I am applying to a PhD program in France and they asked for a letter of motivation.

Is it okay if I repeat some of the information that is already in my resume in my letter?

Do you have any tips or helpful samples?


1 Answer 1


PhD programmes in France (and the rest of Europe, and elsewhere) want a letter of motivation for the most obvious of reasons: to hear why you want to pursue a PhD at all, to hear why you want to pursue the particular PhD topic, and to hear why you want to pursue that PhD topic at their University. They want you to articulate your reasoning, your goals, and your plan. They want to see if you are a cultural fit for the university and a particular research team or supervisor.

All told this is an imperfect way to see if you are "PhD material". To see that you genuinely have worked out what a PhD means to you and your goals and you are not just trying to do a PhD because you can't think of anything else to do. As such, it is not a repeat of the contents of your CV**. While you might mention CV items, this is a narrative, qualitative, and contextualised piece of writing. It is a different thing.

**I note you say "resume". Perhaps that is a translation problem, but please make sure you are NOT submitting a working-world style resume, rather you are submitting an academic CV. A working-world one page resume is not correct for PhD submission. It is the wrong format.

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