The curriculum vitae (Latin for "the course of life") is the document that replaces the resume in a medical student’s professional life. The CV is appropriate for academic or medical careers and is far more comprehensive than a resume. A CV elaborates on education and includes a comprehensive listing of professional history.

As a medical student, the CV includes information no older than graduate and/or undergraduate education. As a student progresses to fellowship, the CV would then include information no older than medical school data. The medical school data will then remain on the CV for the rest of the student’s professional career.

Current medical students can find some excellent examples of CV formats on the Careers in Medicine website or in select examples below.

The prudent medical student will begin compiling a CV in the first year of medical school. The document should include all undergraduate and graduate education, educational honors, relevant publications and research, relevant work and volunteer experience, and personal information the student wishes to share. Non-traditional students will also need to account for all time between undergraduate and/or graduate school and the time medical school began. All time gaps must be accounted for.

Students are encouraged to compile their CV in the first year of medical school and continue to update activities and honors as they progress. This will prepare the student not only for applying to residency programs during the fourth year but will also allow them to quickly apply for scholarships and research grants throughout medical school. The CV will be useful and necessary throughout one’s professional career.

Here are some tips that are standard for most situations:

  • All entries should be in reverse chronological order.
  • The reader’s eye should always fall naturally to the most recent activity in each category.
  • A common error is inconsistency in chronology between or among sections.
  • There is no set style.
  • The style should reflect the writer, but it should appear eminently professional. Use white, gray or cream paper and a conservative font.
  • Do not look at commercial sites. You need to develop your own voice and style from the very beginning.
  • If you mention an issue on the CV like the number of children you have, your marital status, or age, the prospective employer then has the right to question you about the issue mentioned.

One issue unique to Ohio State students concerns the educational honors section. By national rule, the Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE) which gives a summative evaluation of a student’s performance throughout the first three years of medical school cannot be released until Oct. 1. The MSPE is the only document in which the college releases the internal grades assigned to students for individual courses and clerkships.

Because our college is officially a non-grading, non-ranking institution, all grades above "Satisfactory" must be listed on the CV. Other schools list these grades on official transcripts for programs to review when considering students for interview. If this information is not included on your CV, interview spots may be filled before programs are notified of our internal grades in the MSPE. Letters of commendation and honors grades are typically given to only the top 25% of any group and are truly worthy of distinction. Remember the correct terminology is letter of commendation or honors for an individual grade.

Seek out a neutral pair of eyes to review your CV. Feel free to contact Stacy Drake if you have any questions.

During the residency application season for fourth-year students, the CV needs to be prepared as early as possible as faculty members might request a copy in order to produce a letter of recommendation. A CV is no longer required for the residency application itself but is good to have available nonetheless. Keeping it updated will help you as you develop in your career.