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So I'm thinking about applying for a PhD position in Norway (life sciences). They use a jobb portal for the application, meaning that you just upload your diplomas (bachelor, master, etc.) and write a personal letter. However, I am a bit unsure of what I should include in this letter.

I have written one outcast, where I ended up writing a lot about myself, what bachelor I had and why, and also what master degree project I had, and what came out of this. Then I discussed a bit what I have learned, both my weaknesses and strengths. And finally I try to explain/summarize what laboratory methods I have used, etc.

Does anyone have suggestions of what is more or less important to include? Is it a bad idea to discuss my weaknesses as well, and how I handle them? Should the focus be more on what I know compared to the position, or should it also be a bit personal so that they get the sense of who you are (and if you will fit into the group or not)?

The thing is that most of these suggestions on the web (and here) seemed to be aimed at people who want to apply for degrees in the states, or other places with similar academic structure. If you take your entire degree in Norway, then there is more or less nothing called internships for life sciences, nor relevant summer jobs (only for a very few lucky people, but it's only routine stuff that you don't really learn a lot from), and master thesis is normally 60 credits (6 months in lab and then writing) which is hardly enough to publish anything. It's therefore hard to know what you should write about. Is it therefore a good idea to discuss who you are, regarding my weakness and strengths compared to the experiences I have? Or should I focus on the courses that I've taken (labs etc), and other experiences outside of academia (e.g. summer job teaching children etc?)?

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  • Related : academia.stackexchange.com/questions/13993/… – PatW Apr 14 '16 at 8:50
  • This does seems somewhat similar, thanks!.. Ive edited my questions a bit now. – CuriousTree Apr 14 '16 at 9:09
  • By 'outcast', do you mean 'draft'? – adipro Apr 18 '16 at 14:51
  • If you are already studying in Norway, you should ask your current supervisor, or a professors you are friends with. They should know better what they expect in an application (and then tell us for the record!). – Davidmh Apr 18 '16 at 14:52
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I believe the general advice given in the other question still applies to your situation. All those you mentioned are good to include, but they are mostly about yourself. To be more complete, you should also include reasons why you choose this particular school to do a PhD, which research topics interest you and why, as well as your aspirations for the future. Remember to be specific and try to relate as much as possible to the school you are applying to.

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