Jan 31 2023

Cover Letter and CV for a PhD Position

Philip Rosler (Editor)

Career advice

A resume (CV) and cover letter play a crucial role in the application process for a PhD position as they serve as the first impression and provide an opportunity to showcase your qualifications and achievements. A cover letter allows you to highlight your relevant experiences, skills, and achievements that make you a good fit for the PhD program, while also expressing your excitement about pursuing a PhD. A resume provides more detail on your educational background, research experience, and relevant skills, and serves as a comprehensive list of your academic and professional achievements. A well-written cover letter and resume can set you apart from other applicants and increase your chances of being selected for an interview. It's important to put in the effort to create a high-quality resume and cover letter that accurately represents your qualifications and demonstrates your fit for the PhD program.


Here are some tips for writing a cover letter and CV for a PhD position:

Cover Letter:

  • Address it to the right person: Research the department or institution and find out the name of the person responsible for hiring PhD candidates.
  • Show enthusiasm: Mention the specific PhD program you're applying for and express your excitement about the opportunity.
  • Demonstrate your fit: Highlight relevant experiences, skills, and achievements that make you an excellent candidate for the program.
  • Explain your research interests: Discuss your research background and future goals, and how they align with the department's focus.
  • Request an interview: End by thanking the recipient for considering your application and request a follow-up meeting or interview.


  • Tailor it to the position: Emphasize experiences, skills, and achievements that are relevant to the PhD program you're applying for.
  • Keep it concise: A CV for a PhD position should be 2 pages maximum.
  • Highlight your education: List your degrees, academic honors, and relevant coursework.
  • Focus on research experience: Include any research projects you've worked on, publications, and presentations.
  • Showcase your skills: Mention any relevant skills such as data analysis, programming, or laboratory techniques.


Here is a sample cover letter template for a PhD position:


[Your Name]


[City, State ZIP Code]

[Email Address]

[Today's Date]


[Hiring Manager's Name]

[Department or Institution Name]


[City, State ZIP Code]


Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],


I am writing to express my interest in the [Name of PhD Program] at [Department or Institution Name]. As a highly motivated and passionate individual with a strong academic background and research experience, I am confident that I would be a valuable addition to your program.


My research background, particularly in [area of expertise], has provided me with a solid foundation for pursuing a PhD in [field of study]. I am particularly drawn to [Department or Institution Name] because of its reputation for [excellent research, top-notch faculty, etc.]. I am eager to contribute to the ongoing research and academic initiatives at your institution and am confident that I have the skills and experience to make a significant impact.


I have attached my CV, which highlights my academic achievements, research experience, and relevant skills. In particular, I would like to highlight my experience in [skill or project related to the PhD program], which I believe sets me apart from other candidates.


Thank you for considering my application. I would welcome the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications and passion for the [Name of PhD Program] at [Department or Institution Name]. I look forward to the opportunity to hear from you soon.



[Your Name]


And here is a sample CV template for a PhD position:


[Your Name]


[City, State ZIP Code]

[Email Address]

[Phone Number]



[Brief summary of your background and research interests, highlighting relevant skills and experiences.]



[Degree and Major, Institution Name, Graduation Date]

[Thesis or Dissertation Title, Advisor Name]

[Any academic honors or awards received]


Research Experience:

[Name of Research Project, Institution Name, Date]

[Brief description of the project, your role and responsibilities, and achievements]

[Any publications or presentations related to the project]



[List of relevant skills, such as programming languages, laboratory techniques, data analysis tools, etc.]



[Name, Title, Institution, Email, Phone Number of at least three professional references]

Note: These are just sample templates and should be modified to fit your specific needs and qualifications. Make sure to tailor your cover letter and CV to each individual PhD program you apply for.

Tags: high-quality resume and cover letter