I am currently working on grad school applications to US Universities. Somewhere in my statement of purpose, I express my interest in working in a certain field. As a reason for that interest, I want to cite a particular paper written by members of the CS Department at the University of Toronto. The problem targeted by that paper was one that I was very interested in (at an abstract level) when I was in high school. Thus I got deeply excited and would like to extend their work.

Is it okay if I mention this paper in my statement of purpose for schools other than the University of Toronto? Could such a reference give the (mistaken) impression that I had written a statement of purpose specifically for the University of Toronto and then didn't bother to make changes for other schools?

  • I understand you'll need to mention the title and the authors when you cite a paper. But, why do you need to mention the university (affiliation) of the authors?
    – Nobody
    Nov 14, 2015 at 9:07
  • No I won't be mentioning the university, but if I am applying to a sub-domain in CS, I believe that a person related to that sub domain would be reading that paper and there are chances that she/he knows that the paper/author does not belong to their university (or might even end up doing a web search) Nov 14, 2015 at 9:24
  • 5
    Some computer scientists at Toronto are so famous that mentioning their work would be perfectly natural in any statement of purpose. Nov 14, 2015 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


If the paper was influential for your development, by all means talk about it and cite it.

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