I received a relatively unorthodox degree from an art school. At the time I attended and graduated (which means that is what my diploma states) the program (and degree) was a Bachelor of Science in Visualizations.

This name was consistently confusing to nearly everyone (and still is, to potential employers and anyone else I happen to mention it to). It was so ambiguous and unclear that in fact the program itself struggled to define or explain it. Shortly after I graduated, they renamed the degree (but kept the same curriculum, required courses, etc) to Entrepreneurial Studies. This (in my opinion) is a little clearer in stating what the degree happens to involve.

My understanding is that because my diploma has it phrased as "Visualizations" this is what my degree technically is, and how I should represent it. That said, I feel that "Entrepreneurial Studies" is much clearer and better represents my education. Would it be acceptable to list it as such on my resume/CV?

(Being now several years into my career, prospective employers are much more interested in my work experience and pretty much don't care about my degree aside from the fact that I have one, so this question is mostly hypothetical. I was discussing college with a friend recently and ended up wondering about this)

  • 2
    If you were to order an official transcript today what does the transcript say? May 17, 2017 at 17:43
  • 4
    Ok what does a free unofficial transcript say. May 17, 2017 at 17:46
  • 4
    You could call the registrar's office and just ask what they'd put on your transcript today.
    – Caleb
    May 17, 2017 at 18:29
  • 10
    Both names sound equally fishy to me
    – Kilisi
    May 17, 2017 at 18:59
  • 4
    "BA in Entrepreneurial Studies (formerly known as 'Visualizations')" May 19, 2017 at 15:50

6 Answers 6


It's probably good to have the resume or CV match your paperwork, but that doesn't mean you can't use both titles. On the resume, simply list your degree and the new name in parentheses:

Art School Name, Bachelor of Science in Visualizations (Entrepreneurial Studies), year graduated

That way, what you have will match any background checks, but you've also given them a degree name that will be useful and less confusing.

  • 1
    Exactly be accurate but help them understand. Chances are they will get the whole changed the title after i graduated thing. Its not terribly uncommon. May 17, 2017 at 20:13
  • This is also an issue for unclear names that haven't changed; the Oxford undergraduate course in Classics (extremely well-respected) is called Literae Humaniores; you can bet that most graduates will add something clearer in brackets on their CV.
    – dbmag9
    May 21, 2021 at 22:14

It's a CV, not a background check. If that's what they're calling it today, I would call it that.

If you're still concerned about it not being completely accurate (though I wouldn't), you could put something like "Formerly Visualizations" or similar wording.

The most that'll happen likely is they'll ask what that means and then you tell them that they just changed the name of the degree but kept all of the requirements. They'll say "oh" and move on.

  • 1
    i don't think "fka" is a useful slang term - i would be mighty confused if i saw that. it makes sense here due to the context...
    – bharal
    May 17, 2017 at 18:19
  • @bharal fair enough.
    – Chris E
    May 17, 2017 at 18:19
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    What about Entrepreneurial Studies (nee Visualizations)? May 17, 2017 at 18:29

The function of the resume is to get the interview. A resume should be clear and informative. Use the degree name that will cause the least confusion and that is most likely to help you advance to the interview. You can include "(formerly OldName)" on your resume if you want, but definitely include the name that is more meaningful to your audience.

When it comes to a formal application, something that they'll use to do a background check and verify your claims, you need to provide the answer that will match what they'll get from your university. However, by that point in time you should have already had at least one conversation with somebody -- so when they bring up the application paperwork and background check, that's your cue to say "by the way, my university renamed this degree since I earned it".


My University (here in the UK) did the same thing.

Personally, I'd use what's going to cause less confusion. The syllabus and what you learned remains the same. I imagine it was renamed because of the confusion it was causing?

Besides, 'Entrepreneurial Studies' rolls off the tongue a bit better and is definitely more of a conversation starter! Sounds awesome.


I think I would use whatever the official name is on your documentation and then explain the situation in a cover letter, if you feel it needs to be explained.

I would equate it to job titles. In my industry (software) I've never seen two companies with the same structure of job titles. What's a "programmer" one place might be a "senior software engineer" somewhere else and a "software developer 5" at yet another place. Hopefully they will focus on the content of your experience and not the name of the degree.

I've never thought about it, but I have the opposite issue. I got a BS in Computer Science in the 1990s. I'm positive if I go back to look at the school's curriculum today, the content of the program would be entirely different, but it is still called BS in Computer Science.


I think contacting your university and requesting an updated degree would not be unusual or out of place here. You mention that they were quite aware of the struggle of definition, so they will likely be willing to accomodate your request if the curriculum truly has not changed.

They may charge a small fee, but no more than they would for an extract, most likely.


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