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I am applying for a a Master's in Computer science at United States as an International Student. If I mention the names of a couple of professors of the university in my SOP, and indicate that I find their research interesting, would it be helpful since it indicates I have done some research about the university?

Or can it backfire as it is just a single line in the SOP and thus it might appear I am just trying to impress the admission committee?

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  • It probably has no effect. But see some of the "related" questions in the sidebar for more guidance on SoP.
    – Buffy
    Oct 24, 2021 at 20:25

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I would not do it, but that could be just me. I think it would feel like name-dropping. Better to talk about the strengths in the department that you feel are a match for your interests and goals as a way of explaining why you're applying to their program, not somewhere else.

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Here's my view on it, this is working out to be a situation where you are overthinking. I don't think any university would consider that you were "sucking up" to them.

indicate that I find their research interesting, would it be helpful since it indicates I have done some research about the university?

Yes if you say that I found Mr/Ms/Mrs. x's research interesting they will just think that you are interested in their university. In some cases they would appreciate you taking interest and would be more likely to accept your application

backfire as it is just a single line in the SOP and thus it might appear I am just trying to impress the admission committee?

Even if they showed some mild distaste at what you wrote, they won't go to such extreme measures as of rejecting your application.

Hope this helped.

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  • Fine, but don't address people with PhDs as Mr, Mrs or Miss.
    – astronat
    Oct 25, 2021 at 11:07
  • Ok thanks but could you clarify why I shouldn't do that
    – Hecker Cat
    Oct 26, 2021 at 3:31
  • Because if they have worked for 4+ years to gain a respected title, it is rude (and in fact, simply incorrect) not to use it. This tends to affect women disproportionately to men (i.e. men with PhDs get called Dr whereas women get called Mrs/Miss, implicitly devaluing their achievements). The same applies to using Professor.
    – astronat
    Oct 26, 2021 at 9:18
  • I see, thank you.
    – Hecker Cat
    Oct 28, 2021 at 0:34

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