I am currently trying to apply for a PhD position in a university. For the completion of application I have to write two essays:

  1. Statement of motivation
  2. Description of research area (with vacant PhD position)

I have written my statement of motivation but I am unable to write a description of research area. In the application there are different research themes which have a vacant PhD position; we have to chose one research area from these themes. I am interested in one research area: its title is catalytic study of X-material . I have never worked in this research topic or material. So I am in a dilemma on what to write in my description of research area.

Should I write about the property of X-material, current research or should I make a research proposal for that research area (catalytic study of X-material)?


Normally, to be registered successfully for PhD project you have to write an abstract (10-20 pages) (and make a presentation). This should cover roughly and shortly:

  • state of the art
  • state of knowledge
  • open questions
  • the very specialized niche of your work and what the motivation is(better understanding, prototype, measurement accuracy improvement...)
  • how you are going to achieve this (probably), i.e. a reasonable working and time plan

As you are still applying for a PhD position, it has to be much shorter, so show to the committee that you can identify above points analyzing literature and summarize them in 2-3 pages.

To make things more easy, google similar current published PhD thesis related to this topic and read the preface (above points will often be summarized there within 2-3 pages). Don't write an essay, if the committee asks you to write 3 pages of decription of research area, write exactly 3 pages ;)

PS: Oh forgot, why are you are motivated for this topic you don't know again? Maybe after writing the description of research you should polish up the statement of motivation also a bit based on that ;)

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