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Questions tagged [statement-of-purpose]

Concerning an individual, what influences them, professional interests, and plan for the future, typically described as part of a college applicant's application for admission.

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64
votes
1answer
20k views

Choosing research ideas to include in a statement of purpose

The internet is littered with information on what makes a good SOP, but I would like to ask a specific question regarding mentioning one's research interests in SOP. What points should a student keep ...
21
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8answers
6k views

Can an emotional letter of motivation be harmful in a PhD application?

Today some of my friends were discussing a motivation letter. One friend's application was rejected. One reason his friends find out is that the letter of motivation is very emotional. So I was ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Should I link my research in my SOP?

I have done some independent research that I wish to mention in my SOP. The full account of what I have done till has been published as an e-print on arxiv.org. Can I give a hyperlink to this e-print ...
10
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2answers
6k views

Why shouldn't I quote famous scientists in my SOP?

In one of Ben Bitdiddle's comment, he confirms that quoting famous scientists in the SOP is generally bad. But I don't know why. Isn't SOP the place to tell our stories, our inspirations, our ...
19
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2answers
9k views

How many research interests should be included in a statement of purpose/objective

I am wondering how many research interest should be included in a statement of purpose. Is it better to include just one core interest or to include up to three as in my case?
8
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2answers
831 views

What could/do applicants usually ask professors, and how does this reflect in a statement of purpose?

When applying for PhD programs (or MPhil or MS) that require only a statement of purpose and not a research proposal, I was advised to first check if some faculty members (or is one good enough?) in ...
0
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1answer
658 views

PhD dissertation different from master thesis; What might I be able to do about methodology?

I understand that it's possible, thankfully, to have your dissertation in a different topic from your master's thesis, but I seem to have a problem (see below). Do you know any other problems might I ...
15
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4answers
3k views

Should an applicant to an university mention that her spouse is currently a student in the same University, as part of her SOP?

While writing one's Statement of Purpose for applying to a grad program, should one mention that her spouse is also a grad student in the same university? What are the pro's and con's of that approach ...
8
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1answer
4k views

What should go in a diversity statement if I believe I have had no relevant experiences?

So I am completing the application for UCSB, and they ask me to write a Personal Achievements/Contributions Statement, however, I feel I have nothing to say, since I have never experienced anything ...
15
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1answer
13k views

(Master's Degree) What are they 'precisely' looking for in a Statement of Purpose, and does a SOP matter when one has excellent GPA?

(N.b. All my questions are concerning applying for a Master's degree) I have read a lot of websites, articles, extracts from different books about the Statement of Purpose (Motivation Letter). I'm ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do admissions committees consider the Statement of Purpose to be important?

Why do admissions committees consider the Statement of Purpose to be important? Anyone with a command of English should be able to write a Statement of Purpose, in principle, so it seems a poor way to ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What do potential postdoc advisers seek in research statement letters?

I am putting together my application for a postdoctoral position in theoretical condensed matter physics. The position is not a fellowship and is a regular postdoc position. If you have gone through ...
7
votes
2answers
301 views

When changing fields, should I focus more on describing past research or connecting it to the new area in my statement of purpose?

I want to change my field from molecular biophysics to theoretical ecology. While they are basically required some same basic background (physics, math, programming), the rest is quite irrelevant. In ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Unclear terms: Statement of Purpose, Academic Statement and Personal Statement

I'm so confused. I can't distinguish between them. It seems to me that sometimes the statement of purpose (SOP) is the personal statement (PS), sometimes it is not the PS, and by the definition I'll ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it advisable to use formal citations in a statement of purpose?

In my statement of purpose, I am using certain arguments by scholars of my field (IR). Will it be advisable to use referencing, or might it be to my disadvantage as an unnecessary attempt to boast on ...
7
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4answers
904 views

Is it possibly considered weakness in my statement of purpose if I mention that I would like specific people to advise my PhD programme?

I'm writing a statement of purpose for my PhD applications and in some cases I'd be very happy if any person from a certain group (say the Algebra Group) would take me as his/her student. Could this ...
7
votes
2answers
15k views

Can I mention professors' names in the statement of purpose?

For PhD applications, I have mentioned that I am interested in some research areas. Besides, I am thinking about mentioning some professors' names, so that it shows I have read their websites and I am ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Should I include name of potential advisor on my statement of purpose (SOP)

I am currently writing my statement of purpose (SOP) for top graduate schools in engineering majors in US. I am wondering should I include name of my potential advisor on my SOP (Is it a good idea to ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How to mitigate bad grade in research on PhD application? [duplicate]

I've just finished my fourth year (out of 5) of biology studies in one of European universities. I have some experience in research and my grades are quite ok (in US scale it would be 3.75, which ...
-2
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1answer
605 views

Is putting the statement/conclusion first considered to be cliched?

This question was inspired by the following comment by Johanna on another question: I just had to say: including the idea "I believe I was born for scientific research" is a terrible idea. Did no ...
22
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3answers
35k views

What is a good length for the statement of purpose in a U.S. PhD application?

Certain schools give you specific details about their statement of purpose. For example a maximum of a certain number of words, double spaced, two pages maximum, etc. If a school does not provide any ...
21
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4answers
3k views

Answering “Why do you want to become a research mathematician?”-type questions in a statement of purpose

How should one address the classic "Why do you want to become a research mathematician?"-type question that is normally asked in the statement of purpose when applying to Masters (and also) programs? ...
14
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2answers
3k views

Should I mention a “math depression” I went through in my letter of motivation?

I am a master student in mathematics studying in Europe and I am applying to several graduate schools in the USA. They aren't all Top 10 in these dubious rankings, but I am applying to Harvard, ...
7
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1answer
2k views

How should I write a statement of interest about how my research will fill gaps in the field, when I don't know enough about the field yet?

I'm applying to do a master's at Canadian universities. My background is Earth & Environmental Sciences. When writing a statement of interest, I am familiar with the various research in the field ...
9
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2answers
13k views

Explaining bad grades in application: SOP or separate letter

Question Should issues about past academic performance be addressed in the Statement of Purpose or a separate letter to the admissions committee. Background I had originally posted about my ...
21
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5answers
3k views

Is it a good idea for a nonnative English speaker to have native speakers help make the English in statement of purpose perfect?

I am applying to doctoral programs in the US. Since I am not an English native speaker, I am wondering if it is okay to have native speakers help make my English perfect in my statement of purpose? ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How to show that the department fits my research goal?

In the question about choosing research ideas to include in a statement of purpose, JeffE advised how to write the last paragraph of the SOP: How does my department fit your research goals? (If the ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Should the personal/research statement be technical?

Related: Choosing research ideas to include in a statement of purpose I know I must describe my past and current research in my personal/research statement or statement of purpose. But do I use ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Statement of research interest for summer schools

I'm doing a PHD in physics (not in US), and I'm applying for a summer school in US (an example). I'm required to upload a statement of research interest. I have searched for webpages on how to write ...
27
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it a bad idea to say in my statement of purpose that I want to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics primarily to work in industry?

I am seeking some general advice from applied mathematicians at American universities. In my statement of purpose, would my stating that I want to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics primarily for the ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How should one address negative circumstances with past advisor in a Statement of Purpose?

I am referring to a situation described in a previous question of mine: How to deal with an abusive advisor? To summarize for those who don't want to read the lengthy story: I had a difficult ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Should I mention my blog in my SOP?

I did a bunch of code projects like implement a algorithm or use the code from a paper on a different dataset. These may not be unique (they may be, but I am not sure). I wouldn't say that these ...
8
votes
5answers
7k views

How important is the statement of purpose in a PhD application for admission to a top school in the US?

According to this MIT statement of purpose guideline, the statement of purpose seems to be an important part of a PhD application. However, I have also heard that, in the case of MIT, the statement of ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How negative to go in a statement of purpose?

Okay yes I know another 'I'm a bad candidate help me' post sorry. I was in grad school years ago but I quit because the program wasn't good for me. The exact program doesn't matter. It was a small ...
4
votes
1answer
660 views

Include Disability in Statement of Purpose [duplicate]

Should my disability be included in my Statement of Purpose? Background: I've recently received my masters degree in mathematics and I'm looking to transfer for my PhD. I had an undiagnosed ...
4
votes
1answer
339 views

How to address being interested in two areas in statement of purpose

I am applying to graduate school in US. I am wondering how I can write statement of purpose If I am interested in both signal processing and communication system. Should I talk about why I am ...
2
votes
1answer
6k views

Personal statement to apply for graduate school with a change in major

I live in Vietnam and did a Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance) from an Australian university, Vietnam campus. I am planning to apply for statistics for graduate study in the US. I have ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

MPhil applications - How flexible/sure should I be, and should I mention this possibility?

(I don't think there's a master of philosophy tag here) I'm applying to PhD programs in pure math. I have a research master's degree in applied math. While it doesn't have a thesis, it has a course ...
1
vote
0answers
424 views

Including a non-relevant work experience in Statement of Purpose for higher studies abroad

After completing my undergraduate studies in Biotechnology, I switched to a career in Banking services where I have worked for a year. But now I would like to pursue higher studies abroad in ...
14
votes
1answer
606 views

NSF graduate fellowship: how specific should the statement of purpose be?

Several of the students who have come to my group as summer students are planning to submit NSF graduate fellowship applications in the coming weeks. However, one question that I am not sure about is ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Lack of mathematical training for a CS Ph.D

I've graduated and I'm looking to apply to a Ph.D. program in computer science. However, during my undergraduate years I did not take math courses other than the ones required for the CS major (i.e., ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Should I explain change of major in my statement of purpose?

During my masters program I changed my major from Molecular Biology to Biotechnology. Should I explain in my statement of purpose for PhD programs why I changed my major?
7
votes
2answers
16k views

Wrong font used for statement of purpose and résumé

I used wrong font for my statement of purpose, rather than the one prescribed under the department’s specifications. Will this hamper my chances of admission into that university?
6
votes
1answer
631 views

Should I talk about a unpublished paper in my SOP?

I have a draft of a unpublished paper that I hosted in Arxiv that I will be attaching with my application. Should I talk about the inspiration behind it in my SOP. Like how is the method behind the ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Statement of purpose: how important is correctness of grammar and punctuation?

English is not my first language, and I am concerned that my statement of purpose might contain some grammatical and punctuation mistakes that neither Microsoft word nor I can see. What is the best ...
5
votes
2answers
569 views

Reflecting bad experience with previous graduate program in statement of purpose

I am applying to master program in computer engineering, but I have some concerns and not sure how to present them in my statement of purpose. First, my undergrad was in computer engineering but ...
5
votes
3answers
384 views

Is it a good practise to involve a child in a statement of purpose?

Is it a good practise to involve a child in a statement of purpose to say how my point of view has changed since the birth?
4
votes
2answers
793 views

In a statement of purpose for a PhD in computer science in the US is it better to express interest in a single subdiscipline or multiple? [duplicate]

It seems that if I were to just express interest in a single subdiscipline (computer networking for example), and none of the networking professors are taking on students, I would not be considered ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it advisable to underline some key points in a statement of purpose?

I am an undergraduate student applying to grad schools this year. I was recently told by my friend (who is already in a PhD program now) that I should consider underlining some key sentences in my ...
3
votes
2answers
314 views

I have an article in the field I am just interest and has no overlap with my major. Should I mention it my SOP?

Related questions: Should one mention multiple, albeit somewhat unrelated research interests? Should I talk about a unpublished paper in my SOP? Besides physics as my major, my other interest is ...