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How To List Unfinished Degree On Resumes In 2023

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Did you go to university for a couple of years but leave before you got your degree? Or did you switch majors after finding your true calling?

In either case, you may wonder how to use those couple of years on your resume, despite it not being a completed degree.

Luckily, this article will show you how you can list an unfinished degree on resumes so that potential employers will see that you have a deep knowledge not only in your area of expertise but also in other areas.

The difference can not only make you a better candidate for a job, but it can also help you demand higher pay. Keep reading for resume do’s and don’ts.

What is an Incomplete Degree?

An incomplete degree is any degree you started but did not finish. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that roughly 64 percent of students enrolled in a 4-year bachelors program will actually complete their degree.

There are many personal reasons why someone didn’t complete a degree. A short list includes:

  • Switched majors
  • Dropped out for personal reasons
  • Still in progress

Whatever your reason for not finishing your degree, there is a way to include it on your resume so that your gained knowledge and experience do not go to waste.

What Should You Put on Your Resume if You Haven’t Finished Your Degree?

This mostly depends on why you didn’t finish your degree. If you’re still working on your degree, then you can put it in the education of your resume that your degree is ongoing.

If your degree is incomplete and you don’t plan to return to school to finish it, it is a good idea to put it in the best light. If you place it under education, you could highlight projects you did. This may include something like putting skills you learned in the skills category.

Should You Put Education on Your Resume if You Didn’t Graduate?

This is one way to mention an incomplete degree on your resume and is likely the easiest way. The lack of an education section will have any potential employer asking questions, and it is always best to be honest. No education section may cause you to be overlooked altogether for a position.

If you are going to put an incomplete degree in your education section, you can mention if it’s ongoing if you plan to complete the degree. If you don’t plan to complete the degree, you can mention skills or projects you learned through the program instead.

Having a little education in your resume will also help for resumes with no experience.

Should You Put Incomplete Degrees on Resume?

In most cases, yes. An incomplete still means that you learned some skills and gained experience in that field.

If your degree is still ongoing, then you can simply mention that it is still ongoing. If you don’t plan to complete it, you can find a creative way to include it on your resume that best highlights what you learned, such as in the skills section.

Should You Put an Incomplete Degree on LinkedIn?

Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to connect with potential employers, and as such, you should treat your LinkedIn profile like an expanded resume.

An incomplete degree still shows that you gained knowledge and skills in a particular area, even if you were only there for a semester or less.

If You Dropped Out of College, Should You Put it on Your Resume?

In most cases, yes. Even if you dropped out, your time in college shows that you gained knowledge and skills in a particular field. Just be honest if a potential employer asks about your incomplete degree during an interview.

How Do You Mention an Unfinished Degree On Resumes?

There are a couple of ways that you can mention an unfinished degree on your resume.

One of the most common ways is through the education section of your resume. You can simply note that the degree in question is either ongoing or that it is left incomplete.

How Do You Put Unfinished Bachelor’s Degrees on a Resume?

Depending on why it is incomplete, the easiest way to include it is in your education section. For example, if your degree is ongoing, then you can write:

Bachelor of Science in Biology

June 2020 – Ongoing

Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

On the other hand, if you have an incomplete that you don’t plan to finish, you can either include it in your education section or mention it in your skills section. If you’re adding to your education, then simply change the dates to when you attended school for that particular degree.

For an example of how to include your unfinished degree in your skills section, you could write:


  • HTML5
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

If your employer mentions how you came across these skills, you can simply tell them that you took a few university courses but chose not to pursue the degree.

For how many years of experience to list for your skills, you can go by the years you worked on the degree they came from.

How Do You List Unfinished Master’s Degrees on Your Resume?

Like with the bachelor’s degree, the easiest place to list your incomplete Master’s is in the education section.

If you’re in the process of working through your Master’s, then you can include it at the top of your education section and table it as ongoing.

If you started your Master’s but decided not to finish it, then you can either include it in your education section or add the skills you learned to the skills section.

How Do You Write Your Degree if You Haven’t Graduated Yet?

If you have an incomplete degree because you are still in the process of it, it is very simple to add it to your resume.

You can start by writing out your details at the top of the education section, including your major and school. You can also include your GPA if you want.

In the spot where you would list the dates when you got your degree, you can list the starting date and then “ongoing.”

How Do You Show an Unfinished Degree on LinkedIn?

To show an incomplete degree on LinkedIn, you can start by signing into LinkedIn and going to your profile.

From here, scroll down until you get to the education section.

In the top right corner of the education block, you will see a small plus sign, allowing you to add a new degree.

Include details in the pop-up window, such as your study area and school. Also, include when you started.

For the completion date, you have two options.

One, if you’re going to finish the degree, then you can plug in the date when you will complete your degree.

If you don’t intend to finish, you can plug in the date that you dropped out or otherwise stopped pursuing your degree. You can then add to the description that you didn’t complete the degree and give details if you want.

How Do You Explain Not Having a Degree?

The true answer to this question is simply, to be honest.

Perhaps you are still working on your degree. Maybe you dropped out because you had a job offer in another state. No matter the reason, it is always important to be honest with your interviewer.

For deeply personal reasons, such as dropping out to take care of a sick relative, you can simply say you dropped out for a family emergency or personal reasons.

How Do You Describe an Incomplete Degree in an Interview?

If you have an incomplete degree on your resume, there is a chance that an interviewer will ask about it. If that’s the case, you may wonder how to talk about it.

  • Address it Head On: The best practice is to simply be honest about why it is incomplete. Do not try to hide it or avoid the question. Being evasive will not look good to an interviewer.
  • Talk About the Coursework You Completed: When talking about the incomplete degree, focus on the work that you did complete so that an interviewer has an idea of what you did accomplish within the degree.
  • Talk About What You Learned from Your Time at School: You can take a little time to discuss what you learned, such as skills you picked up or significant projects you worked on.
  • Provide the Interviewer With Reassurance: Your honesty about your incomplete degree will help reassure your interviewer that you still have plenty of knowledge and skills gained from your time in university. Even if your degree is incomplete, you still take a lot away from experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this next section, we’ll review a few common questions about incomplete degrees.

How do you say that you haven’t finished college?

You can simply place “ongoing” on your resume in the education section. If you don’t plan to finish your degree, then you can just be honest about why you decided not to complete it.

What is an incomplete degree?

An incomplete degree is any degree you are either pursuing or have chosen not to complete.

Wrapping Up

If you have an incomplete degree, remember that you still gained skills and knowledge from experience and that it can help to boost your credibility on your resume. We always recommend that you include your incomplete on your resume unless you are left in bad standing.

Please comment if you have further questions about including an incomplete degree on your resume.

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