I’m applying to schools for my Masters in Computer Science and I’m writing my statement of purpose. I don’t really know what I want to do for my project/thesis, but in their prompts, the schools ask for a description of tentative research plans.

I could be interested in researching the intersection of CS with topics/disciplines like psychology, kinesiology, sports, and humanitarian work. That really is me just spitballing though.

I don’t know if simply stating that I’m interested in studying the intersection of CS and one or multiple of these topics would be sufficient, or if I should attempt to come up with more specific project ideas so I can elaborate more.

2 Answers 2


The success of your application may depend on the ability of the department members to supervise the research you propose. Therefore, before preparing a statement of purpose, it would be prudent of you to explore the interests of and recent publications by the faculty.

For example, if the department is renown for its strength in a particular area, then a research plan residing in or correlated with that area may attract the attention of the people considering your application (especially if it contains direct references to some work carried out at this department).

While the outcome of the application process is largely probabilistic, you will generally improve your chances if you tune your statement of purpose to correlate with the interests of some (ideally, several) faculty at the department to which you are applying.

Good luck with your application!

  • 1
    That makes sense. Thank you! Feb 10, 2023 at 4:16

At the master's level, you can list multiple areas of research. You're application will be stronger if it looks like you have some idea but you're generally not expected to begin a postgraduate program knowing exactly what you want to research unless you already have a master's and are applying for a PhD candidacy. A lot may depend on the competitiveness of the institution. Look again at the prompts, "tentative" is a key word. Focus on why you want a master's and why their institution is a good fit for you. Also, follow @Michael_1812's advice, though you aren't writing a "research plan" but a statement about why you want to study at that level, in that field, at that university.

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