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15 Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples That Got Accepted!
Writing a graduate school statement of purpose is tough, but we’re here to help! Review these statement of purpose examples and our expert tips to help you create your own effective essay and learn how to get into grad school . The samples come from our own past students who got into multiple top graduate schools. Note that the students worked with our admissions experts as part of our application review programs to create these statements. We hope they will serve as a starting roadmap for you.
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Article Contents 71 min read
Graduate school statement of purpose example that got 5 acceptances (998 words).
“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.” I was 16 when I first read this quote by Mies van der Rohe, and, back then, I thought I really understood what it meant. Thinking of this quote one summer evening, as I walked around my beloved New York City, I was inspired to commit to a future in architecture. At that early stage, I cherished romantic ideals of designing grandiose buildings that would change a city; of adding my name to the list of architectural geniuses who had immortalized their vision of the world in concrete, steel, glass, and stone. It was in college that I became passionately interested in the theoretical design and engineering concepts that form the basis of architecture, while also exploring in greater detail the sociological and economic impact of architecture.
The true breakthrough for me took place in my sophomore year of college, when I was volunteering at The Bowery Mission, a women’s shelter situated in Queens, New York. The shelter was in a poorly ventilated building, with an essentially non-functioning air conditioning system. The little bit of relief for the people who stayed there was a small park nearby, a patch of green between suffocating buildings. One day when I was working the afternoon shift there in the peak of summer, I looked out to see bulldozers in the park. It was being torn up to make room for yet another building. I saw that completed building a year later – a grey block of steel that did not utilize any of the original park space. Witnessing this injustice, while learning every day about how climatology, materials technology, and engineering mechanics intersect with urban planning and architectural design, ignited a passion for sustainable design in me. [BeMo2] How can we, as architects, minimize our harm to communities and eco-systems? How can we design buildings with a view to sustain long-term energy and resource efficiency without sacrificing immediate economic viability? What are the eco-conscious solutions that architects can put forward to address the environmental changes of the 21st century? These were the questions that plagued me then and I have pursued the answers to these questions throughout my academic career so far.
A statement of purpose is an essential part of your application for a graduate program. While your academic transcripts and letters of reference reveal your academic credentials, and your extracurriculars and graduate school resume show your professional capabilities, your statement of purpose gives you the chance to present yourself as a candidate in a more well-rounded and compelling way. This is your opportunity to make yourself stand out as an applicant! Your preparation for writing and completing the statement of purpose is not unlike your preparations with graduate school interview questions — you need to leave yourself an ample amount of time to ace it.
Of course, each school is different, and you need to make sure you have checked the specific requirements of your chosen institutions before you begin writing your statement. But no matter which school you’re applying to one thing is certain: a strong statement of purpose is crucial to your success!
What’s included in a graduate school statement of purpose?
The statement of purpose provides the admissions committee with a way of understanding more about you as an applicant on a deeper level. The statement of purpose gives them the opportunity to assess your suitability for their particular program and institution. Finding the right fit between an applicant and a graduate program is crucial for both parties, and your statement of purpose is your opportunity to explain to the admissions committee why you believe this graduate program is right for you.
With this in mind, it is important to use the statement of purpose as a way of showcasing what led you to the program in the first place, and what you hope to achieve if accepted. Here’s a quick list of what should be included in your grad school statement of purpose:
- Why you are pursuing a master’s or PhD
- Why you are interested in a field or a specific program
- How you have prepared yourself academically or professionally for a career in this field
- What you will contribute to the program
- Your future career goals and how the program will help you achieve them
Here's a quick guide to the differences between a Master's and PhD
How to Start Writing a Graduate School Statement of Purpose
The key to great writing is great preparation. That is why you need to lay some groundwork before you even start drafting your statement of purpose. Here are the steps you need to take to prepare yourself.
#1 Set aside the time
Preparing and writing a statement of purpose is not a quick undertaking. Proper preparation is a commitment, and you need to make sure you are setting aside enough time to complete the steps below. Since the statement itself will also require several drafts before reaching its final form, always keep in mind that this is not something to leave to the last minute! Ideally, you should give yourself 6-8 weeks to write your statement. Do yourself a favor by getting started on your preparations as early as you can, leaving yourself plenty of time to write and re-write your statement afterwards.
#2 Research your school and program thoroughly
Whether you’re wondering how to find a postdoc program or searching for the best special master’s program for you, research is essential. Visit the school’s website and pay close attention to any mission statements or explicit values that are stated. Visit the pages dedicated to your department and program of choice to glean clues regarding their academic culture. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the research specialties of the faculty members. Make note of any faculty members whose research interests align with yours, as they could potentially serve as a supervisor or mentor. Be sure to learn how to write a research interest statement , too!
#3 Brainstorm how and why you would fit into the school and program
It’s not enough to want to attend a particular school just because of their good reputation or nice location. While learning about the school, its faculty, and your program of choice, you should be constantly reflecting upon how and why you would fit in as a member of that community. Think about what you can contribute to the school, why you want to do a PhD or master’s program, and how the program will help you achieve your career goals. These reflections will prove crucially important when you write your statement.
If you need outside help with writing your essay, you can turn to a graduate school essay tutor for feedback and expert advice.
#4 Contact any potential mentors
If you have discovered a faculty member whose work sounds intriguing to you, reach out to them to introduce yourself and your own research interests. Forming a direct connection with a faculty member could significantly boost your candidacy, especially if the faculty member is willing to consider playing a supervisory role in your work or write you a graduate school recommendation letter . A faculty member will also be able to answer any questions you may have about your common research interests, and how you could explore those further within the program.
Building these relationships now is also a good way to start networking and finding future job opportunities if you’re not sure how to find a job after grad school !
Here's a quick guide on what to include in your graduate school statement of purpose
#5 Make a list of any requirements for your statement of purpose
As noted above, every school is different, and each program is unique. Make sure you understand the specifics of what they are looking for in a statement of purpose, e.g. length, emphasis, any required formatting guidelines. The more closely you follow their guidelines, the less prone you will be to making errors in terms of structure or formatting. Many graduate schools will provide prompts to make your writing process easier. Make sure to read the prompt carefully. While these tend to be very open-ended, they can provide clues as to what the admissions committee expects to see in your statement.
The essay prompts may ask you to share something the admissions committee should know or provide you with an opportunity to explain any gaps in your application. If you want to know how to get into graduate school with a low GPA , this is where you can discuss the circumstances of your below average grade and what you’ve done to improve yourself.
If you are in doubt about what the school expects from your statement of purpose, ask for clarification from an appropriate authority at the school. Remember that each institution’s website and admissions office is there to help clear up any uncertainty you may have about deadlines and requirements. Seek clarification if you are not sure about something.
#6 Get your materials in order before you write
Before you begin writing, you need to make sure you have everything you need for your reference close at hand. Make sure you have copies of your academic transcripts and your CV for graduate school within easy reach, to help jog your memory about specific courses or achievements you wish to include in your statement of purpose. You might also wish to keep nearby any useful information you have about the program and its faculty, for quick reference when you need it.
#7 Make some outline notes
Sitting and staring at a blank page can be a little intimidating. That’s why having some useful notes can make writing the actual statement much easier! Go over your reference materials and make a short list of which experiences and achievements you would especially like to highlight in your statement. Ideally, include 1 to 3 experiences that are relevant, impactful and important to you. Note down specific examples for achievements you want to highlight. Make sure you have a clear, specific answer for WHY you are pursuing a graduate degree. The better your prep notes are, the more straightforward writing your statement will be.
After researching the program, you have an idea of their mission and culture. Think of your accomplishments and strengths in relation to what you know about the school. Do they value research? Share some of your research experiences or accomplishments from your research resume . Does the program tout the importance of community? Discuss any community service you have participated in and what you’ve learned from those experiences.
A strong statement of purpose should include the following elements in the main body of the text:
You can expect to be asked about your strengths and weaknesses in your grad school interview, too, so having a way to answer those questions effectively will help you. ","label":"Weaknesses or setbacks","title":"Weaknesses or setbacks"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>
Statement of Purpose Content Examples
We will now take a look at each of these four elements in greater depth below, with some useful examples.
Focused Interest in the Field
Your statement of purpose also allows you to share your focused interest in the field of your choosing. In thinking about your intellectual and research interests, consider including some of the following elements:
- Problems of interest in the field that you find exciting or compelling . Introducing the contemporary problems of interest in your field of choice and why you find them intriguing is a great way of showing the admissions committee that you are familiar with the discussions in your field, and that you are fully ready to contribute to helping address those problems and issues in your own work and studies.
- Potential area of interest/research question you would like to pursue. A strong applicant knows what their purpose is, and that purpose is most clearly expressed in sharing the area of interest or research question that you wish to pursue in your studies. Let the admissions committee know what you would like to learn more about, and as ever, why. Share the paths you might wish to explore further shows the committee that are you in tune with your own intellectual curiosity and eager for opportunities to dig a little deeper. Your statement will be especially memorable if you can name a faculty member whose research interests reflect your own.
- Your perspectives and intellectual influences. If you have ever encountered a teacher or scholar that has shaped your perspectives and influenced your intellectual pursuits, feel free to mention them. If there is a particular faculty member whose work you admire at the school you are applying to, then that’s a bonus!
My interest in the Health Economics specialization option is a testament to my conviction that health is one of the most interesting and complex determinants of social welfare. In my experiences as a traveler, researcher, and student, I understand health policy to be one of the most defining characteristics of a national identity as well as the locus of key clashes between equity and efficiency. Health economic policy is the most interesting because it juxtaposes health care, in which universality and equality are perceived as dominant principles, against the rationality and efficiency considerations of an increasingly liberal global economic reality. Graduate studies in health economic policy is the ideal corollary to my academic, personal and social background. I am most keen to explore the relationship between economic and psychological models of human behavior to hopefully advance a more holistic social sciences perspective on why people act against their own self-interest when it comes to their health. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab2' template='BlogArticle'>
Preparing for a grad school interview? Watch this video!
Academic & Professional Preparation
Your academic and professional preparation can take many forms, and that is why it is important to think carefully about the ways in which your path has given you the tools needed to succeed in the program of your choice. But note that the statement of purpose is not meant to be a recitation of your CV. Instead, the statement of purpose should be a narrative about why you took the steps you did and how it brought you to graduate school. Some examples that might apply include:
- Previous jobs, internships, or volunteering. If you gained any valuable and relevant volunteer or work experience, mention it! For example, an applicant for a public health program might mention how volunteering at a soup kitchen inspired her interest in the relationship between food insecurity and poor health outcomes in marginalized communities. You can let the admissions committee know about any relevant technical skills you’ve gained through these experiences, too.
- Research. If you already have some exposure to undertaking research projects of your own or if you have helped as an assistant on someone else’s project, sharing what you have learned from such experiences could make an excellent addition to your statement. Research experiences assure an admissions committee that you are ready to perform the necessary intellectual labor a graduate program demands. Also be sure to mention the important skills you have developed through completing research tasks! Such skills may include multi-tasking, finding and synthesizing relevant information, strengthening your communication skills through writing reports, or developing greater attention to detail.
- Teaching Assistantships. Just like the research assistantships mentioned above, a teaching assistantship that helped you gain valuable exposure to your field of choice and/or helped you to develop your mentorship skills may be worth mentioning in your statement. A teaching assistantship is valuable work experience and shows that you know how to be a team player in an academic community. Skills you could highlight from such experiences include: effective communication with others, working collaboratively with others (such as faculty and other TAs), mentorship abilities, and the ability to adapt to different learning styles.
- Relevant degrees, courses, and conferences. Single out specific courses or degrees you have taken and any conferences you may have attended or presented at that relate to your current research interests. As ever, take some time to reflect on why certain courses or conferences have proved formative for you. For example, you could discuss the importance of the specialized knowledge you gained in a course, or the public speaking skills you developed through presenting at a conference.
After spending four years as an Arts & Science undergraduate and earning a Minor specialization in Economics, I have developed strong analytical research skills, a capacity for truly critical thought and an appreciation for the universal relevance of economic investigation. My interest in the social determinants of health, and how these interplay with policy and economics, was the impetus for my senior undergraduate research project entitled, \u201cHealth and behavior: Advancing a microeconomic framework for changing decision-making in people with obesity.\u201d I was fortunate to work with economists Drs. Levi and Traut, with whom I interrogated the classical and contemporary theories around human behavior and health. In my role as a research assistant, I conducted three literature reviews, one of which was used to support the work of a senior graduate student and will be published in an upcoming issue of Health Economics and the abstract was accepted for a poster presentation at the Annual Health Economics Conference in Denver CO. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab3' template='BlogArticle'>
Career Goals and Plans
A statement of purpose can showcase not only your past achievements and current plans, but also your goals for the future. You don’t necessarily have to know exactly what you want to do after graduating, but including these goals can show the committee that you are capable of long-term planning, and that you are eager to put what you learn in the program to good use afterwards. You can use the part about career plans to address some of the following:
- Roles you might like to pursue. If you have a very specific job in mind as your dream job, you can discuss that and explain what makes it an ideal position for you. For example, is it the institution, the location, or the mission of the job/position that attracts you? Alternatively, you can discuss what kind of role you are hoping to have even if you don’t know exactly where you will end up yet. For example, you can explain how this Master's or PhD will help your med school chances .
- Transferable Skills. Discuss what skills you hope to gain through taking the program, and how those skills could help you in whatever academic or professional career path you pursue after graduation. For example, you could discuss how your research projects strengthened your writing and communication skills, or how balancing your coursework and lab work taught you to manage time effectively. Don’t overlook the importance of “soft” skills: conferences can develop your public speaking skills, while group projects can make you a team player.
It is the responsibility of economics researchers to offer sustainable and feasible alternatives and recommendations to experts in all other fields regarding their most pressing challenges such as climate change and regulation of illegal trade. Further, the intermediary between economics research and the implementation of its corresponding results is the policy process. Because analytical research and writing are my most well-developed academic strengths, as evidenced by my GPA, undergraduate thesis, reference letters, and writing samples, the MA Economic Policy (Health Specialization) program is an ideal launch point for a research career in academia with branch points into policy work in the social determinants of health. Eventually, I want to complete a PhD. I want to build a focused academic practice at McMaster where I can help civil society, government and social enterprises understand and address \u2018wicked problems\u2019 at the intersection of economics and public health. The skills I aim to acquire through this graduate training are crucial to the evolution of my practice. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab4' template='BlogArticle'>
Here are some tips on getting into graduate school!
Addressing setbacks or gaps
Every applicant has strengths and weaknesses, and a statement of purpose is your chance to show the committee that you are self-aware enough to know what your own weaknesses and setbacks are. In discussing these, keep in mind the following:
- Be self-aware and clear. Try to sound honest and objective instead of boastful or defensive when discussing your strengths and weaknesses. Your statement will be even stronger if you include ideas or plans for improvement for any weaknesses you may have. Proving to the committee that you have the capacity for self-growth will strengthen your candidacy, and will also assure them of your intellectual and personal maturity.
- Explain how you have improved your weaknesses or tackled setbacks. Include specific examples, when discussing a weakness, focusing on how you have improved: “I noticed that I struggled with time management during one of my undergraduate courses, and so I developed the habit of planning out work schedules for all of my tasks in advance in order to meet all of my deadlines.”
- Mention any special circumstances that may have led to compromises or delays in your academic performance. If your academic performance has been affected by something that has occurred in your life, you can explain the impact that these challenges have had upon you. Emphasize your ability to adapt and grow by explaining how you overcame these setbacks and what you have learned from them. Your resilience and adaptability will boost your candidacy by showing that you are able to overcome challenges.
When you are ready to write, take a moment to review the length requirements. A statement of purpose is typically between 500 to 1,000 words long, which means that you must make a special effort to convey as much meaningful information about yourself as you can within this relatively small word limit.
The statement of purpose should usually have four main sections, but you can avoid explicitly separating the four sections and opt for the more natural flow of a letter instead. If, however, your program explicitly asks for a certain format, be sure to give them what they ask for!
Structuring your statement
A strong statement of purpose is one that has a clear structure. You need to ensure that the information is laid out in a way that makes it easy for the reader to follow. A well-organized statement keeps the reader engaged!
The structure of a statement of purpose should follow the general structure of an academic essay:
Leave the reader convinced that you are committed to learning and growing, and that you are absolutely prepared for this next step in your academic career. ","label":"Conclusion","title":"Conclusion"}]' code='tab5' template='BlogArticle'>
Do’s and Don’ts of Graduate School Statement of Purpose
In order to avoid some of the most common pitfalls when writing your statement of purpose, review the following list of Do’s and Don’ts to make sure your statement is the best it can be:
Even a statement with the most wonderful content in the world will be a lot less wonderful if it\u2019s littered with typos, grammatical errors, or disorganized sentences. Read and reread your work many times to make sure it is cleanly and professionally written. "}]'>
Your writing needs to be clear and concise. Do not try to show off to the committee by using words that are unnecessarily obscure or too specialty-specific. Not everyone on your committee might be familiar with your research field. Always aim for clarity above all else. If you must use a specialty-specific term, be sure to define it to ensure that both you and your reader understand what you mean when you use that term. "}]' code='timeline2'>
When you think your statement is as good as it can possibly be, run it by a second set of eyes. This can be a trusted friend or teacher, or you can get professional feedback from a grad school advisor . Take a moment to check over the following checklist before submitting:
- Have you made sure your statement meets the requirements specified by the school/program? Is it the right length, in the proper format, and does it include any specific information they may have asked for? Does it answer the prompt?
- Has your statement gone through several drafts? If the answer is “no”, stop what you’re doing and commit yourself to rewriting your statement. Remember that a strong statement is one that has gone through several drafts, getting stronger and more effective each time! If the answer is “yes”, ask yourself, “Is this the best my statement can possibly be?” If in doubt, ask for more feedback.
- Do you provide examples for every claim you make? Check over your statement for instances where you claim to have an ability or experience. Have you provided clear and specific examples to back up your claims?
- Does your statement tell a compelling story? Carefully read over your statement to get a sense of the narrative you have crafted for your reader. Is it a compelling narrative, or have you lapsed into just listing random items from your CV? Make sure your statement is telling a story that gives context for who you are, not just a list of things you’ve done.
- Have you proofread your statement? Even when you’re absolutely sure your statement is in top form, you need to proofread your statement several times to make sure that all typos and grammatical errors have been eliminated. Take breaks after each time you proofread. This way, you will be looking at your statement with fresh eyes every time you read it. You should also take some time to make sure the statement is well-organized and has a proper “flow” in terms of both structure and style. If you’re looking at graduate school application help , you can get a graduate school admissions consultant to look over your essay!
Here's how we helped one of our students get into graduate school!
14 More Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples
Graduate school statement of purpose example #2 (984 words).
When I was 12 years old, my sister suffered a traumatic car accident that left her with PTSD, depression, and severe anxiety. Our parents did not really understand the impact of what she was going through and as a family, we never talked about it much, though we all could witness her pain. So, through my teen years, I watched as a beloved family member struggled with her mental health. Though I did my best to support her through the worst times and assist her in getting professional help, there were still many moments when I felt powerless and clueless in the face of her suffering. This challenging experience set me on the path to pursuing clinical psychology as a career. I wanted to question, dissect, analyze, and hopefully, understand, this mysterious phenomenon that had dominated my life for so long. Through my academic study of psychology and personal experience of my sister’s PTSD, I found that I was particularly interested in clinical psychology with relation to adolescent populations.
From the age of 16 to 21, I worked as a volunteer at an after-school care program for children and teens from disadvantaged backgrounds. While there, I met numerous young people, who had faced starvation, neglect, abuse, and violence, from a very young age, and who needed help to cope with the long-term effects of those early experiences. Working with these kids, helping them through events that might be unimaginable for most adults, further sharpened my interest in how trauma influences the development of generalized anxiety disorders and panic disorders, and in particular, the pre-existing conditions and underlying risk factors for suicide in adolescents with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. This is the topic I hope to continue to explore as a Master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program of your university. Thanks to my personal and first-hand experiences with the effects of trauma, I think I can bring a unique perspective to the study of long-term PTSD in adolescents.
Though my core interest in clinical psychology and the effects of trauma started as deeply personal, my scholarly curiosity and intellectual proficiency led me to academic explorations of this subject from a young age. While in high school, I took up Intro to Psychology classes from my local community college and completed a Peer Youth Counselling certificate course from the Ryerson Center for Mental Health. This academic exploration confirmed my desire to study psychology in college, and my coursework through my undergrad years focused on building a broad portfolio of the key areas of psychology, including Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Behavioral Science, Industrial Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and more. I also took up courses in Biology, Physiology, and Neuroscience to better understand the physical pathologies of adolescent trauma. I believe this thorough grounding in the biological aspects of developmental psychopathology will help me to address the sorely needed requirement for cross-disciplinary research into effective treatment programs for trauma survivors.
Throughout my undergraduate education, I gained research experience that helped me develop the skills and knowledge I need for my clinical psychology graduate studies. For my last two years of undergrad, I worked with Drs. Rebecca Brown, Tyler Baker, and Gary Wolf at the Guntherson Memorial Lab at ABC University, on their studies into the development of substance abuse in adolescents suffering from PTSD. As a research assistant my responsibilities included conducting literature searches, data collection, data entry, supervision of study participants, preparation of research documents, and drafting of participant assessment packets. Thanks to this experience, I was able to develop my valuable observational and data analysis skills and learn more about critical aspects of clinical research such as programming computer tests, investigating study measures, forming hypotheses, supervising participants, and more. I also enrolled in Dr. Brown’s senior level research class and through my final two years of undergrad, I published four research papers on a variety of clinical psychology topics, including a paper on “Depression, Anxiety, and Traumatic Amnesia in Adolescent Survivors of CSA” that was published in the New England Psychology Journal’s June 20XX year issue.
What attracted me to the clinical psychology master’s program at XYZ University was the strong emphasis on diversity in the classroom and cultural context in the curriculum which aligns with my ambition to gain a holistic, socially conscious understanding of trauma manifestations in vulnerable populations. Moreover, your program offers the chance for students to complete two research projects in the world-class research facilities associated with the XYZ University, allowing me to develop and perfect my research skills in the most appropriate environment. I hope to complete these projects under the supervision of your faculty members, Dr. Sally Hendrix and Dr. Mirian Forster, widely considered two of the most brilliant, forward-thinking minds in trauma research today. Their work on the endocrinological risks of anxiety development in adolescents and development of abnormal psychology in CSA survivors is particularly pertinent to my own research interests. With my background in clinical research, my first-hand experience of the effects of trauma, and my deep devotion to and understanding of the pathological effects of adolescent PTSD, I think I can bring a lot to your next master’s cohort.
Through all the clinical experiences and academic knowledge I gained in the last few years, my interest in the questions of trauma, anxiety, and depression continue to be deeply personal. Though my sister survived her teenage years, she continues to live with anxiety and symptoms of PTSD that she doesn’t fully understand. There is still so much about human psychology that we simply don’t know, and I hope to address that gap a little by using the training and education I gain at your university to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the future. By seeking the answers to the questions of how trauma can warp an adolescent brain and what we can do to try and manage it, I hope to shed light on an under-represented area of psychology that sorely needs our attention.
During the first year of my undergraduate degree, I took a small course entitled “Third World Development” taught by three rather radical and lively professors from Trinidad, Chile, and Lebanon, respectively. This course, despite its passé title, existed to deconstruct our notions of ‘otherness’ by illustrating the deep connectedness of issues, people, and nations. This theme of ‘connectedness’ is threaded through my research and work history under various labels and theories. My undergraduate research was dedicated to understanding the ways and means of political participation for women in remote Northeast India. I became curious about the role of women as informal politicians within their small collectives where survival literally hinges on connectivity. My time in observation of these women opened me to the idea that health and wellness can emerge from places facing serious food insecurity, poor shelter, corruption, and long distances from the center of national power. The extent to which women could draw upon their collective power and roles as givers of care in order to lobby local governments and participate legitimately in the polity was the very definition of their empowerment.
During my graduate work at [x] University, public health approaches to vulnerable populations were of particular interest to me. It became clear, during my fieldwork with care providers for women who sell sex and do high-risk drugs in downtown East side, that vulnerable populations around the world often have more in common with each other than with the ‘dominant’ or non-excluded populations. My research led to my questions about the role of social capital, defined in this case as a public good comprised of relationships and networks, in leading to better health outcomes amongst highly marginalized urban women. The mechanisms through which both groups of women, in Northeast India and downtown Vancouver, became able to rely on or reject peers, givers of aid or care, and the social and political systems in which they were enmeshed, are very similar. I have witnessed how health outcomes can be a partial function of connectedness for women on the periphery.
Public health has proven the best venue through which I can search for explicit, concrete evidence that individual and population welfare can be socially determined, by access to and power to make choices regarding housing, education, employment, income, political participation, nutrition, and transportation. I see the centrality of connectedness, to institutions and peers, to the processes that enable an individual to access, choose, and influence. My current work as a policy analyst with the Public Health Agency within the Strategic Initiatives and Innovations Directorate is focused largely on reducing health inequalities by mobilizing action on particular social determinants of health. While this work is important and generally on point, I suspect that the United States and Canada may benefit from exploring the micro-level ‘enablers’ of change with respect to the social determinants of health. These enablers, including social networks as a form of social capital, are sometimes lumped, and incorrectly so, with the more tangible determinants, such as housing and nutrition. I see these enablers as characteristics of favorable environments in which health can be positively affected: in families, neighborhoods, schools, communities, etc.
My proposed dissertation research would fall into the broader goals of studying the social mechanisms by which parental social connections impact the eating behavior of their children as well as the way in which these mechanisms may vary across local neighborhoods. My particular interest is the potentially causal nexus between maternal social networks, neighborhood environments, and the transmission of eating behaviors to children. In effect, my role would be to help operationalize maternal adversity and identify potential moderators on the effects of maternal adversity on obesity and eating behaviors of children.
I am drawn to [X] University School of Kinesiology and Health Studies specifically due to Dr. Spencer Moore’s background in medical anthropology and current work with social network analytic techniques. The application of network theory analytical techniques will be a new endeavor for me, but I am attracted to the study of populations that are not necessarily bound by their geography but by common circumstances, such as maternal adversity, and, potentially, common health effects related to obesity and food behaviors. I want to understand the links between the nature and degree of ties between low-income women and how these ties affect norms related to obesity and food.
The School of Kinesiology and Health Studies is an excellent institution that is well-equipped to support new graduate students interested in innovative ways to explore social challenges. It is here that Dr. Moore is developing an important critical mass surrounding this way of examining social networks as enablers of obesity and food behavior outcomes among marginalized women and their young children.
My prior individual research experiences were qualitative in nature, relying on grounded theory and warranted assertion analysis techniques common to sociological research. I have experience as a research assistant on a larger project studying large, linked quantitative databases of provincial health and corrections data in my home state. Also, I have a sufficient course work history in statistics and epidemiology to be able to make the leap to more advanced quantitative techniques, given access to graduate courses on the subject. Social network analysis is a fascinating way of quantifying social capital and social networks and I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to study these methods and methodologies under Dr. Moore.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #4 (993 words)
As a child of Bangladeshi refugees who fled from war, famine, death, and other horrors I myself have never had to face, I was always attracted to the hidden facts behind the grand narratives of history; the little stories of small people who didn’t leave an impact on major world events but lived, breathed, and worshipped just the same. My parents left everything behind in Bangladesh – their papers, property, lands, family, and friends. It was an erasure of not only their personal history but the history of generations who came before them. As I grew up, I became passionately interested in the history of my ancestors, perhaps as a way of making sense of my own experiences as a second-generation immigrant. I remember how once in grade school, we had to prepare a “family tree” project with the names and photos of our parents, grandparents, and so on. My mother started crying when I asked her for these details and photos; it was a traumatic reminder of all she had lost. I consider this genealogical tree my first history project, as I combed through the internet using the meagre information my mother gave me to supplement my bare project board with a few details. The internet wasn’t very helpful and, needless to say, I proved unsuccessful in finding any information. But it fueled a passion in me for finding out all about where I had come from, and from there, I developed my interest in the social, cultural, military, and economic history of south-east Asia.
I pursued this interest all the way to college, majoring in history with a minor in anthropology, and it was in my undergrad years that my general interest in the history of south-east Asia crystallized into an interest in the politics of historical interpretation, especially in regard to women in pre-modern south-east Asia. The history of women’s spaces, especially under patriarchal regimes, fascinates me; how oral traditions develop to combat lack of literacy, how their social roles shift and change in response to military and economic developments, and finally, how these historical changes constitute the present. Specifically, I am deeply interested in how women’s spaces evolved as a result of colonial influences in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I credit a wide range of authors, thinkers, and historians with molding my interests and refining my analysis. The latest papers by BW Anandya, Wazir Jahan Karim, and N Choi about the pathways to religious and political power for women in southeast Asia, profoundly opened up my mind to the possibilities for what we can learn from primary resources about these “lost” populations of history. On the other hand, the philosophical and sociological theories of Edward Said, Gayatri Chakrovorti Spivak, and Homi Bhabha provide the philosophical framework for how I approach my writing.
I have always followed my intellectual curiosity to take on challenging coursework and build a solid academic foundation for my intended pursuit of historical research. Apart from completing the most intensive coursework pertaining to Asian history studies in my department, I also took courses in British History, Postcolonialism, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies, so as to round out my understanding of the key topics related to my area of interest. My professor also allowed me to complete independent studies and research projects in selected areas of my interest such as African American history in Canada and History of Hebrew Scriptures. The study of such diverse historical topics helped to provide greater context to my primary area of interest; I found many interesting parallels between the experiences of oppressed populations in different parts of the world. Three of my papers were published in our university’s academic magazine, and I presented my paper on “Development of Oral Traditions in Women’s Spaces” at the Annual National History Symposium in X year.
In my junior year, I got the chance to write an independent research paper about the historical figure of Savitri Bai Phule, analyzing her community ties from 1920 to 1935, within the framework of Spivak’s concept of “strategic essentialism” and cross-cultural solidarity. This was a major milestone for me as I got the chance to work on my main area of interest while using primary resources on loan from University of Mumbai, including Savitri Bai Phule’s journals, historical Times of India newspapers, and more.
I would love to continue my research into these and other unexplored histories of women in south-east Asia as part of the master’s program at your university. With my personal background, academic proficiency, and focused historical interests, I think I represent an ideal candidate for ABC University. I look forward to working in an environment that encourages diversity, forward-thinking research, and cutting-edge investigative techniques. Your rigorous curriculum will help me refine my understanding of historical investigation methods and expand my consciousness of the cross-cultural socio-economic influences in pre-modern women’s spaces. As an aspiring PhD candidate, I would love to get the chance to tap into ABC University’s extensive network of primary resources, subject matter experts, and trailbreakers. I am very excited to work with Dr. Nina Gupta from the History of Southeast Asia department. I am in communication with her about her findings on historical distortion and its intersection with political agendas in colonial Southeast Asia, as it directly impacts the research I’d like to do. In fact, her encouragement and support motivated me to apply to your master’s program!
My next big goal is to pursue a PhD, also from your university, under Nina Gupta’s supervision. Through my master’s education, I plan to work towards developing my expertise in Southeast Asian women’s studies and making myself an asset for your PhD program. One day, I hope I can become a professor at a top university such as yours, so that I can continue my research into the rich and untapped veins of history just waiting to be investigated and pass on my love for the subject to interested young minds.
One of the greatest gifts my parents gave to me, very early on, was a keen sense of just how unique my childhood was. Though by no means a position of high stature, my mother’s clerking post at the American consulate in Cairo provided us with an immense array of benefits, and those that impacted me most were, unsurprisingly, the plethora of cultural institutions a short walk away from our home. Whether the Coptic, Luxor, or the Grand Egyptian, the first thing I wanted to do each afternoon after getting out of school was to zoom into the cool air of a museum. Even at a young age, I was aware of the complexity of being a light-skinned American kid wandering through these halls, gazing at artifacts of a civilization that far preceded the origins of what I understood to be “western” civilizations. How did I end up here? What was the nature of my relationship to this rich and vast culture that both fascinated me and exacerbated my feelings of being somewhat alien in its midst?
This intersection of cultural and political analysis expanded as I got older and began to unpack the complicated colonial forces that played a part in both early and contemporary Egyptology. As I matured as a student, I became able to articulate questions that had hitherto lived as abstract uneasiness in my head. Curators and guides of many Egyptian museums were reluctant at first to really open up about the pervasive presence of English and North American archaeologists in the 19th century's antiquarian boom, but I was fortunate to have longstanding relationships with many such officials, both through my own wanderings and my parents' work.
As I began to ask more pointed questions and gained the ability to explore museum records on my own, I became overwhelmed by how drastically the Egyptian archaeological "industry" had been shaped by British colonialism, and how this resulted in a still-developing tension between international exhibition and the local or indigenous preservation of civilizational artifacts. My undergraduate work in anthropology has sought to develop a number of theses in this regard, most importantly the need for efforts of artifact repatriation and return from the British Museum as a step toward more complete reconciliation after centuries of extraction.
Throughout my undergraduate research with Professor X at [undergraduate university], I sought to utilize careful historiographical analysis to better support repatriation efforts popularized by former Egyptian antiquities minister Dr. Y. These efforts helped mobilize the X museum in Boston to return a priceless bust of Prince Ankhhaf under Dr. Y’s insistence, which was not only one of the most satisfying moments in my academic career so far but of my life overall.
In addition to the historiographic focus of my work, I’m keen to shift into the present politics around artifact repatriation and reclamation of physical heritage, specifically relating to how contemporary North African political struggles utilize cultural and anthropological discourses. Professor Z’s work in this realm has been hugely influential and inspiring to me, and were I to be admitted to your PhD program it would be an incredible honor to assist her ongoing research in contemporary cultural discourse in Egyptian and Islamic political movements.
I was fortunate to be selected for the American University in Cairo’s Presidential Internship program in 2019, just after graduating. Returning to Cairo for the first time since I was 13 years old was incredible but bittersweet in some ways. The lens through which I observed many of the institutions I’d mythologized as a child was far more critical, and I realized that my graduate work would necessarily be inflected by this added layer of complexity and disillusionment. If admitted to this PhD program in anthropology, I would seek to capitalize on this personal experience. I think it’s incumbent upon people who have lived in anthropological intersections like this—in my case specifically as an unwitting addition to longstanding “Western” colonial presence in North Africa—to produce academic work that illuminates the political and cultural tensions that they’ve hitherto experienced as largely subjective phenomena.
To this end, I propose utilizing modeling techniques common to digital-archaeological projects in Egyptological studies to support a more culturally-focused analysis of the flow of expropriation during the heyday of colonial extraction in the early 20th century. I believe that object-oriented models of provenance can be utilized to support analysis of ongoing repatriation discourse. This would build on Professor X’s work mentioned above, providing more graphic and tangible insights into emancipatory nationalist and post-nationalist movements in contemporary Egypt and North Africa in general.
If admitted to ______'s graduate program, I would not only seek to contribute to the program's ongoing scholarship as a student, but would hope to continue working collaboratively with the department once I move into independent scholarship and teaching following graduation. I feel especially passionate about forming long-term relationships with faculty given the scarcity of nuanced scholarship that addresses the intersections of anthropology, political science, and archaeology in Egyptological studies. Teaching and research have guided every step of my journey so far, and I know without a doubt that this is my path forward as well. As such, I would seek to serve as a paragon not only of ________’s interdisciplinarity and intellectual inventiveness to my future students, but to continue to be a productive and prominent member of _____’s research cohort no matter where I end up teaching.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #6 (859 words)
My road to mechanical engineering began with my dad unceremoniously kicking me out of the kitchen. By the time I was in kindergarten, I couldn’t resist rummaging through my family’s cupboards, trying to find something to take apart and rebuild it. This became a running joke in my family that, rather than knives or other sharp objects, I had to be kept away from screwdrivers, lest I end up taking the whole house apart. This all changed when I discovered desktop computers, and specifically GPUs, which I found endlessly fascinating in their ability to be easily disassembled and modified.
Although my free time during high school was indeed spend huddled over computer hardware much the way my childhood was, I became interested in the capabilities of redirecting the work capacity of hardware, and in particular the ability to reorganize the way hardware acceleration can be optimized to assist in Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tasks in manufacturing. During my undergraduate work at X University, I developed an interest in machine learning while working on Dr. Cheboygan’s ongoing research in augmenting GPU software to better optimize their performance in general-purpose computations. In both my senior thesis and independent study blocks, Dr. and I studied a number of potential workarounds for latency bottlenecks relating to DDR5 infrastructure.
This phase of my research cemented my desire to continue on with both machine learning and CAE, and it’s precisely around these points that I’d like to develop my MSc thesis. Specifically, I want to build on the considerable research on GPU acceleration I undertook during my BS in order to further expand upon shifts in both manufacturing and product design. As abstract as this work has been in many ways, its end result would be to streamline workflows for product engineers that will greatly speed up the process of dealing with intractable problems relating to bottlenecking by physics computations.
I’m motivated to address sophisticated problems like this for a fairly non-academic reason. Throughout the last two years, I’ve participated in organization drives with X organization, my region’s largest manufacturing union. Admittedly, I came to this work with quite personal motivations, having seen my mother’s engineering positions often under attack by naïve or even ignorant efforts to automate various aspects of product design. My work with this union sought to argue, from a scientific perspective, the need to improve both software and hardware using human-supervised machine learning and not wholesale robotic automation. Rather than downsizing and eliminating human positions in the manufacturing process, I offered data to union leadership that showed how a minimal investment in technological upgrades at the level of product implementation could preserve job security for product engineers and implementation supervisors while vastly speeding up the manufacturing process to deliver an increased output of nearly 80% in some cases.
This was immeasurably satisfying, and although not every negotiation was a success, I was able to contribute something unique to a class of workers who I felt had suffered under an outmoded and overly aggressive model of automation for nearly 20 years. In short, I would like to pursue graduate work in mechanical engineering at Z University because I think my work can have an overwhelmingly positive impact in aspects of labor tensions relating to instrumentation and automation. I think that through careful work in machine learning and deep learning, we can target specific aspects of the manufacturing process that have proven to be flashpoints of conflict between engineers and administrators.
The department's emphasis on teaching throughout the graduate program is also a huge draw for me. I tutored privately throughout my undergraduate years, and volunteered at my school's learning center to help students not only with introductory engineering courses but also calculus and linear algebra. Reconnecting to this passion for high-level mathematics, I would seek to work with Dr. Muskegon and Dr. Flint to both participate in and utilize their research in computational methods to clarify the mathematical dimension of my proposed thesis. Dr. Muskegon’s recent publications in the International Journal of Computer Theory and Engineering are especially relevant to this work, as I believe my course of study would benefit greatly by implementing her utilization of novel approaches to principal component analysis.
Lastly, on a simpler note, I’ve always been drawn to the West Coast, and would love to explore the wilder, mountainous areas North of Vancouver during my free time. Growing up in the flatlands of the Midwest seeded a very strong desire for the “big landscape” areas of Western Canada, and I can think of no better compliment to the abstract and small-scale work I’d be undertaking in the mechanical engineering program than to spend my free weekends hiking and camping in places like Coquitlam mountain Which is to say, simply, that I believe UBC is an ideal location for my next phase of scholarship not only because of its academic innovation and integrity, but because its surrounding environment is both beautiful and inspirational. I would arrive and continue to be an enthusiastic and incredibly engaged student in UBC’s MSc program, and I would be honored to assist in the incredible work being undertaken by both faculty and fellow graduate students alike.
Not many students seek to spend their gap year surrounded by the choking aroma of sulfur, but I will readily admit to being just such a student. After 4 years spent in a blur of library lighting and research, I found myself in desperate need of immersion into both Soto zen Buddhism and Japanese culture more generally. So, after some careful planning, I spent 4 months last year working in an onsen in Fukui, spending my 1 day off each week wandering around the shrines interspersed between Echizen and Kyoto and generally trying to soak up every bit of soto history I could.
My real wish was granted near the end of my time in Fukui, when I was accepted for a 1-week sesshin at Eiheiji castle. This was the fulfillment of a desire I’d stoked throughout my BA work in Asian studies at X University. Throughout my research, I’d devoted considerable time to analyzing concepts of time in extended religious ritual, and at Eiheiji, I was able to not only observe this in action but to experience it directly as well. My personal relationship to zen was not especially developed prior to this point, but after just the first step through Eihiji’s main gate, I felt something shift in me, and knew that I wanted to dedicate my academic career to exploring not just zen but soto ontology specifically.
To this end, my dissertation with the religious studies department would seek to utilize ongoing scholarship by professor Farmington in discussions of temporal dilation and dissolution in religious ritual. At Eihiji, and in sesshin settings specifically, there are numerous conceptualizations of time that are at odds with typical monastic linearity, and I believe incorporating a more careful analysis of temporal augmentation is key to unpacking the metaphysics of both sesshin and “intensive” events in other traditions as well. I may feel a personal connection to much of what I’ve studied and written about so far, but I feel an even stronger dedication to exegesis of religious ritual experience for the sake of furthering philosophical and theological discussion across traditions.
My abiding love for Soto zen is a key motivator in this project, but I come to this study earnestly and with academic rigor. Interfaith dialogue has been a constant part of my life outside of academia. Throughout high school I volunteered a great deal of time with both Saint Sophia Orthodox church and Bharatiya Hindu temple in [hometown]. This provided not only opportunities to engage in beneficial community projects, but also myriad opportunities to discuss theological and doctrinal matters with people outside my own religious practice. These activities, much like my enthralling experiences in Fukui, clarified and concentrated my desire to pursue high-level scholarship in religious studies.
Your program will allow me to pursue interdisciplinary studies that will touch upon more than just community interfaith dialogue. My early undergraduate years heavily focused on Western philosophy, and specifically German idealism. Dr. Huron’s work in examining influxes of hermeticism and esotericism in general in this tradition is incredibly fascinating to me, and while my thesis doesn’t directly touch on it, I am quite curious about potential intersections of Western esoteric ritual and Soto Zen ritual, specifically their descriptions of atemporal experience. Indiana university’s overarching emphasis on collaborative work, and especially the religious studies department’s similar commitment to intersectional and comparative analysis, is a massive draw for me. Although Northwestern’s Asian studies department boasted a number of interdisciplinary and cross-specialty working groups, the offerings at IU are significantly more numerous and broader in scope, and I would be honored to participate in the East Asian epistemology working group especially. The paper I presented at last year’s International Conference on Buddhist Philosophical Studies centered on epistemological contradiction in Yunmen’s koans, and I think there’s a great deal of room in my proposed project to explore theories of knowledge in relation to the discussions of ritual temporality and chronology.
While I certainly found aspects of my time working in an onsen exhausting, the difficulty of the work and communication therein was a challenge I greatly enjoyed. I would bring this newly enhanced sense of dedication and discipline to graduate studies at[BeMo3] Indiana university, and, gratefully, be able to formalize an ongoing academic project that’s deeply connected to the religious and cultural experiences I had during this time as well. I feel profoundly ready, in other words—ready for both advanced scholarship and the semi-monastic lifestyle that best supports this work. My week at Eiheiji was transformative in a few ways, but perhaps the most unexpected of which was the way it showed me what I already knew about myself from a clarified or even purified perspective, and I know without a doubt that the zeal I felt bloom within me is inextricable from continuing along the path toward doctoral research and eventually teaching.
Note how the following personal statement is truly personal and after reading this statement you feel like you know this applicant already. They also leave you feeling a lot of emotions. Both warm and sad. And that's good. You want to create some sort of emotion in the admissions committee members that read your personal statement:
As an applicant to _________, I am one among many candidates who acknowledges the highly diverse and appealing culture of the campus. As an immigrant candidate, I am among those individuals who acknowledge their gratitude for a country that has enabled them to explore endless opportunities and to write this very statement. I have been given an opportunity, one which lets me offer a glimpse of my individuality, the story behind my journey, my capabilities and future possibilities for _________. In recognizing my ethnicity, my academic progression, continuous community involvement, work experiences, and strong regard for _________, I have been equipped with the passion, knowledge and determination to pursue __________.
My journey was challenging, but has characterized the woman I've become, and solidified the mark I want to leave in this world. In addressing my ethnicity as an Assyrian, I was born in Iraq. At the tender age of 4, my family and I fled to Turkey as refugees in hopes of safety, and were eventually granted acceptance to_________. My parents' relentless will to leave all they had known to offer my siblings and I a safer environment, one which would enable us to flourish with opportunities, was inspiring and admirable. Assimilating into another culture was seemingly difficult. However, leaving Iraq was necessary to ensure I had a future, one that would allow me to learn, experience, and eventually become a_______.
“Why have you decided to pursue____?”. A question that seems direct, however, can be daunting to simplify in two pages. Coming from an oppressed war nation of extremists, justice is buried among the remnants of homes. My early exposure to a war-stricken environment led to a realization and eventually a passion; my relentless pursuit for social justice. My culture has also enabled me to express patience and understanding to individuals of all backgrounds. Openness is the very ingredient, which echoes within _____and, is expected of ______students attending _________. I offer a distinct diversity in representing a small and underrepresented group of individuals; I speak Assyrian, an ancient language of Aramaic, spoken during the early times of Mesopotamia. With a passion for linguistics, I have also become advanced in speaking Arabic and French. Diversifying my communication is a trait I can bring forward to _________ as the backbone of the school thrives in multiculturalism and offers multiple global/international opportunities. Moving forward I want to continue utilizing my personal experience and platform to advocate for families displaced, as I strive to be at the forefront of international affairs.
My university career, employment, and volunteer experiences have further fueled my passion for _______. Additionally, they have enhanced my academic thought, cultural awareness and critical approach in _________. The education I gained at________, with a major in Criminology and minor in Political Science provided me with an advanced knowledge of political relations. As a student, I gained the research skills to analyze individual behavior and public policies. I analyzed criminal patterns, from a theoretical and statistical standpoint. The analytical framework and organizational skills I gained are notable qualities that I can apply to my studies. During my entire university career, I remained employed and at times held two occupations. Additionally, I held an internship, played soccer, and remained active within the community in partaking in numerous charity events, and associations, such as Transition 2 Betterness, Heart & Stroke, and Social Science Society. My internship at the Border Services Agency strengthened my regard for national security, while sports taught me discipline, effective communication, and team collaboration. Furthermore, my passion in music, has led me to explore creativity with artists of all backgrounds. Having written multiple songs, and recorded with a variety of artists, I have challenged my writing abilities and allowed myself to be vulnerable and ready to grow. My ability to balance employment, volunteer, academics and music has characterized my motivation to improve myself as a student, and as a________.
Alternatively, my career experiences have tested my creativity in utilizing various resources to achieve my end goal. In the 3 years I spent within the recruitment/consulting industry, I gained a professional outlook and got an insight into the competitive market. As a Scientific Recruiter, I worked alongside scientists/chemists and medical doctors, to ensure they found a suitable opportunity. Through technical screenings and developmental feedback, I was able to strategize and prepare the candidates for client interviews. As an Account Manager, I led the first Scientific Division for my company. I worked 60 hour weeks for two years to build a pipeline and plant the seeds for new business relationships. I partnered up with clients across the __________ area within various industries; pharmaceuticals, consumers and hospitals. Through extensive business development, I assisted clients by finding candidates that were technically and culturally a fit. My experience within sales was challenging, and at times exhausting, but taught me patience. I was able to gain a multitude of survival skills that can certainly be applied to _________. I learned to self-start, self-motivate, and lastly, I learned that at times you will fail, but that does not mean you have failed. As an Academic Consultant at ________, I assist graduate students with their application and interview process to Medical and Dentistry School. We examine problematic scenarios, address pressing issues, and explore multiple strategies. Evidently, I am apt to apply a similar critical perspective to further my research by exploring multiple measures to gain a diversified analysis.
Through my non-profit partnerships; my role as a War Child Catalyst for War Child and Journalist for Observatory Media, I have gained cultural awareness in international relations and advanced my researching and writing abilities. As a War Child Catalyst, I created my own committee, One Army, which raises funds for families and precisely children affected by war. As a journalist, I have furthered my knowledge of current Canadian policies and generated awareness for displaced individuals.
Upon my acceptance to _______in the _______ program, I hope to advance my critical thought and awareness in international affairs and national security, through a calculated evaluation. I will also advance my focus through a _______ Diploma that is offered. With a variety of courses, such as ____________, __________, and __________, I will adopt a dynamic perspective to direct my thesis. In addition, I hope to collaborate with ________ and ____________, notable professors with substantive work regarding national security. With respect to campus involvement, I will see that my experiences will be utilized as I plan to join the _________, ensuring I will be at the forefront of political and social justice issues.
As examined, my work experience, passionate community involvement, and academics will enable me to not only apply but also excel at ___________. How will we ensure national security when our nationalism is questionably crippled by our democratic stance towards multiculturalism? An ironic question which I intend to explore, and one which I have prepared for my entire life.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #9 (1705 words)
A statement of purpose is a chance to tell the story of your life. Your statement is not only a celebration of your triumphs, but also a true reflection on the challenges and struggles you have faced. Remember, you cannot victimize yourself in the essay. Rather than simply talking about your difficulties, make sure to emphasize how you overcame them. Create a captivating narrative of how events in your life led to this moment - your decision to apply to grad school:
My desire to join the world of social work proved innate and organic since the pillars of the field parallel the way I lead my personal and professional life. Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to promoting and helping employees grow and thrive personally and in the workplace. This dedication to implementing a living salary, continued education, financial literacy and equal opportunity sparked my interest to further my educational path since these practices within the working environment were not commonplace. Through my work experience I saw a need for financial literacy as I watched employees work multiple jobs and struggle to make ends meet. I saw the insurmountable stress that people faced on a daily basis and how much it negatively affected stability within their lives. I knew that I needed to do something that proved longer lasting and further reaching. I decided to set out to not only change the dynamic of financial capability for all, but also to help people to cope with the stress of our fast-changing environment.
My trajectory towards my goals in the world of social work started with one of the largest challenges of my life. While attending X College, I received the devastating news that I had early signs of cancer, requiring invasive and immediate treatment. Shortly thereafter, I also lost my home. These hardships caused a shift in my focus, priorities, and ultimate trajectory of my educational path. These humbling experiences afforded me the privilege of learning to maintain strength, perseverance, empathy and humility, despite the adversities.
My perseverance and dedication to finding my footing in the world again allowed me to begin the journey of running restaurants at the age of twenty-five. After experiencing poverty, debilitating anxiety and a decline in my own health I knew that creating a safe environment for people to thrive in was of the utmost importance to me. I took the lessons I learned through my experiences into my career and created policy within the businesses that I ran that reflected my dedication to implementing a living wage for all employees. Specifically, I standardized paid time off, extended sick leave, improved access to healthcare, and facilitated equal opportunity for all people that desired growth. My new position allowed me to offer personal mentorship, helping employees advance within the company and in the growing hospitality industry as a whole. This was incredibly rewarding for me, especially when I was able to see those who I mentored move on in their career to build enriched and financially stable lives.
When I moved on from this company, I carried my ethos with me into my next three
businesses. I became a general manager at a restaurant, opened a distillery for the bar, and started my own hospitality consulting business. Now, not only did I dedicate myself to treating employees ethically, I also was persistent in investigating the companies I used to supply the businesses that I oversaw. While working for the restaurant, I made multiple trips a year to Mexico to ensure that the products I purchased for the business were from companies that did not exploit or undercut their employees. In conjunction with my stand on supporting ethical business practices, I was given the opportunity to also open a mezcal distillery with [X name] in Tijuana. By opening the distillery, we were able to provide access to electricity, running water, transportation and basic human needs to the village where the mezcal was made. The experience I gained at this point in my life changed my trajectory of what I truly wanted to pursue, planting a seed for me to fight for change within my field of work.
When I made the decision to leave the hospitality industry it was innately due to the fact that I couldn’t continue to be part of an industry that primarily cared about their bottom line and not the people that worked to ensure their success. I left knowing that I wanted to redirect my life and embark on making changes that were designed to help lift people out of difficult situations to ultimately generate stability, prosperity and fulfillment. I wanted to ensure that progressive changes I spearheaded would prove wider reaching and longer lasting. I knew I wanted to be a mentor, a coach and a financial planner since I was privileged and honored to be in the positions I was granted in life, I wanted to share what I had learned with others.
In an effort to gain experience I have been honored to have the opportunity to volunteer as a crisis Counselor for Crisis Line. During my time working as a counselor I have seen a common trend amongst people in crisis which resonated with me; lack of access to healthcare and financial disparity. This work, that I continue to do weekly, has shown me the fundamental need for people to not only have financial security but also to have access to healthcare which includes mental health services. This experience furthered my understanding on how financial instability can cause a milieu of problems and can be at the root of anxiety, stress and affect mental health in an adverse way. Without access to channels that teach financial literacy and techniques to cope with stress on a continuous basis, I knew that any relief I did bring might be short lived. There is still a need for dependable, ongoing care that I would not be able to give unless I decided to continue my education and further my mission to help people live a stable and prosperous life.
When I started looking into social work, X University was my first choice. I’m inspired to learn from the brilliant minds of coveted professors at X School, whose work includes devoting tireless time and effort to social change, innovation and diversity. I feel that there are many like-minded professors that share my passions and goals within the school.
I am inspired by the idea of being placed in the field, to allow me the privilege of gaining some real-life experience, paralleling my studies, and ultimately allowing me to explore the multiple facets that make up the large body of social work. I am confident that I will be able to fully devote myself to the program and will not have the added responsibility of working while I am in school. Should I be accepted, the X School is one I am confident will prepare me to meet my goals, give me the relevant field experience that I am seeking, and will prepare me to be a future leader in the field of social work.
When I made the decision that I would like to pursue graduate work at X University, I knew that there would be costs that I would have to consider and navigate if I were granted acceptance. I have over half of the funds in savings for school from when I was working in the hospitably industry and plan on applying to The X Scholarship Fund, The XY Scholarship, and hope to be awarded the X Merit Scholarship. After savings and possible scholarships, I would like to apply for a stipend with the X Project.
What I am hoping to focus on while attending X University are the core challenges of building financial capability for all and reducing extreme economic inequality. Since financial literacy is an optional topic for California teachers to incorporate in their lesson plans, it has become extremely illusive in our educational programs statewide. The implications of this lack of education can create and has created broad economic impacts that will affect our local and state economies and could result in further layoffs, another crash in the housing market and people facing even more insurmountable debt. The people that will be most affected by this illiteracy, those that are marginalized and face a lower socioeconomic status, will harbor the brunt of these negative impacts. Through higher education I am hoping to learn how to tackle this problem and implement financial proficiency not only for children and teenagers but also make it widely available and free for all adults who wish to benefit from this education. We have many programs in the state of California that aid low income families so that they can meet their everyday needs. If we do not make financial education programs widely available how are these families expected to eventually exit these programs and become self-sufficient? Without educated consumerism, families can find themselves trapped in the cycle of poverty.
While providing individuals and families with the resources needed for financial literacy it will be increasingly important to also implement cognitive behavioral therapy that will aid them during this transitional period. Changing the way people view and navigate economic difficulties can be stressful and create a level of anxiety that is associated with dramatic change. Even when change is for the better it can still manifest into feelings of stress and uncertainty. I am hoping to learn how to help people through the anxiety of uncertainty so that they are able to approach and navigate their daily lives with collected confidence. I’m interested in learning about classic ways to approach anxiety and also new techniques and therapies such as the recent research on psychedelic therapies, mindfulness and nature-based therapies.
While my background and areas of interest might seem unorthodox, I am hoping that the experience and knowledge I’ve gained within the workforce has prepared me to seek higher education. Through being in the positions I have been granted in life I have been able to gain skills that are necessary when implementing change and facing a career of helping others; such as maintaining boundaries, possessing the ability to be empathetic in stressful situations and being able to plan and manage time and money far into the future. My experiences have inspired me to drive to fight for implementing resonating, impactful change, to ultimately help in the fight towards propelling the progress and growth of our global society and community forward. Should I be accepted I am certain that I will gain exemplary knowledge and skill to become a future leader in the field of social work through the forward thinking, brilliant minds of the professors at X University.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #10 (738 words)
Oil is in more than my family’s blood. It’s in our history, too. When I was a child, my grandfather told me a story about his own father and the discovery of oil. My great-grandfather worked for Imperial Oil, and back in the 1940s, his team had been tasked with finding new oil reserves to drill into. After several failed attempts, the team had dug up nothing but dirt, and their expectations were low. My great-grandfather was considering taking work elsewhere to pay the bills. By chance, the team decided to drill in a location nearly 100 km away from their latest attempt. No on else had drilled in the area yet, and it wasn’t on anyone’s radar. My grandfather, a teenager at the time, happened to be out that day with his father, learning the ropes and watching the drill sink deeper and deeper into the earth. Tensions were high as they waited, drilling past the point where oil was normally found. My grandfather described it as a strike of lightning coming out of the earth—black gold shot out of the hole and rained down on the derrick and soaking the crew. They’d struck oil at last. Their discovery led to an economic boom, and my family has stayed in the oil and petroleum business ever since.
My grandfather and my father both worked in the oil industry their entire lives. My grandfather worked with the same derrick that saved his father’s livelihood, using it to locate new wells until it was decommissioned. Growing up, I absorbed a great deal about the industry from my father, who explained to me how petroleum products could be found in almost all of our everyday products, from the plastic toothbrushes in our bathrooms to the heating systems of our homes. He was always encouraging me to find out how things worked, to be curious about the world around me. As a kid I was always building and rebuilding personal projects, from my first Lego sets to my initial attempts at concocting an all-natural surface cleaner that wouldn’t give my mom an allergic reaction.
My vision for myself as a rig worker alongside my dad morphed into getting my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. It allowed me to pursue my passion for reinvention while keeping my busy mind happy with new problems to solve. I dived into exploring the energy industry, attending lectures, speaking with industry experts, reading and researching, and even driving six hours away to attend a conference on the future of renewable energy. During my summers off from school, I helped my grandfather install solar panels at his home. Oil had been my grandfather’s life and livelihood, but he always encouraged me to think of the future of energy, and if I needed new solutions, to “dig another hole”. I was fortunate to have stellar examples of perseverance and hard work in my life, and to have an instilled passion for and connection to such a dynamic and challenging career.
After graduation, I took a job with ExxonMobil, where I have worked for several years as a petroleum engineer. My most significant projects have centered on developing computer modeling software, to improve the safety of workers and efficiency of drilling and extracting operations. I have also been involved in developing software which tests for and anticipates any geological shifts that can impact drilling or mining operations. I knew the moment I received my undergraduate degree that I wanted to take the next step, so I have taken opportunities to advance myself with professional development courses and volunteered to act as the company’s regional representative at key industry events. I also delivered a speech at the Oil and Gas Symposium on the benefits of cleaner oil extraction and production, and how my company has invested in new technologies to achieve these results.
I want to pursue my master’s in petroleum engineering because it will allow me to move into newer, more niche circles of this industry. It will allow me to use my innovation, my passion and my experience to find better, cleaner ways of using our energy resources and our petroleum reserves. Further education will help me continue to grow as a professional in the oil industry and become a part of the next wave of invention. It will allow me to be on the next team that strikes metaphorical oil and unearths the future of energy.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #11 (755 words)
Public health issues have always been a beast with many heads for me. The preservation and education of public health is a multifaceted, multidisciplinary effort, and the ongoing problems that contribute to public health concerns are the same. They cross disciplines and socioeconomic classes. The dynamic nature of public health as always been of interest to me, from the time I first experienced some of the problems affecting my hometown community’s health and well-being. Homelessness was a longstanding and noticeable problem in our community, exacerbated by issues like drug addiction, poor mental health resources and prejudice. While not all of these are considered direct public health matters, they are all connected threads of a deeper, darker beast.
I was aware of these problems in my community on a surface level, but as I grew up I began to take notice and pay more attention. My father served as a city councillor for many years, and we often attended community events together as a family. One of his favorite things to say was that “everyone can contribute something”, whether we were gathering food bank donations, fundraising for the local town arena or volunteering at the soup kitchen. Everyone pitched in. Everyone contributed something of their time, or money or care. The community worked together to address points of concern. When I sat in on council meetings my father attended, I saw the issues of homelessness and drug addiction were often debated and discussed. Everyone was trying to collaborate on a solution. Meanwhile, very little was actually being done to address the problems, and they continued to worsen. One of the town homeless shelters was shut down after the provincial government pulled funding, and the community saw an uptick in health-related issues, especially among marginalized groups.
I volunteered at homeless shelters in my area for many years, and I heard firsthand the struggles about getting access to healthcare resources such as counseling, safe prescriptions and even first aid. Without the homeless shelter and the more comprehensive resources it provided, such as safe sites and mental health counseling, people were struggling. The shelter coordinators had previously worked long hours to be able to provide the resources they could, but they’d never received enough funding to implement anything more than band-aid solutions. Even after the homeless shelter was shut down, several staff members did what they could to help regular clients at the shelter. After the shelter closed, we lost many of our regular visitors since they could no longer access medical care. Many individuals were arrested on drug charges, exacerbating the tension between the marginalized members of the community and the police, and taxing an overtaxed system.
Experiencing these things at an impressionable age sparked the desire in me to be of service to the community. One more set of helping hands was always welcome, and as my dad told me: “everyone can contribute something.” I wanted to contribute. I decided to study for my Bachelor of Science in social work, intending to continue my work with the homeless and do what I could to improve public health in my community. I’ve worked as a social worker for the past 5 years, as a counselor, advocate and friend of the homeless members of our community. I’ve worked to educate and raise awareness, supervise the installation of temporary homeless shelters, collect and distribute donations, and host free skill-building classes. I’ve been privileged to grow from an eager volunteer to a professional public health and social worker who demonstrates empathy, compassion, creativity and resilience.
However, in fighting this multi-headed beast I realize the problems easily multiply. I can defeat one issue for a while, and two new ones pop up. I wanted to be a part of ending the problems once and for all.
By getting my Master’s in Public Health, I’ll be able to gain a deeper and more nuanced education of the issues surrounding public health. I’ll be able to use that education and my growing professional skills to make sustainable changes in communities like mine. I’ll be able to test and implement solutions that fit the community instead of imposing cookie-cutter solutions to diverse and complex situations. I’ll be able to contribute in a meaningful way.
To your program I will bring my drive and my passion for public health, as well as the skills I’ve built as a social worker, volunteer and community member. I know I have more to give back, and I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of the solution.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #12 (896 words)
I remember exactly where I was when the shelter-in-place order was issued. I was at my teacher’s aide desk in Ms. Colburn’s sixth grade homeroom class, poring over the lesson plan for the day and making notes in the margins. When my email notification dinged on my open laptop in front of me, my future in education was changed forever. The email was notifying us that our lives and jobs as we knew them were about to change. We were told to return home and await further instructions. From that point on, I didn’t step foot in a classroom again for over a year.
Being a teacher had been my dream since I myself was in sixth grade. When I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Education, I found a position as a teacher’s aide at Woodward Elementary School. The opportunity to work in the classroom, interact with students and watch them grow and question and discover and collaborate and learn, was a dream come true. I hadn’t yet worked at Woodward a year before the pandemic irreversibly changed the way we educate. As a new educational professional, the pandemic threw an undeniable wrench in my future plans, and it tested my developing skills with challenges I could never have expected. However, it also presented me with opportunities I never would have had otherwise.
The first week of staying at home, I was trying to get organized, install new software on my work laptop, gather my notes and adapt to a working situation that was sometimes changing on a daily basis. My sister called to check up on me, and while we talked she asked if I could do her a favor. My niece was struggling with the new normal, learning how to switch to e-learning when learning in a traditional classroom had already been difficult for her. My niece was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and she’d explained before how she had trouble focusing, keeping herself organized and on task, and sometimes struggled to understand her homework assignments. As a student, I often helped tutor her in my free time and help her develop tools for educational success. We worked together to create a weekly schedule, practice tricks to keep her focused and alert, and established mental health “check-ins”. Since starting her schoolwork from home, her old tools weren’t enough. The changes to her school life and the anxiety caused by uncertainty were overwhelming her. Of course, I agreed to resume our tutoring sessions in my free time. This was a new situation for everyone, and there wasn’t as many resources or accommodations for my niece as there were in her old classroom. So, we improvised. I taught her how to use the new technologies and adapt them to her needs. I helped her find and test out virtual scheduling apps and websites to suit her. We also put her in touch with a virtual counselor who could help her with her mental health. I encouraged her to take “screen breaks” and start new activities at home to help her when she started to lose focus. We began a game of virtual checkers and other mobile games to provide her a fun break when she needed it. The change in my niece was undeniable. Her mental health was better, her social skills improved, and she was adapting to her schoolwork and actually enjoying her virtual lessons. Despite missing her friends, she made her grade that year on the honor roll, and I couldn’t have been prouder.
The students weren’t the only ones who I worked with to improve mental health and morale. My fellow teachers and I kept in touch to coordinate our lessons, of course, but we also started to notice the dip in our mental health. I began a weekly “zoom coffee” chat for social time and a disconnect from work. I also joined online teachers’ groups where I could share my experiences and ask for advice. Having a community, even a virtual one, helped me immensely. It reminded me that although the way in which we were educating was very different, we could still recreate and adapt to our circumstances. Even if I spent my entire career as a teacher using e-learning and digital teaching tools, I knew I could thrive.
I want to pursue my Master’s Degree in Education and Digital Resources to further develop my professional skillset in e-learning knowledge and resources. With a master’s degree, I can adjust to the change in circumstances and better equip myself to be a teacher and educator post-pandemic. I will also have the tools to address the new challenges and realities of digital education. I’ll be able to continue my passion for teaching, despite any hardships encountered, and in fact help students flourish. By working utilizing the skills I’ll gain, I’ll be able to work better with students who are unfamiliar with e-learning technology, have learning disabilities or other struggles with digital education.
The pandemic complete changed the trajectory of my teaching career, but as the field has so dramatically altered in recent years, it made sense for me to go back to school and continue developing myself professionally. I know I will be able to contribute meaningfully, too, with my experiences earned during the pandemic. Moving forward, I know I will be able to be a better teacher than ever in a post-pandemic world.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #13 (593 words)
That morning, a frail Mrs. Jones, surrounded by machines and a labyrinth of tubes, shared her wish: to end her life with dignity. That poignant moment during my early years as a medical intern brought the latent interest, which had been subtly brewing in the backdrop of my academic and professional pursuits, sharply into focus. It ignited an ardent quest to delve deeper into the moral and ethical dimensions of healthcare - the world of bioethics.
Reflecting back, even during my undergraduate years, the intersection of biology and morality seemed unavoidable. I pursued a dual major in Biology and Philosophy, a combination that perfectly mirrored my growing interest in the interplay between life sciences and ethical considerations. During a seminar, I led a spirited debate on the ethical nuances of genetic manipulation, emphasizing both its groundbreaking potential and moral pitfalls. This experience solidified my appreciation for informed discourse and strengthened my skills in analyzing multifaceted ethical dilemmas.
As I transitioned into the professional sphere, this inclination towards bioethics only intensified. At the hospital, beyond the typical responsibilities of an intern, I initiated the formation of a junior ethics committee, primarily comprising young healthcare professionals. Leading this committee, I oversaw discussions on a myriad of subjects, from the rights of the terminally ill to the implications of genetic testing. The committee was instrumental in crafting a set of guidelines for the ethical distribution of resources during health crises, with my detailed proposal on ventilator allocation during an influenza outbreak being unanimously adopted.
Yet, the world outside the hospital held more lessons. I championed health equality as a core member of a grassroots organization “BioEthicalGrounds”. In one notable project, I designed a community engagement campaign titled “Grassroots Perspectives on Life Sciences” targeting underserved populations, educating them on the bioethical implications of genomic data storage and its potential misuse. This endeavor further underscored the significance of comprehensive knowledge and sound judgment when confronting bioethical challenges head-on.
Understanding the need for a structured foundation, I sought formal education in bioethics. I enrolled in a year-long certification course where I delved into the theoretical underpinnings of bioethical dilemmas and contributed to a published paper on the "Ethical Dimensions of Genetic Privacy."
Now, standing at this crossroad, Columbia University's distinguished Bioethics program seems to be the right path for me. Its unique blend of rigorous academic training and real-world applications represents the ideal avenue for my aspirations. Situated in the heart of New York, a nexus of global health organizations, Columbia offers unparalleled opportunities. The program's interdisciplinary curriculum and emphasis on active engagement align seamlessly with my experiential background.
Moving ahead, my primary focus at Columbia University will be to research the ethical implications of advanced genomic techniques in prenatal testing. The rapid advancements in this area are pushing the boundaries of our ethical frameworks, especially when considering the potential for designer babies and socioeconomic implications of access to such technologies. I am particularly intrigued by how religious, cultural, and socio-economic contexts influence the moral decisions of families when confronted with the choices these technologies present.
My journey, starting from that dawn with Mrs. Jones, has been one of continuous exploration, leadership, and an unyielding drive to understand and act on bioethical concerns. I'm eager to embrace the challenges and opportunities Columbia's Bioethics program offers, hoping to bring my diverse experiences into the fold and drive forth the discourse on bioethics in innovative ways. With a comprehensive education, hands-on leadership roles, and an unwavering commitment to ethical considerations in healthcare, Columbia is the next logical step in my journey.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #14 (809 words)
My earliest memory is punctuated by a cacophony of notes emanating from the family grand piano. That formative moment, watching my mother gracefully dance her fingers across the ivory keys, illuminating our modest living room with Chopin’s harmonies, sowed in me an unyielding passion for music. It was more than just auditory appreciation; it was the realization that music, in its purest form, was an encapsulation of history, culture, emotion, and the spiritual essence of humanity.
My musical odyssey took root with formal piano lessons at the age of six, forging a disciplined regime of mastering scales and refining finger techniques. This dedication soon bore fruit when, at twelve, I secured a place in the esteemed "Young Pianists' Showcase" competition. Preparing for this event, I meticulously studied Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," not only mastering its rhythm and melodies but also delving into its history and the maestro's inspirations. Competing against a myriad of talented peers and being adjudicated by accomplished musicians wasn't merely an avenue to demonstrate my skill. It was a profound immersion into classical music's vast universe, each composition narrating tales of bygone eras, legendary composers, and the societies they graced. While the accolades from such competitions were heartening, they also ignited an unwavering curiosity about the stories and cultural fabric behind every note and composition.
In high school, I was given the opportunity to lead our school orchestra, a position that added another layer to my musical foundation. Leading an ensemble of diverse instruments and temperaments required much more than a proficiency in music. It demanded leadership, an acute understanding of each instrument's intricacies, and the ability to weave a tapestry of sound that resonated with audiences. One of my most significant achievements was reconstructing a lesser-known Baroque-era composition and adapting it for our ensemble, a task that combined my skills in performance, leadership, and historical research.
Parallel to these engagements, my insatiable thirst for understanding music's evolution led me to self-study. I devoured books on classical music's progression, from its liturgical roots in the Middle Ages to its multifaceted manifestations in modern times. This autodidactic journey further convinced me of music's unparalleled role in mirroring and shaping societal changes.
My undergraduate years were spent at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, where I majored in Musicology. The formal academic setting introduced me to systematic research methodologies, interdisciplinary approaches to music studies, and access to vast archives of primary sources. I excelled in my coursework, especially enjoying collaborative projects that allowed me to work with peers from diverse musical backgrounds. One such venture was curating a series of performances that juxtaposed classical compositions with their modern reinterpretations, fostering dialogues about music's evolving role across centuries.
Additionally, I was fortunate to participate in a workshop where I collaborated with a team to draft an opera. This endeavor refined my skills in composition, understanding narrative structures, and delving deep into historical contexts to create resonant and relevant musical pieces. The opera, based on a 17th-century French fable, went on to be performed at a college gala, receiving commendations for its fidelity to historical contexts while innovating in presentation.
Catholic University's Musicology department stands out as my top choice, and I sincerely hope to be granted the privilege of studying here. The department’s commitment to a comprehensive study, blending practical musicianship with rigorous academic inquiry, aligns seamlessly with my aspirations. The esteemed faculty, known for their extensive research and contributions to the field, would provide the mentorship I seek to delve deeper into nuanced studies, particularly those at the intersection of music, culture, and theology.
Furthermore, the University's grounding in Catholic tradition resonates deeply with my belief in music as a spiritual endeavor. The rich tapestry of liturgical music, its evolution over centuries, and its interplay with secular compositions present vast arenas of exploration, ones I am eager to embark upon. In particular, I am drawn to research the transformation of Gregorian chants from the Medieval era to the Renaissance, focusing on their influence on the polyphonic styles of the latter period. Dr. Maria Jenkins, a renowned expert in medieval and renaissance music at the Catholic University's Musicology department, has extensively studied this transition. Collaborating with Dr. Jenkins, I aim to unearth deeper insights into how these chants were adapted, evolved, and influenced the larger musical landscape of Western Europe, potentially culminating in a comprehensive research project or publication.
The tapestries of history, culture, and spirituality are interwoven through the threads of music. Through systematic study, fervent practice, and deep introspection, I've honed skills and imbibed knowledge that make me a fitting candidate for the Musicology program at Catholic University. My quest is not just to study music but to understand its soul, its eternal resonance, and its ability to elevate humanity. At Catholic University, I see a haven where this quest would be nurtured, challenged, and fulfilled.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #15 (677 words)
It's often said that the most powerful things come in small packages. In the world of nuclear engineering, a single uranium fuel pellet, roughly the size of a pencil eraser, holds the energy equivalent of 150 gallons of oil. As I sat in my high school physics class, I remember the awe I felt when our teacher revealed this fact. It wasn't just the sheer power of nuclear energy that captivated me, but the vast potential it held for sustainable energy. From that defining moment, my path was clear – I wanted to delve into the world of nuclear engineering, unlocking the mysteries and potentials that lay within the nucleus of an atom.
Upon entering the University of Florida for my undergraduate studies, I committed to a dual major in Nuclear Engineering and Physics. This was not merely to obtain a degree but to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of the core principles and real-world applications of nuclear energy. While my courses laid a robust theoretical foundation, I actively sought avenues for hands-on experiences to bring my learning to life.
One such opportunity arose during my junior year when I secured a coveted internship at the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station. This wasn't a typical observational internship. I was thrust into the heart of reactor operations, working side-by-side with seasoned nuclear engineers. From calibrating reactor control mechanisms to troubleshooting minor hiccups in the cooling systems, my responsibilities were vast. This experience drove home the paramount importance of safety and precision in nuclear operations. For instance, while assisting in a reactor shut-down procedure, I realized the intricate choreography required to ensure each step was flawlessly executed. Any oversight, however minor, could escalate into a significant issue.
Beyond the confines of the power plant, I recognized the value of sharing knowledge and engaging with the broader nuclear community. This realization prompted me to participate in the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Student Conference. Alongside a dedicated team from my university, we researched and presented a detailed paper on "Advanced Safety Mechanisms in Modern Reactors." The countless nights we spent analyzing reactor models, scrutinizing historical data, and simulating potential scenarios were arduous but profoundly enlightening. Our paper was not only well-received but sparked stimulating debates on the future of reactor safety. This experience underscored the significance of continual learning and innovation in our rapidly evolving field.
Eager to further contribute to the nuclear engineering community, I took the initiative to organize the Nuclear Engineering Students' Symposium at the University of Florida. Steering this event, I found myself in a whirlwind of activity – from curating a diverse lineup of guest lecturers, including industry stalwarts, to devising hands-on workshops that simulated real-world reactor challenges. The success of the symposium was a testament to my organizational prowess, but more importantly, it emphasized the importance of fostering a vibrant community where budding engineers could engage, learn, and innovate.
North Carolina State University stands as a beacon for nuclear research, especially in my area of interest: Advanced Passive Safety Systems in Nuclear Reactors. Passive safety systems, capitalizing on natural phenomena like gravity and convection, are the future of nuclear reactor safety. I'm eager to delve into this area, particularly focusing on enhancing the efficiency and reliability of such systems. Dr. Walt Williams, with his groundbreaking work on passive cooling mechanisms, is someone I've admired and followed throughout my academic journey. The opportunity to work under his guidance at NC State is an enticing prospect, one that promises profound growth and meaningful contributions to the field.
My journey from that enlightening high school physics class to the cusp of advanced nuclear research has been both demanding and deeply rewarding. I believe North Carolina State University, with its unparalleled legacy in nuclear engineering, is the perfect place to further this journey. My educational background, coupled with my hands-on experiences and unwavering dedication, positions me well to contribute to and benefit from the esteemed Nuclear Engineering Department at NC State. I am eager to embark on this next phase, driving innovations and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in nuclear engineering.
A graduate school statement of purpose tells the admissions committee more about you as an applicant. A strong statement of purpose offers a compelling narrative about your interests, abilities, and experiences, to show the committee that you are a strong applicant and the right fit for their institution and graduate program.
A graduate school statement of purpose usually ranges between 500 and 1,000 words in length. Be sure to check the specific requirements stated by the program as you prepare to apply.
Set aside plenty of time for preparation so that you are not doing anything at the last minute. Research your institution and program of choice carefully to get a better sense of its values and academic culture. Brainstorm how and why you would make a good fit for the school and program of your choice. Contact any potential mentors amongst the academic faculty to discuss your research interests with them. Make a list of any requirements your program specifies for your statement of purpose. If you have any questions, be sure to ask the appropriate authority at the school for clarification. Before you start writing, make sure you have all of the materials you may need for reference close at hand, such as your academic transcripts. Make some notes outlining what you would like to include in your statement to help guide you as you write.
A graduate school statement of purpose should contain an introduction, a main body based on 2 or 3 experiences, and a conclusion. Your statement should be clearly written and well-organized to help the reader follow the flow of your narrative.
A statement of purpose should include four main elements: your research interests in your chosen field, your academic and professional preparation, your strengths and weaknesses, and your career plans. You need to give specific examples for each of these main elements, and to explain what you have learned from every experience you mention.
In writing your statement of purpose, you need to commit to writing several drafts to make sure your statement is as strong as it can be. You should ask for feedback from trusted academic mentors or professional consultants to ensure that your statement is effective and compelling. You also need to carefully proofread your work multiple times before submission.
You must never plagiarize your statement of purpose. Avoid using clichés and tired phrasing to keep your writing original and fresh. It is also important to favor clarity over artfulness, so be sure to avoid using overly-fancy language so that the focus is always on the substance of what you’re saying. Also avoid technical or overly specialized language unless absolutely necessary, and be sure to define any technical or specialized terms that you must use.
Before you submit your statement of purpose, take some time to review your statement in its final form to make sure it is the best version it can possibly be. Make sure you have followed all of the requirements in terms of length and formatting as specified by the school. Ask yourself if you have rewritten the statement several times, and if you truly believe it does not require another draft.
Check to make sure you are providing compelling examples for every claim you make regarding your experiences or abilities. Read your statement over again and make sure it is a narrative that gives the reader interesting details and context, not just a list of your achievements to date. Finally, make sure you have proofread your statement and eliminated any typos or grammatical errors that would distract your reader.
Your own research and ability to write concisely and clearly will be important in making your statement strong. Firstly, give yourself enough time for multiple drafts. Trust us when we say that your statement will need to be written and rewritten multiple times - it's inevitable. Secondly, be selective with the experiences you choose to include in your statement. It is more important to show rather than tell how you would be a great addition to the program. Being selective about your experiences will allow you room to go into detail and demonstrate to the admissions committee how your experiences make you the perfect fit.
Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed, you can always research legitimate companies or consultants that can help you polish your statement and avoid wasting another year on applications. If you are considering whether BeMo is worth your time and money , make sure to read up on the successful experiences of our past students.
A good statement of purpose for graduate school will include why you want to study at the graduate level, why you are interested in a particular field and what you have done to prepare yourself for graduate study and your future career. It may also share your future career goals and how a program will help you achieve those goals. An effective statement will be clear, well-written and have a narrative flow that captures the reader’s attention and leaves them wanting to learn more about you.
An effective graduate school statement of purpose needs to hook the reader in the first sentence. Try to think of a specific experience or anecdote you can introduce to the reader in a creative and compelling way to open your essay. Continue building your narrative based on 1-3 experiences which shaped your desire to go to grad school or enter a specific career field.
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Have a question ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions, 19 comments.
BeMo Academic Consulting
Hi Ablie! Thank you for your comment! We are glad you found this helpful!
Thanks a lot for your information. If my intended field of Ph.D. research is quite different from my previous research experiences, what am I suppose to do to link my previous interest with the new one? and Is it possible to have feedback on my writing?
Hello Ayman! Thank you for this wonderful question! It is not a problem that your previous research experience is not related to your new PhD interest. Even if they are not related in theme, it is important to showcase how your previous research experience honed your skills as a researcher. Demonstrate that the expertise that you acquired throughout your research history can be easily translated into this new field. Do not forget to give the admissions committee some sense of how you got interested in this new field, but it is not a problem that you decided to switch disciplines/interests. And of course we can help you with feedback on your writing. Please contact us for a free initial consultation (https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/Contact-Us.php) and we can discuss how we can help you make your statement the best it can be.
Ayman Alfadil, you are the winner of our weekly draw. Please email us by the end of the day tomorrow (June 19) at content[at]bemoacademicconsulting.com from the same email address you used to leave your comment to claim your prize!
This is indeed the best Statement of purpose ever ,I love everything written here! It has really help me thank you!!!
Hello Joana! Thanks for your comment! We are glad you enjoyed this article!
Hi...I want the sample for statement of purpose (for masters) where the student changes his filed/background/majors from science to IT... Atleast one sample which helps me to write my own. Thank you.
Hi Asra! Thanks for your comment and suggestion! We will try adding this kind of example as soon as possible!
I am so much in love with the way you make a big and difficult task simple. As a practitioner in adult education in Nigeria with over 6 years of experience, I intend to further my experience by having a Masters program in Canada. Problem is, my first degree is not in education, but Arts - Philosophy. I hope to scale through. Thank you for this great write ups.
Hi Segun! Thanks so much for your comment! We are glad you enjoyed the article. When you apply to a Master's program in Education, you do not need to have an undergrad degree in education. Your first degree in liberal arts will be a perfect fit for an Education graduate degree. Good luck and let us know if we can help you any further!
Chika happiness nwachukwu
Hi,indeed is the best statement of purpose ever,please I want the sample for statement of intents for masters,where the student changes his field,background/ majors from accounting education to educational foundations that will help me write my own. Thank you.
Hello Chika! Thanks for your comment! We will keep your request in mind when we update this blog! Thanks!
Hi, I wonder if you can only help me with SOP edits? Thanks.
Hello Bob! We can absolutely help you! Please contact us here https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/Contact-Us.php to schedule your free initial consultation.
Hi, this is the best article on SOP I have read. Please, I need your advice. I am very passionate about teaching. I studied English, but my M.A. thesis is related to pragmatic. How do I relate both to my deep flare for education?
Hello Nwabueze! Thanks for your comment. Try to reflect on what connects your educational and professional background to teaching? Just because your MA thesis is not related to education, it does not mean that it cannot inform your love for teaching. Try making connections between your experience in the MA and what you want to do next. Hope this helps!
Can i get samples of these write-ups in Music?
Hello Smuela! Thanks for your comment. When we update the blog, we will make sure to keep your request in mind.
Good morning, please I want to start up personal statement but don't seem to know how to go about it am applying for Agricultural science soil and water option. Please I will need a guide. Thank you
Hi Chisa! Thanks for your comment. Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss how we can help you with your personal statement! Look forward to hearing from you!
hey, thanks for the clear explanation, can you please help me write purpose statement for a journalism degree course
Hello Lucy! Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss how we can help you with your statement of purpose. Hope to hear from you!
This piece is extremely helpful
Hi Frimpong! Thanks! Glad you found this helpful!
Thank you for sharing this useful tips on SOPs.
Hello Anne! Thank you so much for your comment. Glad you found this helpful!
Elif Ülkü Türkoğlu
Thank you so much, this will be super helpful for my MA applications.
Hi Elif! Thanks for your comment! We are glad this is helpful!
Raphael Barrack Wangusu
Currently struggling with SOP preparations..i pursued Law for my bachelor degree and i wish to apply for masters scholarships in CANADA, UK, SWEEDN and USA. Thank you.
Hello Raphael! Thank you for your question. Please reach out to us for a free strategy call to discuss how we can help.
Amazing content! I've never seen it explained the way you guys did it here!! Thank you!!!
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It made me understand clearly what i have to do. thank you
Thanks Tumie! Glad you found this helpful!
i cant find any sop become related to food science. I really need a sample to help me. Could you help me please
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I have enjoyed reading every bit of this document. I am so enlightened by it. Thank you.
Hello Michael! Glad you found this helpful! Thanks for your comment.
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How to Write a Statement of Purpose for Grad School (Examples)
What is a Statement of Purpose for Grad School?
The Statement of Purpose (or “SOP letter”) is a key component of your application materials for most graduate schools, MBA programs, and Ph.D. programs in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and other countries around the world with an English-language curriculum. The most important thing about the statement of purpose (or personal statement) is that it ties together grades, test scores, and application and expands upon it, giving admissions officers a much more expansive window into who you are as a student and a person.
Although the graduate school application and academic CV provide a lot of information about you as a candidate, the letter will tell them “who you are” and “what you want to be” in a much more detailed and personal way than the other components in the application package.
What to Include in a Statement of Purpose
Before entering a graduate program, the graduate faculty need to know why you are interested in coming to this institution or program and how it will help you achieve your larger academic and professional goals in life. They also need to see that you are a person capable of high academic achievement in their given program. This means an extended history of your academic achievements during your undergraduate career (and graduate career if you have attended grad school), as well as the goals and objectives you have set out for yourself.
Ultimately, you need to stand out as a candidate from the field, showing why the admissions officers should accept you over the many other strong graduate candidates. The Statement of Purpose should highlight the reasons why you are more than just your test scores and grades—it could even help you overcome a less-than-perfect score in a class and account for any missing years in education. Therefore, keep in mind that your grad school SOP letter should be honest, candid, and most importantly, complete.
How long should a Statement of Purpose be?
For most grad school programs, your Statement of Purpose should be between 500 and 1,000 words, depending on the level of your program and your academic history and achievements. A grad school SOP usually does not exceed two pages when written in a traditional font at a readable size of 11-point or 12-point. Leave enough whitespace in the margins to make the statement easy for admissions committees to read. Your SOP letter should also be double-spaced and follow standard formatting rules for university essays. Visit your program’s admissions website for specific Statement of Purpose formatting details.
Specific SOP Letter Questions to Answer
The following questions should be clearly answered in your SOP (in relatively this order):
- WHO are you (as a person and a student)?
- HOW did you become interested in this topic/field of study?
- WHAT have you done so far in the field of your choice?
- WHY/HOW do you want to study this field?
- WHY do you want to study at this university/program and WHY are you a good fit?
What style of writing is needed in a Statement of Purpose?
Although the SOP letter is more informal than a research paper, make sure that your language is not only free of grammatical and mechanics errors but that it is of an academic level that reflects your educational level and qualifications. Apply the following standards to the writing and the essay-drafting process:
- Compose using “graduate-level” academic writing.
- Make your language more personal in tone than research writing.
- Use the active voice and first-person point of view more often.
- Write chronologically, starting from your most important actions and achievements during your undergraduate years.
- Use lots of details—list course names, professors, methods, and specific schools and programs.
- Write several drafts of your SOP letter, giving yourself time to edit, revise, and edit again before submitting your essay to the graduate admissions faculty.
Statement of Purpose Organization
A well-structured Statement of Purpose allows readers to see your growth and development as an individual and as a researcher and student. You can think of the SOP letter as a story where all parts are in sequential, chronological order. The following is the most standard structure of a Statement of Purpose. For each “section,” you should write at least one paragraph but no more than two paragraphs, depending on the word-count limit indicated by your graduate program:
- A “hook” that demonstrates your passion for the field
- Segue (transition) to your background in the field
- Specific classes you have taken, given by name
- Specific professors you have had, especially if well-known
- Extracurricular activities in the field
- Publications and other professional accomplishments in the field
- Explanations about problems in your background (if applicable)
- Mention one or two professors whose work you appreciate
- Specific features of the grad program which attract you
- A brief conclusion repeating your purpose for applying to this program
Statement of Purpose Brainstorming Questions
As we mentioned above, it is critical that you answer all the questions expected in your Statement of Purpose. While graduate programs almost always provide specific prompts and instructions on their university/program website, the list below gives much more in-depth questions that you can answer to ensure impressing the graduate admissions faculty at your program. Use these as prompts to answer and brainstorm your more complete answers in each section (see the examples in the images below).
Academic/Professional Interests and Motivations
- What most interests you about this area of study?
- Why are you interested in this area and topic?
- When did you first start to show an interest? How did you exhibit this interest?
- What majors, classes, or other academic experiences have you had in this field?
- Which of your work, research, and/or extracurricular experiences are related to this field?
- What work have you published or written (thesis, dissertation, etc.) related to this field?
- Which awards have you received that show my ability?
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
- What do you hope to accomplish academically?
- What sort of research or professional work do you want to do in the future with your graduate degree or Ph.D.?
Recent Research/Professional Activities and Preparation
- What work have you been involved in recently that has prepared you for this program?
- What have you been involved in recently to show your interest in this field?
Why are you interested in this university and graduate program?
- What does this university/program offer you that other schools don’t?
- Which courses and professors most interest you?
- What makes you a “good fit” for this institution?
- What will you bring to this program?
What makes you stand out as a graduate school candidate?
- What other information about you should the school know that will attract them to you?
- Do you have any unique abilities or circumstances?
Do you have any weaknesses or missing elements you need to explain?
- Do you have any semesters of low grades that you may need to account for?
- Any inconsistencies or big changes in your academic or professional direction?
Statement of Purpose Structure in Detail
Think of the following questions and their answers as topic sentences or “mini-theses” that will guide the information and details in the rest of the paragraph. Answer each question during the brainstorming process and write it in a simple sentence or two. After answering these important questions, you will have a complete working outline (nearly a first draft!) in which you can later fill in the details, edit, and revise.
Grad School Statement of Purpose Example
University/Program: NYU Anthropology Department
Major: East African Studies
Paragraph 1: Introduction and Intended Program (“hook”)
Paragraph 2: Background, Interests, and Motivations (“segue”)
Paragraph 3: Elaborate on your academic background
Paragraph 4: Extracurricular Activities
Paragraphs 5-6: Publications and More Recent Activity
Paragraph 7: Why are you a good fit for this program and school?
Paragraph 8: SOP Conclusion/Commitment Statement
More Statement of Purpose Samples
Here are several examples of successful graduate school statements of purpose. Both candidates were applying to top-15 graduate and MBA programs. Notice how each essay incorporates their personal experience with their future goals, both academic and career.
Note: These are actual sample essays edited by professional editors . Personal info is redacted for privacy. This is not a reusable template.
Statement of Purpose Example 1
Computer science (CS) studies require abstract thinking and practical problem-solving skills. Hence, CS students usually need strong theoretical and technical abilities, which I have gained through my undergraduate education. For example, I am well-trained in mathematics, and the courses I have taken in the field have laid a solid theoretical foundation for understanding abstract computational propositions and designing complex algorithms. I am also skilled at computational thinking: I can connect theories with real-life problems and create computer programs to provide innovative solutions. Additionally, I am very passionate about studying CS because I know that CS will significantly impact my career and future life. Therefore, I feel confident that I will succeed in the _________ Program. I am looking forward to studying at ______, where I can learn how to create web scrapers, manage databases, contribute to open-source projects, and research various advanced topics.
The introduction immediately states the academic program and field of study. It adeptly defines what “success” is in the field of CS and connects that with his/her history, skills, and passions.
During my undergraduate career, I took many pure math courses, including Linear Algebra, Probability Theory, and Mathematical Statistics. These courses have prepared me well for studying advanced computer science because a wide range of methods used in modern computational research is based on mathematics. For example, in machine learning, knowledge from linear algebra and mathematical statistics is the basis for two key research methods: algebraic and statistical methods. Thanks to my proficiency in both areas, I will be able to find statistical explanations for the algebraic approach as well as perform algebraic calculations for statistical models. Therefore, I am confident in my ability to solve various theoretical problems during hands-on machine learning research.
This part talks about academic history and skills. This applicant has the academic background and course history to be prepared for graduate-level study.
Furthermore, the computational thinking skills I gained from my undergraduate education enable me to formulate a problem, express the solution, and evaluate the results. In my Mathematical Modeling class, my professor introduced a mathematical model for describing the stock market. However, I soon realized that the model was too simple to illustrate real scenarios due to the lack of time variables. Therefore, I supplemented his original model with an iterative formula to measure time, programmed equations into a MATLAB editor, and generated solution graphs. I was surprised by the results, which implied a potential contradiction with the professor’s proposed solution. When I explained my findings to the professor, he was very impressed by my work. I plan to continue to capitalize on the strength of my computational thinking skills at Columbia to manage complex databases, practice classic algorithms, and apply my computer science expertise to solve real-life problems.
The applicant moves on to give an academic experience that demonstrates how he/she learns. How does the student handle barriers? How does the student interact with professors and mentors? How did he/she solve a problem? Graduate programs are looking for students who take control of their learning.
One of the primary reasons that I want to study computer science is my internship experience. During the winter break of my junior year, I worked as an investment research intern at a private equity firm, where I was responsible for collecting financial data and writing industry reports. I enjoyed this work and continued finding methods to improve my efficiency—I wanted to spend more time on data analysis and less on manual data collection. After visiting another private equity firm with my manager, I realized that I needed to learn computer science. At that firm, all of the data collection and analyses were done automatically by its data mining and machine learning system. Using this approach, the firm could spend more time communicating with investors to raise more capital. Although I later switched my career goal to economics research, I am still motivated by what I learned from my internship experience: in the 21st century, computer science will fundamentally change every industry and every one of us. As such, we must embrace computer science to gain advantageous positions for our careers.
The applicant next explains why he/she wants to study at this program. The applicant writes about a professional high-performing experience that informed why studying CS could be beneficial. The applicant only learned this while “on the job .”
Outside of the classroom, I enjoy hiking. During my three years in _____, I climbed many mountains in the area. Hiking can be challenging on steep trails because I am sometimes exhausted, only halfway to the top. However, I never give up. In these moments, I will take a rest, have some energy bars, and continue walking until I reach the apex and discover the beautiful scenery there. Studying computer science is similar to hiking in some ways: as a non-CS major, I may find some CS courses challenging. However, with the patience and perseverance I have learned through hiking, I am able to overcome these challenges and master advanced computational techniques. As an international student, I will maintain full-time enrollment at my current university in order to attend the program if I am admitted. I hope to apply the computer science skills I will acquire at Columbia to boost my career development and achieve a better future.
Here, the student shows how well-rounded she/he is. Challenges are to be expected and not avoided. The applicant shows that balance is key to her/his way of learning.
Statement of Purpose Example 2
Life is short, but it is enjoyable to pursue and commit to something you love. My interest in information systems arose from my internship. Previously, I just wanted to start my career as a business analyst, more focused on the business side. But after the internship, this changed. At ____ , I gained exposure to SaaS and FinTech, which piqued my interest in programming, machine learning, and technology. Learning about these two fields afforded me opportunities to research technology and information science methods, and the process of actually handling data for analysis taught me that data is more useful in today’s business world than it was in the past, and I need to improve my data processing and forecasting skills to better serve my data-related work. My current master’s program focuses more on statistics than machine learning and technology, so I am eager to enroll in ____ ’s Master of Science in Information Systems program to follow my passion. I am confident that my strong academic background and relevant experience will allow me to succeed in this program.
The applicant immediately demonstrates his/her professional background. If your professional background is your best selling point, start with it. The applicant is a mature candidate and is applying because she/he knows what they want and what they need from the program.
After my undergraduate study in finance, I wanted to improve my statistical and technical skills along with business knowledge in order to meet my future job needs. In 2019, having achieved outstanding grades, I enrolled in ____ University’s master’s degree program in Applied Statistics and Decision Making. But based on my previous internships and projects, I want to take more courses in information systems and programming. Upon entering my current degree program, I selected courses on statistics, regression analysis and modeling, Python, R, sentiment analysis, and similar topics. These statistical and data science courses resolved some of the challenges I faced during my internship and helped determine my career goal in technology.
The second paragraph most often recalls the candidate’s academic or undergraduate history. The goal is to demonstrate you have taken the proper coursework to be prepared and you are aware of the skills needed.
This past summer, I interned at Visa in financial data analytics, a business-technology combined role. Compared to my previous internship at ____ , I learned more about data and technology foundations by gaining a comprehensive knowledge of the data analysis process. We use customer reporting and company network data to analyze customers’ credit status and make adjustments accordingly. Specifically, I used Python and SQL to conduct EDA and ETL processes. Then, I wrote a filter function to realize data extraction automation. After that, I compared and analyzed the internal business data. I marked the flagging value with the binary standard, using simple classification models, like logistic regression and random forest, to understand changes in the data. Finally, I designed dashboards using Tableau to show the investment and management team the flagging data of customers and their overall credit statuses. Through this internship, I was able to apply my theoretical knowledge to a specific extent, but it was still relatively simple data analysis and machine learning, as I did not optimize my model or made predictions. In order to conduct more in-depth research and make predictions, I decided to learn more about modeling and technical methods.
Next is professional experiences. The applicant details real, professional projects she/he has completed. The applicant shows why and how each tool is important in a business context (this candidate was applying to a top business school in NYC).
Therefore, I have decided to pursue graduate study in information systems at ____ . Several features of your program make it the perfect place for my future studies. First, the opportunity to pursue a summer internship to enhance my future job prospects appeals to me. Second, I am drawn to the comprehensive structure of the curriculum. I will have the chance to study in both the ____ School of Business and Computer Science and conduct an information technology project, which will enable me to achieve my goal of mastering business methods as well as algorithms relevant to technology management. Furthermore, I believe I am a great fit for your program and can both succeed and contribute a unique perspective. I have the requisite knowledge of business, statistics, mathematics, and programming required by the program. My previous internships and projects have provided me with substantial experience in both business and technology, and I have a clear understanding of what I hope to achieve in the program. Ideally, I want to consolidate my prior knowledge, focus on algorithms and systems, and deepen my study of machine learning and algorithms to be able to use various models flexibly and fluently. Finally, because I have studied in _____’s summer program, building a strong network with my professors and classmates, and earned my first graduate degree in New York, there is no question of my being able to adapt and assimilate to a new culture or environment.
This section explains why the student is applying, what he/she hopes to gain, and what she/he can contribute. They cite the program’s strong network as a selling point.
Within one year of graduation, I hope to find a satisfying job related to technology and business, such as a technology consultant or product manager position in a technology or finance company. In the long run, I am eager to grow my network, make critical contributions to my team at work, and hope to become successful in the field of technology. Continuing my studies in your distinguished program would be a worthwhile journey for me and an integral step to achieving my goals.
Further Tips for Writing the Graduate Statement of Purpose
- Highlight your self-motivation, competence, and potential in this essay
- Emphasize everything from a positive perspective and write in the active voice.
- Demonstrate through examples; don’t just write that you are a “persistent person”—show it!
- Approach every topic with continuity and focus.
- Start at least 2-3 months in advance and write several drafts of your SOP letter before finalizing your essay.
The Final Step: Editing Your SOP Letter
As any good writer knows, it takes more than one draft to create a strong and compelling work of writing. After you have brainstormed for your grad school SOP letter, answered key questions, created a working outline, and written your first draft, there is still a lot of room for revision. Share your work with a friend or peer whose opinion you trust.
Even better, let a professional proofreading service like Wordvice (including personal statement editing and statement of purpose editing services ) revise and proofread your essay so that it lives up to its full potential and helps ensure that you will be admitted to the graduate or doctoral program of your choice. Our Essay Editing Services also include recommendation letter editing and cv editing , covering all kinds of application documents for college, university, MBA programs, and other advanced degrees and programs.
For more academic resources on writing the statement of purpose for grad school and editing your essays and academic work, check out the following articles and videos.
Wordvice Admissions Resources
- All You Need to Know About the Letter of Recommendation
- Tips for Writing a Strong Personal Statement
- Write a Strong MBA Admissions Essay
- Writing a Strong Recommendation Letter
- Sample Academic CV for Graduate Programs
- 5 Successful Statement of Purpose Examples
What Is the Statement of Purpose?
Statement of purpose writing guidelines, step 1: do your homework, step 2: reflect and brainstorm (on paper), step 3: outline your statement of purpose, step 4: write draft of your statement of purpose, step 5: ask for critique, then revise and edit, get qualified assistance from professionals, five strong statement of purpose samples, 1. economics (phd), 2. psychology (phd), 3. history (phd), 4. economics (ma), 5. physics (phd).
Students who graduate schools need to create a statement of purpose or a letter of intent. In this article, our college admission essay writing service has gathered the most important hints on writing this paper as well as selected some good examples of statements of purpose.
This paper demonstrates your experience and interests to the admissions committee. If you are going to choose a research-focused program to get a Master's or Ph.D. degree, the statement of purpose must be focused on the past research experience and your plans for future research. If you want to select professionally-focused programs, you should mention in this paper how the chosen program is related to your experience and how you're going to use the skills in your career.
In the statement, you have also to explain to the admission officers why you have chosen this program and how the specific studying fits your interests, higher education, and future career. It's important to show your goals and hopes for receiving the degree and getting all the needed skills to use in your future career.
At the first point, you have to introduce yourself. The next step is what you can offer for the chosen program. Here you must describe your experience and personal skills to prove you can handle this position. Don't forget to mention your personal goals. If it's hard for you to highlight your skills, read the program description to understand what certain skills it may require from students.
Keep in your memory to keep this document brief and clear. You don't need to write a lot. Put there only the most important things you want admission officers to hear. This is a short summary that should make you look perfect for getting a higher education.
If you are asked to write a letter of intent for school , worry no. Open and read one more blog we have on this platform, it will guide you with this task.
Some applications call for one statement, while others require responses to a series of multiple questions. The statement of purpose is a crucial component of the graduate school admissions process. It can determine whether an applicant is accepted or rejected, irrespective of their other qualifications. Always read the instructions carefully! When in doubt, call the department or program for clarification.
So, here we outlined the 5 stages that a graduate school or a degree applicant should go through in order to write an impressive and successful statement of purpose.
- Browse through the websites of the schools/departments/programs of interest to you. Obtain brochures and booklets and read through them carefully. Highlight the aspects of the programs that appeal to you.
- Read up on the research interests and projects of the faculty in the schools/departments/programs. Read publications from a faculty of interest.
- Browse through recent articles from the research field of interest and try to get a general understanding of how the field developed and what are its current problems and challenges.
- Reflect on your intellectual development. What and when were the major moments in your life that have led you to your current research interests. What or who influenced your decision or interest.
- Why did you choose your research topics?
- Why did you choose your undergraduate major?
- What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what do you hope to accomplish?
- From the results of Step 2, determine a central theme/topic that stands out or dominates your reflections and brainstorm.
- Using bullet points and brief comments/statements, organize your reflections and brainstorm ideas that strengthen the central theme/topic of your statement of purpose.
- Your outline should cover these areas and, preferably, in this order:
- What aspects of the program or department appeals to you?
- What are your research interests?
- How did you become interested in your current research topic/area?
- How did you prepare or are preparing to address the issues in this research area/topic?
- What are your future goals for the program?
- What are your career goals ?
- What characteristics of the department or program can help you accomplish your goals?
- What positive aspects do you bring to the department/program?
When writing your statement of purpose:
- Always use positive language when referring to yourself.
- Give detailed, but concise examples.
- Use transition words, sentences and paragraphs. Your statement must read smoothly.
- Skip a line after each paragraph.
- Refrain from starting neighboring paragraphs the same way.
- Avoid using vocabulary that you do not know.
- Refrain from repeating yourself.
- Have a strong opening and closing paragraph.
- Stay within the 2-3 page limit!
- Thank the admissions committee for their time at the end of your statement of purpose.
- When you are finished with your draft statement of purpose, read it out loud to yourself and make corrections.
- Ask friends, colleagues and professors to read your edited draft. Taking their comments into consideration, revise and edit your draft.
Do you need some help with making a statement of purpose? With our excellent writers, you will impress the admission committee with a clear and strong document. Contact our qualified team now and get a good discount on your first order. Even if you need your paper to be written very fast, we can do it thanks to the highest level of professionalism of the best specialists who work with us. Receive your statement on time and get applied to study without nerves!
When introduced to economics in high school I realized that it interestingly qualified as a subject of both Arts and Science. It was an area defined by precise rules, principles and axioms and yet there was tremendous scope for self-expression in the form of interpretation and analysis. This facet of economics intrigued me very much and I decided to pursue further studies in Economics. During my Master's program I equipped myself as best as I could, with various tools used in economic analysis. I obtained rigorous training in mathematics, econometrics and game theory. After completing the Master's program, I joined National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, as I was very eager to see how one might use economics to tackle real life problems, where simplified models, and assuming away of problems may offer no respite. I did some very interesting work here, which is described in my resume. I want to delve deeper into the subject to be able to carry out independent research and analysis, hence my decision to join the Ph.D. program at UCLA. International Economics is an area I would really like to explore. I am fascinated by game theoretic modeling of issues pertaining to International Economics. I believe that game theoretic models can be effectively used in international economics as many policy issues such as negotiations over mutual reductions in tariffs, formation and preservation of customs unions, establishment of cartels in the case of internationally traded goods, all have some game theoretic character. The current "Regionalism versus Multilateralism" debate holds its own attraction. It should be interesting to analyze the trade diversion effects of Preferential Trading Agreements and also their impact on multilateral institutions like GATT. The strategic trading that takes place in foreign exchange markets and the variety of auction-like mechanisms that have been used for foreign exchange trade, especially in developing countries, are intriguing. During my graduate studies I aim to equip myself with some advanced tools and develop my analytical and research capabilities. I want to get an excellent command over econometrics to be able to confront stochastic statistical data with exact models of economic theories and also for empirical verification of other models, which might otherwise be set in a partial equilibrium framework. I expect to emerge as an economic engineer and an expert in model building.Econometrics per se, also interests me as a subject of economics and I might like to research econometric methodology. I want to be an academic economist. I have cleared the National Eligibility test conducted by the University Grants Commission of India, which makes me eligible to teach an undergraduate course in economics in any Indian university. I want to study at UCLA, as it emphasizes on the rigor and analytical tools that are necessary for academic research. I have well-developed analytical and mathematical skills and I want to exploit these skills to the greatest extent. I feel the help and guidance that can be provided to me by the distinguished faculty of your university will be invaluable. I am sure if I am given the opportunity to study at your university that attracts some of the best students from all over the world, it will provide an environment competitive enough to bring out the best in me.
When I came to college I wanted to be a doctor. I was going to study biology, pick up a second major along the way, and go to medical school to become a rural practitioner. I soon realized that I was suffering from my own version of "Med. Student Syndrome." I did not think that I was sick, but I did realize that I was obviously delusional. I realized that I did not have the burning desire to become a medical doctor. The profession did not interest me; it was my perception of the profession that had caught my fancy. Luckily, by then I had begun to study psychology, so I understood what a good delusion was like. As I studied psychology more and more, I found what excites me most of all were the investigation, dissection and understanding of problems that I saw around me in the world. I found psychology courses stimulated me to think and explore my world as I took courses in development, psychopathology, personality and behavior analysis. Dr. XXXX's behavior analysis classes gave me good critical and analytic skills through our repeated analyses, discussion and practice of both basic and complex behavioral principles. I received research training with XXX, Ph.D. while working on an autism and social behaviors study, and with XXX, Ph.D. while writing an honors thesis and subsequent poster presentation. My work with Dr. XXX helped me develop my observational skills and learn to classify and define abstract descriptors into concrete variables. In my honors research, I started with a broad question, wondering whether young adults' substance use behaviors were related to both sensation seeking and their friendships and if so how. Once I narrowed my ideas, collected and analyzed the data, I had to deal with the frustration of getting results that did not support the hypotheses. I did more data collection and analyses for a poster presentation at the Society for Prevention Research annual conference, and in post-hoc analyses I found that while I had studied the sample as a whole, males and females had different predictors of alcohol use. Even though I hadn't supported my original hypotheses, this gave me ideas as to why. One of my favorite biology professors used to say that advances in science are often made by proving something does not exist, something I learned well through my research. I am currently volunteering for a year in Fairbanks, Alaska, through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps at a parenting resource center. I work in Family Preservation Services with families whose children have been in state custody trying to keep the families together. It's difficult work; I see kids every day who are very young but who have already had pretty tough lives. Many of these children could be case studies of multiple risk factors. As some here have put it, they are "damaged." My work here has really driven my thinking about how abuse, divorce, and familial discord interact to affect children in their social interactions, their view of themselves and the world, and the future predicted for them. Through my undergraduate research, including my honors thesis, I was introduced to the issues surrounding adolescent substance use. I found myself very interested in both the specific issues of adolescent substance use and the ideas of how an adolescent's context, whether it is familial, environmental or peer, could affect the adolescent's life. I would like to find ways to help kids like those I work with have more promising lives. I am interested in studying child and adolescent mental health, particularly issues of substance use, risk and resilience, pathology and aggression, and how social and family context affects each of these issues. Essentially I am interested in ways in which we can make growing up less difficult, particularly for high-risk kids. I see myself spending my career primarily in research and teaching. I see it as crucial to have research that is well informed by clinical practice, and clinical practice well grounded in research. I also see it as necessary to ensure that research is properly disseminated, and that under-served areas gain increased attention as targets of study and clinical practice assistance. For example, most of Alaska does not have a strong university presence, and I believe that the social service programs here suffer from not being up to speed on the latest in clinical developments. I'd like to develop prevention programs and interventions to help address what I choose to specialize in, and a position as a university professor would be the ideal way to achieve this goal. Further, I am very attracted by the prospect of teaching and mentoring college students about what I love. I decided to apply to XXX University for several reasons. I am attracted to XXX University by the strong emphasis on research and methodology. Particularly, the strong preventive focus of the Child Clinical area of emphasis is one that meshes well with what I am looking for in a program. In researching XXX University, the work of Drs. XXX and XXX particularly piqued my interest. I worked with XXX at XXX University, who exposed me to much of Dr. XXX's work on children of alcoholics. I would be interested in further pursuing work in risk factors for substance abuse, particularly looking at how familial and social context affect risk behaviors. Dr. XXX' research in risk and resilience and her prevention work with high risk adolescents is very much what I am interested in doing, as I not only have research experience but the clinical work with similar populations to what Dr. XXX' is working with. The Clinical Psychology program at XXX University has everything I am looking for in a program, just as I feel I have what XXX University should be looking for in an incoming student. I would be very excited to join the incoming class at the XXX University for 2000. I feel I am well prepared to enter graduate study, and my strong motivation and career goals are a good match for what XXX has to offer.
One of the proudest accomplishments of my life was earning my college degree, despite the fact that my early adulthood pointed in the opposite direction, beginning with my marriage at the age of 19. Throughout the 1990s I lived as one of the "working poor," someone who slipped through the cracks of supposedly historic prosperity. By the age of 25 I was divorced and frustrated with menial, low-paying jobs: clerk, receptionist, and housecleaner. There is nothing like scrubbing someone else's toilet to inspire one with determination toward obtaining an education. Because of my absolute commitment toward earning my degree, I got a flexible shift at a retail warehouse which enabled me to acquire my degree while supporting myself financially. Enrolled at the local community college, I experienced a different world opening up to me; excited by a new encouraging environment, I excelled academically. I learned that if I tried hard, I could succeed; if I wanted something badly enough, I possessed the ability to take advantage of these opportunities. I worked a minimum 35-hour workweek for five years to put myself through school without succumbing to the temptation of a student loan. I paid tuition up front with the money I earned. It was the example of my mother, a Puerto Rican immigrant working diligently to provide for her family, who instilled a work ethic into me that has stood me in good stead. With a lifelong passion for history, I have developed an interest in the cultural history of early modern and modern Europeans, especially women's history. The experiences of ordinary women fascinate me: how they constitute their world through popular folktales and literature; how the seemingly irrational paradoxes of the past to modern eyes are completely rational when taken within the historical context; and finally, how these historical changes and transformations in culture constitute the present. I enjoy studying the early modern period of English history, especially the Tudor- Stuart period, because of the tensions that existed between medieval philosophies and the rising Enlightenment intellectualism. My influences have been diverse. I read the popular historian Barbara Tuchman, not for her technical accuracy, but for her beautiful prose. Natalie Zemon Davis's research inspires me in the way that she cleverly picks out fresh life from tired sources. And finally, Michel Foucault's philosophies have profoundly influenced the way I write, for now I have a philosophical grounding that makes me highly sensitive to my own biases. In fact, Foucault's post-structuralist matrix has been instrumental in shaping my current project focusing on the 17th-century midwife Elizabeth Cellier. In this project, I am reexamining the current histories of English midwifery using Cellier as a case study, detecting a decided bias embedded within them. The underlying assumption of these histories is that pre-industrial professional women-and Cellier in particular- struggled against patriarchy and oppression from the male medical community, when in fact Cellier's literature shows that she utilized the accepted discourses of patriarchy available to her in her writing and turned them into useful tools of political and religious power. As a student, I feel that my success lies in the fact that I approached my studies as if I were a professional (historian, not student, that is). I always enrolled in the most challenging courses and worked with professors I felt were the most qualified in my areas of interest. Never did I settle for an A- or B+. If I got one, I would ask what I could do to improve--and ultimately, I utilized the advice to strengthen my work. My personal academic milestone occurred while I was completing a research seminar on historical methods. This required course was taught by an Americanist-Dr. W., director of the [school withheld] history department - so our research topics were limited to American sources. I was able to work within my main interest, which is marginalized women, while using the primary sources of The New York Times. The resulting paper, "Biologically Unsound: Women, Murder, and the Insanity Plea in the Progressive Era" examined the preponderant use of the insanity plea for women who went outside their "innate nature" and murdered, regardless of the circumstances which drove them to kill. Although the topic was outside my focus, which is European history, this paper was selected for publication in the Phi Alpha Theta journal, The Historian. My focus as an undergraduate has always been with an eye toward graduate school and a career as a professional historian. Aware of the rigors of graduate study, I have not only completed an undergraduate language requirement in Spanish, but I am also currently enrolled in an accelerated French course. In addition, I have become active in the historical honor society, Phi Alpha Theta, including serving as chapter president. During my tenure our chapter hosted the Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference, the largest regional conference in the nation. With the help of faculty adviser Dr. G., I created the conference sessions, I chose appropriate student commentators for those sessions, and gave a keynote speech. The experience taught me that I have a flair for organization as well as mediation. Under my leadership, our chapter also published its first journal, and hosted a variety of campus activities. This year I am working with the Computer Society in order to establish a Website for students who need help succeeding in history courses; we are going to call it the Clio homepage. My position as an authority figure both in classroom work and within these various organizations has awakened a desire to embrace teaching, for I enjoy sharing the excitement of education with my peers, as well as helping them achieve their own academic success. I feel that my life experiences as well as my commitment to education would be an asset to Cornell's doctoral program in History. Cornell has an exciting interdisciplinary program that is exceptionally impressive. In particular, Dr. W.'s specialty in Tudor-Stuart social and cultural history complements my own interest in studying the experiences of English pre-industrial women. This combination will provide the strong background I desire in order to shape my future research interests. I feel that Cornell is a premier institution for an aspiring Ph.D. candidate and as such, a very competitive program. But I know I have the tools and the determination to excel in such a stimulating and challenging environment.
In this essay I am going to concentrate mostly on the incentives that stimulate me to pursue further studying, and reflect the motives for my choice of Princeton University as well as state my future career objectives. I have chosen to work in the area of international microeconomics because it has such a demand for new ideas. At the same time it requires a good mathematical background and has obvious implications in real life. My education suits this field very well, I have a Master of Science with Honors in the field of applied mathematics and physics and a Master of Arts in economics with a specialization in international economics. I already have extensive research experience both in applied sciences and economics, know basic economic models and have a strong background both in abstract modeling and data manipulation. All this probably makes me an economist, but my objective is to become a good one. I have been taught by very good lecturers. After the course I took with Professor Branson I decided that there is nothing more interesting than international economics. Professor A made issues of monetary economics and government policy fascinating. Lectures delivered by Professor B attracted me to labor market problems. I enjoyed listening to them and want to teach my mind to operate in a similar manner - attention is paid to every individual fact and each formal problem solved reflects a real economic situation. While writing my master's thesis I had a chance to see that a simple look at a graph can be more useful than application of sophisticated economic techniques. One of the reasons I want to study further is to reach at least the same level of intuitiveness and panoramic view of the subject as my teachers have. My Master of Arts degree was in the field of Health Economics, which I am very interested in. It was mostly an empirical dissertation. My dissertation was titled ".." and I worked under the guidance of Professor C. The greatest part of my work was devoted to macroeconomic cross-country econometric (panel data) analysis. The task was complicated by the necessity to work with omitted variables and low quality data as well as the low reliability of data for developing countries and countries in transition. We also made efforts to build a model that explains the impact of macroeconomic parameters on health deterioration and the probability of death. My master's thesis has been presented at the "Russian Economic And Political Institutions In Transition" conference and currently we are preparing it for publication. At this time I am also doing empirical research devoted to inflation and monetary policy. I feel cautious specifying which area of economics interests me most for further study, but I do not think that this is a drawback. I find economics particularly attractive for the fact that it is broad, and has not yet been split into a set of narrow sub-branches - economists all speak almost the same language. I also think that in the face of complexity we face in this discipline, it would be ineffective to specialize too narrowly. This year I realized as I had not before that I wish to continue my studies. Being a teaching assistant in Professor A's Macroeconomics and Advanced Macroeconomics classes, I understood a lot of effort must be applied for a good student to turn into a good teacher. I feel that a similar gap lies between a good student and a good researcher. I am a hardworking and determined person, and I am ready for a new leap in my economics career. I will work hard in hope that the quantity of the effort I put in will result in high quality knowledge. The fact is that the best possible supervisors and a highly competitive atmosphere are necessary for this quality. The only reasonable decision for me was to aim for such a place. All this gives me the motivation to apply to Princeton University.
My goal is to combine my background in physics and mathematics with experimental neuroscience to build quantitative models of how brains work. As a child, I fell in love with mathematical problem-solving but it was not until college that I knew what to do with that love. I considered several majors in my first few semesters at USC, but my persistent question - “yes, but how does that work?” - eventually led me to the physics department and an electricity and magnetism course with Dr. P. Z. Using the mathematical problem-solving that I reveled in, we explored the physical mechanisms behind magnets, sunsets, and a wealth of fascinating natural phenomena. The uncompromising inquisitiveness of physics resonated with my own curiosity, and I was hooked. I became especially interested in the physical basis of information processing and joined Dr. Z.’s Quantum Information Theory group in Torino. Through calculations and simulations, we sought to define an appropriate concept of thermal equilibrium in quantum mechanics. I learned a great deal about milking mathematical models and simulations for physical results, but most importantly, the excitement of constructing a new theory convinced me that I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing science. Combined with a desire to inspire other students as Dr. Z. had done for me, I knew then I wanted to become a professor. It struck me that while I and other researchers grappled with the fundamental limits of computation, we still lacked a deep understanding of the very information processor that enabled us to do so – the human brain. When I thought about math, which neurons fired? How were the things I learned embodied in my brain? Was it possible to understand the physical basis of the human mind just as we understand a magnet or sunset? I searched for a neuroscience group at USC who might have a need for a physicist and soon found Dr. B.’s group, who were having an issue with their simulations of neural synapses. Their numerical integration algorithm was having trouble with the multiple timescales present in biological dynamics, and I discovered the source of this difficulty and proposed an adaptive algorithm to significantly speed up simulations. I also assisted a graduate student in building compartmental models of hippocampal neurons, gaining valuable experience in using the simulation package NEURON. Since then, I have pursued neuroscience and physics in parallel - neuroscience for the questions that drive me and physics to better understand the physical basis of information processing and hone my ability to build and analyze mathematical models. I spent the first half of summer 2010 at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) in Waterloo, Ontario working with Dr. A. C. on the proof of a mathematical theorem that we felt might lead to new algorithms for quantum computers. Over six weeks, Dr. C. and I iterated between provisional theorems and test cases generated by a computer program I had written, converged on a candidate for the theorem, and found our proof. I gave an IQC colloquium on our findings, and Dr. C. and I are currently working on a generalization of our result for publication. Beyond offering new tools of analysis, my physics research has also influenced my neuroscience by giving me a visceral understanding of the play between theory, simulation, and experiment and how to iterate between them. Currently, I am working with USC Professor B. to understand how brains rapidly and robustly encode information presented only once. In particular, we are investigating the optimal dendrite morphology for memory capacity during one-shot learning tasks and studying how the optimal morphology varies with input features such as noise and density of activation. We hypothesize that dendrite morphology is optimized to shift response variability to a regime efficient for memory capacity. We are also exploring various definitions of memory capacity and the connections between them. One of Dr. M.’s students amassed a collection of simulation data, and my role is to build mathematical models that help explain his results, enable analytic calculations of memory capacity, and suggest new simulations to further refine our hypotheses. Our hope is that the optimal biophysical variables we identify will correspond with experimental values in the brain. Our approach is characteristic of what I believe is a unique and important contribution that physics and mathematics may offer biology - explanations for the functional role of biological mechanisms rooted in arguments for their optimality. My strategy of pursuing research in both physics and neuroscience has provided me with unique insights into the brain, valuable experience with interdisciplinary collaborations, and clarity on my career goals. I would like to pursue a Ph.D. followed by a professorship to continue my research and share my passion for discovery with eager young minds. Through collaborations with experimentalists and my training in physics and mathematics, I want to explore the links between biophysical mechanisms and their functional roles in neural computation. In addition to my research, I have pursued and excelled in several graduate courses in physics and mathematics and even picked up new analytic tools from other graduate departments, such as information theory and mathematical optimization. Concurrently, I have attained a significant knowledge of modern neuroscience through extracurricular study and research. Thus I am confident in my choice of graduate research and in my preparation for pursuing it. Furthermore, I am confident that the University of Washington’s Physics program would be a great place for me to do so. I am attracted by the large community of faculty and students interested in biophysics and particularly interested in working with Drs. A., F. R., and E. S., each of whom I have contacted. As I prefer theoretical work closely coupled with ongoing experiments, I am especially interested in a project co-advised by Dr. R. and either Dr. F. or Dr. S. Another potential focus of our collaboration could be the modulatory effect of persistent network activity on single-neuron responses and the role of this modulation in neural computation. Though the research is my main attraction to UW, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I do my best thinking in the outdoors and welcome the opportunity to spend weekends hiking and mountaineering in the environs of Seattle.
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Statement of Purpose for Grad School – Examples & Advice
July 8, 2023
A statement of purpose is a key component of any graduate school application. While graduate programs and their application processes vary wildly, there are a number of common factors that admission committees will be looking for in a statement of purpose. As opposed to an undergraduate personal essay, a statement of purpose for grad school should prioritize academic interests over a personal story. Select personal details, as they relate to your academic interests, however, can also be an important piece of your statement. If this integration sounds challenging, don’t worry! We’ll look at samples from statement of purpose for grad school examples in the article that follows.
With this central focus in mind, a statement of purpose for graduate school should engage specifically with the program to which you are applying. here it is important to thoroughly research the schools and programs you are applying to, as well as faculty members whose research or academic interests align with your own. You will want to demonstrate these common interests in your statement of purpose, offering a clear sense of what you would contribute to the department and how you would fit into the conversation.
Along these lines, for many programs, it will be helpful to reach out to faculty members who could potentially serve as mentors or collaborators. For some programs, this is an essential component of the application. For others it is merely helpful, both to get a sense of the program for yourself and for the sake of your application. It is a way of demonstrating interest beyond the page and it can provide great material to include in your statement of purpose. As you will see in the following excerpts of a sample statement of purpose from graduate school, leaning into specificity is almost always a smart move.
Things to Include in a Statement of Purpose for Graduate School
1) In regards to your scholarly past, how have you arrived at this point? What are the classes, ideas, jobs, internships, research, publications, etc. that have brought you to where you are? What are your academic accomplishments?
2) What questions, interests, or ideas continue to push you forward? What are the trajectories you can see your studies taking? And towards what ends?
Statement of Purpose Grad School Examples (Continued)
3) What are your goals and what is the larger purpose towards which you are working? Are there issues you hope to “solve” (or at least contribute to solving), people or communities you strive to help, areas of research you would like to push forward?
4) How do you plan on doing these things and why is this program, with these faculty members, the right place for you?
Structuring the Essay
While there are no set-in-stone rules about how you should structure a statement of purpose for graduate school, a good way to get started is by thinking in terms of an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. The role of the introduction is to give a sense of the person behind the statement. You might do this with a few prescient details or an anecdote that catches the reader’s attention. This is also a nice place to touch upon an image or idea that will be returned to and further developed later in the statement. The introduction should offer context that sets up a discussion of academic interests. Here is an introductory excerpt of a sample statement of purpose from graduate school from a student applying to a Master of Arts program in psychology.
I entered college convinced that I wanted to be a doctor. My grandfather, who passed away when I was thirteen, had been a rural practitioner and someone I looked up to. I admired his calm, caring demeanor when I was a child, and, after his passing, through the adoring stories I heard about him, my admiration only grew. At his funeral, in Western Massachusetts where his practice was located, many of the people he had helped, families spanning multiple generations, expressed their gratitude in a way that was new to me. I saw how much good a person could do and from this moment I decided that I wanted to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps.
So, I entered the University of Chicago on a pre-med track, planning to major in biology. I arrived at school as a naïve eighteen-year-old, thinking I could chart out the next ten years of my life. By sophomore year I was already having doubts. Organic Chemistry was a slog and I felt like I was losing the ambition to help people that had motivated my studies thus far.
This same semester, I took Introduction to Psychology and found myself more engaged than I’d been in any class so far. There was a discussion group component of the course in which we attempted to think in accordance with the patterns of various personality types and psychological disorders. In these discussions, I learned a lot about myself and came to recognize what a powerful tool talking could be. I realized there was more than one way to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and that psychology was a field that kept me enthusiastic and fit my temperament.
This sample statement of purpose from graduate school does a good job of establishing the applicant’s academic trajectory while also giving a sense of the emotional underpinnings. It demonstrates a motivation that offers a sense of continuity without precluding discovery. This is a good thing to establish in a statement of purpose for graduate school because it demonstrates a commitment to critical, evolving thought. While admissions committees want to see that you are seriously engaged in the field in which you are applying for graduate studies, they also don’t expect you to have everything locked into place. Graduate school is a place to grapple with new concepts.
This introduction does a good job of leaning into specificity, but there are also places where it can go deeper. For example, it could be interesting to recount a particular exchange that occurred in the Introduction to Psychology discussion group. Mentioning particular classes and ideas or conversations that came up in those classes can lend your essay a refreshing touch of personality. When it comes to details such as these you can ask yourself, is this a story that only I could tell? If so, you’re likely on the right track. The introduction sets us up to delve into academic interests, bringing us to the main body. The following is an excerpt from a sample statement of purpose from graduate school from a student applying to a PhD program in art history.
2) Main Body
A turning point in my academic career came when I was a sophomore, following a discussion of Velázquez’s Las Meninas that continued for hours after class let out. This was right around the time I decided, albeit gradually, to major in art history and it involved the discovery of a new way of looking at paintings—a way that reached beyond the limits of the canvas, balancing aesthetic sentiments with critical ones. For the first time, I began to think about the politics of viewership and how a viewer’s gaze is constructed by their social context and the technologies through which they encounter a work of art.
These concerns, which have reshaped and shifted focus over the years, represent a thread that I continue to return to in my studies. It is for this reason that I’ve set my sights on Columbia for my PhD. I first encountered Jonathan Crary’s Techniques of the Observer in my senior year of undergrad and it is a work that I felt an immediate kinship with. In Techniques of the Observer, I had the sense that Crary was developing ideas that I understood on some deep level and yet had not been able to articulate. Considering the historical construction of the observer as a process inseparable from economics and social power offered a new perspective through which I could engage with questions of politics and aesthetics.
Further, I am very intrigued by the course that Professor Crary’s thought has followed over the years. 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep is another book of his that has had a major impact on my thinking. I am interested, in particular, in how the contemporary assault on sleep in favor of hypervisibility relates to modern visual culture as discussed in Techniques of the Observer . This is to say that I am not only interested in the ideas but also the trajectory they have taken over a number of years. I would be absolutely thrilled, perhaps even star-struck, to be able to study with and in the same department as Professor Crary.
This sample statement of purpose from the graduate does a good job of demonstrating fluency in the language of the contemporary field of art history. Rather than talking about or around their interest, the applicant conveys it by inhabiting this particular register. This section of the essay also blends the personal with the academic, evoking an intimate (rather than detached) connection to the material. This is something that selection committees like to see—an indication of long-term investment rather than fleeting interest.
One place where this section of the essay could move further is in its engagement with the ideas it discusses. Rather than merely reciting Crary’s ideas, this sample statement of purpose from graduate school could offer a reflection on them and, perhaps, new ideas that emerge in their wake. You should, of course, make sure that you’re adequately familiar with the work of a faculty member if you are citing them in your statement of purpose for graduate school. This doesn’t mean you can’t mention areas that you are interested in learning more about, but it’s best to be transparent when doing so. It’s a risky approach to try to fool an admissions committee into thinking you know more than you do. They look at many applications and will generally be able to see right through this.
The conclusion to your statement of purpose for graduate school is a space to leave your reader with an impression of how you will fit into the department and how you envision your studies moving forward. This is a place to weave things together and bring your statement to a natural close. Instead of summarizing what you have already said, think of this as shedding new light on the prior material.
Further, a statement of purpose is generally most effective when the weaving process occurs throughout the essay rather than being merely tacked on at the end. When this is the case there is less pressure to clarify things, which will allow you the freedom to end with an evocative image, anecdote, or idea that will stay with the reader. It can also be a place to share gratitude and convey a sense of self-awareness or humility. Here is a conclusory excerpt of a sample statement of purpose from graduate school from a student applying to a two-year Master of Fine Arts program in poetry.
Here, again, I return to a conviction in the importance of poetry, in the need to expand the realm of possibility and to a belief in the communities, no matter how large or small, that poetry builds and sustains. With these thoughts in mind, my poems look for moments in which the mundane gains an illuminated, suspended quality—when, as Wordsworth writes, “We see into the life of things.” These moments gesture beyond the contemporary system and through them I attempt to counter othering narratives, such as that of exoticism. Upon completing my MFA I plan to teach and to continue on this trajectory, as I work to deepen the role of poetry in our ongoing political struggles.
It is my hope that Brown University will be the place in which my life as a poet, student, and teacher moves forward. I am excited to collaborate in a workshop environment and I am at a point in my writing where the support and criticism of an intimate group would be of great benefit. I will share as much of myself as I can, while doing my best to strengthen the artistic community in Providence. Thank you for your consideration.
Sample Statement of Purpose for Graduate School – Final Thoughts
We hope you found our sample statement of purpose for graduate school to be a useful tool in your grad school admissions journey. For PhD candidates in particular, this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education will make for worthwhile follow-up reading.
- Graduate School Admissions
Emmett holds a BA in Philosophy from Vassar College and is currently completing an MFA in Writing at Columbia University. Previously, he served as a writing instructor within the Columbia Artists/Teachers community as well as a Creative Writing Teaching Fellow at Columbia, where he taught poetry workshops. In addition, Emmett is a member of the Poetry Board at the Columbia Journal , and his work has been published in HAD , Otoliths , and Some Kind of Opening , among others.
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Gre prep online guides and tips, 7 successful statement of purpose examples.
Not sure what graduate schools are looking for in a statement of purpose? Looking at successful graduate school statement of purpose samples can help! In this guide, we’ll orient you to what makes a great statement of purpose or letter of intent for graduate school. Then we’ll provide you with four successful statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts. We’ll also provide analysis of what makes them successful. Finally, we’ll direct you to even more helpful examples that you can find online!
The Graduate School Statement of Purpose: An Overview
A statement of purpose (also called a letter of intent or a research statement) introduces your interests and experience to the admissions committee. For research-focused programs, like most PhDs and many master’s degrees, your statement of purpose will focus primarily on your past research experience and plans. For more professionally-focused graduate programs, your statement of purpose will primarily discuss how your pursuit of this professional program relates to your past experiences, and how you will use the skills from the program in your future career.
A statement of purpose for grad school is also where you sell the admissions committee on why you belong in their program specifically. Why do you fit there, and how does what they offer fit your interests?
What’s in a Great Grad School Statement of Purpose?
Here are the essential elements of a strong graduate school statement of purpose:
Clear Articulation of Goals and Interests
A strong statement of purpose will clearly and specifically lay out your goals in undertaking the program and what you hope to accomplish with the degree. Again, for a research-focused program, this will focus primarily on the research project(s) you want to undertake while you are there. For a more professional program, discuss what interests you within the professional field and what skills/knowledge you hope to gain through the program.
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You should be as specific as possible in discussing what interests you. Use examples of particular phenomena, tools, or situations that you find exciting. If you are vague or say that everything in the field interests you, you run the risk of seeming unfocused or not actually that passionate.
Don’t worry that being too specific will box you into a particular research area or subfield during your entire tenure in graduate school. Your program understands that interests change—they won’t be pulling out your research statement to cross-reference with your dissertation proposal!
Evidence of Past Experience and Success
A great graduate school statement of purpose will also show programs that you have already been successful. They want applicants that will be able to follow through on their research/professional plans!
To this end, you’ll need to provide evidence of how your background qualifies you to pursue this program and your specific interests in the field. You’ll probably discuss your undergraduate studies and any professional experience you have. But be sure to draw on specific, vivid examples. You might draw on your thesis, major projects you’ve worked on, papers you have written/published, presentations you’ve given, mentors you’ve worked with, and so on. This gives admissions committees concrete evidence that you are qualified to undertake graduate study!
Interest and Fit With the Program
The third essential ingredient to a great statement of purpose is to clearly lay out why you and the program are a good fit. You should be able to identify both specific reasons why your work fits with the program and why the program suits your work/interests! Are there particular professors you’d like to work with? Does the department have a strong tradition in a certain methodology or theory you’re interested in? Is there a particular facet to the curriculum that you’d like to experience?
Showing that you and the program are a match shows that you chose the program thoughtfully and have genuine interest in it. Programs want to admit students who aren’t just passionate about the field. They want students who are genuinely enthused about their specific program and positioned to get the most out of what they have to offer.
The final essential piece of a strong statement of purpose or letter of intent is strong writing. Writing skills are important for all graduate programs. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can clearly and effectively communicate your ideas in a way that flows logically. Additionally, you should show that you know how to write in a way that is descriptive but concise. A statement of purpose shouldn’t ever be longer than two pages, even without a hard word limit.
Admissions committees for humanities programs may be a little more focused on writing style than admissions officers for STEM programs. But even in quantitative and science-focused fields, written communication skills are an essential part of graduate school. So a strong statement of purpose will always be effectively written. You’ll see this in our statement of purpose for graduate school samples.
Real, Successful Statement of Purpose Samples
In this section, we’ll present four successful graduate school statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts, along with a brief commentary on each statement. These statements come from a diverse selection of program types to show you how the core essentials of a statement of purpose can be implemented differently for different fields.
Note: identifying information for these statements have been changed—except for example four, which is my statement.
- Statement of Purpose Sample One: Japanese Studies MA
This statement of purpose is notable for its great use of space and its vivid descriptions. The author is able to cram a lot into about a page. She discusses how she came to her two primary research interests (and how they are connected). She integrates this discussion of her interests with information on her past experiences and qualifications for pursuing the course of study. Finally, she includes details on her goals in pursuing the program and components of the program that interest her. Her examples are specific and fleshed-out. There’s a lot very cleverly included in a small amount of page space!
Additionally, the language is very vivid. Phrases like “evocative and visceral” and “steadily unraveling,” are eye-catching and intriguing. They demonstrate that she has the writing skills necessary to pursue both graduate study and her interest in translation.
- Statement of Purpose Sample Two: Music MM
This sample is fairly long, although at 12 point Times New Roman it’s under two pages single-spaced. The length of this statement is partially due to the somewhat expansive nature of the prompt, which asks what role music has played in the applicant’s life “to date.” This invites applicants to speak more about experiences further in the past (in the childhood and teen years) than is typical for a statement of purpose. Given that this is for a master’s degree in music, this is logical; musical study is typically something that is undertaken at a fairly young age.
This statement does an excellent job describing the student’s past experiences with music in great detail. The descriptions of the student’s past compositions and experiences performing new music are particularly vivid and intriguing.
This statement also lays out and elaborates on specific goals the student hopes to pursue through the program, as well as features particular to the program that interest the student (like particular professors).
- Statement of Purpose Sample Three: Economics PhD
One of the first things you’ll likely notice about this statement is that it’s a little on the longer side. However, at 12 point Times New Roman font and single-spaced, it still comes in under 2 pages (excluding references). It makes sense for a PhD statement of purpose sample to be longer than a master’s degree statement of purpose—there’s more to lay out in terms of research interests!
The writing style is fairly straightforward—there’s definitely a stronger focus on delivering content than flashy writing style. As Economics is a more quantitative-focused field, this is fine. But the writing is still well-organized, clear, and error-free.
The writer also gives numerous examples of their past work and experience, and shows off their knowledge of the field through references, which is a nice touch.
- Statement of Purpose Sample Four: History of the Book MA
This is actually my statement of purpose. It was for a program that I got accepted to but did not end up attending, for a Master’s in the History of the Book. You’ll notice that the two essay prompts essentially asked us to split our statement of purpose into two parts: the first prompt asked about our research interests and goals, and the second prompt asked about our relevant experience and qualifications.
I’ll keep my comments on this graduate school statement of purpose sample brief because I’ll do a deep dive on it in the next section. But looking back at my statement of purpose, I do a good job outlining what within the field interests me and clearly laying out how my past experiences have qualified me for the program.
Obviously this statement did its job, since I was accepted to the program. However, if I were to improve this statement, I’d change the cliche beginning (“since I was a child”) and provide more specificity in what about the program interested me.
Deep Dive Analysis of a Sample Statement of Purpose for Graduate School
Next, we’ll do a paragraph by paragraph analysis of my statement, statement of purpose sample four. I’ll analyze its strengths and suggest ways I could shore up any weaknesses to make it even stronger.
Essay 1: Academic Interests
To refresh, here’s the first prompt: Please give a short statement that describes your academic interests, purpose, objectives and motivation in undertaking this postgraduate study. (max 3500 chars – approx. 500 words)
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Since I was a child, my favorite thing has always been a book. Not just for the stories and information they contain, although that is a large part of it. Mostly, I have been fascinated by the concept of book as object—a tangible item whose purpose is to relate intangible ideas and images. Bookbindings and jackets, different editions, the marginalia in a used book—all of these things become part of the individual book and its significance, and are worth study and consideration. Books and their equivalent forms—perfect bound, scrolled, stone tablets, papyrus—have long been an essential part of material culture and are also one of our most significant sources of information about the human historical past. Through both the literal object of the book, the words contained thereon, and its relationship to other books—forms of context, text and intertext—we are able to learn and hopefully manage layers of information with which we would otherwise have no familiarity.
First, the good: this paragraph does a good job introducing my academic interest in the book-as-object, and shows off pre-existing knowledge both of the study of material culture and literary theory. Additionally, the language is engaging: the juxtaposition of “tangible” and “intangible” in the beginning and phrases like “perfect bound, scrolled, stone tablets, papyrus” lend life to the writing and keep the reader engaged.
If I were to go back and improve this paragraph, first, I would absolutely change the first sentence to something less cliche than talking about my childhood. I might try something like “My love of books is a multifaceted thing. I don’t only love them for the stories and….” Second, I would chill out on the em dashes a little bit. Three sets in one paragraph is a little excessive. Finally, I might actually cut this paragraph down slightly to make more room word-wise later in the statement to discuss what specific things about the program interest me.
Furthermore, blogs, webcomics, digital archives, e-readers, and even social media sites like tumblr and Facebook have revolutionized the concept of the book by changing how we share and transmit ideas and information, just as the Gutenberg printing press revolutionized the book all those years ago in the fifteenth century. Once again there has been an explosion both in who can send out information and who can receive it.
This paragraph briefly and effectively introduces my other main academic interest: how new technology has changed the concept of the book-as-object. The tie-back to the printing press is a nice touch; it’s a vivid example that shows that I’m aware of important historical moments in book history.
I am deeply interested in the preservation of the physical book, as I think it is an important part of human history (not to mention a satisfying sensory experience for the reader). However I am also very concerned with the digitization and organization of information for the modern world such that the book, in all of its forms, stays relevant and easy to access and use. Collections of books, archives, and information as stored in the world’s servers, libraries and museums are essential resources that need to be properly organized and administered to be fully taken advantage of by their audiences. My purpose in applying to the University of Edinburgh’s Material Culture and History of the Book is to gain the skills necessary to keep all forms of the book relevant and functional in an age when information can move more radically than ever before.
This paragraph actually has a focus problem. Since it covers two topics, I should split it into two paragraphs: one on the integration of my two interests, and one on my goals and interests in the program. I could also stand to expand on what features the program has that interest me: professors I’d like to work with, particular aspects of the curriculum, etc.
In spite of these things, however, this paragraph does a good job clearly integrating the two academic interests related to the book I introduced in the first two paragraphs. And the language is still strong —“satisfying sensory experience” is a great phrase. However, I’ve been using the word “information,” a lot; I might try to replace with appropriate synonyms (like “knowledge”) in a couple of places.
Additionally, I intend on pursuing a PhD in Library and Information Sciences upon completion of my master’s and I feel that this program while make me uniquely suited to approach library science from a highly academic and interdisciplinary perspective.
This final paragraph offers just quick touch on my future goals beyond the program. It’s typically fine for this to be relatively brief, as it is here, just so long as you can clearly identify some future goals.
Essay 2: Relevant Experience
The second prompt just asked me to describe my relevant knowledge, training, and skills.
As a folklore and mythology student, I have gained a robust understanding of material culture and how it relates to culture as a whole. I have also learned about the transmission of ideas, information, stories and pieces of lore among and between populations, which is an important component of book history. Folklore is also deeply concerned with questions of the literary vs. oral lore and the tendency for text to “canonize” folklore, and yet text can also question or invert canonized versions; along with this my studies in my focus field of religion and storytelling have been deeply concerned with intertextuality. One of my courses was specifically concerned with the Heian-period Japanese novel The Tale of Genji and questions of translation and representation in post-Heian picture scrolls and also modern translations and manga. In addition to broader cultural questions concerned with gender and spirituality both in historical Japan and now, we considered the relationships between different Genji texts and images.
This is a strong, focused paragraph. I relate my academic background in Folklore and Mythology to my interests in studying the book, as well as showing off some of my knowledge in the area. I also chose and elaborated on a strong example (my class on the Tale of Genji ) of my relevant coursework.
I also have work experience that lends itself to the study of the book. After my freshman year of college I interned at the Chicago History Museum. Though I was in the visitor services department I was exposed to the preservation and archival departments of the museum and worked closely with the education department, which sparked my interest in archival collections and how museums present collection information to the public. After my sophomore year of college and into my junior year, I worked at Harvard’s rare books library, Houghton. At Houghton I prepared curated collections for archival storage. These collections were mostly comprised of the personal papers of noteworthy individuals, categorized into alphabetical folders. This experience made me very process-oriented and helped me to understand how collections come together on a holistic basis.
This paragraph also has a clear focus: my past, relevant work experience. Discussing archival collections and presenting information to the public links the interests discussed in my first statement with my qualifications in my second statement. However, if I were to revise this paragraph, I would add some specific examples of the amazing things I worked on and handled at Houghton Library. In that job, I got to touch Oliver Cromwell’s death mask! An interesting example would make this paragraph really pop even more.
Finally, in my current capacity as an education mentor in Allston, a suburb of Boston, I have learned the value of book history and material culture from an educational perspective. As a mentor who designs curriculum for individual students and small groups, I have learned to highly value clearly organized and useful educational resources such as websites, iPad apps, and books as tools for learning. By managing and organizing collections in a way that makes sense we are making information accessible to those who need it.
This final paragraph discusses my current (at the time) work experience in education and how that ties into my interest in the history of the book. It’s an intriguing connection and also harkens back to my discussion of information availability in the paragraph three of the first statement. Again, if I were to amp up this statement even more, I might include a specific example of a book-based (or book technology-based) project I did with one of my students. I worked on things like bookbinding and making “illuminated manuscripts” with some of my students; those would be interesting examples here.
This statement is split into two parts by virtue of the two-prompt format. However, if I were to integrate all of this information into one unified statement of purpose, I would probably briefly introduce my research interests, go in-depth on my background, then circle back around to speak more about my personal interests and goals and what intrigues me about the program. There’s not really one correct way to structure a statement of purpose just so long as it flows well and paragraphs are structured in a logical way: one topic per paragraph, with a clear topic and concluding sentence.
More Statement of Purpose Examples
We’ve provided you with four great graduate school statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts. However, if you’re looking for more, there are other sample letters of intent and statements of purpose for graduate school online. We’ve rounded up the best ones here, along with some strengths and weaknesses about each example.
Majortests Statement of Purpose Sample
This is a fairly straightforward, clearly written statement of purpose sample for a biology program. It includes useful commentary after each paragraph about what this statement of purpose is accomplishing.
- This statement of purpose sample is well-organized, with clear topic sentences and points made in each paragraph.
- The student clearly identifies what interests her about the program.
- The student proactively addresses questions about why she hasn’t gone directly to graduate school, and frames her professional research experience as a positive thing.
- She gives a tiny bit of color about her personality in a relevant way by discussing her involvement with the Natural History Society.
- In general, discussing high school interests is too far back in time unless the anecdote is very interesting or unusual. The detail about The Theory of Evolution is intriguing; the information about the high school teacher seems irrelevant. The student should have condensed this paragraph into a sentence or two.
- While this statement is cogently written and makes the candidate sound competent and well-qualified, it’s not exactly the most scintillating piece of writing out there. Some of the constructions are a little awkward or cliche. For example, the “many people have asked me” sentence followed by “the answer is” is a little bit clunky. This is probably fine for a STEM program. But just be aware that this statement is not a paragon of writing style.
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UC Berkeley History Statement of Purpose Sample
This is a graduate school statement of purpose example from the UC Berkeley History department’s PhD program, with annotations from a professor as to why it’s a successful statement.
- The author is able to very clearly and articulately lay out her research interests and link them to past work she has successfully completed, namely, her thesis.
- She is able to identify several things about the program and Berkeley that indicate why it is a good fit for her research interests.
- She addresses the time she spent away from school and frames it as a positive, emphasizing that her use of time was well-considered and productive.
- Her writing is very vivid, with excellent word choice and great imagery.
While very well-written and engaging, this sample statement of purpose for graduate school is a little bit on the long side! It’s a little over two single-spaced pages, which is definitely pushing the limits of acceptable length. Try to keep yours at 2 pages or less. Some of the information on the thesis (which comprises over half of the statement of purpose) could be condensed to bring it down to two pages.
Pharmacy Residency Letter of Intent Sample
This is not technically a sample letter of intent for graduate school because it’s actually for a pharmacy residency program. However, this example still provides illumination as to what makes a decent graduate school letter of intent sample.
- This is a serviceable letter of intent: the writer clearly lays out their own goals within the field of pharmacy, what qualifications they have and how they’ve arrived at their interests, and how the program fits their needs.
- The writing is clearly structured and well-organized.
- The main weakness is that some of the writer’s statements come across as fairly generic. For example, “The PGY-1 Residency Program at UO Hospitals will provide me with the opportunity to further develop my clinical knowledge, critical thinking, teaching, research, and leadership skills” is a generic statement that could apply to any residency program. A punchier, more program-specific conclusion would have amped up this letter.
- While the writer does a decent job providing examples of their activities, like working as a tutor and attending the APhA conference, more specificity and detail in these examples would make the statement more memorable.
- There’s a typo in the last paragraph —a “to” that doesn’t belong! This is an unprofessional blip in an otherwise solid letter. Read you own letter of intent aloud to avoid this!
NIU Bad Statement of Purpose Example
This is an ineffective graduate school statement of purpose example, with annotations on why it doesn’t work.
As you might imagine, the main strength in this document is as an example of what not to do. Otherwise, there is little to recommend it.
- The annotations quite clearly detail the weaknesses of this statement. So I won’t address them exhaustively except to point out that this statement of purpose fails at both content and style. The author includes irrelevant anecdotes and lists without offering a decisive picture of interests or any particular insight into the field. Additionally, the statement is riddled with grammatical mistakes, awkward sentence structures, and strange acronyms.
- You’ll note that the commentary advises you to “never start with a quote.” I agree that you should never start with a freestanding quote as in this example. However, I do think starting with a quote is acceptable in cases like the Berkeley history example above, where the quote is brief and then directly linked to the research interest.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples: 4 Key Points
Graduate programs ask for statement of purpose to hear about your interests and goals and why you think you and the program would be a good fit.
There are four key elements to a successful statement of purpose:
- A clear articulation of your goals and interests
- Evidence of past experiences and success
- Interest and fit with the program
- Strong writing
We’ve provided you with four successful statement of purpose samples from our graduate school experts!
We also provided additional statement of purpose samples (and a sample letter of intent) for graduate school from other sources on the internet. Now you have all kinds of guidance!
If you’re looking for more information on graduate school , see our guide to what makes a good GPA for grad school .
Not sure if you need to take the GRE ? See if you can get into graduate school without GRE scores .
Want more information about the GRE? We can help you figure out when to take the GRE , how to make a GRE study plan , and how to improve your GRE score .
Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?
Author: Ellen McCammon
Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon
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Statement of Purpose (SOP) for Masters with Samples
Updated on 25 october, 2023.
Sr. content writer & study abroad expert.
A Statement of Purpose( SOP ) is a crucial essay discussing applicants’ academic records, experiences, accomplishments, and skills for students planning to study abroad . It helps the admissions committees assess the suitability of candidates for their programs. Unlike MBA and other programs, SOPs for MS courses mainly revolve around academic prowess and the reasons behind choosing a particular program. Reading SOP samples for MS will also help you get an idea of the style and tone of writing.
Guaranteed SOP Acceptance. Get free Counseling
Table of Contents
Sop sample for ms : #1, sop sample for ms : #2, suitable format for sop for ms.
SOPs for MS
Sop samples for ms (master of science).
The dynamically advancing world of Computer Science has always attracted me. I started learning how to code from the seventh grade itself and ventured directly into advanced computer programming at 14. As they say, the rest is history. I was hooked on developing applications of various types throughout high school and even in college. I naturally took up a B. Tech course in Computer Science and graduated with flying colours. I participated in numerous coding competitions at my institution and online too. I have also completed online certifications in Python, ML (Machine Learning), and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to quench my insatiable thirst for knowledge in the field.
I have been involved in hosting and organizing multiple events and seminars on programming and data science at my institution. I decided to apply for an MS in Computer Science after graduation. Even though I lack professional experience, I have ranked in the top 2% of my class throughout my undergraduate course while also serving as the secretary at the coding society of my institution named Coders Unlimited. I have also pursued multiple internships and projects throughout the final two years of my course. I have interned at a data science company and another IT major in my third and fourth years. These internships have helped me apply my programming, coding, data science, and analysis knowledge to solve real-world problems. I have always viewed Computer Science as a spectrum with many gaps, untapped zones, and well-known sub-categories which have unfathomable future potential. I also helped one of my professors with a special project on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its application to customer interaction at financial institutions. My passion for Computer Science is visible through my academic record, internships, projects, and certifications.
Pursuing an MS in Computer Science, I would like to go deeper into the field and gather more advanced skills while building up my research skills simultaneously. I aim to eventually become an entrepreneur and build my ecosystem of problem-solving applications for daily life. The master’s program at your institution will help me with the skill sets and knowledge I require for fulfilling my career goals. The world-class faculty, intellectually stimulating atmosphere, and progressively inclined curriculum attracted me to your esteemed institution. I would be grateful if deemed worthy of admission into your university. I am confident about meeting the high standards of your institution.
I have always been fascinated by robots from childhood and how they simulated human beings’ activities and brain functions. I chose Computer Science as my elective in high school. It helped increase my passion for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science and enlightened me about the massive future potential of these fields in almost every sector of the industry and even daily life. AI (Artificial Intelligence) will have a transformational and disruptive impact on every segment of the mainstream industry, right from healthcare and medicine to mobile technologies and even education. It is what spurred my interest in artificial intelligence and its universal applicability.
I went ahead with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science after completing high school. This decision was driven by my interest in technology and data science. I chose Artificial Intelligence (AI) after that as the specialization for my master’s program. I headed the AI and Data Science Society during my undergraduate courses, where we participated in several inter and intra-college events and contests. I also helped develop multiple artificial intelligence tools and devices for several projects in college while winning numerous laurels at college competitions on data science.
Studying MS in Artificial Intelligence will help me equip myself with more advanced skill sets and knowledge regarding this emerging area of study and contribute to productive research at your institution. My long-term objective is to build the foundation for a successful research career in Artificial Intelligence and focus on applying it to solve pressing problems of modern life. The (course name) at your institution will help me gain the insights and further training required to build a successful career as a researcher. The favorable environment for research, top-class laboratories, project work, and innovative curriculum are major reasons behind choosing your institution. I would be grateful if you choose me for admission into your esteemed institution’s (course name). I am confident that I can live up to the high standards maintained by your university.
Read More: What is the full form of IELTS?
If you write an SOP sample for MS in electrical engineering or any other field, you will find yourself following a similar format. You will use a 12-point font (maximum) with double spacing and regular margins. A standard SOP may be between 800-1000 words on average. Do not use any colorful images or text with your content.
Here is a suitable format:
- Introduction- Reasons for choosing the field, getting drawn to it, choosing this institution and course.
- The second and third paragraphs- Educational and professional growth and progress.
- Fourth paragraph- Why you are planning to pursue this course, narrating incidents or anecdotes
- Fifth paragraph- How you wish to achieve your eventual goals and list them down.
- Conclusion- Submit your appeal for considering you worthy of admission into the institution.
What You Should Include in Your SOP for MS
When you check SOP samples for MS in CS (Computer Science) or other disciplines, such as SOP samples for MS in mechanical engineering, you find some common elements. So what are these elements?
Here’s taking a look at them:
Four Ps- Purpose, Program, Past, and Personality.
- The program you wish to study and reasons for the same.
- Reasons behind choosing this particular course.
- Projects during the undergraduate course.
- What draws you to the field?
- Knowledge and skills you want to acquire from the course.
- Plans after graduation.
- Long-term and short-term goals.
- Earlier academic track record.
- Work experience, if any.
- Internships, projects, seminars, conferences, more.
- Additional skills.
- Reason for choosing a specific university.
- Any particular curriculum aspect that you appreciate.
- Any department, field, or topic you are interested in.
- What you will contribute to the university and the course.
- What do you expect from the institution and course.
- Extracurricular activities.
- Hobbies and personal interests.
- Soft skills like teamwork, leadership qualities, and communication skills.
- A unique trait that you wish to inform the admissions committee about.
Related Reads: Free Study Abroad Counselling , Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
What is the ideal length for an SOP for masters?
Usually, it is advisable to keep the content length around 1000 words. However, when a student is applying for admission in the UK universities via UCAS, it is advisable to keep it around 47 lines or 4000 characters. Moreover, it is paramount for students to check the official website of the university before submitting their statement of purpose.
How do you write a statement of purpose for masters?
Writing an impeccable statement of purpose for masters is not an easy task. But with the right guidance and keeping these pointers in mind, it could be easily achieved.
- Focus on unique qualities and experiences
- Explain how your academic background is relevant to the course
- Discuss your research interest
- Make sure to proofread your draft
- Avoid any grammatical mistake or spelling mistakes
- Elucidate how can the course help you to achieve your long-term and short-term goals
- Brief about why the university makes the right choice
- Do not miss to write a crisp conclusion
- SOP for MS in Electrical Engineering
- SOP for MS in MIS
- SOP for MS in Mechanical Engineering
- SOP for MS in Biotechnology
- SOP for MS in Civil Engineering
- SOP for MS in Information Technology
Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.
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Statement of Purpose for Graduate School
Criteria for success.
- qualified for their program, and
- a good fit for their program’s focus and goals.
- You show a select group of skills and experiences that concisely convey your scientific accomplishments and interests.
- Your experiences are concrete and quantitative .
- Your personal statement is no more than 2 pages (less if you can, or if it is required by the school).
The graduate school Personal Statement (≈ Statement of Purpose ≈ Statement of Intent) is a document that complements your resume and application form, describing your profile in a narrative way and convincing the admission committee that you would be a good match for a particular department or program. Take into account that matching goes both ways: they should be interested in you, and you should be interested in them. Your personal statement should make this match clear.
Analyze Your Audience
Your personal statement will be read by a graduate committee – a handful of faculty from the program. They’re trying to determine if you will be a successful graduate student in their department and a successful scientist after you graduate. They are interested in your qualifications as a researcher, your career goals, and how your personality matches their labs and department.
The graduate committee probably reads hundreds of applications every year. To make it easy for them to figure out that you are a good fit, keep in mind the following suggestions:
- Make direct, concrete statements about your accomplishments and qualifications.
- Create a narrative that serves as a personal brand and helps them remember you.
- Give them some unique examples that describe you and make you stand out, and which will make them remember you as “that candidate that was so passionate about…” or “who has a lot of experience in…”, although they might not remember your name.
- Align your academic goals and motivations with specific research projects or research directions of the target department.
Assessing your match to the target program
A key point on writing your Personal Statement is to demonstrate that you have done previous research about the program to which you’re applying, that you understand its characteristics and objectives, and that you are really interested in joining it and willing to do your best to be successful in it. To do this:
- Read the program’s website. Learn about its faculty members and the projects they are working on. Check what topics and high level goals the department is committed to. Identify the main research areas.
- Get in contact with faculty and students in your target program. Browse recent publications and presentations but remember lab websites can be outdated and a publication may lag a few years behind the active research in a lab so pay attention to the motivation, direction, and methods of the faculty member over specific results. If you have had a positive discussion with someone at the department, you can include in your essay how those interactions confirmed that you would be a good match for the program.
Reflect before you start
To convince a graduate committee that you are ready for and excited about graduate school, first you need to be able to articulate this to yourself. Earnestly reflect on the following types of questions. A lack of authenticity is easy to detect.
- Why do I want to go to graduate school?
- How am I sure?
- Why will I be successful in graduate school?
- What can I do with the help of this degree that I couldn’t do before?
- Where do I want to be in a few years?
- How am I going to get there?
Create a personal narrative
Graduate programs invest in the professional and scientific growth of their students. Get the committee excited about investing in you by opening your essay with a brief portrait of what drives you as a scientist. What research directions are you passionate about, and why? What do you picture yourself doing in 10 years?
- E.g. “Graduate study is the first step towards my goal: I want to improve my ability as a researcher and gain more technical depth and breadth to maximize my impact. In the long term, I hope graduate school will better position me to be a leader in shaping the conversation about what problems can be addressed by mechanical engineers.”
Close your essay with a 2-3 sentence discussion of your long-term career interests. No one will hold you to this; this just helps your committee visualize your potential trajectory.
- E.g. “Above all else, a MIT PhD would help me achieve my long term career goal of becoming a professor, the position in which I can best see myself accomplishing my mission to show others the hidden beauty in everyday life through science.”
Connect your personal narrative to whichever degree you are applying to (be it research-based or course-work-based, or a Master of Science, Master of Engineering, or PhD). Especially in mechanical engineering, each of these degrees will enable different career trajectories and provide different educational opportunities. Articulate clearly why the degree you are applying for helps you achieve your goals. In the same vein, consider mutual benefit: what will you contribute to the academic community over your time at your target school? Remember, it all comes back to “qualified match” , no matter what level of degree you are applying for.
Describe your experiences
Experiences are the “what” of your essay. They are the most efficient and easiest way to prove your capabilities to the admissions committee.
- What experiences led you to develop your skill set and passions ?
- Where have you demonstrated accomplishment, leadership, and collaboration?
- Show your depth with a range of experiences: research, teaching, relevant extracurriculars and leadership positions.
- State concrete achievements and outcomes like awards, discoveries, or publications, or projects completed.
Achievements need not be limited to research projects or publications. Think about all the experiences that demonstrate your ability to conduct research and succeed within the structure of your target program. (Where have you demonstrated creativity? Self sufficiency? Perseverance? What open ended problems have you tackled? What enabled you to succeed at them?)
Quantify your experiences to show concrete impact. How many people were on your team? How many protocols did you develop? How many people were in competition for an award? As a TA, how often did you meet with your students?
For each experience you include, focus on how the experience affected you. Describe your actions, and always direct the message to highlighting your performance and growth (not how important the company was or how well-known the professor you TAed for is). Remember, it is not an essay about science, it is a personal essay—about you and how you have positioned yourself to succeed in graduate school.
Explain the meaning of your experiences
Your goal in sharing your experiences is to demonstrate that you have the qualifications, qualities, and drive needed to succeed in graduate school. Therefore, you will need to not only choose experiences wisely but also state specifically what they mean within the context of your application.
- Why was this experience important to your growth as a scientist?
- What did you gain from or demonstrate during that experience?
- How will this make you a better grad student?
Even if it feels obvious to you, you need to explicitly answer these questions to your audience. Here are some examples experiences that have been expanded to contain meaning:
Contemplate how disparate activities can be unified into a common narrative about your motivations and achievements. Articulate this clearly to make your statement cohesive.
Demonstrate your match to the target program
Using the research you did to assess your chosen programs, clearly articulate why you are a match . Consider both directions of the match: not only why you want to go to the school, but also why you would fit in well and contribute to the program.
State which professors in the program you would be interested in working with. Demonstrate that you have done your homework regarding the program. Show how their research areas align with your background and your goals. If you have had conversations with students or professors in the program, be sure to include that as well.
Write about you , not your role models. One of the most common pitfalls we see in the Comm Lab is students writing touching Personal Statements about family members or role models who have inspired them. There is nothing wrong with including personal stories about people who have helped you understand yourself better, or positioned you to succeed in graduate school, but it is important to tread very carefully. Don’t leave the reader wondering why they are reading about someone else in a document that is meant to be about you. If you take time to talk about someone who positively affected you, make sure to be very clear about how that experience with that person molded you into a strong graduate school candidate.
Be judicious with childhood stories. A brief mention of some childhood experience that shaped your interests in STEM is probably okay, but if you talk about it at length (more than ~2 sentences), you are taking up space that should probably be used to talk about who you are today, not who you were over a decade ago.
Don’t simply restate your resume. Your Personal Statement should be a technical document (having evidence, numbers, and supporting facts) with personal outcomes (talking about your motivations, ambitions, and ability to succeed as a graduate student). Of course, you will reiterate parts of your resume in your Personal Statement , but what uniquely makes it a “Personal Statement” is the discussion of how those professional experiences affected you , as a researcher and person well-suited to the graduate program at X University.
Insufficient quantification of your experiences. We are all scientists and engineers; our line of work is inherently quantitative. Quantification is a quick and easy way to add context, lend credence to your experiences, and impress the reader. Even little quantifications can help: “I spent two semesters working on a project about…” is much better than “I spent some time working on a project about…”. See more examples in the section on Experiences, above.
Being a great student and having an impressive resume is only half the battle when it comes to graduate school applications. You need to be able to communicate and convince the committee that your personality and particular set of skills and experiences are well-suited to the graduate program you are applying for. This extends beyond graduate school applications: as scientists and engineers, we write papers and technical reports to communicate with our peers and convince them that our work is meaningful.
By reading this article, you have recognized the value of communication and are well on your way to crafting an effective and powerful Personal Statement. This is your opportunity to make yourself shine among all the other candidates, so make it count! You can do it!
Acknowledgements : This content was adapted from the NSE and CEE Communication Labs’ CommKits for graduate applications.
Resources and Annotated Examples
Annotated example 1, annotated example 2.
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Statement of Purpose Examples: How to Write the Best One for You?
In this article, we look at three statement of purpose examples and how to write the best one for you.
Keep reading to find out about the 7 essential things that should go into a statement of purpose and your 4-step guide to writing a winning statement.
Also, let’s see how a job cleaning out fish tanks led to a lifelong passion for marine biology for one grad school candidate!
Table of Contents
What is a statement of purpose, the best statements of purpose for graduate school, statement of purpose example #1: master’s in biomedical engineering, statement of purpose example #2: master’s in psychology, statement of purpose example #3: master’s in biology, how to write your own statement of purpose, faq (frequently asked questions), related articles.
A statement of purpose is an essay that summarizes an applicant’s qualifications, experience and past work in preparation for graduate studies.
It is used to explain the experiences and accomplishments that are most important for the applicant’s success as a student at their chosen institution. It gives the admissions team insight into your academic career, why you may be successful as a student at their institution, and why you want to go to graduate school.
The goal of this essay is to organize and present your academic journey to convince top institutions’ admissions committees that you are perfect for their program.
A statement of purpose typically answers questions such as: Why do you want to go to graduate school? How have you prepared for graduate studies? What field are you interested in studying and why?
The best statements of purpose for graduate school should contain the following elements:
1. Clear Goals
A clear goal explaining the specific reason why someone is applying to graduate school.
A strong goal for graduate school should be clearly stated, compelling, and unique. It should capture the reader’s attention and explain why the applicant is pursuing this particular degree or program.
A good statement of purpose will also outline what the applicant hopes to gain from their education or experience in graduate school, in other words, their long-term goals.
2. Well-Investigated Topic – what you want to study, and why
One example of a well-investigated topic for graduate school is my desire to study the relationship between cognitive development and media consumption.
The candidate’s essay begins by providing an example from their own life, such as, I have observed children’s cognitive development change over my lifetime due to increasing access to media.
The example then provides some general context on the topic by explaining that researchers have long been interested in this issue but there is still much more to learn about it.
Finally, this example details research questions that the author hopes to explore further if accepted into their chosen program, such as, at what point could media consumption negatively impact cognitive development in young children?
3. Relevance to Program
The statement of purpose is an essential component of any graduate school application, as it helps demonstrate why the applicant is a good fit for the program.
By writing about previous studies (undergraduate degree and other qualifications) candidates are showing that they are well-qualified and likely to be successful.
By including information about which professors they would be interested in working with, applicants can demonstrate that they have done their homework on that particular program’s research areas and are serious about committing themselves fully if accepted.
4. Skills and Qualifications
As we mentioned above, to be successful in graduate school, you will need to have a solid background in the field you are studying.
This includes previous coursework and any additional related work you have done. In addition, you need good communication skills and the ability to work independently in a graduate program.
It is also important to have strong analytical skills and an ability to think creatively when solving problems or developing new ideas as part of your research.
5. Demonstrated Passion
Passion is a strong enthusiasm or desire for something. In graduate school statements of purpose, it means you are passionate about your intended field of study.
An example statement of purpose demonstrating passion would be one that discusses how you became interested in your chosen field and how you plan on continuing your studies during graduate school.
It could also include examples of projects or internships you have done. They demonstrate why you might be a good fit for the program.
Finally, passion is important but you also need persistence and determination. It can take years of hard work before seeing results from your efforts so the board need to know you won’t give up.
An example experience statement for graduate school could be:
As a senior, I received a 4.0 in a graduate-level CFD course. My advanced coursework demonstrates my ability to thrive in a challenging academic environment. A graduate-level computational fluid dynamics course challenged me to improve my problem-solving abilities in attacking open-ended research problems.
My research experiences have developed my creativity, self-sufficiency and perseverance as I worked independently on digital data acquisition software for gamma spectroscopy projects.
For example, when the commercial software was insufficient for the project, I developed my own digital data acquisition software that enabled me to collect more accurate data than before.
Additionally, I have gained training in dealing with time constraints and large groups of people through volunteering for Campus Preview Weekend over the last three years.
This experience has prepared me well for success in a doctoral program where I will be required to oversee large groups of researchers while managing numerous projects simultaneously.
7. Supporting documents
Examples of references for graduate school applications include:
- Academic transcripts: These provide a record of your academic achievements and can include grades, class standings, honours or awards received.
- Coursework: Courses taken that are relevant to the program you are applying to should be included in your application. This includes any relevant coursework taken as an undergraduate or during master’s studies.
- Research experience: Extensive research experience will show the admissions committee that you have the ability to conduct high-quality research and potentially lead a future project or lab at their university.
- Internship/job experience: Any work experience related to your field of study can be beneficial when applying for graduate programs as it shows initiative and responsibility in previous positions.
The example statement of purpose for graduate school in biomedical engineering below is a compelling and effective statement of purpose.
It is written in the third person narrative style and focuses on the applicant’s background, interests, and goals.
It also highlights relevant academic achievements and research experience that will help them succeed in a Master’s program, explaining how pursuing an advanced degree will further their career goals and why the applicant is interested in this particular program:
I am applying for admission into the Master’s Program in Biomedical Engineering at Hertford University. Throughout my academic career, I have developed extensive knowledge about biomedical technologies through hands-on research projects across multiple disciplines, working with specialist teams in fields including chemistry, physics and computer science.
My goal is to become a successful entrepreneur by creating cutting-edge medical devices that improve patient care worldwide. To achieve this goal I need an advanced degree from a top-ranked university which offers world-class training in biomedical engineering.
My previous work experience as well as my volunteer activities have given me the foundation to develop my leadership skills which will be beneficial when running my own company.
This is an example of a statement of purpose for graduate school in the field of psychology.
It provides relevant background information about the applicant’s education, experience, and accomplishments, as well as an outline of their future plans if they were to attend this program.
The writer also includes personal details relating to family challenges that explain their motivation for studying psychology and add context to their application.
My passion for the study of psychology began when I was just a child, watching my mother deal with severe anxiety and depression. Her struggles inspired me to learn more about mental health and develop ways to help others battling similar issues. Now, as an aspiring student in the field, I am eager to further my education so that I can one day become a therapist who specializes in treating trauma survivors.
My goal is to provide these individuals with compassionate care while helping them find comfort in their recovery process. My commitment to this cause has been demonstrated through my volunteer work at local shelters where, as a medical student and supervised by an experienced counsellor, I have provided emotional support and guidance for those seeking refuge from traumatic experiences.
I believe that earning my master’s degree from Connecticut University would give me the necessary skill set to embark on this career path while also providing me with access to cutting-edge research on trauma recovery.
This is an example of a statement of purpose for graduate school in the field of biology.
I am applying to Carnegie’s Master’s program in Biology with a focus on marine biology. My passion for marine life and desire to make a difference in the world inspired me to pursue this degree. As a young teenager, I had a Saturday job at our local aquarium and spent many hours scrubbing out fish tanks, before deciding on a future in marine biology. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I developed strong research skills that I plan on utilizing during my graduate studies.
My experience working as an intern at the Boston aquarium and research centre has given me valuable insight into the field and allowed me to develop relationships with key faculty members at Harvard. I learned many of the practicalities while supporting the team researching the giant pacific octopus, from designing separated tanks to collating feeding data. These connections will be essential in helping me succeed as a student and later on as a researcher.
Additionally, I have taken several courses related to marine biology which have helped prepare me for graduate-level work. Lastly, I am excited about this opportunity because it will allow me to further explore my interests while also providing an excellent foundation for future career opportunities in academia or marine biology industry-related fields such as marine conservation.
Step 1: Do your homework
- Research the graduate program you are applying to and familiarize yourself with its mission, values and goals.
- Contact any potential mentors whose work interests you and try to form a direct connection with them so they can answer questions regarding your research interests.
- Look at example statements of purpose in similar fields to better understand the style and tone required.
Step 2: Consider your audience
- Understand your audience: When writing your statement of purpose, it is important to consider who will be reading your statement and what they are looking for in a candidate.
- Capture their attention: Start off by creating a hook that will capture the reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading.
- Explain your intentions: Clearly state why you are applying for this program or position, what you hope to gain from it, and how it fits into your long-term goals and career plans.
- Showcase relevant skills & experience from previous jobs, volunteer work, internships and extracurricular activities.
Step 3: Write a draft of your statement of purpose
- Set aside the time to prepare and write your statement of purpose. Give yourself at least a week to complete this task and start by writing the first draft.
- Make sure all materials needed for reference are readily available before writing including your academic transcripts and details of work experience.
- Make sure to print out and read any prompts provided by schools carefully so that you can follow formatting guidelines correctly when writing your draft statement of purpose.
Step 4: Proofread and edit – several times!
- Read your statement of purpose out loud to yourself and make corrections.
- Ask friends, colleagues, and professors to read your edited draft and ask for feedback before rewriting it.
- Proofread for grammar errors using a grammar checker.
- 4. Read through the statement one last time before submitting it.
Some of these questions were already covered in this blog post but I will still list them here (because not everyone carefully reads every paragraph) so here’s the TL;DR version
How can I format my statement of purpose for graduate school?
- Use Times New Roman font with 12-point size.
- Ensure that your document has 1-inch margins on all sides of it.
- Have 1.5 line spacing throughout the document for ease of reading and comprehension purposes.
- Make sure that there are no grammar or spelling errors in your statement of purpose.
- Use clear, succinct, and strong language without any repetitive language or clichés.
- Maintain a confident and positive tone..
What should I include in my statement of purpose for graduate school?
You should include:
- An introduction that clearly states your purpose and goal in applying to the program.
- A description of your academic background and accomplishments.
- Your current interests and research topics, as well as how they relate to the program.
- Why you are interested in pursuing this particular degree at this particular institution.
- How this degree will help further your career goals and aspirations.
- Any relevant work or volunteer experience related to academia or related fields.
How do I showcase my accomplishments in graduate school applications?
- Identify the strengths and priorities of your academic experience. Think about the courses you took, projects you worked on, research papers you wrote, extracurricular activities in which you have been involved, and any other experiences that highlight your strengths and interests.
- Highlight some of the most important accomplishments from this list and explain how they have helped you develop or strengthened your skills.
- Be sure to include details about each accomplishment such as when it occurred, who was involved and what specifically you achieved as a result of your efforts.
- Use examples from your past work to illustrate how well you can analyze data and present conclusions or insights from it in an effective way that is easy for others to understand and use for their own purposes (e.g., presentations).
How do I explain any weaknesses in my grad school application?
- Be self-aware and clear: Try to sound honest and objective when discussing your strengths and weaknesses.
- Mention special circumstances that may have led to compromises or delays in academic performance. Explain how these challenges have impacted you but keep it positive in order to show the committee that you are able to adapt when faced with difficult circumstances and the situation made you stronger and more resilient.
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