I'm an engineering student at an extension school and, as they remind us continually, we receive the same diploma as the main campus, zero difference. I was always told to put the name of the school from your diploma, the location, the degree, and the year you're going to graduate on your resume, but the career adviser said to put the full name of the university, which is not the university that will I receive a diploma from, the school inside the university, and my major.

As I understand it, your resume should have the same school before and after you graduate, assuming you didn't change majors/schools/other common circumstances.

Which is correct?

  • Where in the first part is there a change in the name of the school? I don't see that at all.
    – JB King
    Apr 14, 2014 at 17:00
  • It mentions that "the career adviser said to put the full name of the university, which is not the university that will I receive a diploma from, the school inside the university, and my major."
    – jfa
    Apr 14, 2014 at 17:14
  • It might help for you to be specific. What university? What school? What location? The purpose of your resume is to get you the interview, so tell the truth in a positive way.
    – O. Jones
    Apr 16, 2014 at 1:15

5 Answers 5


You don't need the location that is just wasted space. What you need is whatever matches the transcript you would get if they ask for one or the name on the diploma which they may also ask to see a copy of. That way whatever is in your resume matches whatever they might want as proof of your education.

Now that it is clearer what you meant, I would still stand by what I said, go with what will be printed on your transcript. A university system like the University of California will likely discriminate between the Berkeley campus and the San Diego campus as they are completely separate, full-service campuses each with a separate accredidation and separate faculty. However,locally we have a satellite of the University of Virginia. It is not a complete campus with a separate faculty just a set of classrooms where some classes for only a few majors are given. In this case, putting down University of Virgina is appropriate becasue that is where the actual degree will come from.

  • If there's some international travel involved (you're applying for a position abroad, or your work experience / education is across multiple countries), wouldn't it make sense to at least put the country down? Apr 14, 2014 at 19:33
  • @Dukeling I just meant "X University- Metropolis" vs "X University- Gotham City", since sometimes, like in this case, there are multiple places that X University is located.
    – jfa
    Apr 14, 2014 at 20:15

If I understand you correctly, you're currently studying applied xyzzyxian frobnification* at Foobar University Extension School* in Barville, XZ* since 201X*, which will eventually earn you an M.Sc.** in frobnification science* from Foobar University* in Footown, XZ* when you graduate in 201Y* or thereabouts. Once you've graduated, you'd list your degree in your rèsumè as something like:

M.Sc. (frobnification science), Foobar University (Footown, XZ), 201Y

However, you'd like to apply for work while studying, and you're wondering how to describe your ongoing studies in your current rèsumè.

If so, the direct answer is: any way you like, as long as it's factually correct to the best of your knowledge.

For instance, you'd be perfectly fine listing it simply as:

Ongoing studies: M.Sc. (frobnification science), Foobar University (Footown, XZ), 201Y (planned)

However, if you're looking for work in a field related to your studies, it's quite plausible that your prospective employers might be interesting in knowing a bit more about your studies than just the fact that you'll hopefully have a diploma some day. As such, you could also consider fleshing out the entry to something like, say:

Ongoing studies: M.Sc. in frobnification science (applied xyzzyxian frobnication) at Foobar University Extension School, Barville, XZ (part of Foobar University, Footown, XZ), 201X–201Y (planned)

You could, if you wanted, even include details about any minor subjects you're studying, if you feel they might be relevant, and maybe your current GPA or any other relevant academic performance metrics.

The important questions to ask yourself, with regard to any extra pieces of information are:

  1. might the/a prospective employer care about this detail, and
  2. if yes, would including it give a favorable impression (or save you from embarrassment later)?

For example, if you're applying for a job as a xyzzyxian frobnicator*, you should definitely mention that that's the specific subject you're studying. If you're applying for work as a grocery store clerk, and doubt your employer would know a frobnicator* from a fnord*, leave it out.

Similarly, might your future employer care that you're studying at Barville*, rather than at the main Footown* campus, e.g. because the job you're applying for is located a lot closer to Barville*? If so, do mention it. If not, you could leave it out (but it probably won't hurt to mention it anyway).

Ps. The same general principle also applies after you've graduated. Sure, 10 years after graduation, nobody's going to care about your degree beyond the fact that you have it (because by then, you should have some relevant work experience and/or a further degree to demonstrate your skills), so you don't want to waste too much space on it. But if you're applying for work straight after graduation, then your studies will be, for the time being, the most relevant part of your rèsumè, so they deserve some extra detail.

*) Placeholders for unknown major / institute / town / year / etc.
**) Or maybe a B.Sc. or a Ph.D. or some other degree.


Note: I live in Canada and may have some differences from your situation.

I was always told to put the name of the school from your diploma, the location, the degree, and the year you're going to graduate on your resume, but the career adviser said to put the full name of the university, which is not the university that will I receive a diploma from, the school inside the university, and my major.

This is reasonable advice to my mind.

As I understand it, your resume should say the same thing before and after I graduate.

No, I disagree here strongly. When I was in university, I changed programs from Co-op to regular, changed my majors to being a double of Combinatorics & Optimization and Computer Science instead of just Computer Science, and changed which 4th year courses I took more than a few times so that while I could speculate what I'd take in my first and second year, the reality turned out differently so my resume did change as I went through the program. I'd only put down courses after I had taken them as I didn't see great value in putting on my resume that I'd take a course in Algorithm Design and Analysis 3 years from now. There is something to be said for the differences that can happen as one goes through a program as I entered the University of Waterloo wanting to have a Co-op Honors Bachelor of Mathematics with major in Computer Science and ended up with a Combined Double Honors Bachelor of Mathematics with majors in Combinatorics & Optimization and Computer Science.

  • Ok, as far as your second statement, I meant that I'm not going to put one school before I graduate, and the school on the diploma after I graduate. I'll change the question to reflect this ambiguity.
    – jfa
    Apr 14, 2014 at 16:56

A University, by definition, is an association of colleges. Sometimes they are called "Divisions" for undergrad and post-grad, but it's the same idea. It is a grouping of several schools that all recognize each others' coursework towards a degree program.

For instance, if you receive a diploma in an engineering discipline from the University of Nebraska, College of Engineering, it is the College of Engineering that awarded the diploma, but everyone thinks of it as the "University of Nebraska."

  • The location of the campus doesn't matter.
  • The name of the University that awarded it matters to some extent.
  • The accreditation of the University matters a great deal.
  • The discipline of the degree matters matters a lot.
  • Having an accredited degree means almost everything.

That being said, I've always told students that the degree is your ticket to the interview, not the job. You need to be able to back up your sheepskin.


One style I've seen is "Candidate, M.Sc., XYZ University." If you use that style, you'll be telling prospective employers from where you'll receive your degree, which should take care of this problem.

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