I’ve studied 2 majors at university, where getting 2 master’s degrees is tied to finishing both, but I couldn’t end my studies in one of them. (Only the last stage was left: the state exam). I’ve passed the state exam at my other faculty with flying colors, but there won’t be any trace of that on paper, because of the rule mentioned in my first line. How can I explain my situation at an interview, because as far as it seems, I won’t get a degree at all?

4 Answers 4


I have never been required to show the actual paper proving I have completed a degree in an interview.

Now, you still should not lie on your CV, and the same should be applied to job interviews. So the advice is: be honest.

On your CV you can formulate it to say that you completed all the requirements for Master X, and that you've passed all the classes in the programme for Master Y.

HR and recruiters are not dumb and will notice the difference in the formulation on your CV, so, during the interview, explain the situation.

Depending on the job and on the degree(s), the paper proving that you completed a master might not be important, and your application for a job could still be considered. (For instance, where I live, the title 'engineer' is ruled by laws; you must absolutely prove that you have completed an engineering degree, so you would not be allowed to have a job that would make you an engineer. On the other hand, if the job you're seeking is for a programmer job, generally, your skills will be considered, and not whether you fully completed a Master's degree.)

  • I have been working as an engineer for almost 20 years and have never been asked verify my degrees. I was recently asked by my current employer to verify my degrees (Bachelor's and Master's) workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/65345/…
    – DLS3141
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 12:56

Whatever you do, don't lie. A quick phone call to the university registrar will expose the truth. More employers are actually verifying applicants' degrees with the universities they've attended.

In my case, I did the bulk of my work for my Master's degree while working full time over a 10 year period. I didn't want to disregard the work I had done, so my resume read something like this:

M.S. Engineering Candidate (Expected Graduation Fall 2010)

I'd recommend a similar approach, removing the part about expected graduation. It's truthful and in the interview it will prompt the conversation you want to have where you discuss that part of your education, highlighting the work you've done and your explanation of why it's unfinished.


Another alternative is to say "masters degree in progress." That is true. You don't have a Masters degree. It doesn't sound like you intend to complete it, but you could. So technically, it is still in progress.

  • -1 for the "creative/technical" truth. This won't lead to an honest relation.
    – Jas
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 6:28

Just be fully honest about it -

"Attended such and such masters program at such and such institutions. During the course of my studies I have studied following subjects: [insert subject list]. I have not received a degree from this program, because...[insert reason]."

Don't try to give creative explanations or hide away the fact - first, it's something they can easily check at your educational institution and if your explanation does not fully match theirs, it will look bad for you. Secondly, if you lie or get creative about this description and then land the job, you will be subconsciously burdened and will always think if your manager(s) have revealed the truth about your degree.

So better to be honest and just display it for it is. What do you have to lose?

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