I'm currently preparing a Statement of Purpose (SoP) for my grad school applications this year, and I have some questions about the content and organization of SoP.

  1. Some people say that SoP should primarily discuss what one learned from the past research experience (collaboration, soft skills, etc.) since Curriculum Vitae basically includes all the information about your past research works, while others say that SoP should be structured around one's research achievement, detailing what you've done in each project (even though it might be a duplicate from CV) since SoP is basically a research statement. Which one do you think is closer to what grad schools are looking for in general?

  2. How detailed should I be in discussing my future research plan during grad school? I feel that detailing to the extent of usual project proposals might be too much, but just mentioning some keywords and big topics might look too superficial. I'd appreciate any comment on this issue.


1 Answer 1


I think that both of the suggestions in your first numbered point are incorrect. The SoP should be about the future, not the past. The CV has the information about your past achievements.

The SoP should detail what you plan to accomplish in the future, both in studies (at that university) and beyond (your career goals). Use the past (such as research accomplishments) only to demonstrate that your goals are realistic and that you are well prepared to achieve them.

Don't duplicate what is already in the CV, but only point to that as necessary to give clear indication that you will be a success in the future.

What do you intend to focus on in studies? Where are you pointing your career. Assure me (the reader) that I don't have to worry about you if you join this program.

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