How to List Your Degree on Your Resume

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Having your education on your resume is an important way to showcase yourself and your background. Find out what to include, where to list it, and how to present it.

[Featured Image] A man using a computer learns how to list his degree on his resume.

Your resume is your sales pitch for any jobs or courses you apply for, so it’s essential for it to represent you fully. To accomplish this, you must list your degree clearly, with all relevant information. This document typically represents your first chance to make a great impression and show potential employers why you’re an excellent fit for their needs. Doing so requires highlighting your educational background and qualifications.

In this article, you’ll learn how to write an education section and where and how to include your degree within it. You’ll also find examples and tips for writing a show-stopping resume.

What are employers looking for in a resume?

Employers look at your resume to see how your background aligns with the position and the company. Resumes are like your own personal marketing tool and an opportunity to showcase your unique qualifications. Think of your resume as a document that can entice recruiters to want to learn more about your skills and experience.

Employers will use it to assess exactly what you can do based on what you tell them you have achieved in the past. With this in mind, they want to know about your previous roles, education, certifications, and the skills you developed along the way. Tailor your skills, education, and experience to the job posting and include relevant examples of actual achievements rather than simply a list of your duties and responsibilities.

Why is adding your degree to your resume important?

It’s essential for your resume to represent all you’ve achieved so employers can determine if your background meets their needs. Graduating is a significant achievement, and highlighting it to employers is a must.

It’s also often a minimum requirement for job roles or access to master’s degree courses. Employers will scan your resume to ensure you meet this criteria if this is the case. Even if you don’t feel your degree is directly related to the position or the course you’re applying for, it’s still highly valuable as it demonstrates that you can study at a high level.

How to list your degree on your resume

When it comes to listing your degree on your resume, it’s important to make sure it is prominent and integral to the document and that you include any relevant details about your degree that will sell you to an employer or college.

Review the steps below to discover how to list your degree for maximum effect.

1. Create a resume education section.

Designing a distinct resume education section is straightforward, but it’s critical to use effective formatting. Doing so allows your qualifications to stand out to employers who quickly scan your resume to see if you meet their requirements and for applicant screening software (ATS) looking for specific keywords.

At a minimum, this section must include:

  • Degree title

  • College name and location

  • Graduation date

In addition to this, you may include more information. Explore those details below.

2. List degrees in reverse chronological order.

List your degrees and education in reverse chronological order. Start by placing your recent education in the most prominent position. Doing so lets you highlight your highest level of education first and foremost. 

An exception to this rule is if you are applying for a role where a less recent degree is most relevant to the position. For example, if you are applying for a construction role and have a degree in engineering from several years ago and have since completed a degree in French, your engineering degree will likely impress the employer. In this case, you may reposition your degrees so the most relevant is at the top, more like a functional resume format. You may even choose to have separate sections for “relevant” and “other” education.

How to list multiple degrees

If you have multiple degrees, be consistent with the reverse chronological order. Place your highest degree first. For example, if you have recently studied a master’s degree, this sits above a previously studied bachelor’s degree.

3. Include relevant majors and minors.

If your degree is relevant to the role or the course you’re applying for, include your major and any minors that also help to tailor your education section. This is especially important if a job post asks for something specific and you have covered it in your degree program.

4. Add any relevant projects.

Relevant projects, extracurricular activities, and coursework are excellent points to help you stand apart from other candidates. If your degree program included projects that were very relevant to what you’re applying for, make sure you include them. However, avoid adding everything you covered in your degree unless it is highly relevant and will add something to your resume.

5. Include awards and accolades.

Awards, scholarships, or special mentions are an excellent addition when listing your degree. This is especially so if they relate directly to the role, but regardless, showing you have the commitment and skills to achieve an award can make you stand out.

6. Include your GPA if it’s high.

You’ll find mixed advice about including your GPA, but the general consensus is to add it if it is noteworthy. If your GPA is below average, lower than 3.4 [1], it’s best not to highlight this. If it is exceptionally high, use it as a selling point.

7. Position your education section.

Where you place your education section depends on a few factors. If you have limited experience in the field you’re applying for, but your degree is highly relevant, you may want to put your education section near the top of your resume. It might be directly under your summary.

However, if you have many years of relevant experience and a strong career progression, your degree subject may be less important, especially if it is in a different field. If this is the case, place it lower down your resume, below your experience section.

Example education section

Below is an example of an education section for a seasoned professional.


Bachelor of Arts Marketing, 2022

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

GPA: 4.5

Minors: Management 

Special projects: Participated in a marketing project, developing a marketing plan for a small hospitality business.


How to list an unfinished degree

If you have a degree in progress and haven’t finished yet, it’s valuable to list it anyway. However, listing an unfinished degree varies slightly from the above example of a completed degree program.

When listing the date of your degree, note an expected graduation date. It’s still a good idea to list your major, special projects, awards, and any extracurricular activities if these strengthen the section. You can even include your GPA if it is high.

Example of an unfinished degree listed in the education section:

Bachelor of Arts Psychology

Expected graduation: June 2024

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Minors: Child development

Awards: Dean’s list for seven semesters


Tips for writing your resume

Now you know how to format and construct your education section, let’s take a look at some tips for finishing your resume:

  • Tailor your resume: It’s important to write it with a job role in mind. Look at what recruiters put in the job listing and the position’s description. Ensure your resume includes details that align with what the employer is looking for, provided they also match your background. The employer is scoring you on how well your resume fits the role.

  • Use keywords: Many companies use an ATS,  requiring job seekers like you to make sure their resumes include keywords relevant to their experience that match the job description and keywords associated with the role and industry to stand a good chance of being selected.

  • Focus on achievements: It’s easy to list duties and responsibilities on your resume, but your individual achievements can help you stand out against others. Give examples of things you have done, awards you’ve earned, factors you’ve improved, and people you’ve helped.

  • Be clear and concise: Recruiters skim-read resumes, and it’s essential to deliver the details that catch their interest with just a quick scan, enticing them to continue reading and learning more about you. Keep your information relevant and format it clearly to break up text with bullet points and subheadings for easy scannability.

Get started with Coursera.

Building a strong resume means having a solid education section. Getting a degree isn’t your only option to build a strong resume. You can also stand out by taking online classes and increasing your qualifications. For example, Professional Certificates on Coursera effectively show your skills and knowledge in various areas.

For example, you could hone your sales skills with a Salesforce Sales Operations Professional Certificate, explore marketing analytics with the Meta Marketing Analytics Professional Certificate, or master the fundamentals of network operations with a Network Engineering Professional Certificate from Akamai.

Article sources

  1. Indeed. “How To List Education on a Resume (With Examples),” Accessed April 4, 2024.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.