How do you list "Meaning, Math, And Motion" on your resume?
August 15, 2011 4:47 PM   Subscribe

How should list undergraduate classes with long/unusual names on a resume that I am using for applications to economics PhD programs?

1) If I have taken "principals of macroeconomics" (the intro class), "intermediate macroeconomics", and "advanced principals of macroeconomics", is it kosher to condense this information somehow? e.g. call it "beginner, intermediate, and advanced macroeconomics" or maybe "macroeconomics 1, 2 and 3"

2) What about a class titled "social choice and decision making" that was essentially a mathematical game theory class. Am I stuck using the unclear name or can I give it a more transparent name?

3) Would it be helpful to list the author of the textbook for the advanced classes I have taken to clarify their level?

4) Is it more helpful to order courses alphabeticalyl, chronologically, or by level of importance?

Any other advice on how to be clear about the coursework I have taken?
posted by vegetableagony to Education (11 answers total)
I'm not sure why you would be listing them. Wouldn't it be clear on your transcript? If you had to list them, I would just list them separately, and sequentially.
posted by tjenks at 4:50 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

You will be submitting transcripts, so you really should not worry about listing individual classes on your application unless you won an award or other citation while in that class that establishes merit. Also, there is no need to list the author of the textbook you read on your application - that will show you out to be unready to do a PhD. You are worrying about the wrong things. Think about what you want to spend two years really studying.
posted by parmanparman at 4:52 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm going to third that unless the instructions specifically state to include coursework on a resume, or like parman says, there is an exceptional award or other reason to include it, this coursework should not be on your resume.
posted by brainmouse at 5:00 PM on August 15, 2011

I didn't know this when I was applying to graduate school, but a better approach rather than trying to list classes (as everyone states above, don't do that) you took would be to 1) identify faculty members and any research area you are interested in and 2) you can even contact these people in advance to see if your research areas of interest are complementary, etc.

Read the faculty "about me" blurbs and any interesting pages that may be listed on their webpages as a starting point.
posted by Wolfster at 5:16 PM on August 15, 2011

When I applied to grad school in a media/compsci field, my resume (an adapted version of what I was using for real jobs, too) included a section called "Coursework In: [General Topic #1], [General Topic #2], etc." It was 3 lines, and listed the specific skills I'd developed through coursework. In hindsight, though, I feel like you'd be better off letting your accomplishments and prior employment speak for themselves. I certainly wouldn't try and provide an exhaustive list.
posted by Alterscape at 5:17 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I was applying to grad school in math most, if not all departments, asked for a list of math courses taken with textbooks. I think mine was chronological. I don't think it included grades, but some department may have asked for them to be on the list as well. If there were any departments that didn't ask for a course list, I didn't give them one and let them puzzle out my transcript.

I disagree with the people who say it will be apparent from the transcript. My transcript is quite opaque, particularly to people outside the university or even some of the departments, as things have to be abbreviated. (I've shown a copy of my transcript to friends so they can play 'try to guess what course that was about'.) I've also taken multiple courses called some variation on 'Algebra'. That's totally useless on a transcript without knowing what textbook was used.
posted by hoyland at 5:55 PM on August 15, 2011

Oh, to clarify, the course list was separate from my CV. (I want to say fewer departments wanted a CV than wanted a course list.)
posted by hoyland at 5:56 PM on August 15, 2011

I don't do econ, but:

1) On a resume, I would not be remotely comfortable using anything but the exact name as it appears on the transcript, with the exception of expanding abbreviations the transcript uses (ie "Principles of Microeconomics" instead of the transcript's "ECON 201 PRIN OF MICRO"). If something is unclear, add a note explaining it.

2) "Social choice and decision making" will not be remotely unclear to an economics program. Unless, that is, you didn't actually do social choice theory in it.

3) Dunno

4) Probably doesn't matter, but if they say to do it some way, do it that way.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:05 PM on August 15, 2011

I have an Econ PhD, most econ grad schools care you have enough math and have taken advanced classes in micro, macro, and metrics. I could be wrong, but I don't think a resume is the right place to put this info. I would put it in my cover letter. In a couple of sentences you should be able to say I have this many semester of macro, this many of micro, and advance course work in game theory using this text.

Could you ask a graduate coordinator/admissions person where this type of info might best be put.
posted by akabobo at 6:55 PM on August 15, 2011

I wouldn't expect course listings on a CV/resume, personally, but if you do list them by name, make sure it's Principles of Economics rather than Principals. Listing the textbook/author seems way overboard.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:14 PM on August 15, 2011

Best answer: I do graduate admissions for a department at a large Canadian University. In my experience: when you submit your application, your documents should speak for themselves: your transcripts, your writing sample and, in some ways most importantly, your references. Have a clear idea about what you want to study, and when you go to write about it make sure it's polished, very carefully thought out, and a couple of pages long. Follow the criteria listed on the faculty's web page: there will be a checklist of what you should submit. Don't deviate from it. Try to initiate relationships with the faculty members who you hope to study with: they will be your allies.

Don't submit a CV. You're wasting your energy on this question. Concentrate on making the best statement of intention you can. Good luck!
posted by jokeefe at 7:14 PM on August 15, 2011

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