I saw a postdoctoral position advertisement in engineering field, which has asked applicants to submit a cover letter and a statement of research interest. If these two are not explicitly asked, then I usually prepare single document mostly containing my research interest along with a CV.

I would like to know what should be the content of the two different documents, means what should go where?


  • 1
    For me, the cover letter is about who you are (and why do you fit to the position). The research statement is what you want to do (and have done before). Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


Statement of research interest seems to deal specifically with you potential future research. Though, you can obviously base your future project describing your proved past record. The cover letter seems to be a general info, something that you are XYZ who completer PhD in ABC university, has the following background and you are interested in this position. In the cover letter I would briefly mention your research interests and refer for more details to the statement of research interest.

I think that there is nothing special about this two-letters format, but it is just some bureaucratic requirement of the university. May be worth asking them how long should be research statement - because you can potentially write one page or 15 pages like a full grant.

  • one page of statement of research
    – pkj
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 17:54

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