Their main purpose is not to educate the individual (although this undoubtedly is a large incentive for the individual- they WILL learn through doing one), but to contribute new/ previously unresearched material/ information to a particular field/ topic. Sep 18, 2019 at 13:50
  • 1
    Not sure why this is down voted. Most resources that give advice for going from academia to industry explicitly state that you should list the work done as a PhD as work experience and the PhD (the title/diploma) in your education section. Personally, I would simply use "PhD Student" and add bullet points to describe the position.
    – kantadou
    Apr 8, 2020 at 9:06

5 Answers 5


Put PhD Candidate. Contrary to what others suggest here IMHO it is not lying to put it under work experience (where I am from it is considered a job and you get the normal job benefits).

It might depend on the rest of your resume and the exact job you are applying for whether it is better to put it under education or work experience. I have gone both ways in the past (on separate occasions ofcourse)

  • ^ This is definitely the correct answer - Other suggested titles are misleading. I would argue it's education, but depending on the nature of the PhD and the job you're applying for - OP's approach may be appropriate. Sep 18, 2019 at 13:51
  • 1
    Aadnan -- "OP" means "original poster". "PhD Candidate" is never the correct work experience title. One can be a "research assistant" or "teaching assistant" while working on a PhD, but "PhD Candidate" doesn't indicate the work which was performed. Sep 18, 2019 at 14:48
  • 2
    @JulieinAustin It might be good to make it PhD Candidate in ... but in the end I think a PhD is at least equivalent to a traineeship (a long traineeship). And many people would put that under work experience as well
    – user180146
    Sep 18, 2019 at 18:40
  • 1
    @user180146 - "training" is still education. If there is work involved, the correct job title (and contrary to what you wrote, the OP asked for a "job title") would be the working role. If someone interns as an electronic lab technician while earning a BSEE, the correct job title is "Electronic Lab Technician" not "BSEE Candidate" or "Intern". A PhD Candidate in some field performing lab research is a "Research Assistant" and the tasks performed are the work.The connection between the PhD and the lab research work is obvious from the dates. Sep 21, 2019 at 6:41
  • 1
    @JulieinAustin "PhD Candidate" may well be the correct job title to put, just like you might put "Electrical Apprentice" for the time you spent doing an apprenticeship for your Certificate IV to become an Electrician.
    – nick012000
    Dec 29, 2021 at 9:46

When I was doing my PhD we were known as Post Graduate Researchers - which is indeed what we were doing. In my country (UK) PhD candidates occupy a funny grey area between 'student' and 'real job'. Sometimes it can be advantageous to refer to yourself as a student (e.g. you don't pay council tax) and other times it is better to refer to yourself as a researcher (e.g. to a letting agent who refuses to let to students).


Your job title needs to reflect the actual work performed. Being a PhD Candidate may be hard work, but your education belongs under the "Education" section of your resume.

Typically a PhD candidate is performing actual research of some form within their chosen field. If you are a research assistant, you use that and you describe the nature of the work you performed, your responsibilities, achievements, and so forth within the normal format for "work experience".

Your status as a PhD candidate goes under education, along with any other graduate or undergraduate degrees you've earned. You may also want to list where you are in the PhD process.


Both previous answers are valid, but to add more perspective:

What are your tasks under your PhD program?

As far as you only:

  • Attend classes, and perform course assignments
  • Write papers
  • Conduct research for your thesis
  • Prepare/review/defend/publish your thesis

This is just academic experience in my book and should go under "education".

If by happenstance of your program you are also expected to:

  • Advise students.
  • Conduct experiments designed by other people with a minimally formal process.
  • Prepare requests for proposals and analyze received technical proposals from companies.
  • Perform any work that is not listed above, and is not tied to your thesis, but is tied to your stipend.
  • Review industry-relevant requirements related to the products of the team's research.

Then those can be work experiences, and should be minimally described in a CV if you want to justify calling your PhD time "work experience".

To be clear, academic and work experiences are both highly valuable, and I'm not claiming one is better than the other, but they are different and any sane person should recognize them as such.

When a PhD is just NOT work experience

I've known PhD students that did not do anything worth calling "work experience", and once they got into industry jobs, they were effectively at their "first job", feeling and acting as such. I've also seen PhD candidates who had lots of experiences that were professionally relevant, those are fairly rare where I live though.

Also, an advisor might manage your work just like your future boss would, but I've seen many who had a "laissez-faire" or "hands-off" attitude towards their students, thus giving an amount of freedom and autonomy that one would hardly be granted when starting an entry-level job. Having work experience also means dealing with a boss or clients.

Though, in my country, people often believe that having a PhD is a disadvantage in one's CV. As many companies have no use for the research experience and expect the candidate to be entitled, inexperienced, and under-deliver. I don't agree with this view, but the fact that many "PhD Candidates" are looking for jobs and leaving their thesis incomplete (thus not achieving the title) surely does not help fight the stereotype.

When a PhD is valuable

On a different note, many engineers I've known are basically unable to perform research-related tasks, such as properly reviewing scientific literature, replicating a paper, and creating new methods and tools to solve a problem. They usually rely on experience/tips/consultants to replace the need for any of those. And many workplaces are fine with their employees having such limitations.


To do a real PhD means to be paid to lead a scientific research project, from the first year. It's a full time job, and goes under work experience. Many universities leave PhD students in a grey area where they are not students but they are not staff either, to make sure PhD students can't make any claim regarding pensions, etc.

When I am hiring somebody with a PhD, I expect the CV to show the research work conducted under the work experience section.

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