The following is the description for the required writing samples:

"You must submit at least three papers that best represent your ability to conduct research and write effectively about your area of specialization. We encourage you to submit published work."

I view "three papers" as three different articles (rather than three publications such as conference papers) and, say, could make choices from the below options:

a. A conference paper on which I am the first author (4 authors in total)

b. A conference paper on which I am the second author (3 authors in total)

c. My Master's thesis which is extended from a. (pretty much the same with a. in the abstract section)

d. Final project report in the class taken during my Master.

What I am wondering is that if I can just combine all four without modification in a single pdf file (about 60 pages total), or I am supposed to extract the main idea in the articles and make it as short as possible.

Another thing is that since c. is just the extension of a., so their abstract sections are pretty much the same. Is it redundant to include both of them?

1 Answer 1


I'd suggest not to submit a whole thesis. Imagine the frantic look the admission committee members would have when they found out they just printed hundreds of pages.

Ultimately, they care if you can publish. So, definitely keep a and b, and focus on them heavily. For c, I'd suggest do a bit of curating and pick the most interesting chapter that does not overlap with a and b in contents. If none, then I'd suggest the literature review chapter. It's a good section to show your understanding of the field and your skill of information synthesis.

As for d, they only ask for three; course work (in my opinion) is not worth breaking the quota for. I'd, however, consider submitting if i) it features an extremely innovative idea which may become one of your study objectives, or ii) it acts as the foundation of your then Master's work and publication. It would show that you have the ability to carry and idea forward to fruition, and that's always a plus.

Good luck with the application!

  • Thank you. d is a report of a work done during my internship and was used for the course work, so maybe it would be a plus (since it represents my internship outcome). As for the thesis, I am considering the chapter of Conclusion and Future Work. Because the additional experiments are presented and some ideas came after the publication and was shown in the chapter. But it actually has only 44 pages, and will be 60 when combined with publications. Do you think it is still a bad idea to include the whole thesis?
    – Fred
    Nov 21, 2016 at 14:36
  • @Fred, to me I think 60 pages are acceptable, but really it's just a personal opinion. In most of the packages I reviewed, 30-40 pages are the ballpark. Nov 21, 2016 at 14:46
  • got it, thanks. I will follow your suggestion to pick sections not overlapping with the publication. Really appreciate :)
    – Fred
    Nov 21, 2016 at 14:52

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