I am working as a senior computer vision engineer in a startup. Two years back I worked as an intern at DRDO (national defense institute) where I published two papers related to computational neuroscience. Due to personal issues I didn't apply then. Now I want to apply for a PhD position at a good European university in the field of computational neuroscience. But I am worried as to what I should include in my statement of purpose. Can I include my achievements related to my job in it? Does participation in a one week workshop count? Do I need to do something else in order to increase my chances of selection?

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    A Personal Statement and a Statement of Purpose are different. Which do you mean? How is it labelled? Don't confuse either with the CV.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 21:06
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    I mean Statement of purpose. I know what is a CV, it is not that. Some of my colleagues used it interchangeably, So I assumed that both were same when it comes to PhD application its just that some call it SOP and some call it PS.
    – Amarnath
    Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 21:18

1 Answer 1


A personal statement is about you and maybe why you want to study at some particular place in a particular field. This can also be in a cover letter if available.

But a Statement of Purpose is a future directed statement of what you intend to study and how you intend to achieve success, both in study and thereafter. Entirely future directed. In particular it isn't the place to explain failings or missed opportunities of the past.

If you want to talk about the past it needs to go elsewhere, such as in the CV. In the US, letters of recommendation can be used to support you and explain (better than you can) how missing pieces from the past won't inhibit you. I don't know if it is the same in India. In Europe letters can have some importance IIRC, possibly less than in the US.

However, in the SoP, it is possible to use short phrases as part of a longer forward looking statement but that comments on the past. "My successful experience on several projects at DRDO has pushed me towards a deeper understanding of ...". Or some such.

Workshops and stuff can be in the CV under a heading like "Other Educational Experiences".

The CV is about the past. The Personal Statement is about motivation. The SoP is about the future: goals and how you are likely to achieve them.

For more see: How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in Country X?

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