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How to List Magna Cum Laude on Your Resume — Pro Tips!

How to List Magna Cum Laude on Your Resume — Pro Tips!

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So you’ve graduated and achieved the designation magna cum laude. Congratulations! You’ve earned the distinction of graduating in the top 10-15% of your class.

This is a distinction which shows a lot of dedication, intellect, and hard work. Let’s take a look at how we can reflect this on a resume.


How to list Magna Cum Laude on Your Resume?

A magna cum laude designation should typically be listed in the education section on a resume. For experienced job seekers it should be written simply, and without any further explanation as to the meaning of the phrase. For new graduates, you have freedom to expand on it to compensate for a lack of job history. New graduates may also choose to put it in the achievements section, but only if they have more than one to list.


How to format magna cum laude as text

Magna cum laude is a Latin phrase meaning “with great honor”. Educational titles and degrees are typically capitalized, but because magna cum laude is a Latin phrase it should always written in lowercase italics.

The only exception is when it is written as the start of a full sentence (capitalize the ‘M’) or if it is in the title of something (such as the title of this article – capitalize every word). 

In your resume, remember that the rule will always be to use italics and lowercase letters.


How to put magna cum laude in the education section of the resume

The education section is the simplest place to put this designation because it is an academic achievement. It flows well following the name, degree, and date of your graduation.

When listing magna cum laude in this section, do not add any sort of description or definition to the phrase. When formatted correctly, it should look as follows:


Stanford University – (20xx – 20xx)

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, magna cum laude


You could also add in your GPA if you believe it to be relevant. Be aware that this takes up unnecessary space for those with professional experience.

For new graduates, this is a good way to fill blank space on a resume. This could look like the following:



Stanford University –  (20xx – 20xx)

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

  • magna cum laude (3.8 GPA)


Adding in a defining phrase such as “graduated in the top 15% of the class – magna cum laude” can come off as stuffy or arrogant, not to mention redundant.

Stick to the basic phrase in this section and keep the resume neat and clean.

The only place we might expand on our achievement is in the achievements section. 

It is important to note that you should NOT write magna cum laude in both sections.

Choose one section and stick to it. Writing it more than once sounds like bragging, and you do not want to come off as a braggart during your first impression.  


How to put magna cum laude in the achievements section of the resume

For those who have limited experience in the job market, it may be best to list magna cum laude in the achievements section.

The achievements section for new graduates may be filled with academic, sports, or club achievements in lieu of professional achievements. 

Make sure that you have more than one achievement to list, because creating a new section just to put a magna cum laude distinction looks unprofessional.

It may come off to an employer that your grades are the only thing you have managed to achieve during your time at university, which does more harm to your chances than good.

Try to come up with a few other achievements to fill out this section, because it makes the resume feel more complete.

Here is an example of a properly formatted achievements section:



  • Graduated in top 15% of class, magna cum laude (3.8 GPA)
  • Women’s Varsity Athletic Award for track and field
  • Andrew Heffer Scholarship for economic achievements 


Sometimes it is best to keep it simple and straightforward. For example:



  • 3.8 GPA – magna cum laude 
  • Women’s Varsity Athletic Award for track and field
  • Andrew Heffer Scholarship for economic achievements 


Should you always include magna cum laude in your resume?

This depends on the amount of job experience that you have.

Academic achievements are very important for new graduates, and people with limited job experience.

In order to show drive, intellect, and perseverance, it is a good idea for these people to list the magna cum laude distinction. 

For people who have professional experience and achievements, it is not necessary to include magna cum laude.

Perhaps it is still relevant for a few years after graduation, but after that it becomes a moot point. Employers want to see what you have achieved in your field as an employee.

After all, they are looking to hire someone to work – not to study. 


Should you always list GPA alongside magna cum laude?

It is not necessary to always include GPA. It may be tempting to define exactly what magna cum laude means to a potential employer, because you want them to understand your achievements.

However, it is ultimately redundant to list both. 

Take a look at your resume and see how complete it is. If you have a lot of achievements or experience to list, consider not listing both GPA and magna cum laude together.

If your section is looking bare, it may help to expand on your distinction to fill the blank space. 


Interview tip regarding magna cum laude

Be ready to discuss anything and everything you put on your resume with a potential employer, including your magna cum laude designation.

There is always a chance that an employer does not know the meaning of the phrase, or simply wants to expand on it with you during an interview. 

Make sure you know how to pronounce ‘magna cum laude’. 

There is nothing worse than not being able to explain something that you wrote down on your resume.

Practice using this YouTube video, and be ready to tell your employer all about your academic achievement.

After all, you’ve earned it!