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15 Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples That Worked!
Writing a graduate school statement of purpose is tough, but we’re here to help! Review these statement of purpose examples and our expert tips to help you create your own effective essay and learn how to get into grad school . The samples come from our own past students who got into multiple top graduate schools. Note that the students worked with our admissions experts as part of our application review programs to create these statements. We hope they will serve as a starting roadmap for you.
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Article Contents 70 min read
Graduate school statement of purpose example that got 5 acceptances (998 words).
“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.” I was 16 when I first read this quote by Mies van der Rohe, and, back then, I thought I really understood what it meant. Thinking of this quote one summer evening, as I walked around my beloved New York City, I was inspired to commit to a future in architecture. At that early stage, I cherished romantic ideals of designing grandiose buildings that would change a city; of adding my name to the list of architectural geniuses who had immortalized their vision of the world in concrete, steel, glass, and stone. It was in college that I became passionately interested in the theoretical design and engineering concepts that form the basis of architecture, while also exploring in greater detail the sociological and economic impact of architecture.
The true breakthrough for me took place in my sophomore year of college, when I was volunteering at The Bowery Mission, a women’s shelter situated in Queens, New York. The shelter was in a poorly ventilated building, with an essentially non-functioning air conditioning system. The little bit of relief for the people who stayed there was a small park nearby, a patch of green between suffocating buildings. One day when I was working the afternoon shift there in the peak of summer, I looked out to see bulldozers in the park. It was being torn up to make room for yet another building. I saw that completed building a year later – a grey block of steel that did not utilize any of the original park space. Witnessing this injustice, while learning every day about how climatology, materials technology, and engineering mechanics intersect with urban planning and architectural design, ignited a passion for sustainable design in me. [BeMo2] How can we, as architects, minimize our harm to communities and eco-systems? How can we design buildings with a view to sustain long-term energy and resource efficiency without sacrificing immediate economic viability? What are the eco-conscious solutions that architects can put forward to address the environmental changes of the 21st century? These were the questions that plagued me then and I have pursued the answers to these questions throughout my academic career so far.
I found the answers to some of these questions in the robust curriculum I pursued at ABC College of Architecture, New York. I took up advanced coursework in Engineering Mechanics, Surveying, Soil Mechanics, Steel Structures, Model Making etc. which helped me hone my technical skills. As my interest in sustainable architecture developed, I became curious about the social and anthropological impact of architecture. I studied Art History, African American Literature, Anthropology, and Cultures of Ancient Greece, which helped me develop a deeper understanding of the socio-ecological impact of architecture and ethical responsibilities of architects. With this strong background of academic exploration, my architectural philosophy continued to evolve. I became interested in cutting-edge design techniques and their application to sustainable design. In my junior year at college, I participated in the New Dimensions of Architecture conference held in New York City, presenting my own paper on “Analyzing the Implications of the Weiszman Design Theory for the Sustainable Architecture of the Future”. In fact, it was at this conference that I met Professor Richard Wright, the esteemed architect and professor emeritus at the Architecture department of XYZ University. Talking with him was one of the most enlightening moments of my life. We discussed our shared passion for ecologically efficient and socially cohesive architectural solutions, and he introduced me to the works of Leonard Nieman, Mary Andrews, and other cutting-edge green architecture firms that are making a real contribution to ecologically sustainable urban planning.
In fact, the possibility of learning from and working directly with Professor Wright is one of my main reasons to seek admission into your M.Arch program. His innovative design theories have a tremendous potential for sustainable architecture solutions. I would love to learn from him and collaborate with him to continue to explore my interest in these topics. I am also deeply interested in the scope of studies afforded by your wide-ranging curriculum that focuses on the latest architectural innovations as well as socio-economic evolutions in architecture. Moreover, for a budding green architect, nothing is more attractive than your quarterly line-up of seminars and conferences that frequently feature the names of the architects at the forefront of design innovation. With my strong academic background in both the technical and socio-economic aspects of architecture, and my focused passion on sustainable architectural solutions for the future, I think I am a perfect candidate for your master’s program. This education is exactly what I need to launch me into the next phase of my career, where I hope to gain experience at one of New York’s top green architecture firms, working on problems of low-budget housing, eco-friendly factory designs, and organic city planning. Eventually, I hope to specialize in sustainable, low-budget urban planning for socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
It’s funny to think how far I’ve come from my early romanticized ideals of what it meant to be an architect. Those sunset walks around New York city from my teenage years, surrounded by the works of Mies van der Rohe and Rem Koolhas, inspired in me an awe for the cultural power an architect can wield. It was an early lesson that a building can both represent and transform spaces. Today when I walk around my beloved city, what I see are the innumerable missed architectural opportunities to organically inhabit and improve any given space with sustainable design. And now, when I consider Mies van der Rohe’s famous quote, I no longer think of my own petty will or the limited scope of individual genius; I think of the will of an entire generation committed to saving our planet with teamwork, collaboration, and true passion, and how grateful I am to be a part of this generation of architects.
A statement of purpose is an essential part of your application for a graduate program. While your academic transcripts and letters of reference reveal your academic credentials, and your extracurriculars and graduate school resume show your professional capabilities, your statement of purpose gives you the chance to present yourself as a candidate in a more well-rounded and compelling way. This is your opportunity to make yourself stand out as an applicant! Your preparation for writing and completing the statement of purpose is not unlike your preparations with graduate school interview questions — you need to leave yourself an ample amount of time to ace it.
Of course, each school is different, and you need to make sure you have checked the specific requirements of your chosen institutions before you begin writing your statement. But no matter which school you’re applying to one thing is certain: a strong statement of purpose is crucial to your success!
What’s included in a graduate school statement of purpose?
The statement of purpose provides the admissions committee with a way of understanding more about you as an applicant on a deeper level. The statement of purpose gives them the opportunity to assess your suitability for their particular program and institution. Finding the right fit between an applicant and a graduate program is crucial for both parties, and your statement of purpose is your opportunity to explain to the admissions committee why you believe this graduate program is right for you.
With this in mind, it is important to use the statement of purpose as a way of showcasing what led you to the program in the first place, and what you hope to achieve if accepted. Here’s a quick list of what should be included in your grad school statement of purpose:
- Why you are pursuing a master’s or PhD
- Why you are interested in a field or a specific program
- How you have prepared yourself academically or professionally for a career in this field
- What you will contribute to the program
- Your future career goals and how the program will help you achieve them
Here's a quick guide to writing a grad school statement of purpose if you'd rather watch a video:
How to Start Writing a Graduate School Statement of Purpose
The key to great writing is great preparation. That is why you need to lay some groundwork before you even start drafting your statement of purpose. Here are the steps you need to take to prepare yourself.
#1 Set aside the time
Preparing and writing a statement of purpose is not a quick undertaking. Proper preparation is a commitment, and you need to make sure you are setting aside enough time to complete the steps below. Since the statement itself will also require several drafts before reaching its final form, always keep in mind that this is not something to leave to the last minute! Ideally, you should give yourself 6-8 weeks to write your statement. Do yourself a favor by getting started on your preparations as early as you can, leaving yourself plenty of time to write and re-write your statement afterwards.
#2 Research your school and program thoroughly
Whether you’re wondering how to find a postdoc program or searching for the best special master’s program for you, research is essential. Visit the school’s website and pay close attention to any mission statements or explicit values that are stated. Visit the pages dedicated to your department and program of choice to glean clues regarding their academic culture. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the research specialties of the faculty members. Make note of any faculty members whose research interests align with yours, as they could potentially serve as a supervisor or mentor. Be sure to learn how to write a research interest statement , too!
#3 Brainstorm how and why you would fit into the school and program
It’s not enough to want to attend a particular school just because of their good reputation or nice location. While learning about the school, its faculty, and your program of choice, you should be constantly reflecting upon how and why you would fit in as a member of that community. Think about what you can contribute to the school, why you want to do a PhD or master’s program, and how the program will help you achieve your career goals. These reflections will prove crucially important when you write your statement.
If you need outside help with writing your essay, you can turn to a graduate school essay tutor for feedback and expert advice.
#4 Contact any potential mentors
If you have discovered a faculty member whose work sounds intriguing to you, reach out to them to introduce yourself and your own research interests. Forming a direct connection with a faculty member could significantly boost your candidacy, especially if the faculty member is willing to consider playing a supervisory role in your work or write you a graduate school recommendation letter . A faculty member will also be able to answer any questions you may have about your common research interests, and how you could explore those further within the program.
Building these relationships now is also a good way to start networking and finding future job opportunities if you’re not sure how to find a job after grad school !
As noted above, every school is different, and each program is unique. Make sure you understand the specifics of what they are looking for in a statement of purpose, e.g. length, emphasis, any required formatting guidelines. The more closely you follow their guidelines, the less prone you will be to making errors in terms of structure or formatting. Many graduate schools will provide prompts to make your writing process easier. Make sure to read the prompt carefully. While these tend to be very open-ended, they can provide clues as to what the admissions committee expects to see in your statement.
The essay prompts may ask you to share something the admissions committee should know or provide you with an opportunity to explain any gaps in your application. If you want to know how to get into graduate school with a low GPA , this is where you can discuss the circumstances of your below average grade and what you’ve done to improve yourself.
If you are in doubt about what the school expects from your statement of purpose, ask for clarification from an appropriate authority at the school. Remember that each institution’s website and admissions office is there to help clear up any uncertainty you may have about deadlines and requirements. Seek clarification if you are not sure about something.
#6 Get your materials in order before you write
Before you begin writing, you need to make sure you have everything you need for your reference close at hand. Make sure you have copies of your academic transcripts and your CV for graduate school within easy reach, to help jog your memory about specific courses or achievements you wish to include in your statement of purpose. You might also wish to keep nearby any useful information you have about the program and its faculty, for quick reference when you need it.
#7 Make some outline notes
Sitting and staring at a blank page can be a little intimidating. That’s why having some useful notes can make writing the actual statement much easier! Go over your reference materials and make a short list of which experiences and achievements you would especially like to highlight in your statement. Ideally, include 1 to 3 experiences that are relevant, impactful and important to you. Note down specific examples for achievements you want to highlight. Make sure you have a clear, specific answer for WHY you are pursuing a graduate degree. The better your prep notes are, the more straightforward writing your statement will be.
After researching the program, you have an idea of their mission and culture. Think of your accomplishments and strengths in relation to what you know about the school. Do they value research? Share some of your research experiences or accomplishments from your research resume . Does the program tout the importance of community? Discuss any community service you have participated in and what you’ve learned from those experiences.
A strong statement of purpose should include the following elements in the main body of the text:
You can expect to be asked about your strengths and weaknesses in your grad school interview, too, so having a way to answer those questions effectively will help you. ","label":"Weaknesses or setbacks","title":"Weaknesses or setbacks"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>
Statement of Purpose Content Examples
We will now take a look at each of these four elements in greater depth below, with some useful examples.
Focused Interest in the Field
Your statement of purpose also allows you to share your focused interest in the field of your choosing. In thinking about your intellectual and research interests, consider including some of the following elements:
- Problems of interest in the field that you find exciting or compelling . Introducing the contemporary problems of interest in your field of choice and why you find them intriguing is a great way of showing the admissions committee that you are familiar with the discussions in your field, and that you are fully ready to contribute to helping address those problems and issues in your own work and studies.
- Potential area of interest/research question you would like to pursue. A strong applicant knows what their purpose is, and that purpose is most clearly expressed in sharing the area of interest or research question that you wish to pursue in your studies. Let the admissions committee know what you would like to learn more about, and as ever, why. Share the paths you might wish to explore further shows the committee that are you in tune with your own intellectual curiosity and eager for opportunities to dig a little deeper. Your statement will be especially memorable if you can name a faculty member whose research interests reflect your own.
- Your perspectives and intellectual influences. If you have ever encountered a teacher or scholar that has shaped your perspectives and influenced your intellectual pursuits, feel free to mention them. If there is a particular faculty member whose work you admire at the school you are applying to, then that’s a bonus!
My interest in the Health Economics specialization option is a testament to my conviction that health is one of the most interesting and complex determinants of social welfare. In my experiences as a traveler, researcher, and student, I understand health policy to be one of the most defining characteristics of a national identity as well as the locus of key clashes between equity and efficiency. Health economic policy is the most interesting because it juxtaposes health care, in which universality and equality are perceived as dominant principles, against the rationality and efficiency considerations of an increasingly liberal global economic reality. Graduate studies in health economic policy is the ideal corollary to my academic, personal and social background. I am most keen to explore the relationship between economic and psychological models of human behavior to hopefully advance a more holistic social sciences perspective on why people act against their own self-interest when it comes to their health. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab2' template='BlogArticle'>
Preparing for a grad school interview? Watch this video!
Academic & Professional Preparation
Your academic and professional preparation can take many forms, and that is why it is important to think carefully about the ways in which your path has given you the tools needed to succeed in the program of your choice. But note that the statement of purpose is not meant to be a recitation of your CV. Instead, the statement of purpose should be a narrative about why you took the steps you did and how it brought you to graduate school. Some examples that might apply include:
- Previous jobs, internships, or volunteering. If you gained any valuable and relevant volunteer or work experience, mention it! For example, an applicant for a public health program might mention how volunteering at a soup kitchen inspired her interest in the relationship between food insecurity and poor health outcomes in marginalized communities. You can let the admissions committee know about any relevant technical skills you’ve gained through these experiences, too.
- Research. If you already have some exposure to undertaking research projects of your own or if you have helped as an assistant on someone else’s project, sharing what you have learned from such experiences could make an excellent addition to your statement. Research experiences assure an admissions committee that you are ready to perform the necessary intellectual labor a graduate program demands. Also be sure to mention the important skills you have developed through completing research tasks! Such skills may include multi-tasking, finding and synthesizing relevant information, strengthening your communication skills through writing reports, or developing greater attention to detail.
- Teaching Assistantships. Just like the research assistantships mentioned above, a teaching assistantship that helped you gain valuable exposure to your field of choice and/or helped you to develop your mentorship skills may be worth mentioning in your statement. A teaching assistantship is valuable work experience and shows that you know how to be a team player in an academic community. Skills you could highlight from such experiences include: effective communication with others, working collaboratively with others (such as faculty and other TAs), mentorship abilities, and the ability to adapt to different learning styles.
- Relevant degrees, courses, and conferences. Single out specific courses or degrees you have taken and any conferences you may have attended or presented at that relate to your current research interests. As ever, take some time to reflect on why certain courses or conferences have proved formative for you. For example, you could discuss the importance of the specialized knowledge you gained in a course, or the public speaking skills you developed through presenting at a conference.
After spending four years as an Arts & Science undergraduate and earning a Minor specialization in Economics, I have developed strong analytical research skills, a capacity for truly critical thought and an appreciation for the universal relevance of economic investigation. My interest in the social determinants of health, and how these interplay with policy and economics, was the impetus for my senior undergraduate research project entitled, \u201cHealth and behavior: Advancing a microeconomic framework for changing decision-making in people with obesity.\u201d I was fortunate to work with economists Drs. Levi and Traut, with whom I interrogated the classical and contemporary theories around human behavior and health. In my role as a research assistant, I conducted three literature reviews, one of which was used to support the work of a senior graduate student and will be published in an upcoming issue of Health Economics and the abstract was accepted for a poster presentation at the Annual Health Economics Conference in Denver CO. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab3' template='BlogArticle'>
Career Goals and Plans
A statement of purpose can showcase not only your past achievements and current plans, but also your goals for the future. You don’t necessarily have to know exactly what you want to do after graduating, but including these goals can show the committee that you are capable of long-term planning, and that you are eager to put what you learn in the program to good use afterwards. You can use the part about career plans to address some of the following:
- Roles you might like to pursue. If you have a very specific job in mind as your dream job, you can discuss that and explain what makes it an ideal position for you. For example, is it the institution, the location, or the mission of the job/position that attracts you? Alternatively, you can discuss what kind of role you are hoping to have even if you don’t know exactly where you will end up yet. For example, you can explain how this Master's or PhD will help your med school chances .
- Transferable Skills. Discuss what skills you hope to gain through taking the program, and how those skills could help you in whatever academic or professional career path you pursue after graduation. For example, you could discuss how your research projects strengthened your writing and communication skills, or how balancing your coursework and lab work taught you to manage time effectively. Don’t overlook the importance of “soft” skills: conferences can develop your public speaking skills, while group projects can make you a team player.
It is the responsibility of economics researchers to offer sustainable and feasible alternatives and recommendations to experts in all other fields regarding their most pressing challenges such as climate change and regulation of illegal trade. Further, the intermediary between economics research and the implementation of its corresponding results is the policy process. Because analytical research and writing are my most well-developed academic strengths, as evidenced by my GPA, undergraduate thesis, reference letters, and writing samples, the MA Economic Policy (Health Specialization) program is an ideal launch point for a research career in academia with branch points into policy work in the social determinants of health. Eventually, I want to complete a PhD. I want to build a focused academic practice at McMaster where I can help civil society, government and social enterprises understand and address \u2018wicked problems\u2019 at the intersection of economics and public health. The skills I aim to acquire through this graduate training are crucial to the evolution of my practice. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab4' template='BlogArticle'>
Here are some tips on getting into graduate school!
Addressing setbacks or gaps
Every applicant has strengths and weaknesses, and a statement of purpose is your chance to show the committee that you are self-aware enough to know what your own weaknesses and setbacks are. In discussing these, keep in mind the following:
- Be self-aware and clear. Try to sound honest and objective instead of boastful or defensive when discussing your strengths and weaknesses. Your statement will be even stronger if you include ideas or plans for improvement for any weaknesses you may have. Proving to the committee that you have the capacity for self-growth will strengthen your candidacy, and will also assure them of your intellectual and personal maturity.
- Explain how you have improved your weaknesses or tackled setbacks. Include specific examples, when discussing a weakness, focusing on how you have improved: “I noticed that I struggled with time management during one of my undergraduate courses, and so I developed the habit of planning out work schedules for all of my tasks in advance in order to meet all of my deadlines.”
- Mention any special circumstances that may have led to compromises or delays in your academic performance. If your academic performance has been affected by something that has occurred in your life, you can explain the impact that these challenges have had upon you. Emphasize your ability to adapt and grow by explaining how you overcame these setbacks and what you have learned from them. Your resilience and adaptability will boost your candidacy by showing that you are able to overcome challenges.
When you are ready to write, take a moment to review the length requirements. A statement of purpose is typically between 500 to 1,000 words long, which means that you must make a special effort to convey as much meaningful information about yourself as you can within this relatively small word limit.
The statement of purpose should usually have four main sections, but you can avoid explicitly separating the four sections and opt for the more natural flow of a letter instead. If, however, your program explicitly asks for a certain format, be sure to give them what they ask for!
Structuring your statement
A strong statement of purpose is one that has a clear structure. You need to ensure that the information is laid out in a way that makes it easy for the reader to follow. A well-organized statement keeps the reader engaged!
The structure of a statement of purpose should follow the general structure of an academic essay:
Leave the reader convinced that you are committed to learning and growing, and that you are absolutely prepared for this next step in your academic career. ","label":"Conclusion","title":"Conclusion"}]' code='tab5' template='BlogArticle'>
Do’s and Don’ts of Graduate School Statement of Purpose
In order to avoid some of the most common pitfalls when writing your statement of purpose, review the following list of Do’s and Don’ts to make sure your statement is the best it can be:
Even a statement with the most wonderful content in the world will be a lot less wonderful if it\u2019s littered with typos, grammatical errors, or disorganized sentences. Read and reread your work many times to make sure it is cleanly and professionally written. "}]'>
Your writing needs to be clear and concise. Do not try to show off to the committee by using words that are unnecessarily obscure or too specialty-specific. Not everyone on your committee might be familiar with your research field. Always aim for clarity above all else. If you must use a specialty-specific term, be sure to define it to ensure that both you and your reader understand what you mean when you use that term. "}]' code='timeline2'>
When you think your statement is as good as it can possibly be, run it by a second set of eyes. This can be a trusted friend or teacher, or you can get professional feedback from a grad school advisor . Take a moment to check over the following checklist before submitting:
- Have you made sure your statement meets the requirements specified by the school/program? Is it the right length, in the proper format, and does it include any specific information they may have asked for? Does it answer the prompt?
- Has your statement gone through several drafts? If the answer is “no”, stop what you’re doing and commit yourself to rewriting your statement. Remember that a strong statement is one that has gone through several drafts, getting stronger and more effective each time! If the answer is “yes”, ask yourself, “Is this the best my statement can possibly be?” If in doubt, ask for more feedback.
- Do you provide examples for every claim you make? Check over your statement for instances where you claim to have an ability or experience. Have you provided clear and specific examples to back up your claims?
- Does your statement tell a compelling story? Carefully read over your statement to get a sense of the narrative you have crafted for your reader. Is it a compelling narrative, or have you lapsed into just listing random items from your CV? Make sure your statement is telling a story that gives context for who you are, not just a list of things you’ve done.
- Have you proofread your statement? Even when you’re absolutely sure your statement is in top form, you need to proofread your statement several times to make sure that all typos and grammatical errors have been eliminated. Take breaks after each time you proofread. This way, you will be looking at your statement with fresh eyes every time you read it. You should also take some time to make sure the statement is well-organized and has a proper “flow” in terms of both structure and style. If you’re looking at graduate school application help , you can get a graduate school admissions consultant to look over your essay!
Here's how we helped one of our students get into graduate school!
14 More Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples
Graduate school statement of purpose example #2 (984 words).
When I was 12 years old, my sister suffered a traumatic car accident that left her with PTSD, depression, and severe anxiety. Our parents did not really understand the impact of what she was going through and as a family, we never talked about it much, though we all could witness her pain. So, through my teen years, I watched as a beloved family member struggled with her mental health. Though I did my best to support her through the worst times and assist her in getting professional help, there were still many moments when I felt powerless and clueless in the face of her suffering. This challenging experience set me on the path to pursuing clinical psychology as a career. I wanted to question, dissect, analyze, and hopefully, understand, this mysterious phenomenon that had dominated my life for so long. Through my academic study of psychology and personal experience of my sister’s PTSD, I found that I was particularly interested in clinical psychology with relation to adolescent populations.
From the age of 16 to 21, I worked as a volunteer at an after-school care program for children and teens from disadvantaged backgrounds. While there, I met numerous young people, who had faced starvation, neglect, abuse, and violence, from a very young age, and who needed help to cope with the long-term effects of those early experiences. Working with these kids, helping them through events that might be unimaginable for most adults, further sharpened my interest in how trauma influences the development of generalized anxiety disorders and panic disorders, and in particular, the pre-existing conditions and underlying risk factors for suicide in adolescents with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. This is the topic I hope to continue to explore as a Master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program of your university. Thanks to my personal and first-hand experiences with the effects of trauma, I think I can bring a unique perspective to the study of long-term PTSD in adolescents.
Though my core interest in clinical psychology and the effects of trauma started as deeply personal, my scholarly curiosity and intellectual proficiency led me to academic explorations of this subject from a young age. While in high school, I took up Intro to Psychology classes from my local community college and completed a Peer Youth Counselling certificate course from the Ryerson Center for Mental Health. This academic exploration confirmed my desire to study psychology in college, and my coursework through my undergrad years focused on building a broad portfolio of the key areas of psychology, including Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Behavioral Science, Industrial Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and more. I also took up courses in Biology, Physiology, and Neuroscience to better understand the physical pathologies of adolescent trauma. I believe this thorough grounding in the biological aspects of developmental psychopathology will help me to address the sorely needed requirement for cross-disciplinary research into effective treatment programs for trauma survivors.
Throughout my undergraduate education, I gained research experience that helped me develop the skills and knowledge I need for my clinical psychology graduate studies. For my last two years of undergrad, I worked with Drs. Rebecca Brown, Tyler Baker, and Gary Wolf at the Guntherson Memorial Lab at ABC University, on their studies into the development of substance abuse in adolescents suffering from PTSD. As a research assistant my responsibilities included conducting literature searches, data collection, data entry, supervision of study participants, preparation of research documents, and drafting of participant assessment packets. Thanks to this experience, I was able to develop my valuable observational and data analysis skills and learn more about critical aspects of clinical research such as programming computer tests, investigating study measures, forming hypotheses, supervising participants, and more. I also enrolled in Dr. Brown’s senior level research class and through my final two years of undergrad, I published four research papers on a variety of clinical psychology topics, including a paper on “Depression, Anxiety, and Traumatic Amnesia in Adolescent Survivors of CSA” that was published in the New England Psychology Journal’s June 20XX year issue.
What attracted me to the clinical psychology master’s program at XYZ University was the strong emphasis on diversity in the classroom and cultural context in the curriculum which aligns with my ambition to gain a holistic, socially conscious understanding of trauma manifestations in vulnerable populations. Moreover, your program offers the chance for students to complete two research projects in the world-class research facilities associated with the XYZ University, allowing me to develop and perfect my research skills in the most appropriate environment. I hope to complete these projects under the supervision of your faculty members, Dr. Sally Hendrix and Dr. Mirian Forster, widely considered two of the most brilliant, forward-thinking minds in trauma research today. Their work on the endocrinological risks of anxiety development in adolescents and development of abnormal psychology in CSA survivors is particularly pertinent to my own research interests. With my background in clinical research, my first-hand experience of the effects of trauma, and my deep devotion to and understanding of the pathological effects of adolescent PTSD, I think I can bring a lot to your next master’s cohort.
Through all the clinical experiences and academic knowledge I gained in the last few years, my interest in the questions of trauma, anxiety, and depression continue to be deeply personal. Though my sister survived her teenage years, she continues to live with anxiety and symptoms of PTSD that she doesn’t fully understand. There is still so much about human psychology that we simply don’t know, and I hope to address that gap a little by using the training and education I gain at your university to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the future. By seeking the answers to the questions of how trauma can warp an adolescent brain and what we can do to try and manage it, I hope to shed light on an under-represented area of psychology that sorely needs our attention.
During the first year of my undergraduate degree, I took a small course entitled “Third World Development” taught by three rather radical and lively professors from Trinidad, Chile, and Lebanon, respectively. This course, despite its passé title, existed to deconstruct our notions of ‘otherness’ by illustrating the deep connectedness of issues, people, and nations. This theme of ‘connectedness’ is threaded through my research and work history under various labels and theories. My undergraduate research was dedicated to understanding the ways and means of political participation for women in remote Northeast India. I became curious about the role of women as informal politicians within their small collectives where survival literally hinges on connectivity. My time in observation of these women opened me to the idea that health and wellness can emerge from places facing serious food insecurity, poor shelter, corruption, and long distances from the center of national power. The extent to which women could draw upon their collective power and roles as givers of care in order to lobby local governments and participate legitimately in the polity was the very definition of their empowerment.
During my graduate work at [x] University, public health approaches to vulnerable populations were of particular interest to me. It became clear, during my fieldwork with care providers for women who sell sex and do high-risk drugs in downtown East side, that vulnerable populations around the world often have more in common with each other than with the ‘dominant’ or non-excluded populations. My research led to my questions about the role of social capital, defined in this case as a public good comprised of relationships and networks, in leading to better health outcomes amongst highly marginalized urban women. The mechanisms through which both groups of women, in Northeast India and downtown Vancouver, became able to rely on or reject peers, givers of aid or care, and the social and political systems in which they were enmeshed, are very similar. I have witnessed how health outcomes can be a partial function of connectedness for women on the periphery.
Public health has proven the best venue through which I can search for explicit, concrete evidence that individual and population welfare can be socially determined, by access to and power to make choices regarding housing, education, employment, income, political participation, nutrition, and transportation. I see the centrality of connectedness, to institutions and peers, to the processes that enable an individual to access, choose, and influence. My current work as a policy analyst with the Public Health Agency within the Strategic Initiatives and Innovations Directorate is focused largely on reducing health inequalities by mobilizing action on particular social determinants of health. While this work is important and generally on point, I suspect that the United States and Canada may benefit from exploring the micro-level ‘enablers’ of change with respect to the social determinants of health. These enablers, including social networks as a form of social capital, are sometimes lumped, and incorrectly so, with the more tangible determinants, such as housing and nutrition. I see these enablers as characteristics of favorable environments in which health can be positively affected: in families, neighborhoods, schools, communities, etc.
My proposed dissertation research would fall into the broader goals of studying the social mechanisms by which parental social connections impact the eating behavior of their children as well as the way in which these mechanisms may vary across local neighborhoods. My particular interest is the potentially causal nexus between maternal social networks, neighborhood environments, and the transmission of eating behaviors to children. In effect, my role would be to help operationalize maternal adversity and identify potential moderators on the effects of maternal adversity on obesity and eating behaviors of children.
I am drawn to [X] University School of Kinesiology and Health Studies specifically due to Dr. Spencer Moore’s background in medical anthropology and current work with social network analytic techniques. The application of network theory analytical techniques will be a new endeavor for me, but I am attracted to the study of populations that are not necessarily bound by their geography but by common circumstances, such as maternal adversity, and, potentially, common health effects related to obesity and food behaviors. I want to understand the links between the nature and degree of ties between low-income women and how these ties affect norms related to obesity and food.
The School of Kinesiology and Health Studies is an excellent institution that is well-equipped to support new graduate students interested in innovative ways to explore social challenges. It is here that Dr. Moore is developing an important critical mass surrounding this way of examining social networks as enablers of obesity and food behavior outcomes among marginalized women and their young children.
My prior individual research experiences were qualitative in nature, relying on grounded theory and warranted assertion analysis techniques common to sociological research. I have experience as a research assistant on a larger project studying large, linked quantitative databases of provincial health and corrections data in my home state. Also, I have a sufficient course work history in statistics and epidemiology to be able to make the leap to more advanced quantitative techniques, given access to graduate courses on the subject. Social network analysis is a fascinating way of quantifying social capital and social networks and I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to study these methods and methodologies under Dr. Moore.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #4 (993 words)
As a child of Bangladeshi refugees who fled from war, famine, death, and other horrors I myself have never had to face, I was always attracted to the hidden facts behind the grand narratives of history; the little stories of small people who didn’t leave an impact on major world events but lived, breathed, and worshipped just the same. My parents left everything behind in Bangladesh – their papers, property, lands, family, and friends. It was an erasure of not only their personal history but the history of generations who came before them. As I grew up, I became passionately interested in the history of my ancestors, perhaps as a way of making sense of my own experiences as a second-generation immigrant. I remember how once in grade school, we had to prepare a “family tree” project with the names and photos of our parents, grandparents, and so on. My mother started crying when I asked her for these details and photos; it was a traumatic reminder of all she had lost. I consider this genealogical tree my first history project, as I combed through the internet using the meagre information my mother gave me to supplement my bare project board with a few details. The internet wasn’t very helpful and, needless to say, I proved unsuccessful in finding any information. But it fueled a passion in me for finding out all about where I had come from, and from there, I developed my interest in the social, cultural, military, and economic history of south-east Asia.
I pursued this interest all the way to college, majoring in history with a minor in anthropology, and it was in my undergrad years that my general interest in the history of south-east Asia crystallized into an interest in the politics of historical interpretation, especially in regard to women in pre-modern south-east Asia. The history of women’s spaces, especially under patriarchal regimes, fascinates me; how oral traditions develop to combat lack of literacy, how their social roles shift and change in response to military and economic developments, and finally, how these historical changes constitute the present. Specifically, I am deeply interested in how women’s spaces evolved as a result of colonial influences in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I credit a wide range of authors, thinkers, and historians with molding my interests and refining my analysis. The latest papers by BW Anandya, Wazir Jahan Karim, and N Choi about the pathways to religious and political power for women in southeast Asia, profoundly opened up my mind to the possibilities for what we can learn from primary resources about these “lost” populations of history. On the other hand, the philosophical and sociological theories of Edward Said, Gayatri Chakrovorti Spivak, and Homi Bhabha provide the philosophical framework for how I approach my writing.
I have always followed my intellectual curiosity to take on challenging coursework and build a solid academic foundation for my intended pursuit of historical research. Apart from completing the most intensive coursework pertaining to Asian history studies in my department, I also took courses in British History, Postcolonialism, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies, so as to round out my understanding of the key topics related to my area of interest. My professor also allowed me to complete independent studies and research projects in selected areas of my interest such as African American history in Canada and History of Hebrew Scriptures. The study of such diverse historical topics helped to provide greater context to my primary area of interest; I found many interesting parallels between the experiences of oppressed populations in different parts of the world. Three of my papers were published in our university’s academic magazine, and I presented my paper on “Development of Oral Traditions in Women’s Spaces” at the Annual National History Symposium in X year.
In my junior year, I got the chance to write an independent research paper about the historical figure of Savitri Bai Phule, analyzing her community ties from 1920 to 1935, within the framework of Spivak’s concept of “strategic essentialism” and cross-cultural solidarity. This was a major milestone for me as I got the chance to work on my main area of interest while using primary resources on loan from University of Mumbai, including Savitri Bai Phule’s journals, historical Times of India newspapers, and more.
I would love to continue my research into these and other unexplored histories of women in south-east Asia as part of the master’s program at your university. With my personal background, academic proficiency, and focused historical interests, I think I represent an ideal candidate for ABC University. I look forward to working in an environment that encourages diversity, forward-thinking research, and cutting-edge investigative techniques. Your rigorous curriculum will help me refine my understanding of historical investigation methods and expand my consciousness of the cross-cultural socio-economic influences in pre-modern women’s spaces. As an aspiring PhD candidate, I would love to get the chance to tap into ABC University’s extensive network of primary resources, subject matter experts, and trailbreakers. I am very excited to work with Dr. Nina Gupta from the History of Southeast Asia department. I am in communication with her about her findings on historical distortion and its intersection with political agendas in colonial Southeast Asia, as it directly impacts the research I’d like to do. In fact, her encouragement and support motivated me to apply to your master’s program!
My next big goal is to pursue a PhD, also from your university, under Nina Gupta’s supervision. Through my master’s education, I plan to work towards developing my expertise in Southeast Asian women’s studies and making myself an asset for your PhD program. One day, I hope I can become a professor at a top university such as yours, so that I can continue my research into the rich and untapped veins of history just waiting to be investigated and pass on my love for the subject to interested young minds.
One of the greatest gifts my parents gave to me, very early on, was a keen sense of just how unique my childhood was. Though by no means a position of high stature, my mother’s clerking post at the American consulate in Cairo provided us with an immense array of benefits, and those that impacted me most were, unsurprisingly, the plethora of cultural institutions a short walk away from our home. Whether the Coptic, Luxor, or the Grand Egyptian, the first thing I wanted to do each afternoon after getting out of school was to zoom into the cool air of a museum. Even at a young age, I was aware of the complexity of being a light-skinned American kid wandering through these halls, gazing at artifacts of a civilization that far preceded the origins of what I understood to be “western” civilizations. How did I end up here? What was the nature of my relationship to this rich and vast culture that both fascinated me and exacerbated my feelings of being somewhat alien in its midst?
This intersection of cultural and political analysis expanded as I got older and began to unpack the complicated colonial forces that played a part in both early and contemporary Egyptology. As I matured as a student, I became able to articulate questions that had hitherto lived as abstract uneasiness in my head. Curators and guides of many Egyptian museums were reluctant at first to really open up about the pervasive presence of English and North American archaeologists in the 19th century's antiquarian boom, but I was fortunate to have longstanding relationships with many such officials, both through my own wanderings and my parents' work.
As I began to ask more pointed questions and gained the ability to explore museum records on my own, I became overwhelmed by how drastically the Egyptian archaeological "industry" had been shaped by British colonialism, and how this resulted in a still-developing tension between international exhibition and the local or indigenous preservation of civilizational artifacts. My undergraduate work in anthropology has sought to develop a number of theses in this regard, most importantly the need for efforts of artifact repatriation and return from the British Museum as a step toward more complete reconciliation after centuries of extraction.
Throughout my undergraduate research with Professor X at [undergraduate university], I sought to utilize careful historiographical analysis to better support repatriation efforts popularized by former Egyptian antiquities minister Dr. Y. These efforts helped mobilize the X museum in Boston to return a priceless bust of Prince Ankhhaf under Dr. Y’s insistence, which was not only one of the most satisfying moments in my academic career so far but of my life overall.
In addition to the historiographic focus of my work, I’m keen to shift into the present politics around artifact repatriation and reclamation of physical heritage, specifically relating to how contemporary North African political struggles utilize cultural and anthropological discourses. Professor Z’s work in this realm has been hugely influential and inspiring to me, and were I to be admitted to your PhD program it would be an incredible honor to assist her ongoing research in contemporary cultural discourse in Egyptian and Islamic political movements.
I was fortunate to be selected for the American University in Cairo’s Presidential Internship program in 2019, just after graduating. Returning to Cairo for the first time since I was 13 years old was incredible but bittersweet in some ways. The lens through which I observed many of the institutions I’d mythologized as a child was far more critical, and I realized that my graduate work would necessarily be inflected by this added layer of complexity and disillusionment. If admitted to this PhD program in anthropology, I would seek to capitalize on this personal experience. I think it’s incumbent upon people who have lived in anthropological intersections like this—in my case specifically as an unwitting addition to longstanding “Western” colonial presence in North Africa—to produce academic work that illuminates the political and cultural tensions that they’ve hitherto experienced as largely subjective phenomena.
To this end, I propose utilizing modeling techniques common to digital-archaeological projects in Egyptological studies to support a more culturally-focused analysis of the flow of expropriation during the heyday of colonial extraction in the early 20th century. I believe that object-oriented models of provenance can be utilized to support analysis of ongoing repatriation discourse. This would build on Professor X’s work mentioned above, providing more graphic and tangible insights into emancipatory nationalist and post-nationalist movements in contemporary Egypt and North Africa in general.
If admitted to ______'s graduate program, I would not only seek to contribute to the program's ongoing scholarship as a student, but would hope to continue working collaboratively with the department once I move into independent scholarship and teaching following graduation. I feel especially passionate about forming long-term relationships with faculty given the scarcity of nuanced scholarship that addresses the intersections of anthropology, political science, and archaeology in Egyptological studies. Teaching and research have guided every step of my journey so far, and I know without a doubt that this is my path forward as well. As such, I would seek to serve as a paragon not only of ________’s interdisciplinarity and intellectual inventiveness to my future students, but to continue to be a productive and prominent member of _____’s research cohort no matter where I end up teaching.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #6 (859 words)
My road to mechanical engineering began with my dad unceremoniously kicking me out of the kitchen. By the time I was in kindergarten, I couldn’t resist rummaging through my family’s cupboards, trying to find something to take apart and rebuild it. This became a running joke in my family that, rather than knives or other sharp objects, I had to be kept away from screwdrivers, lest I end up taking the whole house apart. This all changed when I discovered desktop computers, and specifically GPUs, which I found endlessly fascinating in their ability to be easily disassembled and modified.
Although my free time during high school was indeed spend huddled over computer hardware much the way my childhood was, I became interested in the capabilities of redirecting the work capacity of hardware, and in particular the ability to reorganize the way hardware acceleration can be optimized to assist in Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tasks in manufacturing. During my undergraduate work at X University, I developed an interest in machine learning while working on Dr. Cheboygan’s ongoing research in augmenting GPU software to better optimize their performance in general-purpose computations. In both my senior thesis and independent study blocks, Dr. and I studied a number of potential workarounds for latency bottlenecks relating to DDR5 infrastructure.
This phase of my research cemented my desire to continue on with both machine learning and CAE, and it’s precisely around these points that I’d like to develop my MSc thesis. Specifically, I want to build on the considerable research on GPU acceleration I undertook during my BS in order to further expand upon shifts in both manufacturing and product design. As abstract as this work has been in many ways, its end result would be to streamline workflows for product engineers that will greatly speed up the process of dealing with intractable problems relating to bottlenecking by physics computations.
I’m motivated to address sophisticated problems like this for a fairly non-academic reason. Throughout the last two years, I’ve participated in organization drives with X organization, my region’s largest manufacturing union. Admittedly, I came to this work with quite personal motivations, having seen my mother’s engineering positions often under attack by naïve or even ignorant efforts to automate various aspects of product design. My work with this union sought to argue, from a scientific perspective, the need to improve both software and hardware using human-supervised machine learning and not wholesale robotic automation. Rather than downsizing and eliminating human positions in the manufacturing process, I offered data to union leadership that showed how a minimal investment in technological upgrades at the level of product implementation could preserve job security for product engineers and implementation supervisors while vastly speeding up the manufacturing process to deliver an increased output of nearly 80% in some cases.
This was immeasurably satisfying, and although not every negotiation was a success, I was able to contribute something unique to a class of workers who I felt had suffered under an outmoded and overly aggressive model of automation for nearly 20 years. In short, I would like to pursue graduate work in mechanical engineering at Z University because I think my work can have an overwhelmingly positive impact in aspects of labor tensions relating to instrumentation and automation. I think that through careful work in machine learning and deep learning, we can target specific aspects of the manufacturing process that have proven to be flashpoints of conflict between engineers and administrators.
The department's emphasis on teaching throughout the graduate program is also a huge draw for me. I tutored privately throughout my undergraduate years, and volunteered at my school's learning center to help students not only with introductory engineering courses but also calculus and linear algebra. Reconnecting to this passion for high-level mathematics, I would seek to work with Dr. Muskegon and Dr. Flint to both participate in and utilize their research in computational methods to clarify the mathematical dimension of my proposed thesis. Dr. Muskegon’s recent publications in the International Journal of Computer Theory and Engineering are especially relevant to this work, as I believe my course of study would benefit greatly by implementing her utilization of novel approaches to principal component analysis.
Lastly, on a simpler note, I’ve always been drawn to the West Coast, and would love to explore the wilder, mountainous areas North of Vancouver during my free time. Growing up in the flatlands of the Midwest seeded a very strong desire for the “big landscape” areas of Western Canada, and I can think of no better compliment to the abstract and small-scale work I’d be undertaking in the mechanical engineering program than to spend my free weekends hiking and camping in places like Coquitlam mountain Which is to say, simply, that I believe UBC is an ideal location for my next phase of scholarship not only because of its academic innovation and integrity, but because its surrounding environment is both beautiful and inspirational. I would arrive and continue to be an enthusiastic and incredibly engaged student in UBC’s MSc program, and I would be honored to assist in the incredible work being undertaken by both faculty and fellow graduate students alike.
Not many students seek to spend their gap year surrounded by the choking aroma of sulfur, but I will readily admit to being just such a student. After 4 years spent in a blur of library lighting and research, I found myself in desperate need of immersion into both Soto zen Buddhism and Japanese culture more generally. So, after some careful planning, I spent 4 months last year working in an onsen in Fukui, spending my 1 day off each week wandering around the shrines interspersed between Echizen and Kyoto and generally trying to soak up every bit of soto history I could.
My real wish was granted near the end of my time in Fukui, when I was accepted for a 1-week sesshin at Eiheiji castle. This was the fulfillment of a desire I’d stoked throughout my BA work in Asian studies at X University. Throughout my research, I’d devoted considerable time to analyzing concepts of time in extended religious ritual, and at Eiheiji, I was able to not only observe this in action but to experience it directly as well. My personal relationship to zen was not especially developed prior to this point, but after just the first step through Eihiji’s main gate, I felt something shift in me, and knew that I wanted to dedicate my academic career to exploring not just zen but soto ontology specifically.
To this end, my dissertation with the religious studies department would seek to utilize ongoing scholarship by professor Farmington in discussions of temporal dilation and dissolution in religious ritual. At Eihiji, and in sesshin settings specifically, there are numerous conceptualizations of time that are at odds with typical monastic linearity, and I believe incorporating a more careful analysis of temporal augmentation is key to unpacking the metaphysics of both sesshin and “intensive” events in other traditions as well. I may feel a personal connection to much of what I’ve studied and written about so far, but I feel an even stronger dedication to exegesis of religious ritual experience for the sake of furthering philosophical and theological discussion across traditions.
My abiding love for Soto zen is a key motivator in this project, but I come to this study earnestly and with academic rigor. Interfaith dialogue has been a constant part of my life outside of academia. Throughout high school I volunteered a great deal of time with both Saint Sophia Orthodox church and Bharatiya Hindu temple in [hometown]. This provided not only opportunities to engage in beneficial community projects, but also myriad opportunities to discuss theological and doctrinal matters with people outside my own religious practice. These activities, much like my enthralling experiences in Fukui, clarified and concentrated my desire to pursue high-level scholarship in religious studies.
Your program will allow me to pursue interdisciplinary studies that will touch upon more than just community interfaith dialogue. My early undergraduate years heavily focused on Western philosophy, and specifically German idealism. Dr. Huron’s work in examining influxes of hermeticism and esotericism in general in this tradition is incredibly fascinating to me, and while my thesis doesn’t directly touch on it, I am quite curious about potential intersections of Western esoteric ritual and Soto Zen ritual, specifically their descriptions of atemporal experience. Indiana university’s overarching emphasis on collaborative work, and especially the religious studies department’s similar commitment to intersectional and comparative analysis, is a massive draw for me. Although Northwestern’s Asian studies department boasted a number of interdisciplinary and cross-specialty working groups, the offerings at IU are significantly more numerous and broader in scope, and I would be honored to participate in the East Asian epistemology working group especially. The paper I presented at last year’s International Conference on Buddhist Philosophical Studies centered on epistemological contradiction in Yunmen’s koans, and I think there’s a great deal of room in my proposed project to explore theories of knowledge in relation to the discussions of ritual temporality and chronology.
While I certainly found aspects of my time working in an onsen exhausting, the difficulty of the work and communication therein was a challenge I greatly enjoyed. I would bring this newly enhanced sense of dedication and discipline to graduate studies at[BeMo3] Indiana university, and, gratefully, be able to formalize an ongoing academic project that’s deeply connected to the religious and cultural experiences I had during this time as well. I feel profoundly ready, in other words—ready for both advanced scholarship and the semi-monastic lifestyle that best supports this work. My week at Eiheiji was transformative in a few ways, but perhaps the most unexpected of which was the way it showed me what I already knew about myself from a clarified or even purified perspective, and I know without a doubt that the zeal I felt bloom within me is inextricable from continuing along the path toward doctoral research and eventually teaching.
Note how the following personal statement is truly personal and after reading this statement you feel like you know this applicant already. They also leave you feeling a lot of emotions. Both warm and sad. And that's good. You want to create some sort of emotion in the admissions committee members that read your personal statement:
As an applicant to _________, I am one among many candidates who acknowledges the highly diverse and appealing culture of the campus. As an immigrant candidate, I am among those individuals who acknowledge their gratitude for a country that has enabled them to explore endless opportunities and to write this very statement. I have been given an opportunity, one which lets me offer a glimpse of my individuality, the story behind my journey, my capabilities and future possibilities for _________. In recognizing my ethnicity, my academic progression, continuous community involvement, work experiences, and strong regard for _________, I have been equipped with the passion, knowledge and determination to pursue __________.
My journey was challenging, but has characterized the woman I've become, and solidified the mark I want to leave in this world. In addressing my ethnicity as an Assyrian, I was born in Iraq. At the tender age of 4, my family and I fled to Turkey as refugees in hopes of safety, and were eventually granted acceptance to_________. My parents' relentless will to leave all they had known to offer my siblings and I a safer environment, one which would enable us to flourish with opportunities, was inspiring and admirable. Assimilating into another culture was seemingly difficult. However, leaving Iraq was necessary to ensure I had a future, one that would allow me to learn, experience, and eventually become a_______.
“Why have you decided to pursue____?”. A question that seems direct, however, can be daunting to simplify in two pages. Coming from an oppressed war nation of extremists, justice is buried among the remnants of homes. My early exposure to a war-stricken environment led to a realization and eventually a passion; my relentless pursuit for social justice. My culture has also enabled me to express patience and understanding to individuals of all backgrounds. Openness is the very ingredient, which echoes within _____and, is expected of ______students attending _________. I offer a distinct diversity in representing a small and underrepresented group of individuals; I speak Assyrian, an ancient language of Aramaic, spoken during the early times of Mesopotamia. With a passion for linguistics, I have also become advanced in speaking Arabic and French. Diversifying my communication is a trait I can bring forward to _________ as the backbone of the school thrives in multiculturalism and offers multiple global/international opportunities. Moving forward I want to continue utilizing my personal experience and platform to advocate for families displaced, as I strive to be at the forefront of international affairs.
My university career, employment, and volunteer experiences have further fueled my passion for _______. Additionally, they have enhanced my academic thought, cultural awareness and critical approach in _________. The education I gained at________, with a major in Criminology and minor in Political Science provided me with an advanced knowledge of political relations. As a student, I gained the research skills to analyze individual behavior and public policies. I analyzed criminal patterns, from a theoretical and statistical standpoint. The analytical framework and organizational skills I gained are notable qualities that I can apply to my studies. During my entire university career, I remained employed and at times held two occupations. Additionally, I held an internship, played soccer, and remained active within the community in partaking in numerous charity events, and associations, such as Transition 2 Betterness, Heart & Stroke, and Social Science Society. My internship at the Border Services Agency strengthened my regard for national security, while sports taught me discipline, effective communication, and team collaboration. Furthermore, my passion in music, has led me to explore creativity with artists of all backgrounds. Having written multiple songs, and recorded with a variety of artists, I have challenged my writing abilities and allowed myself to be vulnerable and ready to grow. My ability to balance employment, volunteer, academics and music has characterized my motivation to improve myself as a student, and as a________.
Alternatively, my career experiences have tested my creativity in utilizing various resources to achieve my end goal. In the 3 years I spent within the recruitment/consulting industry, I gained a professional outlook and got an insight into the competitive market. As a Scientific Recruiter, I worked alongside scientists/chemists and medical doctors, to ensure they found a suitable opportunity. Through technical screenings and developmental feedback, I was able to strategize and prepare the candidates for client interviews. As an Account Manager, I led the first Scientific Division for my company. I worked 60 hour weeks for two years to build a pipeline and plant the seeds for new business relationships. I partnered up with clients across the __________ area within various industries; pharmaceuticals, consumers and hospitals. Through extensive business development, I assisted clients by finding candidates that were technically and culturally a fit. My experience within sales was challenging, and at times exhausting, but taught me patience. I was able to gain a multitude of survival skills that can certainly be applied to _________. I learned to self-start, self-motivate, and lastly, I learned that at times you will fail, but that does not mean you have failed. As an Academic Consultant at ________, I assist graduate students with their application and interview process to Medical and Dentistry School. We examine problematic scenarios, address pressing issues, and explore multiple strategies. Evidently, I am apt to apply a similar critical perspective to further my research by exploring multiple measures to gain a diversified analysis.
Through my non-profit partnerships; my role as a War Child Catalyst for War Child and Journalist for Observatory Media, I have gained cultural awareness in international relations and advanced my researching and writing abilities. As a War Child Catalyst, I created my own committee, One Army, which raises funds for families and precisely children affected by war. As a journalist, I have furthered my knowledge of current Canadian policies and generated awareness for displaced individuals.
Upon my acceptance to _______in the _______ program, I hope to advance my critical thought and awareness in international affairs and national security, through a calculated evaluation. I will also advance my focus through a _______ Diploma that is offered. With a variety of courses, such as ____________, __________, and __________, I will adopt a dynamic perspective to direct my thesis. In addition, I hope to collaborate with ________ and ____________, notable professors with substantive work regarding national security. With respect to campus involvement, I will see that my experiences will be utilized as I plan to join the _________, ensuring I will be at the forefront of political and social justice issues.
As examined, my work experience, passionate community involvement, and academics will enable me to not only apply but also excel at ___________. How will we ensure national security when our nationalism is questionably crippled by our democratic stance towards multiculturalism? An ironic question which I intend to explore, and one which I have prepared for my entire life.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #9 (1705 words)
A statement of purpose is a chance to tell the story of your life. Your statement is not only a celebration of your triumphs, but also a true reflection on the challenges and struggles you have faced. Remember, you cannot victimize yourself in the essay. Rather than simply talking about your difficulties, make sure to emphasize how you overcame them. Create a captivating narrative of how events in your life led to this moment - your decision to apply to grad school:
My desire to join the world of social work proved innate and organic since the pillars of the field parallel the way I lead my personal and professional life. Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to promoting and helping employees grow and thrive personally and in the workplace. This dedication to implementing a living salary, continued education, financial literacy and equal opportunity sparked my interest to further my educational path since these practices within the working environment were not commonplace. Through my work experience I saw a need for financial literacy as I watched employees work multiple jobs and struggle to make ends meet. I saw the insurmountable stress that people faced on a daily basis and how much it negatively affected stability within their lives. I knew that I needed to do something that proved longer lasting and further reaching. I decided to set out to not only change the dynamic of financial capability for all, but also to help people to cope with the stress of our fast-changing environment.
My trajectory towards my goals in the world of social work started with one of the largest challenges of my life. While attending X College, I received the devastating news that I had early signs of cancer, requiring invasive and immediate treatment. Shortly thereafter, I also lost my home. These hardships caused a shift in my focus, priorities, and ultimate trajectory of my educational path. These humbling experiences afforded me the privilege of learning to maintain strength, perseverance, empathy and humility, despite the adversities.
My perseverance and dedication to finding my footing in the world again allowed me to begin the journey of running restaurants at the age of twenty-five. After experiencing poverty, debilitating anxiety and a decline in my own health I knew that creating a safe environment for people to thrive in was of the utmost importance to me. I took the lessons I learned through my experiences into my career and created policy within the businesses that I ran that reflected my dedication to implementing a living wage for all employees. Specifically, I standardized paid time off, extended sick leave, improved access to healthcare, and facilitated equal opportunity for all people that desired growth. My new position allowed me to offer personal mentorship, helping employees advance within the company and in the growing hospitality industry as a whole. This was incredibly rewarding for me, especially when I was able to see those who I mentored move on in their career to build enriched and financially stable lives.
When I moved on from this company, I carried my ethos with me into my next three
businesses. I became a general manager at a restaurant, opened a distillery for the bar, and started my own hospitality consulting business. Now, not only did I dedicate myself to treating employees ethically, I also was persistent in investigating the companies I used to supply the businesses that I oversaw. While working for the restaurant, I made multiple trips a year to Mexico to ensure that the products I purchased for the business were from companies that did not exploit or undercut their employees. In conjunction with my stand on supporting ethical business practices, I was given the opportunity to also open a mezcal distillery with [X name] in Tijuana. By opening the distillery, we were able to provide access to electricity, running water, transportation and basic human needs to the village where the mezcal was made. The experience I gained at this point in my life changed my trajectory of what I truly wanted to pursue, planting a seed for me to fight for change within my field of work.
When I made the decision to leave the hospitality industry it was innately due to the fact that I couldn’t continue to be part of an industry that primarily cared about their bottom line and not the people that worked to ensure their success. I left knowing that I wanted to redirect my life and embark on making changes that were designed to help lift people out of difficult situations to ultimately generate stability, prosperity and fulfillment. I wanted to ensure that progressive changes I spearheaded would prove wider reaching and longer lasting. I knew I wanted to be a mentor, a coach and a financial planner since I was privileged and honored to be in the positions I was granted in life, I wanted to share what I had learned with others.
In an effort to gain experience I have been honored to have the opportunity to volunteer as a crisis Counselor for Crisis Line. During my time working as a counselor I have seen a common trend amongst people in crisis which resonated with me; lack of access to healthcare and financial disparity. This work, that I continue to do weekly, has shown me the fundamental need for people to not only have financial security but also to have access to healthcare which includes mental health services. This experience furthered my understanding on how financial instability can cause a milieu of problems and can be at the root of anxiety, stress and affect mental health in an adverse way. Without access to channels that teach financial literacy and techniques to cope with stress on a continuous basis, I knew that any relief I did bring might be short lived. There is still a need for dependable, ongoing care that I would not be able to give unless I decided to continue my education and further my mission to help people live a stable and prosperous life.
When I started looking into social work, X University was my first choice. I’m inspired to learn from the brilliant minds of coveted professors at X School, whose work includes devoting tireless time and effort to social change, innovation and diversity. I feel that there are many like-minded professors that share my passions and goals within the school.
I am inspired by the idea of being placed in the field, to allow me the privilege of gaining some real-life experience, paralleling my studies, and ultimately allowing me to explore the multiple facets that make up the large body of social work. I am confident that I will be able to fully devote myself to the program and will not have the added responsibility of working while I am in school. Should I be accepted, the X School is one I am confident will prepare me to meet my goals, give me the relevant field experience that I am seeking, and will prepare me to be a future leader in the field of social work.
When I made the decision that I would like to pursue graduate work at X University, I knew that there would be costs that I would have to consider and navigate if I were granted acceptance. I have over half of the funds in savings for school from when I was working in the hospitably industry and plan on applying to The X Scholarship Fund, The XY Scholarship, and hope to be awarded the X Merit Scholarship. After savings and possible scholarships, I would like to apply for a stipend with the X Project.
What I am hoping to focus on while attending X University are the core challenges of building financial capability for all and reducing extreme economic inequality. Since financial literacy is an optional topic for California teachers to incorporate in their lesson plans, it has become extremely illusive in our educational programs statewide. The implications of this lack of education can create and has created broad economic impacts that will affect our local and state economies and could result in further layoffs, another crash in the housing market and people facing even more insurmountable debt. The people that will be most affected by this illiteracy, those that are marginalized and face a lower socioeconomic status, will harbor the brunt of these negative impacts. Through higher education I am hoping to learn how to tackle this problem and implement financial proficiency not only for children and teenagers but also make it widely available and free for all adults who wish to benefit from this education. We have many programs in the state of California that aid low income families so that they can meet their everyday needs. If we do not make financial education programs widely available how are these families expected to eventually exit these programs and become self-sufficient? Without educated consumerism, families can find themselves trapped in the cycle of poverty.
While providing individuals and families with the resources needed for financial literacy it will be increasingly important to also implement cognitive behavioral therapy that will aid them during this transitional period. Changing the way people view and navigate economic difficulties can be stressful and create a level of anxiety that is associated with dramatic change. Even when change is for the better it can still manifest into feelings of stress and uncertainty. I am hoping to learn how to help people through the anxiety of uncertainty so that they are able to approach and navigate their daily lives with collected confidence. I’m interested in learning about classic ways to approach anxiety and also new techniques and therapies such as the recent research on psychedelic therapies, mindfulness and nature-based therapies.
While my background and areas of interest might seem unorthodox, I am hoping that the experience and knowledge I’ve gained within the workforce has prepared me to seek higher education. Through being in the positions I have been granted in life I have been able to gain skills that are necessary when implementing change and facing a career of helping others; such as maintaining boundaries, possessing the ability to be empathetic in stressful situations and being able to plan and manage time and money far into the future. My experiences have inspired me to drive to fight for implementing resonating, impactful change, to ultimately help in the fight towards propelling the progress and growth of our global society and community forward. Should I be accepted I am certain that I will gain exemplary knowledge and skill to become a future leader in the field of social work through the forward thinking, brilliant minds of the professors at X University.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #10 (738 words)
Oil is in more than my family’s blood. It’s in our history, too. When I was a child, my grandfather told me a story about his own father and the discovery of oil. My great-grandfather worked for Imperial Oil, and back in the 1940s, his team had been tasked with finding new oil reserves to drill into. After several failed attempts, the team had dug up nothing but dirt, and their expectations were low. My great-grandfather was considering taking work elsewhere to pay the bills. By chance, the team decided to drill in a location nearly 100 km away from their latest attempt. No on else had drilled in the area yet, and it wasn’t on anyone’s radar. My grandfather, a teenager at the time, happened to be out that day with his father, learning the ropes and watching the drill sink deeper and deeper into the earth. Tensions were high as they waited, drilling past the point where oil was normally found. My grandfather described it as a strike of lightning coming out of the earth—black gold shot out of the hole and rained down on the derrick and soaking the crew. They’d struck oil at last. Their discovery led to an economic boom, and my family has stayed in the oil and petroleum business ever since.
My grandfather and my father both worked in the oil industry their entire lives. My grandfather worked with the same derrick that saved his father’s livelihood, using it to locate new wells until it was decommissioned. Growing up, I absorbed a great deal about the industry from my father, who explained to me how petroleum products could be found in almost all of our everyday products, from the plastic toothbrushes in our bathrooms to the heating systems of our homes. He was always encouraging me to find out how things worked, to be curious about the world around me. As a kid I was always building and rebuilding personal projects, from my first Lego sets to my initial attempts at concocting an all-natural surface cleaner that wouldn’t give my mom an allergic reaction.
My vision for myself as a rig worker alongside my dad morphed into getting my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. It allowed me to pursue my passion for reinvention while keeping my busy mind happy with new problems to solve. I dived into exploring the energy industry, attending lectures, speaking with industry experts, reading and researching, and even driving six hours away to attend a conference on the future of renewable energy. During my summers off from school, I helped my grandfather install solar panels at his home. Oil had been my grandfather’s life and livelihood, but he always encouraged me to think of the future of energy, and if I needed new solutions, to “dig another hole”. I was fortunate to have stellar examples of perseverance and hard work in my life, and to have an instilled passion for and connection to such a dynamic and challenging career.
After graduation, I took a job with ExxonMobil, where I have worked for several years as a petroleum engineer. My most significant projects have centered on developing computer modeling software, to improve the safety of workers and efficiency of drilling and extracting operations. I have also been involved in developing software which tests for and anticipates any geological shifts that can impact drilling or mining operations. I knew the moment I received my undergraduate degree that I wanted to take the next step, so I have taken opportunities to advance myself with professional development courses and volunteered to act as the company’s regional representative at key industry events. I also delivered a speech at the Oil and Gas Symposium on the benefits of cleaner oil extraction and production, and how my company has invested in new technologies to achieve these results.
I want to pursue my master’s in petroleum engineering because it will allow me to move into newer, more niche circles of this industry. It will allow me to use my innovation, my passion and my experience to find better, cleaner ways of using our energy resources and our petroleum reserves. Further education will help me continue to grow as a professional in the oil industry and become a part of the next wave of invention. It will allow me to be on the next team that strikes metaphorical oil and unearths the future of energy.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #11 (755 words)
Public health issues have always been a beast with many heads for me. The preservation and education of public health is a multifaceted, multidisciplinary effort, and the ongoing problems that contribute to public health concerns are the same. They cross disciplines and socioeconomic classes. The dynamic nature of public health as always been of interest to me, from the time I first experienced some of the problems affecting my hometown community’s health and well-being. Homelessness was a longstanding and noticeable problem in our community, exacerbated by issues like drug addiction, poor mental health resources and prejudice. While not all of these are considered direct public health matters, they are all connected threads of a deeper, darker beast.
I was aware of these problems in my community on a surface level, but as I grew up I began to take notice and pay more attention. My father served as a city councillor for many years, and we often attended community events together as a family. One of his favorite things to say was that “everyone can contribute something”, whether we were gathering food bank donations, fundraising for the local town arena or volunteering at the soup kitchen. Everyone pitched in. Everyone contributed something of their time, or money or care. The community worked together to address points of concern. When I sat in on council meetings my father attended, I saw the issues of homelessness and drug addiction were often debated and discussed. Everyone was trying to collaborate on a solution. Meanwhile, very little was actually being done to address the problems, and they continued to worsen. One of the town homeless shelters was shut down after the provincial government pulled funding, and the community saw an uptick in health-related issues, especially among marginalized groups.
I volunteered at homeless shelters in my area for many years, and I heard firsthand the struggles about getting access to healthcare resources such as counseling, safe prescriptions and even first aid. Without the homeless shelter and the more comprehensive resources it provided, such as safe sites and mental health counseling, people were struggling. The shelter coordinators had previously worked long hours to be able to provide the resources they could, but they’d never received enough funding to implement anything more than band-aid solutions. Even after the homeless shelter was shut down, several staff members did what they could to help regular clients at the shelter. After the shelter closed, we lost many of our regular visitors since they could no longer access medical care. Many individuals were arrested on drug charges, exacerbating the tension between the marginalized members of the community and the police, and taxing an overtaxed system.
Experiencing these things at an impressionable age sparked the desire in me to be of service to the community. One more set of helping hands was always welcome, and as my dad told me: “everyone can contribute something.” I wanted to contribute. I decided to study for my Bachelor of Science in social work, intending to continue my work with the homeless and do what I could to improve public health in my community. I’ve worked as a social worker for the past 5 years, as a counselor, advocate and friend of the homeless members of our community. I’ve worked to educate and raise awareness, supervise the installation of temporary homeless shelters, collect and distribute donations, and host free skill-building classes. I’ve been privileged to grow from an eager volunteer to a professional public health and social worker who demonstrates empathy, compassion, creativity and resilience.
However, in fighting this multi-headed beast I realize the problems easily multiply. I can defeat one issue for a while, and two new ones pop up. I wanted to be a part of ending the problems once and for all.
By getting my Master’s in Public Health, I’ll be able to gain a deeper and more nuanced education of the issues surrounding public health. I’ll be able to use that education and my growing professional skills to make sustainable changes in communities like mine. I’ll be able to test and implement solutions that fit the community instead of imposing cookie-cutter solutions to diverse and complex situations. I’ll be able to contribute in a meaningful way.
To your program I will bring my drive and my passion for public health, as well as the skills I’ve built as a social worker, volunteer and community member. I know I have more to give back, and I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of the solution.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #12 (896 words)
I remember exactly where I was when the shelter-in-place order was issued. I was at my teacher’s aide desk in Ms. Colburn’s sixth grade homeroom class, poring over the lesson plan for the day and making notes in the margins. When my email notification dinged on my open laptop in front of me, my future in education was changed forever. The email was notifying us that our lives and jobs as we knew them were about to change. We were told to return home and await further instructions. From that point on, I didn’t step foot in a classroom again for over a year.
Being a teacher had been my dream since I myself was in sixth grade. When I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Education, I found a position as a teacher’s aide at Woodward Elementary School. The opportunity to work in the classroom, interact with students and watch them grow and question and discover and collaborate and learn, was a dream come true. I hadn’t yet worked at Woodward a year before the pandemic irreversibly changed the way we educate. As a new educational professional, the pandemic threw an undeniable wrench in my future plans, and it tested my developing skills with challenges I could never have expected. However, it also presented me with opportunities I never would have had otherwise.
The first week of staying at home, I was trying to get organized, install new software on my work laptop, gather my notes and adapt to a working situation that was sometimes changing on a daily basis. My sister called to check up on me, and while we talked she asked if I could do her a favor. My niece was struggling with the new normal, learning how to switch to e-learning when learning in a traditional classroom had already been difficult for her. My niece was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and she’d explained before how she had trouble focusing, keeping herself organized and on task, and sometimes struggled to understand her homework assignments. As a student, I often helped tutor her in my free time and help her develop tools for educational success. We worked together to create a weekly schedule, practice tricks to keep her focused and alert, and established mental health “check-ins”. Since starting her schoolwork from home, her old tools weren’t enough. The changes to her school life and the anxiety caused by uncertainty were overwhelming her. Of course, I agreed to resume our tutoring sessions in my free time. This was a new situation for everyone, and there wasn’t as many resources or accommodations for my niece as there were in her old classroom. So, we improvised. I taught her how to use the new technologies and adapt them to her needs. I helped her find and test out virtual scheduling apps and websites to suit her. We also put her in touch with a virtual counselor who could help her with her mental health. I encouraged her to take “screen breaks” and start new activities at home to help her when she started to lose focus. We began a game of virtual checkers and other mobile games to provide her a fun break when she needed it. The change in my niece was undeniable. Her mental health was better, her social skills improved, and she was adapting to her schoolwork and actually enjoying her virtual lessons. Despite missing her friends, she made her grade that year on the honor roll, and I couldn’t have been prouder.
The students weren’t the only ones who I worked with to improve mental health and morale. My fellow teachers and I kept in touch to coordinate our lessons, of course, but we also started to notice the dip in our mental health. I began a weekly “zoom coffee” chat for social time and a disconnect from work. I also joined online teachers’ groups where I could share my experiences and ask for advice. Having a community, even a virtual one, helped me immensely. It reminded me that although the way in which we were educating was very different, we could still recreate and adapt to our circumstances. Even if I spent my entire career as a teacher using e-learning and digital teaching tools, I knew I could thrive.
I want to pursue my Master’s Degree in Education and Digital Resources to further develop my professional skillset in e-learning knowledge and resources. With a master’s degree, I can adjust to the change in circumstances and better equip myself to be a teacher and educator post-pandemic. I will also have the tools to address the new challenges and realities of digital education. I’ll be able to continue my passion for teaching, despite any hardships encountered, and in fact help students flourish. By working utilizing the skills I’ll gain, I’ll be able to work better with students who are unfamiliar with e-learning technology, have learning disabilities or other struggles with digital education.
The pandemic complete changed the trajectory of my teaching career, but as the field has so dramatically altered in recent years, it made sense for me to go back to school and continue developing myself professionally. I know I will be able to contribute meaningfully, too, with my experiences earned during the pandemic. Moving forward, I know I will be able to be a better teacher than ever in a post-pandemic world.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #13 (593 words)
That morning, a frail Mrs. Jones, surrounded by machines and a labyrinth of tubes, shared her wish: to end her life with dignity. That poignant moment during my early years as a medical intern brought the latent interest, which had been subtly brewing in the backdrop of my academic and professional pursuits, sharply into focus. It ignited an ardent quest to delve deeper into the moral and ethical dimensions of healthcare - the world of bioethics.
Reflecting back, even during my undergraduate years, the intersection of biology and morality seemed unavoidable. I pursued a dual major in Biology and Philosophy, a combination that perfectly mirrored my growing interest in the interplay between life sciences and ethical considerations. During a seminar, I led a spirited debate on the ethical nuances of genetic manipulation, emphasizing both its groundbreaking potential and moral pitfalls. This experience solidified my appreciation for informed discourse and strengthened my skills in analyzing multifaceted ethical dilemmas.
As I transitioned into the professional sphere, this inclination towards bioethics only intensified. At the hospital, beyond the typical responsibilities of an intern, I initiated the formation of a junior ethics committee, primarily comprising young healthcare professionals. Leading this committee, I oversaw discussions on a myriad of subjects, from the rights of the terminally ill to the implications of genetic testing. The committee was instrumental in crafting a set of guidelines for the ethical distribution of resources during health crises, with my detailed proposal on ventilator allocation during an influenza outbreak being unanimously adopted.
Yet, the world outside the hospital held more lessons. I championed health equality as a core member of a grassroots organization “BioEthicalGrounds”. In one notable project, I designed a community engagement campaign titled “Grassroots Perspectives on Life Sciences” targeting underserved populations, educating them on the bioethical implications of genomic data storage and its potential misuse. This endeavor further underscored the significance of comprehensive knowledge and sound judgment when confronting bioethical challenges head-on.
Understanding the need for a structured foundation, I sought formal education in bioethics. I enrolled in a year-long certification course where I delved into the theoretical underpinnings of bioethical dilemmas and contributed to a published paper on the "Ethical Dimensions of Genetic Privacy."
Now, standing at this crossroad, Columbia University's distinguished Bioethics program seems to be the right path for me. Its unique blend of rigorous academic training and real-world applications represents the ideal avenue for my aspirations. Situated in the heart of New York, a nexus of global health organizations, Columbia offers unparalleled opportunities. The program's interdisciplinary curriculum and emphasis on active engagement align seamlessly with my experiential background.
Moving ahead, my primary focus at Columbia University will be to research the ethical implications of advanced genomic techniques in prenatal testing. The rapid advancements in this area are pushing the boundaries of our ethical frameworks, especially when considering the potential for designer babies and socioeconomic implications of access to such technologies. I am particularly intrigued by how religious, cultural, and socio-economic contexts influence the moral decisions of families when confronted with the choices these technologies present.
My journey, starting from that dawn with Mrs. Jones, has been one of continuous exploration, leadership, and an unyielding drive to understand and act on bioethical concerns. I'm eager to embrace the challenges and opportunities Columbia's Bioethics program offers, hoping to bring my diverse experiences into the fold and drive forth the discourse on bioethics in innovative ways. With a comprehensive education, hands-on leadership roles, and an unwavering commitment to ethical considerations in healthcare, Columbia is the next logical step in my journey.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #14 (809 words)
My earliest memory is punctuated by a cacophony of notes emanating from the family grand piano. That formative moment, watching my mother gracefully dance her fingers across the ivory keys, illuminating our modest living room with Chopin’s harmonies, sowed in me an unyielding passion for music. It was more than just auditory appreciation; it was the realization that music, in its purest form, was an encapsulation of history, culture, emotion, and the spiritual essence of humanity.
My musical odyssey took root with formal piano lessons at the age of six, forging a disciplined regime of mastering scales and refining finger techniques. This dedication soon bore fruit when, at twelve, I secured a place in the esteemed "Young Pianists' Showcase" competition. Preparing for this event, I meticulously studied Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," not only mastering its rhythm and melodies but also delving into its history and the maestro's inspirations. Competing against a myriad of talented peers and being adjudicated by accomplished musicians wasn't merely an avenue to demonstrate my skill. It was a profound immersion into classical music's vast universe, each composition narrating tales of bygone eras, legendary composers, and the societies they graced. While the accolades from such competitions were heartening, they also ignited an unwavering curiosity about the stories and cultural fabric behind every note and composition.
In high school, I was given the opportunity to lead our school orchestra, a position that added another layer to my musical foundation. Leading an ensemble of diverse instruments and temperaments required much more than a proficiency in music. It demanded leadership, an acute understanding of each instrument's intricacies, and the ability to weave a tapestry of sound that resonated with audiences. One of my most significant achievements was reconstructing a lesser-known Baroque-era composition and adapting it for our ensemble, a task that combined my skills in performance, leadership, and historical research.
Parallel to these engagements, my insatiable thirst for understanding music's evolution led me to self-study. I devoured books on classical music's progression, from its liturgical roots in the Middle Ages to its multifaceted manifestations in modern times. This autodidactic journey further convinced me of music's unparalleled role in mirroring and shaping societal changes.
My undergraduate years were spent at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, where I majored in Musicology. The formal academic setting introduced me to systematic research methodologies, interdisciplinary approaches to music studies, and access to vast archives of primary sources. I excelled in my coursework, especially enjoying collaborative projects that allowed me to work with peers from diverse musical backgrounds. One such venture was curating a series of performances that juxtaposed classical compositions with their modern reinterpretations, fostering dialogues about music's evolving role across centuries.
Additionally, I was fortunate to participate in a workshop where I collaborated with a team to draft an opera. This endeavor refined my skills in composition, understanding narrative structures, and delving deep into historical contexts to create resonant and relevant musical pieces. The opera, based on a 17th-century French fable, went on to be performed at a college gala, receiving commendations for its fidelity to historical contexts while innovating in presentation.
Catholic University's Musicology department stands out as my top choice, and I sincerely hope to be granted the privilege of studying here. The department’s commitment to a comprehensive study, blending practical musicianship with rigorous academic inquiry, aligns seamlessly with my aspirations. The esteemed faculty, known for their extensive research and contributions to the field, would provide the mentorship I seek to delve deeper into nuanced studies, particularly those at the intersection of music, culture, and theology.
Furthermore, the University's grounding in Catholic tradition resonates deeply with my belief in music as a spiritual endeavor. The rich tapestry of liturgical music, its evolution over centuries, and its interplay with secular compositions present vast arenas of exploration, ones I am eager to embark upon. In particular, I am drawn to research the transformation of Gregorian chants from the Medieval era to the Renaissance, focusing on their influence on the polyphonic styles of the latter period. Dr. Maria Jenkins, a renowned expert in medieval and renaissance music at the Catholic University's Musicology department, has extensively studied this transition. Collaborating with Dr. Jenkins, I aim to unearth deeper insights into how these chants were adapted, evolved, and influenced the larger musical landscape of Western Europe, potentially culminating in a comprehensive research project or publication.
The tapestries of history, culture, and spirituality are interwoven through the threads of music. Through systematic study, fervent practice, and deep introspection, I've honed skills and imbibed knowledge that make me a fitting candidate for the Musicology program at Catholic University. My quest is not just to study music but to understand its soul, its eternal resonance, and its ability to elevate humanity. At Catholic University, I see a haven where this quest would be nurtured, challenged, and fulfilled.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #15 (677 words)
It's often said that the most powerful things come in small packages. In the world of nuclear engineering, a single uranium fuel pellet, roughly the size of a pencil eraser, holds the energy equivalent of 150 gallons of oil. As I sat in my high school physics class, I remember the awe I felt when our teacher revealed this fact. It wasn't just the sheer power of nuclear energy that captivated me, but the vast potential it held for sustainable energy. From that defining moment, my path was clear – I wanted to delve into the world of nuclear engineering, unlocking the mysteries and potentials that lay within the nucleus of an atom.
Upon entering the University of Florida for my undergraduate studies, I committed to a dual major in Nuclear Engineering and Physics. This was not merely to obtain a degree but to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of the core principles and real-world applications of nuclear energy. While my courses laid a robust theoretical foundation, I actively sought avenues for hands-on experiences to bring my learning to life.
One such opportunity arose during my junior year when I secured a coveted internship at the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station. This wasn't a typical observational internship. I was thrust into the heart of reactor operations, working side-by-side with seasoned nuclear engineers. From calibrating reactor control mechanisms to troubleshooting minor hiccups in the cooling systems, my responsibilities were vast. This experience drove home the paramount importance of safety and precision in nuclear operations. For instance, while assisting in a reactor shut-down procedure, I realized the intricate choreography required to ensure each step was flawlessly executed. Any oversight, however minor, could escalate into a significant issue.
Beyond the confines of the power plant, I recognized the value of sharing knowledge and engaging with the broader nuclear community. This realization prompted me to participate in the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Student Conference. Alongside a dedicated team from my university, we researched and presented a detailed paper on "Advanced Safety Mechanisms in Modern Reactors." The countless nights we spent analyzing reactor models, scrutinizing historical data, and simulating potential scenarios were arduous but profoundly enlightening. Our paper was not only well-received but sparked stimulating debates on the future of reactor safety. This experience underscored the significance of continual learning and innovation in our rapidly evolving field.
Eager to further contribute to the nuclear engineering community, I took the initiative to organize the Nuclear Engineering Students' Symposium at the University of Florida. Steering this event, I found myself in a whirlwind of activity – from curating a diverse lineup of guest lecturers, including industry stalwarts, to devising hands-on workshops that simulated real-world reactor challenges. The success of the symposium was a testament to my organizational prowess, but more importantly, it emphasized the importance of fostering a vibrant community where budding engineers could engage, learn, and innovate.
North Carolina State University stands as a beacon for nuclear research, especially in my area of interest: Advanced Passive Safety Systems in Nuclear Reactors. Passive safety systems, capitalizing on natural phenomena like gravity and convection, are the future of nuclear reactor safety. I'm eager to delve into this area, particularly focusing on enhancing the efficiency and reliability of such systems. Dr. Walt Williams, with his groundbreaking work on passive cooling mechanisms, is someone I've admired and followed throughout my academic journey. The opportunity to work under his guidance at NC State is an enticing prospect, one that promises profound growth and meaningful contributions to the field.
My journey from that enlightening high school physics class to the cusp of advanced nuclear research has been both demanding and deeply rewarding. I believe North Carolina State University, with its unparalleled legacy in nuclear engineering, is the perfect place to further this journey. My educational background, coupled with my hands-on experiences and unwavering dedication, positions me well to contribute to and benefit from the esteemed Nuclear Engineering Department at NC State. I am eager to embark on this next phase, driving innovations and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in nuclear engineering.
A graduate school statement of purpose tells the admissions committee more about you as an applicant. A strong statement of purpose offers a compelling narrative about your interests, abilities, and experiences, to show the committee that you are a strong applicant and the right fit for their institution and graduate program.
A graduate school statement of purpose usually ranges between 500 and 1,000 words in length. Be sure to check the specific requirements stated by the program as you prepare to apply.
Set aside plenty of time for preparation so that you are not doing anything at the last minute. Research your institution and program of choice carefully to get a better sense of its values and academic culture. Brainstorm how and why you would make a good fit for the school and program of your choice. Contact any potential mentors amongst the academic faculty to discuss your research interests with them. Make a list of any requirements your program specifies for your statement of purpose. If you have any questions, be sure to ask the appropriate authority at the school for clarification. Before you start writing, make sure you have all of the materials you may need for reference close at hand, such as your academic transcripts. Make some notes outlining what you would like to include in your statement to help guide you as you write.
A graduate school statement of purpose should contain an introduction, a main body based on 2 or 3 experiences, and a conclusion. Your statement should be clearly written and well-organized to help the reader follow the flow of your narrative.
A statement of purpose should include four main elements: your research interests in your chosen field, your academic and professional preparation, your strengths and weaknesses, and your career plans. You need to give specific examples for each of these main elements, and to explain what you have learned from every experience you mention.
In writing your statement of purpose, you need to commit to writing several drafts to make sure your statement is as strong as it can be. You should ask for feedback from trusted academic mentors or professional consultants to ensure that your statement is effective and compelling. You also need to carefully proofread your work multiple times before submission.
You must never plagiarize your statement of purpose. Avoid using clichés and tired phrasing to keep your writing original and fresh. It is also important to favor clarity over artfulness, so be sure to avoid using overly-fancy language so that the focus is always on the substance of what you’re saying. Also avoid technical or overly specialized language unless absolutely necessary, and be sure to define any technical or specialized terms that you must use.
Before you submit your statement of purpose, take some time to review your statement in its final form to make sure it is the best version it can possibly be. Make sure you have followed all of the requirements in terms of length and formatting as specified by the school. Ask yourself if you have rewritten the statement several times, and if you truly believe it does not require another draft.
Check to make sure you are providing compelling examples for every claim you make regarding your experiences or abilities. Read your statement over again and make sure it is a narrative that gives the reader interesting details and context, not just a list of your achievements to date. Finally, make sure you have proofread your statement and eliminated any typos or grammatical errors that would distract your reader.
Your own research and ability to write concisely and clearly will be important in making your statement strong. Firstly, give yourself enough time for multiple drafts. Trust us when we say that your statement will need to be written and rewritten multiple times - it's inevitable. Secondly, be selective with the experiences you choose to include in your statement. It is more important to show rather than tell how you would be a great addition to the program. Being selective about your experiences will allow you room to go into detail and demonstrate to the admissions committee how your experiences make you the perfect fit.
Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed, you can always research legitimate companies or consultants that can help you polish your statement and avoid wasting another year on applications. If you are considering whether BeMo is worth your time and money , make sure to read up on the successful experiences of our past students.
A good statement of purpose for graduate school will include why you want to study at the graduate level, why you are interested in a particular field and what you have done to prepare yourself for graduate study and your future career. It may also share your future career goals and how a program will help you achieve those goals. An effective statement will be clear, well-written and have a narrative flow that captures the reader’s attention and leaves them wanting to learn more about you.
An effective graduate school statement of purpose needs to hook the reader in the first sentence. Try to think of a specific experience or anecdote you can introduce to the reader in a creative and compelling way to open your essay. Continue building your narrative based on 1-3 experiences which shaped your desire to go to grad school or enter a specific career field.
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Have a question ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions, 19 comments.
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Hi Ablie! Thank you for your comment! We are glad you found this helpful!
Thanks a lot for your information. If my intended field of Ph.D. research is quite different from my previous research experiences, what am I suppose to do to link my previous interest with the new one? and Is it possible to have feedback on my writing?
Hello Ayman! Thank you for this wonderful question! It is not a problem that your previous research experience is not related to your new PhD interest. Even if they are not related in theme, it is important to showcase how your previous research experience honed your skills as a researcher. Demonstrate that the expertise that you acquired throughout your research history can be easily translated into this new field. Do not forget to give the admissions committee some sense of how you got interested in this new field, but it is not a problem that you decided to switch disciplines/interests. And of course we can help you with feedback on your writing. Please contact us for a free initial consultation (https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/Contact-Us.php) and we can discuss how we can help you make your statement the best it can be.
Ayman Alfadil, you are the winner of our weekly draw. Please email us by the end of the day tomorrow (June 19) at content[at]bemoacademicconsulting.com from the same email address you used to leave your comment to claim your prize!
This is indeed the best Statement of purpose ever ,I love everything written here! It has really help me thank you!!!
Hello Joana! Thanks for your comment! We are glad you enjoyed this article!
Hi...I want the sample for statement of purpose (for masters) where the student changes his filed/background/majors from science to IT... Atleast one sample which helps me to write my own. Thank you.
Hi Asra! Thanks for your comment and suggestion! We will try adding this kind of example as soon as possible!
I am so much in love with the way you make a big and difficult task simple. As a practitioner in adult education in Nigeria with over 6 years of experience, I intend to further my experience by having a Masters program in Canada. Problem is, my first degree is not in education, but Arts - Philosophy. I hope to scale through. Thank you for this great write ups.
Hi Segun! Thanks so much for your comment! We are glad you enjoyed the article. When you apply to a Master's program in Education, you do not need to have an undergrad degree in education. Your first degree in liberal arts will be a perfect fit for an Education graduate degree. Good luck and let us know if we can help you any further!
Chika happiness nwachukwu
Hi,indeed is the best statement of purpose ever,please I want the sample for statement of intents for masters,where the student changes his field,background/ majors from accounting education to educational foundations that will help me write my own. Thank you.
Hello Chika! Thanks for your comment! We will keep your request in mind when we update this blog! Thanks!
Hi, I wonder if you can only help me with SOP edits? Thanks.
Hello Bob! We can absolutely help you! Please contact us here https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/Contact-Us.php to schedule your free initial consultation.
Hi, this is the best article on SOP I have read. Please, I need your advice. I am very passionate about teaching. I studied English, but my M.A. thesis is related to pragmatic. How do I relate both to my deep flare for education?
Hello Nwabueze! Thanks for your comment. Try to reflect on what connects your educational and professional background to teaching? Just because your MA thesis is not related to education, it does not mean that it cannot inform your love for teaching. Try making connections between your experience in the MA and what you want to do next. Hope this helps!
Can i get samples of these write-ups in Music?
Hello Smuela! Thanks for your comment. When we update the blog, we will make sure to keep your request in mind.
Good morning, please I want to start up personal statement but don't seem to know how to go about it am applying for Agricultural science soil and water option. Please I will need a guide. Thank you
Hi Chisa! Thanks for your comment. Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss how we can help you with your personal statement! Look forward to hearing from you!
hey, thanks for the clear explanation, can you please help me write purpose statement for a journalism degree course
Hello Lucy! Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss how we can help you with your statement of purpose. Hope to hear from you!
This piece is extremely helpful
Hi Frimpong! Thanks! Glad you found this helpful!
Thank you for sharing this useful tips on SOPs.
Hello Anne! Thank you so much for your comment. Glad you found this helpful!
Elif Ülkü Türkoğlu
Thank you so much, this will be super helpful for my MA applications.
Hi Elif! Thanks for your comment! We are glad this is helpful!
Raphael Barrack Wangusu
Currently struggling with SOP preparations..i pursued Law for my bachelor degree and i wish to apply for masters scholarships in CANADA, UK, SWEEDN and USA. Thank you.
Hello Raphael! Thank you for your question. Please reach out to us for a free strategy call to discuss how we can help.
Amazing content! I've never seen it explained the way you guys did it here!! Thank you!!!
Hello Joy! We are very glad you found this helpful!
It made me understand clearly what i have to do. thank you
Thanks Tumie! Glad you found this helpful!
i cant find any sop become related to food science. I really need a sample to help me. Could you help me please
Hello Shabnam, thanks for your message. We will keep your request in mind for when we update this blog.
I have enjoyed reading every bit of this document. I am so enlightened by it. Thank you.
Hello Michael! Glad you found this helpful! Thanks for your comment.
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Statement of purpose (SOP) for PhD: How to Write and Samples
Securing admission to PhD programs in the university of your dreams might seem difficult—however, it is not impossible. If you can convince the selection committee of your dedication and genuine interest in your research topic, you stand a fair chance of getting that seat. The key to your admission lies in a well-crafted and compelling statement of purpose that will sway the decision-makers in your favour.
A statement of purpose is your chance to prove to the admissions committee that you have the potential and skills as a researcher. If you are hoping to pursue a PhD, you must put in the time and effort to craft an impressive SOP. This blog will help you understand how to write an interesting yet concise SOP with examples.
Table of Contents
- How to Write a Statement of Purpose (SOP) for a PhD
General Examples of Statement of Purpose for PhD
- 10 Steps to writing an SOP for a PhD course
How to Write a Statement of Purpose (SOP) for a PhD Course?
Your statement of purpose for PhD must express your sincere interest in the subject matter. The following 10 tips will help you to draft an impactful SOP:
10 Steps to writing an SOP for a PhD course
- Introduce yourself:
The whole purpose of the essay is to show the university who you are and your goals. It is better to get straight to the point and explain what inspired you to take up research in your particular field of study. Even if you do not have full clarity on your research topic, you can talk about what you are interested in exploring. Make sure you explain your field learning and what made you take up the specific topic.
- Answer the question, "Why":
Next, it's time to answer some questions. Why do you want to obtain this degree? Why did you choose this particular field of study? Why have you chosen this university to pursue your higher education?
- Explain how you will be a good fit:
It would help if you answered why you think you will be a good fit for the program and why they should consider you a potential candidate. For this, you should have a relatively strong knowledge of the program to express how your interests align with it.
- Express your intellectual curiosity:
You can discuss what excites you about the program and your chosen field of study. Explain why you enjoy doing research and ensure to substantiate your claims with relevant examples.
- Demonstrate your skillset and experience
In this section, you can highlight any previous experience you have in doing research and explain briefly about it. You can also describe the skills that you think might be relevant. For instance, you can mention your skills in programming languages like C++ and Python if you are doing research in the field of Computer Science. Make sure to mention the recognitions you have received for the skills.
- Mention work experience, if any
If you have any relevant work experience, be sure to mention it in your Statement of Purpose for PhD. However, only emphasise this experience if it is directly related to your proposed research.
- Be open about any past setbacks:
If you have any "black marks" on your record, such as poor grades, leaving a college program or any other issues, it is strongly advised that you do not try to hide these from the admissions committee. Instead, address them head-on in your letter. Showing how you successfully rebounded from setbacks will bode well for you.
- Short and long-term goals:
It's always good to give a brief of your short-term and long-term goals and how this degree will assist you in achieving them. It is also essential to consider any future research areas you may want to explore and how they could potentially impact the community. Your vision for your career 10-15 years from now is a crucial indicator of your thought process and how you plan to integrate your degree into your life.
- Edit and proofread several times:
To avoid your essays having any typos, poor grammar or other mistakes that could have easily been fixed, ensure that you always edit and proofread your work. A well-written essay is a sign of a competent researcher.
- Circulate your statement:
Asking your recommendation writers to review your college application essays is a great way to get feedback. It will also help ensure that what they write is consistent with your thoughts and experiences. If you have drafts of your essay completed early enough, don't hesitate to ask for their input. Most faculty members are more than willing to help their former students, given adequate notice.
Read more: How to write an effective statement of purpose?
If you are looking for PhD SOP samples, it is essential to remember that there is a specific way to provide all of your relevant information to the institutions. It is crucial to keep your statement concise but informative. Here are two samples to help you give an idea.
PhD SOP Sample 1
I've always been interested in how physics can explain the things we see and experience in our everyday lives and phenomena beyond our usual perception. My childhood fascination with Physics led me to choose my college major and, ultimately, my career path.
My interest in complex phenomena only grew during my studies. I am passionate about understanding the impacts of radioactive waste on our world. I pursued an interdisciplinary degree in Physics and Environmental Science to develop the skills needed to become a researcher in this field. My goal is to find effective methods for reducing the harmful effects of radioactive waste on our environment.
After completing my degree, I gained valuable work experience at an Environmental Protection Agency, where my responsibilities included examining sites for radioactive leakage and measuring the damage. This experience motivated me to pursue a PhD in Physics so I could find ways to control such situations. I want to be equipped with the necessary knowledge that will allow me to conduct meaningful research and find effective ways of managing radioactive waste.
The University of Essex is my top choice for several reasons. First and foremost, it has an excellent reputation. Secondly, the opportunities and mentorship available for the particular subject are incomparable. And finally, I know that I would be able to make a meaningful contribution to the community here. I am confident that my practical experience and strong motivation will be significant assets as I pursue my studies and career.
PhD SOP Sample 2
My parents are farmers, and I grew up helping them with crop production and food preparation. I was always curious about the scientific basis for farming, canning, and cooking methods, which led me to major in nutrition and food science. I want to understand the science behind what my family has been doing for generations and use that knowledge to improve our food habits.
I completed my undergraduate studies in biotechnology and then went on to do a master's in food technology. For my dissertation, I chose the topic of "XXX", which was of great interest to me. My training at XYZ gave me insight into industrial-level operations concerning nutrition, microbiology and contaminants in the food industry.
Whilst doing my master's, I became particularly interested in food safety and quality assurance, as well as post-harvest technology of fruits and vegetables, food processing and bioprocess engineering. I did a little project on "ABC" and wrote my dissertation on "XYZ". Through working in various laboratories across the country during my studies, I gained experience with multiple techniques used in food preservation.
I am passionate about researching food commodities, fruits and vegetables, and their wastage to synthesise nutritional and bioactive components and convert them into functional foods. I believe that food safety is of the utmost importance, and I hope to learn more about this topic through this doctoral program.
There are numerous reasons for choosing Southern Cross University, and one of the main reasons is your highly competent faculty. The research work done by Prof. ABC on Fruits and Vegetables sparked my interest. I am interested in researching independently and working collaboratively with a team on projects that directly impact smaller communities and society as a whole. I am sure that Southern Cross University will help me achieve my goals and better serve society. I promise you won't find me lagging in my quest or effort, and I pledge to do my best in all the assigned tasks.
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7 Great Statement of Purpose Examples + Analysis 2023
Statement of purpose analysis by CEG Grad School coaches Christine Rose, Kathy Liu, Kristin Joys, & Carlos A.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what a statement of purpose is and the content and structural options that go into crafting a strong statement of purpose (often referred to as an SoP).
Then, we’ll offer 7 statement of purpose examples with in-depth analysis from our grad school admission coaches, so you can understand how to create your own statement of purpose for your grad school applications.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is a statement of purpose for grad school?
How to structure a statement of purpose
How long should a statement of purpose be, statement of purpose examples for graduate school + analysis, what is a statement of purpose for grad school—overview.
A statement of purpose is a core component of an application for graduate school. Its primary job is to convince the admissions committee that you should be admitted to their specific program. As you’ll see in the examples and analysis below, demonstrating that you’ve done your homework on the program you’re applying to and that you and the grad program fit each other well is essential.
A grad school statement of purpose is first and foremost an academic statement. That is, it is not a personal essay like your undergrad application essay was (although it should include carefully selected details from your personal life insofar as they support your candidacy). Neither is it a creative writing piece (although the more well-crafted the sentences and the more uncommon the vocabulary, the better).
How to write a statement of purpose for grad school
Before you start to write a statement of purpose, you’ll need to spend time thoroughly researching the programs and schools you plan to apply to:
You should have a clear understanding of their mission statements, and be able to show how your values align with theirs.
Take detailed notes of faculty whose research or academic interests align with yours. Below, you’ll see examples of how you can directly weave them into your SoP to demonstrate fit, and we’ll offer further guidance on what and how to research in our analysis, so you can understand it in the context of concrete examples.
Depending on your circumstances, we’d recommend possibly reaching out to faculty who could serve as potential mentors and with whom you’d like to collaborate.
Because requirements vary from school to school, be sure to closely adhere to any guidelines the school offers. Follow prompts and word counts carefully.
With that preliminary work in mind…
While the first statement of purpose example below has five paragraphs, you’ll notice that the other examples that follow it range from four paragraphs to seven.
We point this out so you understand that there isn’t a single “correct” structure to follow. Instead, you should feel free to divvy up your statement as you see fit, so long as you follow the schools requirements and cover your required subject matter of the following :
Your accomplishments (The scholarly past that brings you to the current moment (classes, studies, majors, ideas, research, jobs, internships, publications, etc.)
Your goals (scholarly, professional, and humanistic), both for your time in grad school and afterward.
What your research questions are. What issues, challenges, or problems do you hope to solve (or at least contribute to solving)?
What’s driving you? What are your stakes? Who or what else stands to benefit from your work?
Your motivations: The “why” of it all. (Why this? Why now?)
Why this program and why these professors? (The more precise, the better)
How do you plan on going about finding answers to your questions?
How will you spend your time in graduate school?
How will you take advantage of what this program and university offer (professors, classes, institutes, training, colloquia, conferences, labs, etc.)?
That said, you’ll notice that the statement of purpose examples below generally all follow a standard pattern of:
For example, the first statement of purpose example below uses this structure:
Paragraph one: Introduction
Paragraph two: Background preparation
Paragraph three: Areas of study + naming professors
Paragraph four: Relevant experience
Paragraph five: Conclusion
To address the WHAT, WHY, and HOW. (See detailed analysis below)
The intro section of your SoP should clearly set up why you are applying to this program (whether setting up the origins of your academic focus, or directly stating your intentions). It’s helpful to grab your reader’s attention, but if, for example, you open with a brief anecdote, be sure it clearly thematically ties to your academic interests.
Keep in mind that it can actually be easier to write a placeholder intro until you’ve written the body and conclusion. Once you’ve drafted those, it can be easier to craft an intro section that leads into them, since you’ll actually know where you’re heading.
In the main body , you’ll offer clear, direct evidence of the WHAT, WHY, and HOW above by including details regarding
your academic and/or professional preparation for the program
your fit with the program’s mission/values/academic focus (and show that you’ve thoroughly done your homework)
your strengths and weaknesses
your goals and/or (possibly) your career plans
Specificity is key here: A significant chunk of any SofP must address the candidate’s academic qualifications and preparedness for graduate studies.
A “must” for any SofP regardless of field is to address both what the applicant proposes to study and with whom . The length and depth of the “what” can range widely, from a sentence or two, to a lengthy proposal that delves into the intricacies of topic, time period, sources, methodologies, theories, and approaches. For master’s degrees, it’s fine to remain somewhat general; for doctoral programs, you will want to dig more deeply into current scholarship to demonstrate that you’ve done your research and are capable of contributing original work to the field.
Naming the professor/s whose work aligns with your own is critical. Think of this step as a way to situate yourself within a conversation that is currently taking place in your field, whether in person at academic conferences or in writing through journal articles, book reviews, and other publications. This is the single most important way to show that you take that particular program seriously and that you are not simply copy/pasting your statement and sending it out to as many programs as you can think of, crossing your fingers that one will say yes. This is just like the “ Why Us? ” (note: there’s a research chart at that link that you can use) and “ Why X Major? ” supplemental essays you likely wrote when applying to college. The more research you do, the better. You’ll want to search until you find something to discuss that isn’t on the department’s home page … something that demonstrates Applicant-Program Fit (APF).
Once you learn about the research interests of the professors in the department, keep going! Do a Google Scholar search and read their recent publications. Read their own websites. Find out what scholars they frequently cite, what kinds of questions they are asking, what inspires or troubles them, and what methods they use to answer their questions. Follow the links wherever they lead. You’ll want to learn enough about the debates and discussions in your proposed area to feel confident that your SofP meets the following criteria:
It’s relevant to the professors in the department you’d be joining;
It’s up-to-date regarding the state of knowledge in the field;
It asks the same or similar kinds of “big” questions that the professor/s ask so that even if your specific topic isn’t a match, your questions, goals, perspectives, methods, and/or stakes complement theirs;
Your qualifications and career goals are comparable to current students or recent graduates.
Each university sets its own length limitations for the SofP, ranging from one page to unlimited pages. Keep in mind that they will have your transcript, resume, and letters of recommendation, so there’s no need to waste space by merely repeating that information. Instead, address how your background shaped the trajectory of your ideas and goals. You might ballpark about 25% of your statement dedicated to background preparation and qualifications and adjust as needed.
The conclusion of your statement of purpose should bring a sense of closure to your writing. You can recap a bit, but in general, you don’t need to summarize all that you’ve just said. Unless your SoP is several pages long, your reader will remember—they just read it.
But it can be very useful to leave your reader with a final insight, and to perhaps frame your path and exploration heading forward (whether career plans after your degree program, or questions you hope to continue to explore and issues you hope to help resolve). Help your readers to see that you are ready for this next step, and that their program is where you belong.
Length of a statement of purpose depends on the specific program’s requirements: Each school will have different limits. As such (and we’re repeating this because it’s essential), be sure to thoroughly read through the program’s website and adhere to any and all guidelines they offer.
Below, we’ll offer 7 successful statement of purpose examples, with in-depth analysis.
Statement of purpose example 1
The following example statement of purpose was written as part of a successful application for Yale Divinity School.
Overview and analysis written by Christine Rose.
Want to work with Christine through your grad school admissions process? Schedule a call with our team to learn more here .
During the years that I served on the Ph.D. admissions committee for a highly selective graduate program, what I looked forward to the most was studying how each candidate crafted their statement of purpose (SofP). No two were exactly alike. Even if they covered all of their bases, which every strong SofP must, the thinkers and scholarship that were foundational for their respective graduate school goals differed, as did their proposed focus, their personal and theoretical investments, their rhetorical flourishes, their nuanced insights, and the life experiences that lead them to seek this particula r degree from this particular institution.
The SofP that I analyze below was used to apply to Mat Yale Divinity School (YDS). For readers unfamiliar with MARs, they are generally two-year programs consisting of the academic study of religious histories, texts, art, belief systems, and institutions alongside practical, real-world chances to serve within a community such as a hospital, shelter, assisted living facility, synagogue, mosque, or church. It is a degree open to anyone of any faith—or lack thereof. Yes, agnostics, “spiritual-but-not-religious,” and even some atheists who are drawn to careers in service, activism, justice, and community organizing have opted to go to divinity school.
This SofP gained the author admission to many of America’s most competitive programs: Yale Divinity School, Harvard Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry, Boston University School of Theology, and Union Theological Seminary.
Read it in full first, or scroll down for a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis.
I Will Remember Junia In the introduction to her literary-feminist exegesis, Texts of Terror , Phyllis Trible writes that stories are the “style and substance” of our existence, that they “fashion and fill” our lives. Trible’s assertion is certainly true of my own life: I consumed stories ravenously as a child, and they have defined my personal and academic life thus far. My life has also been defined by the Christian faith. Ironically, I never engaged with the stories most Christians hold dearest until I enrolled in my first religious studies course, Christian history, as a first-year at Grinnell College. In this course, I was rattled by the realization that the Bible had “fashioned and filled” the world around me, my church, the underpinnings of ideas and systems I came in contact with daily, and, perhaps most alarming, the morals and values I had inherited and chosen, without my slightest awareness. As the course continued on, I learned about the first female apostle and was deeply struck by the ease with which a 14th-century translation erased female leadership from the Bible. On the final exam to this course, I was asked “what will you be taking away?” My answer was immediate: I will remember Junia. I spent much of my undergraduate career after this studying literature and learning to write my own narratives as an English major—a pursuit which, continually, drew me back to the themes I studied in courses for a Religious Studies minor. This range of academic focus allowed me to enter my first Biblical Studies course with an eye not only for theology, but with the skills to study literary elements such as narrative structure, genre tropes, and source study. Further, the tension that arose when I began to grapple with the Bible as a piece of literature alongside its value as my Holy book, was, and continues to be, unexplainably thrilling. Consideration of the text’s discontinuities and human errors in academic discourse has enhanced and complicated my personal reading of scripture; likewise, I believe my identity as a woman of faith has enhanced and complicated what I contribute to an academic discourse. I cannot analyze a story like the rape of Tamar in 2 Samuel rhetorically or historically without also considering modern, female readership. The challenge of considering these texts and stories holistically is precisely what I want to lean into in my graduate studies. My academic interests are primarily in studying New Testament and Biblical Greek, as well as early Christian history, through the lens of women, gender, and sexuality. My curiosity also extends to the extracanonical and gnostic texts. In pursuing Yale Divinity’s M.A. in Religion with a New Testament concentration, I believe I will most fully be able to delve into the intersections of these ideas. I am particularly intrigued by Professor Michal Beth Dinkler’s research in applying contemporary literary theory to New Testament scholarship, as her work resonates closely with the questions I have asked most often as a student. In addition to my intellectual curiosities, I prepare this application while simultaneously engaging in vocational discernment through a 2020-21 service year with the New York Service & Justice Collaborative, an affiliate of the Episcopal Service Corps. Here, I am able to serve 35 hours each week with a nonprofit which works to create communities of belonging for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am serving alongside our executive director as the second employee. This work has given me an education in disability advocacy, theology, and the injustices caused by ableism, and has also granted me the experience of witnessing nonprofit work from the ground level. With the Service Corps, I am also spending one day each week in servant leadership and social justice focused “faith formation”. As someone who has continually been drawn to leadership roles in the past, I have valued the chance to think about leadership intentionally and critically. Yale Divinity’s Transformational Leadership program appeals to me as an outstanding support for my vocational discernment process, and as continuing the leadership training I have just started. It would be negligent of what I hope to experience in a program such as Yale Divinity School’s M.A.R. to state with certainty my current inclination that I will use this degree to pursue a career in education or public service. I wholeheartedly expect that my time in this degree program would radically reshape my approach to Biblical studies, as well as my current understanding of how I want to contribute to the world. Although I did not take New Testament courses during my time as an undergraduate, I believe that my academic background and my interest in studying Biblical Greek will allow me to succeed in this track. I am confident that the programming at Yale Divinity School would both challenge and encourage me in vocational discernment, and grant me the opportunity to learn and contribute my ideas to the field of Biblical studies. — — —
Paragraph one: introduction.
In the introduction to her literary-feminist exegesis, Texts of Terror , Phyllis Trible writes that stories are the “style and substance” of our existence, that they “fashion and fill” our lives. Trible’s assertion is certainly true of my own life: I consumed stories ravenously as a child, and they have defined my personal and academic life thus far. My life has also been defined by the Christian faith. Ironically, I never engaged with the stories most Christians hold dearest until I enrolled in my first religious studies course, Christian history, as a first-year at Grinnell College. In this course, I was rattled by the realization that the Bible had “fashioned and filled” the world around me, my church, the underpinnings of ideas and systems I came in contact with daily, and, perhaps most alarming, the morals and values I had inherited and chosen, without my slightest awareness. As the course continued on, I learned about the first female apostle and was deeply struck by the ease with which a 14th-century translation erased female leadership from the Bible. On the final exam to this course, I was asked “what will you be taking away?” My answer was immediate: I will remember Junia. — — —
I’m assuming most of you are wondering who Junia is. One might expect the author to offer her background in the rest of the SofP, but in this case, our expectation would be disappointed, so here’s some background.
Junia is mentioned only once in the Christian Bible, in the Old Testament (Paul’s epistle to the Romans, chapter 16 verse 7). From biblical scholarship, we know that Junia was a woman who worked alongside Paul, the Greek-speaking Jewish guy from Asia Minor who spread the message of Christianity in the first century. As they went from town to town shaking things up and announcing that Jesus was the son of God, they became a threat to local authorities and both were imprisoned.
The significance is not that she’s supposed to have done or said anything highly memorable (scandalous, miraculous, radical, deplorable, etc.). Her historical noteworthiness is that in the 14th century, some scribe somewhere added an ‘s’ to her name, which effectively turned her into a man. Similar to how if one changed the final ‘a’ to an ‘o’ in names like Claudia, Maria, or Julia, readers would no longer assume a female referent but would rather assume the person in question was a guy. Thus by centering the first paragraph around Junia, the author is further situating herself within the history of feminist scholarship that she had already laid the groundwork for in the opening sentence by referring to “literary-feminist exegesis” (exegesis = critical interpretation of scripture).
Now let’s look at the opening sentence:
“ In the introduction to her literary-feminist exegesis, Texts of Terror, Phyllis Trible writes that stories are the “style and substance” of our existence, that they “fashion and fill” our lives.” — — —
What I like about this opener is that:
It shares some of the author’s values (feminism, the power of narrative and storytelling to create meaning).
It engages with a specific scholar, text, and concept and thereby avoids generalities.
It’s exceedingly unlikely that other candidates that year wrote a similar first sentence, which means that it was
Not predictable and not formulaic
The book she refers to, Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives , was written by a renowned feminist biblical scholar and based on a series of lectures she delivered at Yale. The admissions committee reading this SofP would be familiar with the text and that lecture series, and so it additionally demonstrates that this applicant has done her homework and knows the specificities of what kinds of scholarship Yale’s Divinity School has supported in the past.
If I were to point to any weaknesses, I would note that the idea she summarizes is not original. That said, the many strengths far outweigh the one weakness. One final note about the hook: I like it in part because of its simplicity. Oftentimes, we paralyze ourselves with fear by telling ourselves that our first sentence has to be mind-bogglingly brilliant, when the truth is that it simply must be thoroughly designed to inform the reader of something critical we hope to accomplish in our graduate studies.
Again, a grad school statement of purpose is first and foremost an academic statement. In this case, by placing herself in conversation with an influential scholar in the field, the author demonstrates from the get-go that she brings knowledge of the field that she feels she is ready to embark upon at Yale.
Moving on, the rest of the paragraph builds upon the power of stories, specifically within the Christian faith, and the author situates herself both personally (as a Christian) and academically (as a student of Christian history). By far the best sentence in this paragraph is where the author admits to being “rattled” by the realization that so much of her life had been “fashioned and filled” by the Bible unbeknownst to her. I like this for two reasons.
First: rattled. It’s a cool word! Uncommon, yet familiar. It precisely names an emotion we’ve all felt upon occasion, an experience that is akin to the “Aha” or Eureka moment of sudden realization or insight that psychologists have long studied. But there is an added connotation of dread or fear. Psychologically, it takes courage to probe deeply into what we’ve been rattled by, so …
The second reason this stands out is that this sentence shows something about the author’s maturity, ability for self-reflection, and character.
In the remainder of the paragraph, the author ties the feminist, literary, Biblical, and historical strands together by sharing her discovery of the 14th-century erasure of a female character from Biblical stories.
PARAGRAPH TWO: BACKGROUND PREPARATION
I spent much of my undergraduate career after this studying literature and learning to write my own narratives as an English major—a pursuit which, continually, drew me back to the themes I studied in courses for a Religious Studies minor. This range of academic focus allowed me to enter my first Biblical Studies course with an eye not only for theology, but with the skills to study literary elements such as narrative structure, genre tropes, and source study. Further, the tension that arose when I began to grapple with the Bible as a piece of literature alongside its value as my Holy book, was, and continues to be, unexplainably thrilling. Consideration of the text’s discontinuities and human errors in academic discourse has enhanced and complicated my personal reading of scripture; likewise, I believe my identity as a woman of faith has enhanced and complicated what I contribute to an academic discourse. I cannot analyze a story like the rape of Tamar in 2 Samuel rhetorically or historically without also considering modern, female readership. The challenge of considering these texts and stories holistically is precisely what I want to lean into in my graduate studies. — — —
A significant chunk of any SofP must address the candidate’s academic qualifications and preparedness for graduate studies. While the author doesn’t go into depth, she briefly explains how her undergraduate major (English) and minor (Religious Studies) prepared her to wrestle with hermeneutic challenges that could easily present themselves to a feminist scholar of a religious text that contains repeated references to sexual assault and the subordination of women.
Sidebar: It’s often—but not always—appropriate to share relevant personal identificatory information (here, the applicant’s religion because she’s applying to divinity school; in other cases, insofar as the information strengthens the overall application or helps tell the story that prepared the person to apply for X degree, it might be worthwhile to share nationality, age, disability, sexuality, gender identity, geographic origin, race, class, and/or ethnicity).
Not sure what’s relevant and appropriate to share? Wondering how much is too much to share? Afraid of coming across as a victim?
Contact College Essay Guy’s Graduate Division for a 1:1 coach who can help you think through your options and present your story in a way that enhances, not detracts from, your candidacy.
PARAGRAPH THREE: AREAS OF STUDY AND NAMING THE PROFESSORS
My academic interests are primarily in studying New Testament and Biblical Greek, as well as early Christian history, through the lens of women, gender, and sexuality. My curiosity also extends to the extracanonical and gnostic texts. In pursuing Yale Divinity’s M.A. in Religion with a New Testament concentration, I believe I will most fully be able to delve into the intersections of these ideas. I am particularly intrigued by Professor Michal Beth Dinkler’s research in applying contemporary literary theory to New Testament scholarship, as her work resonates closely with the questions I have asked most often as a student. — — —
As discussed in the intro, a “must” for any SoP is to address what the applicant proposes to study and with whom . The paragraph above does so clearly and directly, in particular citing a professor (Dinkler) whose work aligns with the writer’s interests, demonstrating both that she’s done her homework on the program (one vital element of an SoP) and that she and the program/faculty align well regarding values and focus.
To be sure your SoP demonstrates Applicant-Program Fit, plan on spending a good amount of time researching the professors and their interests in the departments you’re applying to. Explore their publications and websites, the questions they’re asking and how they answer them. Build a doc containing this research, so that once you dive into writing and revising your SoP, you can weave in details that show how you and the department fit together.
Want to talk through the pros and cons of pursuing a purely academic degree versus a professional degree? Not sure of the difference? Let us know your situation!
As always, the depth of research, level of scholarship, and degree of originality differs significantly, depending on whether you are seeking a master’s or doctoral degree. If you are applying for a master’s degree, you don’t need to do as much research on the specific professors, although mentioning a few is always in order. You also don’t need to know what that professor is currently working on or plans to work on next, because master’s degrees offer a general mastery of a field and are less dependent on the student’s original contributions.
PARAGRAPH FOUR: RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
In addition to my intellectual curiosities, I prepare this application while simultaneously engaging in vocational discernment through a 2020-21 service year with the New York Service & Justice Collaborative, an affiliate of the Episcopal Service Corps. Here, I am able to serve 35 hours each week with a nonprofit which works to create communities of belonging for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am serving alongside our executive director as the second employee. This work has given me an education in disability advocacy, theology, and the injustices caused by ableism, and has also granted me the experience of witnessing nonprofit work from the ground level. With the Service Corps, I am also spending one day each week in servant leadership and social justice focused “faith formation”. As someone who has continually been drawn to leadership roles in the past, I have valued the chance to think about leadership intentionally and critically. Yale Divinity’s Transformational Leadership program appeals to me as an outstanding support for my vocational discernment process, and as continuing the leadership training I have just started.
This paragraph addresses the author’s current position insofar as it dovetails with Yale Divinity’s mission. Read this from the YDS website :
“We stand between the more strictly academic approach of a department of religion and the more practical, parochial orientation of the seminaries. We educate and prepare the scholars, ministers, and leaders of the future.”
YDS values service and leadership , so by combining her commitment to inclusive communities, social justice, conscientious leadership, and disability advocacy, she places herself firmly within Yale’s reputation for valuing diversity, serving local communities both secular and religious, and leaning left-of-center. Finally, she “talks the talk”: in the Christian tradition, discernment means more than its common denotation of the ability to judge right from wrong (truth from falsehood, etc.) wisely. It’s a term that refers to the ability to approach all aspects of life biblically. In some denominations, it’s a formal step on the way to becoming a priest. Used in this SofP, it means that the author isn’t 100% certain of her exact career goals, but that she is committed to approaching her process of inquiry through prayer and conversations with those at YDS.
FINAL PARAGRAPH: CONCLUSION
It would be negligent of what I hope to experience in a program such as Yale Divinity School’s M.A.R. to state with certainty my current inclination that I will use this degree to pursue a career in education or public service. I wholeheartedly expect that my time in this degree program would radically reshape my approach to Biblical studies, as well as my current understanding of how I want to contribute to the world. Although I did not take New Testament courses during my time as an undergraduate, I believe that my academic background and my interest in studying Biblical Greek will allow me to succeed in this track. I am confident that the programming at Yale Divinity School would both challenge and encourage me in vocational discernment, and grant me the opportunity to learn and contribute my ideas to the field of Biblical studies.
The conclusion in this sample Statement of Purpose turns toward the future by addressing potential careers. The author comes across as open to being shaped by her experiences, should she attend YDS. She strikes a nice balance of being focused in her academic interests yet malleable in her professional goals. This is important to keep in mind when writing your own SofP. If you come across as overly rigid and not open to the guidance that professors have to offer, they might question the necessity of you studying in their program. You want to sound eager to take part in dialogue, take advantage of the program’s offerings, and learn through and contribute to conversations with peers and mentors.
Statement of purpose grad school example 2
Overview and analysis by Carlos A.
Want to work with Carlos through your grad school admissions process? Schedule a call with our team to learn more here .
The statement of purpose example below is geared towards application for the Masters in Sociology and Education at the Teachers College, Columbia University, one of the oldest and top-ranked education programs in the nation. This applied degree program is designed to give educators cross-disciplinary skills needed to apply sociological concepts to their approach as educators, specifically focusing on developing “sociological imagination” to understand inequality discrepancies in education and how to use this understanding to guide their “micro-level day-to-day experiences” as educators. As such, this degree program seeks educators that would like to continue their education with an emphasis on how to integrate sociological understanding of macro-level inequality in their teaching and mentorship pedagogy. Using the Teacher’s College’s strong commitment to social justice as a starting point, this degree program provides students with the tools needed to conduct both qualitative and quantitative social analysis of education to foster a better understanding of the social, political, and economic causes of inequality in the field of education.
In the forthcoming statement of purpose analysis, we assess a solid statement of purpose (the applicant was accepted to the program) that can also be improved towards providing a competitive application for this degree program. After all, a statement of purpose is an academic statement designed to build a thesis as to why the academic interest of the student is a “good fit” for the academic program considered and to signal ultimate success if selected for admission to the department.
Specifically, we focus on:
Whether the applicant emphasizes intellectual interests congruent with the mission of the education department’s degree program
Whether past professional and personal experiences help shape these intellectual interests, and
How completion of the applied degree program will provide the applicant with the skillsets they need to advance their career objectives in the education field.
Overall, this statement of purpose, while requiring some editing, establishes a strong foundation, anchoring a successful application to a highly ranked applied education degree program. As the specific analysis will show, the applicant draws on their wide-ranging professional experience in public educating systems serving diverse populations to articulate both their intellectual interests in assessing the social causes of inequality in education and identifying faculty mentors to guide the development of these interests while in the program towards their professional development as educators.
One of the most prominent instances that made me realize the deep-seated educational disparities for minority and lower-income students occurred when I tested a 5th grade Philadelphia public school student named Jenna. Her results revealed that Jenna was barely capable of reading on a 1st grade level. Despite the fact that my interaction with Jenna left me upset and frustrated, it catalyzed my desire to work towards narrowing the achievement and opportunity gaps that students and school systems encounter in our country. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Sociology and Education at Teachers College will empower me to better support underserved students by gaining a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. education system, engaging with professors who are leaders in the field of urban education, and acquiring research skills that will enable me to critically analyze school systems from a sociological perspective. I am determined to attend Teachers College because my goal is to translate theory into practice while studying in the heart of one of the largest and most diverse school districts in the country. My experience as a Posse Scholar at Bryn Mawr College and working in the education nonprofit sphere in Philadelphia has allowed me to interpret the education system from a number of diverse viewpoints. However, I strive to gain a deeper understanding of education policy, strategies, and theories in order to further inform my career in education, specifically within K-12 reform and college access. After graduating Bryn Mawr College as a Posse Foundation Scholar, I recognized the transformative potential that a quality education has on the lives of students who are products of under-resourced school districts. During my time at Bryn Mawr I took classes such as Race, Gender and Culture and The Black Self: Identity and Consciousness which dissected race and social identity from a perspective that allowed me to better understand systemic racism and how communities of color shape and mold their consciousness. These courses, coupled with complex conversations about race and social justice, stimulated my passion to combat the forces and mindsets that continue to disadvantage minority youths. My involvement as a Posse Scholar fueled my determination to empower students and led me to become a freshman peer mentor to first-generation and international students during my senior year. While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to produce an independent qualitative thesis entitled, The Role of Communication in Developing Bryn Mawr College Students’ Religious Identity. I obtained invaluable analytical skills, utilized various methods of collecting qualitative and quantitative data, and became inspired to eventually refine my research skills at the graduate level. My multifaceted experience as a student motivated me to pursue a career in education nonprofits and work at organizations that focus on youth development, race, and social justice. My entry into professional education began at Leading Educators, a nonprofit dedicated to identifying high quality teachers in the D.C. public school system for their Teacher Leadership Fellowship. This organization exposed me to the opportunity gaps that lower-income students face within the D.C. public school system and fueled my passion to advocate for educational equity. While I learned many technical skills, such as grant writing and event planning, the most beneficial aspect of the role came from engaging with principals, teachers, and policy makers from the Department of Education. These interactions compelled me to explore educational issues first-hand, stimulated my desire to work with students directly, and galvanized me to dissect the complex connections between K-12 reform and college access. My current position at For Love of Children (FLOC) involves supporting students like Jenna who are severely below grade level and have limited access to quality educational resources. As a Scholars Program Coordinator, I facilitate free after-school workshops on grade-based curriculum as well as postsecondary preparation for 8th and 11th grade students from the D.C. community. During my time at FLOC, I have refined our 11th grade SAT program, which is now more individualized to each student’s skill level in math and reading. Each week, I collaborate with their tutors by receiving feedback on student progress and adjusting the difficulty of their practice tests to ensure they are strengthening areas of improvement. As I work with students to achieve their postsecondary goals, they begin to see their own potential and build confidence. However, there are still many faults in our K-12 public education system that continue to prevent students of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds from receiving an equitable education. Although I have expanded my knowledge of urban education and college access while working in the nonprofit sector, acquiring a Master’s degree at Teachers College will provide me with the fundamental skills and resources needed to effectively support a diversity of students. Having the opportunity to attend and take courses at Teachers College with innovators such as Amy Stuart Wells truly excites me because of my admiration for her research on race and school desegregation. In April 2016, I had the opportunity to hear Professor Wells speak at a seminar titled, Taking Action on School Diversity. Her speech inspired me to explore the policies and practices being implemented in order to attain racial diversity in schools around the country. I am also eager to explore Professor Jeffrey Henig’s work on reforming urban schools and analyzing the intersections of race, politics, and education in urban environments. The unique perspectives of these and other educators will provide me with the tools necessary to build upon my own experiences in the field of education. Additionally, after speaking with several students currently in the Sociology & Education program and attending an open house, I can think of no institution more perfectly suited to my interests and ambitions. I am confident in my abilities to excel as a graduate student and apply the newfound research methods, theories, and strategies to all my future professional endeavors in education. — — —
One of the most prominent instances that made me realize the deep-seated educational disparities for minority and lower-income students occurred when I tested a 5th grade Philadelphia public school student named Jenna. Her results revealed that Jenna was barely capable of reading on a 1st grade level. Despite the fact that my interaction with Jenna left me upset and frustrated, it catalyzed my desire to work towards narrowing the achievement and opportunity gaps that students and school systems encounter in our country. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Sociology and Education at Teachers College will empower me to better support underserved students by gaining a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. education system, engaging with professors who are leaders in the field of urban education, and acquiring research skills that will enable me to critically analyze school systems from a sociological perspective. I am determined to attend Teachers College because my goal is to translate theory into practice while studying in the heart of one of the largest and most diverse school districts in the country. My experience as a Posse Scholar at Bryn Mawr College and working in the education nonprofit sphere in Philadelphia has allowed me to interpret the education system from a number of diverse viewpoints. However, I strive to gain a deeper understanding of education policy, strategies, and theories in order to further inform my career in education, specifically within K-12 reform and college access.
The first two paragraphs of this academic statement help lay the foundation for point (1) above by establishing the applicant’s intellectual interest in sociology and education. First, the applicant draws on personal experience as a public-school educator in Philadelphia to motivate the desire to both assess inequity in achievement and opportunity gaps among public education students. By establishing this personal narrative, the applicant is conveying practitioner experience in one of the core areas of the degree program which focuses on the determinants of inequality in educational outcomes. One editing suggestion moving forward would be to more explicitly state how these experiences help inform the academic mission of the degree program. The applicant hints how the experience as a public-school educator in underserved communities helps inform interest in the Teacher’s college degree program, but this can be tied in a more explicit way by further highlighting other cases in which inequity in learning outcomes was observed firsthand.
Taken together, this first section helps address the first key component of this statement of purpose (1) by emphasizing how personal experience informed an interest in studying the causes of educational inequities and how this interest is congruent with the sociological perspective of the department: demonstrating how you align with the mission, vision, and values of the program and institution is key
Now onto the next pargraph:
After graduating Bryn Mawr College as a Posse Foundation Scholar, I recognized the transformative potential that a quality education has on the lives of students who are products of under-resourced school districts. During my time at Bryn Mawr I took classes such as Race, Gender and Culture and The Black Self: Identity and Consciousness which dissected race and social identity from a perspective that allowed me to better understand systemic racism and how communities of color shape and mold their consciousness. These courses, coupled with complex conversations about race and social justice, stimulated my passion to combat the forces and mindsets that continue to disadvantage minority youths. My involvement as a Posse Scholar fueled my determination to empower students and led me to become a freshman peer mentor to first-generation and international students during my senior year. While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to produce an independent qualitative thesis entitled, The Role of Communication in Developing Bryn Mawr College Students’ Religious Identity. I obtained invaluable analytical skills, utilized various methods of collecting qualitative and quantitative data, and became inspired to eventually refine my research skills at the graduate level. My multifaceted experience as a student motivated me to pursue a career in education nonprofits and work at organizations that focus on youth development, race, and social justice. My entry into professional education began at Leading Educators, a nonprofit dedicated to identifying high quality teachers in the D.C. public school system for their Teacher Leadership Fellowship. This organization exposed me to the opportunity gaps that lower-income students face within the D.C. public school system and fueled my passion to advocate for educational equity. While I learned many technical skills, such as grant writing and event planning, the most beneficial aspect of the role came from engaging with principals, teachers, and policy makers from the Department of Education. These interactions compelled me to explore educational issues first-hand, stimulated my desire to work with students directly, and galvanized me to dissect the complex connections between K-12 reform and college access. My current position at For Love of Children (FLOC) involves supporting students like Jenna who are severely below grade level and have limited access to quality educational resources. As a Scholars Program Coordinator, I facilitate free after-school workshops on grade-based curriculum as well as postsecondary preparation for 8th and 11th grade students from the D.C. community. During my time at FLOC, I have refined our 11th grade SAT program, which is now more individualized to each student’s skill level in math and reading. Each week, I collaborate with their tutors by receiving feedback on student progress and adjusting the difficulty of their practice tests to ensure they are strengthening areas of improvement. As I work with students to achieve their postsecondary goals, they begin to see their own potential and build confidence. However, there are still many faults in our K-12 public education system that continue to prevent students of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds from receiving an equitable education. Although I have expanded my knowledge of urban education and college access while working in the nonprofit sector, acquiring a Master’s degree at Teachers College will provide me with the fundamental skills and resources needed to effectively support a diversity of students.
The preceding paragraphs offer an excellent description of how past professional experience helps shape the applicant’s interest in assessing the macro-level dynamics of inequality in public education.
First, the applicant begins with a discussion of their rich undergraduate experience, particularly as a Posse scholar studying systemic racism. This section would be strengthened by clearer discussion of what this scholar program entails, particularly in emphasis of racial justice highlighted.
Second, the highlighting of professional experience in serving underserved and challenged students in Washington, DC, effectively signals practitioner experience in one of the key components of the academic program of interest, that of assessing and addressing the causes of educational outcome inequities. This section is rich in practitioner experience, such as collaborating with tutors refining the SAT preparation program in reading and math. This practitioner experience signals rich qualitative experience that demonstrates to the admissions committee that the applicant can bring a “real-world” perspective to the graduate program. Indeed, this section speaks to (2) how past professional and personal experiences help shape the intellectual interests emphasized by the prospective degree program, indicating a seamless fit between the applicant’s academic interests and the mission of the degree program.
Let’s see how the student closed this personal statement:
Having the opportunity to attend and take courses at Teachers College with innovators such as Amy Stuart Wells truly excites me because of my admiration for her research on race and school desegregation. In April 2016, I had the opportunity to hear Professor Wells speak at a seminar titled, Taking Action on School Diversity. Her speech inspired me to explore the policies and practices being implemented in order to attain racial diversity in schools around the country. I am also eager to explore Professor Jeffrey Henig’s work on reforming urban schools and analyzing the intersections of race, politics, and education in urban environments. The unique perspectives of these and other educators will provide me with the tools necessary to build upon my own experiences in the field of education. Additionally, after speaking with several students currently in the Sociology & Education program and attending an open house, I can think of no institution more perfectly suited to my interests and ambitions. I am confident in my abilities to excel as a graduate student and apply the newfound research methods, theories, and strategies to all my future professional endeavors in education.
The concluding paragraph helps address two key components of this statement of purpose:
First, this paragraph explicitly states which faculty member the applicant would like to work with during their degree program based on the research agenda of the faculty member. This is critically important in signaling that the applicant could immediately begin pursuing their intellectual interests at the beginning of their degree program.
Secondly, this paragraph hints at how the sociology & education program could provide “newfound research methods, theories, and strategies” that will serve the applicant well in “future professional endeavors in education.”
One suggestion to strengthen even further is to build out this thesis by explicitly stating what research methods and theoretical frameworks could be gained in the degree program that will help shape future career objectives.
This paragraph lays a strong foundation in addressing the third component (3) of how completion of the applied program can inform future endeavors. In conjunction with highlighting the desired faculty mentor, building this thesis can further catalyze the “perfect fit” between the applicant’s academic interests and the intellectual mission of the sociology & education program.
Statement of purpose for graduate school example 3
The following statement of purpose example was written for the INSEAD MBA program .
The explanation and analysis below was written by Kristin Joys.
Want to work with Kristin through your grad school admissions process? Schedule a call with our team to learn more here .
Having worked in academia for more than two decades, I’ve had the opportunity to serve on graduate admissions committees, and I’ve also been asked to write hundreds of letters of recommendations for students applying to graduate school (most often MBA programs, Law School, and advanced degrees in the social sciences—as much of my academic work is focused on social impact & sustainable business related issues). One of the things I love most about this work is reading (and helping students to craft) a strong Statement of Purpose—when done well, they give the admissions committee a clear and concise picture of students’ experience, accomplishments, aspirations, and how they will be an asset to the program they seek to attend.
Some schools, like the example below from INSEAD, require applicants to complete a series of short-answer essays rather than a singular SoP. In some ways, the series of individual short-answer essays required by INSEAD makes the process easier for the student to demonstrate that they are a strong candidate. When a student is tasked with responding to individual short-answer essays, there is no risk that the student might omit key information from a SoP and thus risk being perceived as a less well-qualified or less appealing candidate. Whether on a singular SoP or in a series of short-answers, it is essential that students’ narratives articulate their interests in specific programs to which they are applying, their prior academic performance and professional experience, self-awareness and clarity around their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their future aspirations—leveraging the experience and skills they will gain as a MBA student to acquire positions and roles as a leader and changemaker.
INSEAD is one of the world’s leading business schools. The main campus is located in Fontainebleau, France (just 45 minutes from Paris by train), with additional campuses in Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and San Francisco. For many years, INSEAD has been considered “the Harvard of Europe” (in fact, it was founded in 1957 by a Harvard Business School graduate) and attracts students and expert faculty from around the world. A MBA degree from INSEAD is a respected credential that opens doors and advances careers.
Reviewing this applicant’s essays was nostalgic for me as, after earning my Ph.D. in Sociology (in 2003) and a Post Doc in Management & Marketing (in 2012), I had the opportunity to study at INSEAD’s Fontainebleau campus in Fall 2012 when I participated in INSEAD’s International Social Entrepreneurship Programme and earned a Certificate of Executive Education in Social Entrepreneurship. I was among 50 students hailing from 24 countries around the world, and I was the only person attending from the U.S. A number of my classmates and colleagues were enrolled in (or applying to) the INSEAD MBA program and all of our faculty were respected INSEAD MBA instructors as well. I enjoyed reading the applicant’s mention of the various programs and activities he looked forward to participating in as a future INSEAD student (as they rang familiar from my time on campus there).
This applicant gained admission to and excelled in INSEAD’s MBA program. Below, I’ve provided an analysis of each of the applicant’s short-answer essays—there are a total of eight, with word limits ranging from 100 to 500 words. Together, the applicant’s responses make a strong case to the admissions committee that the applicant is not only an excellent fit for their MBA program and will perform well as a student, he will be an asset to his classmates—and also that his future successes will reflect positively on the program and university.
Short Answer Response Analysis
1. Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary (maximum 500 words).*
I didn’t realize how much my first interview would impact my future. It wasn’t a meeting with a recruiter or Fortune 500 CEO. I was 6 years old, sitting across from the international baccalaureate (IB) school’s admissions counselor. “Would you like to proceed in English or Spanish?” she asked. “English!” I said, surprising my mother. We had arrived in the US from Chile less than a year earlier when my father was transferred to lead his firm’s new telecommunications subsidiary. I was new to English but eager to dive in. Mama initiated my interest in languages as she had been educated at Universidad de Chile, and understood the value of global education. Together, these interests motivated me to enroll in IB’s French immersion program, to be surrounded by classmates from many cultures and nationalities, which enriched my learning dramatically. As an immigrant, I also understood the value of hard work from an early age. In high school that meant balancing my long study hours with working up to 20 hours/week at the Mexican restaurant my family started in Tampa Bay following Papa leaving the corporate world (after building the subsidiary to 600+ employees prior to its sale). Resilience has become another cherished value. For example, when I failed to gain preadmission to UNC’s Kenan-Flagler business school, I committed to putting in the work to make this happen during regular admissions, and succeeded, completing my last two years of college at the b-school. Throughout life, I’ve sought growth from enriching global experiences. Immediately after college, I backpacked across five Latin American countries, ending with a two-month internship in Chile. I was elated to practice my Portuguese in Brazil and connect with new people, whether sharing a meal with a stranger at a train station in Boa Vista or couch-surfing through Uruguayan beach towns. My travels have pushed me out of my comfort zone, boosted my resourcefulness, reminded me of my privilege, and highlighted how much more I have to learn. My experience has also motivated me to make a difference for others. At UNC, I joined EASE (Easing Abroad Students Entry) to mentor incoming study-abroad students. For instance, I helped Andres from Spain navigate campus and Chapel Hill, and brought him into my friend group to enjoy outings at restaurants and events like the UNC-Duke game. Now, having worked in Canada, China, Mexico, and countless U.S. states, I am eager to make a global impact while working closely with ambitious colleagues (see Career Vision essay). To do that I’ll harness my ambition but also continue ameliorating my shortcomings, like how I learned to manage my past tendency to rely on “brute force.” As a Senior Analyst, I failed to leverage the available knowledge at my firm for some challenging client work-streams, forcing me to restart from scratch to succeed. I’ve come a long way from that IB interview at age 6, learning and growing from each new experience. Now I’m excited to share and build on all of my values at INSEAD. — — —
The student does an outstanding job of offering a candid description of themselves, using vivid examples to emphasize the main factors that influenced their personal development. By framing the essay around their experience immigrating to the U.S. from Chile at age 6, their IB education, their fluency in multiple languages (Spanish, English, French, and Portuguese) and their ability to navigate various cultural settings (having worked & traveled in the U.S., Canada, China, Mexico, and five additional Latin American countries), they both explicitly and implicitly communicate to the admissions committee not only that they are a competent and experienced business professional but also that they are aligned with INSEAD’s “business school for the world” mission. By using language like “Mama” and “Papa” rather than Mother and Father, the student’s essay feels relatable and authentic.
The essay prompt requests that applicants mention the personal characteristics they feel to be their strengths and weaknesses. The student weaves mentions of their strengths throughout, both implicitly and explicitly. In this single sentence the student does a remarkable job of clearly, concisely, and cleverly leveraging their self-awareness to coherently detail some of the strengths they have gained through their experiences:
“My travels have pushed me out of my comfort zone, boosted my resourcefulness, reminded me of my privilege, and highlighted how much more I have to learn.”
Only in the last paragraph do they mention two weaknesses—their tendency to rely on “brute force,” as well as their failure to leverage available knowledge at firm—forcing them to have to start from scratch. It goes without saying that when presented with a prompt like this, it’s in students’ best interests to emphasize their strengths (as this student did, by mentioning many strengths and just two weaknesses). I would have liked to have seen a bit more in that last paragraph, as the student seemed to attempt to wrap the entire essay up with one sentence following his mention of weaknesses. When possible, I find it to be a more effective tactic to mention “weaknesses” that can also be perceived to be strengths (for example, being “detail-oriented” is a strength in many context, but it can be a weakness if one’s concern for details causes them to miss deadlines or lose sight of the big picture).
Overall, this student aptly leverages the prompt in this essay to demonstrate how they are very much aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the program to which they are applying.
2. Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned (maximum 400 words). *
Growing at Andersen “Salud!” In February 2019, we clinked glasses with our Mexico-based client director to celebrate implementation of the second global shared-services center I’d worked on. That engagement, and the client’s previous service-center in Japan, represented 1.5 years of work for me. My role had spanned nearly every domain: gathering requirements for their proposed HR-self-service portal, holding workshops with global client representatives from 30+ countries to customize design; meeting with local SMEs to draft desktop and system procedures. I became skilled at navigating localized issues—such as an SME’s preferred way of working—and finding the right balance between high customer usability/satisfaction and keeping processes and systems efficient, streamlined, and accessible. I also managed a 5-person offshore team supporting the launch, and became a go-to team member based on the agile-development knowledge I picked up as scrum master. Andersen partners and client executives were thrilled with the results, and I was entrusted to represent our team in Japan and Mexico as a rising leader and thought partner. — — — Family Challenges Last year, when we learned Dad’s cancer had returned, we wept. He had been our role model, our glue, an ambitious man who worked hard to rise from a Chilean farm town to a high-level executive, taking us to exciting new lands and opportunities. “I can beat this,” he assured us as the disease progressed. However as he struggled to survive, so did our family bonds. Dad had always been our mediator and, while I tried to take on that role as the middle sibling of three, it wasn’t easy. The night he lost his final battle, our collective stress boiled over, with a flashpoint between my siblings who held longtime resentment. My mother and I tried to step in, without luck. Over the weeks that followed, our once-harmonious family became fractured, pushed to the limit by Dad’s passing, the pandemic, and a national political divide reflected in our own home. After backing off initially, I worked quietly to address the gap, planning a family barbecue, meeting with attorneys to ensure legal matters didn’t compound the issue. We miss Papa deeply, and there are no easy answers, but we are healing now, slowly. My highs and lows demonstrate that relationships are about earning trust by being there for others—whether a client, teammate, or sibling—and giving people space and time as needed, all as part of mutual support and growth. — — —
In both of the short-answer responses above, the student does a great job of directly responding to the prompts while continuing to offer details that position themselves as being very much aligned with the global emphasis of the program to which they are applying.
The first paragraph, describing their achievement helping a SME (in Mexico) to implement a global shared-services center (in Japan), does a great job of both colorfully and concisely explaining the key role they played in helping their company to become a success. I would recommend very small edits of spelling out SME the first time the abbreviation is used: while the professionals working on a business school admissions committee will typically know they meant “Small Medium Business,” SME also has other common meanings like “Subject Matter Expert,” and given the global audience, it’s best to err on the side of clarity. I’d also recommend they omit the slash mark in, “high customer usability/satisfaction” replacing it with the word “and” or even “and/or,” rather than a more informal slash mark.
The student’s second paragraph responds to the prompt, “describe a situation where you failed.” The student chose to write about dealing with and working to overcome a challenging situation, helping the reader to understand their personal strengths of commitment, persistence, and compassion when navigating the loss of their father. However, I’d assert that this challenging situation was not a “failure.” They mention that they “tried to step in, without luck”—so one can see that perhaps they feel like they “failed” in that way, but it’s clear that the situation is more complicated than what one person’s action might remedy. If I were advising this student, I’d suggest they choose a different approach to this prompt, one that shows their self-awareness, maturity, and growth by highlighting a failure, the lessons learned, and how their relationships (or skills and abilities) have been impacted and improved by their experience (Failure is a part of life. Your readers know this. They want to see that you also know it, and know how to learn from it, rather than fearing failure or fearing people knowing about your failures ).
3. Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (maximum 300 words) *
Having multiple life activities enriches me and brings me joy. Music: I started playing drums at age 10 and was instantly hooked. Music became my main outside-of-school/work pursuit, whether playing in a band or enjoying the local music scene with friends wherever I lived. Today I’m still passionate about playing and listening, but have shifted much of my attention to music production. I blend samples and recordings to create house music, and last year completed an online music production program with top label Toolroom Records. I’m increasingly part of the house music production scene, having released two songs already, with growing listenership. Music invigorates and relaxes me, while providing a sense of community and a creative cohort, each of us learning from the others. Sports: Growing up I played on a travel soccer team and learned the power of teamwork and competitive spirit. Today I play in weekly pickup games, and am eager to continue with INSEAD’s football club. Beyond soccer I’m a half-marathoner and love getting muddy in Spartan Races. As a former skateboarder and now-avid snowboarder, I planned several trips for my ski group, including one to Verbier and Val-d'Isère. I’d love to take classmates on a similar trip, or to beautiful dive spots around Singapore (I’m a PADI-certified diver), enhancing our skills and experience. Service: In college, I loved giving back, such as working with EASE (Essay 1), tutoring immigrants via LINC, and mentoring small-business owners with the Carolina Microfinance Initiative (CMI). For example, I helped a woman implement her idea of bringing affordable eyeglasses to her Nicaraguan town by teaching her to write a business plan and create a supply chain. She paid off her micro-loan in two months! At INSEAD, I plan to join INDEVOR to continue paying it forward. — — —
This is an excellent response to the prompt. It would have been ideal for the opening to be longer than one line, but given the word limit, the student provided a concise introduction.
The student positions themselves positively by offering examples of extracurriculars they enjoy including the arts (music), sports (football/soccer, running, skateboarding, skiing, diving), and service providing specific examples of each.
Their response really shines when mentioning by name similar endeavors offered by INSEAD they look forward to joining. This shows the admissions committee that the student has “done their homework” and is genuinely interested in attending INSEAD and taking advantage of the opportunities they offer (rather than submitting a generic application to a number of schools).
4. Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (maximum 300 words)
INSEAD is the best way to pursue my vision of growing as a strategy consultant and rising leader (see Career Vision essay). By leveraging the school’s wide array of courses, clubs, and global alumni network, I’ll be poised to develop into a leader at my future firm and beyond. For example, participating in the Personal Leadership Development Programme will enable me to craft a leadership development plan best-suited to my needs. I’ll gain further leadership and management insights from classes like Leadership Communications Foundations and events within the Global Leadership Club. I’m especially interested in learning to motivate and guide larger teams and to help clients tackle their most challenging executive-level issues. Moreover, by completing the Blue Ocean Strategy certificate classes I’ll be better prepared to make strategic project decisions at client sites and bring value to any business implementation. Lessons learned from classes like “Realising Entrepreneurial Potential” and INSEAD LaunchPad aligns directly with my long-term goal of developing an entrepreneurial venture to connect Latin America to US and European innovation hubs—whether within the consulting sphere or in an emerging industry like smart grid development. As a longtime global explorer, I’m particularly looking forward to splitting time between Singapore and France via the Campus Exchange program. Multiple students and alumni have told me how much they’ve gained from INSEAD. For example, Julien Antovici (’16) said, “I loved doing an MBA outside the US for the change of perspective. My section included people from all nationalities and professional backgrounds.” That’s exactly the kind of learning and growth experience I seek, with diverse people, experiences, and viewpoints. In short, I can think of no better place to pursue my educational and professional goals than INSEAD. — — —
This is an optimal response to a prompt of this sort. Often, questions like, “Is there anything else you’d like to share?” are used an opportunity for students to explain any shortcomings in their academic record (low grades on their transcript, low scores on standardized tests, etc.) and/or extenuating circumstances. While that can be useful context for your readers, here the student instead uses the prompt to offer greater “why us” detail:
As in the prior response, the student does a stellar job of showing genuine interest in the school by mentioning a number of programs, clubs, activities, courses, and other offerings and opportunities unique to INSEAD in which they plan to participate. They also use this prompt as an opportunity to share positive things they’ve heard about the school from students and alumni. Yet again their affiliation with INSEAD students and alumni helps to demonstrate to the admissions committee that not only are they qualified, their networks help to establish that they are the type of student who will succeed in INSEAD’s MBA program.
INSEAD - Job Description Section
5. Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (200 words maximum) *
At LEK Consulting I am part of consulting teams working across multiple projects, completing analyses, presentation of recommendations, and other supporting tasks toward project goals. My responsibilities vary. Currently, for example, I’m engaging with regional leads across 9 countries to integrate processes and configure systems for a global human-capital-management (HCM) project; earlier I evaluated the ROI of establishing a foreign trade zone (FTZ) at a major electronics distribution client. Overall, I’ve worked with 10+ clients in my career, ranging from smaller local companies (<$1B in revenue) to massive global businesses ($100B+ in revenue). These clients span different industries, with electric utilities being our most common sector of focus and others including: higher education, financial services, entertainment, automotive manufacturing, and supply chain distribution. Every LEK team’s structure reflects client/project needs. On smaller engagements, I am often the sole consultant handling daily project requirements while reporting to the partner and presenting to client Directors and VPs. On larger, more complex projects I lead 1-2 workstreams (e.g., Global Payroll Integrations Lead) on teams of up to 7-8 consultants. Sometimes I manage an analyst if there is overlap on workstream tasks, or if the project is an internal company initiative. — — —
The student does a great job here of clearly and thoroughly articulating (while remaining within the 200 word limit) their current professional role and responsibilities. While this is minor, I’d like to mention that unlike the prior example where abbreviations were used without spelling out the terms, they did so here—which is most appropriate for formal writing of this sort.
6. What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company instead of going to business school? (200 words maximum)*
At LEK, the next step for me after Senior Associate would be Manager, followed by Director and eventually Partner. I am one of only two senior analysts who has broken into the ranks of Associate without a master’s degree; and now the only Senior Associate without an MBA after my colleague departed the firm to begin her MBA program. Moreover, I understand and respect the unspoken policy that an MBA would be required here for advancement to Manager and beyond. A comprehensive management education would build/sharpen intangible leadership qualities critical to more senior roles. This is especially evident at the Director/Partner level, where the focus shifts from analysis/advisory to business development and sales, and where one needs “instant” credibility to succeed. Thus even if I were to advance to Manager without an MBA, I recognize the deep value of attending a program like INSEAD, for the skills I would gain across strategic problem-solving, business development, and people leadership, not to mention a professional qualification recognized and respected worldwide, and an unparalleled global network. Finally, I’m eager to gain perspective and capabilities beyond consulting, given my long-term interest in entrepreneurship. — — —
In this response, the student is transparent about their interest in INSEAD being about more than just earning the degree—they truly seek the experience of being immersed in learning (rather than being overly focused on the outcome of earning the degree, as is often the case among applicants). The student explains that, while a MBA is typically required for their ability to advance along their current path, there is a possibility that they might be promoted to Manager without a MBA in hand. The student does a fantastic job of stating their desire to gain specific skills while attending INSEAD and hints at their response to the final prompt regarding their future aspirations.
7. Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (300 words maximum) *
I’ve grown from every post-college career experience. My first post-graduation job was interning with BTG Pactual’s marketing area in Chile, where I learned new skills in a global environment. Upon returning to the US I began as an analyst at LEK, where I was promoted after one year (versus a typical timeframe of 1.5-2 years). I gained broad and deep experience working in projects across three industries and learning from managers, partners, peers, and clients. Because an MBA was typically required for advancement at LEK, I chose to first transition to Andersen as an HR Transformations Consultant, working on HR design assessments and then a long-term global HR redesign implementation at a multinational automotive client. That demanding project accelerated my growth and led to meaningful new engagement opportunities including leading cross-country process design, working with local SMEs, and serving as scrum master for our offshore development team. My performance earned the client’s and Partners’ respect, making me a go-to consultant for key responsibilities. Meanwhile, I’d remained in contact with LEK partners who had mentored me, and they offered me significant advancement of title and compensation to rejoin the firm, with the additional possibility of MBA sponsorship as per their newly established policy. I was happy to accept the offer, knowing the larger project and leadership responsibility I’d gain at a smaller consultancy. As hoped, I’ve continued to build experience and skills at LEK, growing as an agile thinker and evolving leader. But my time here has only reinforced how much more I have to learn, and how INSEAD would be the ideal source for advanced management training. — — —
Yet again, this student offers a solid narrative in response to the prompt, fully describing their positions held since graduating with their undergraduate degree. Their response shows self-awareness around the experience, expertise, and skills they gained from each role.
The student is communicating between the lines to the admissions committee when mentioning that their employer may sponsor their MBA. Unfortunately, the last sentence lands as being a bit abrupt and unlike the others instances, they did not appear to be limited by the word count (268 of the 300 word limit). As such, I would recommend they use some of the 32 words remaining to close this essay with a more thorough and thoughtful conclusion.
8. Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with an MBA from INSEAD. (100 words maximum) *
Post-INSEAD I aim to excel as a Manager at LEK, with increasing focus on clean tech and sustainability and/or global supply chain projects, along with excellent client service. Longer term, I’ll use my experience/training to move toward consulting partner or global entrepreneurship. I’m especially interested in green energy. For instance, Distributed Generation is a growing market in LatAm, but many countries lack the “smart grid” transmission system to justify further investment. Similarly, utility-level solar costs are decreasing 9% annually there, making it critical to find the right business strategies/models to scale solar. I’m excited to pursue my vision at INSEAD. — — —
In prompts of this sort, admissions committees are typically looking for applicants to share examples of clear plans, including transferable skills they hope to gain and the future roles they seek to pursue. However, INSEAD gave a very short 100 word limit; thus, the student’s response did a nice job of responding to the prompt in a way that hopefully gives them an additional advantage by framing their future plans as being innovative—by mentioning their interest in working in clean tech and green energy.
In short, this is an outstanding series of short-answer essays that together position the applicant as a strong and well qualified prospective MBA student, as well as a future leader whose accomplishments and achievements will reflect positively on INSEAD.
Lastly, this student’s submission also underscores why many MBA programs only accept applicants with at least two years of full-time work experience. I speak with many undergraduates and recent graduates who aspire to earn MBA degrees and express frustration that the programs which they’re interested in attending require at least two years of significant work experience—they’d prefer to be admitted immediately following earning their undergraduate degree. While many schools have created new programs for students to earn master's degrees in business-related fields over the past two decades, many traditional MBA programs continue to require two years of professional experience. This student’s responses show how important and impactful his work with Andersen and LEK have been in preparing him for both his MBA studies and his future career trajectory. We are happy to help students compare the variety of graduate business degree program options available and position themselves as outstanding candidates for their best fit schools.
Statement of purpose sample 4
The statement of purpose below is geared towards application for the PhD in Peace Studies and History at the University of Notre Dame. This academic degree program is designed to provide students with robust theoretical and empirical skills to conduct independent multidisciplinary research in the field of Peace Studies aimed at academic and practitioner positions after completion of the program. This doctoral program differs from traditional field-specific programs in the social sciences in that it focuses on cross-disciplinary theories relating to the study of peace studies. Indeed, this degree program is housed at the Kroc Institute, a leading academic center with the intellectual mission to understand the causes of armed conflict, ways to prevent this conflict, and how to foster peaceful and just societies. The Institute is uniquely suited to conduct research in these areas by drawing on core faculty with expertise in various disciplines ranging from history, political science, anthropology, and sociology. This provides students with a rich intellectual environment in which to pursue a PhD, as the cross-disciplinary approach to doctoral studies provides students with diverse theoretical and methodological models by which to conduct independent research in the field of peace studies.
In the forthcoming statement of purpose analysis, we assess a strong statement of purpose that articulates a few key components that graduate admissions committees seek in prospective students. After all, a statement of purpose is an academic statement designed to develop a thesis as to why the academic interest of the student is a “good fit” for the academic program considered and to signal that the student will succeed if selected for admission to the department. As we will focus on in the analysis, this student successfully defines her:
Inspiration for their intellectual interest in the historical narrative of peace studies
Strong record of accomplishments designed to signal success in the competitive environment of graduate doctoral studies
Specific cross-disciplinary academic research interest the student would pursue in the doctoral program in peace studies
Strong record of accomplishments designed to signal success in the competitive environment of graduate doctoral studies; and
Highlights how the academic interests would fit neatly within the expertise of faculty already at the Kroc Institute.
Paul Rusesabagina, the hero of the Hollywood blockbuster Hotel Rwanda , is not considered a “rescuer” in Rwanda nor in academic literature because, according to the Rwandan government, he made Tutsis pay to stay at the Hotel de Milles Collines. Similarly vexing, there are very few “Righteous Among the Nations” from Denmark, despite 99% of Danish Jews surviving the Holocaust; the Danish Underground wanted to be seen as a communal movement, precluding them from the honor, which is only given to individuals. Much of the limited scholarship on rescuing during mass atrocities defines “rescuers” using stringent constraints set by Yad Vashem’s “Righteous Among the Nations” eligibility criteria: individuals must be non-Jewish and have (1) had active involvement in saving Jews; (2) risked their lives, liberty, or position; and (3) been only altruistically motivated. The Rwandan government supplements these criteria with additional constraints in the context of the Rwandan genocide: only those who saved lives but did not kill can be considered rescuers, reaffirming a criterion of moral absolutism, and denying the study of complex actors. I will commit my academic career to expanding how we study rescuing narratives in contexts of mass atrocities and transitional justice, starting with four questions: (1) what do we learn from studying individuals who saved lives but do not meet the “Righteous Among the Nations” eligibility criteria; (2) how might we understand institutions and states as rescuers, going beyond the existing literature on so-called “altruistic” individuals; (3) how would studying rescuing outside of the contexts of the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust — the primary case studies of academic literature — influence our understanding of rescuing; and (4) how and to what effect has the “rescuer” label been politicized? To begin to explore these questions, I will focus my doctoral studies on a historical analysis of how regional and international state actors in the modern Middle East established themselves as altruistic rescuers, but then used the morally absolute definition of rescuing to deny or rationalize their involvement in subsequent war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The University of Amsterdam and the University of Chicago provided me with a strong intellectual foundation for pursuing this research. In my Master’s thesis, which was awarded the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Humanities Thesis Prize, I developed a historical analysis of rescuing during the Rwandan genocide. I used oral testimonies, memoirs, newspaper articles, and government-sponsored content to compare the reasons given for rescuing by Hutu rescuers, UN Commander Roméo Dallaire, humanitarian aid worker Carl Wilkens, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front. I then wrote a peer-reviewed book chapter, forthcoming, which explored the constraints of the “rescuer” label ( The Holocaust: Remembrance, Respect, Resilience, edited by Michael Posner and Suki John). At UChicago, I delved into the history of human rights through the Human Rights minor with Susan Gzesh and Mark Bradley and engaged in the interdisciplinary discourse on mass violence through courses including “Perpetrators, Victims, and Bystanders” (Eric Stover) and “Insurgency, Terrorism, and Civil War” (Paul Staniland). Through Harvard’s history study abroad program in Ghana (Emmanuel Akyeampong), I researched how the Middle Passage developed trauma-based communal identities. Building on my coursework, my Bachelor’s thesis developed a historical analysis to evaluate early warning signs of genocidal events in Darfur. Arabic classes in high school and college and Arabic lessons with tutors, as well as an immersion course in Summer 2022, will enable me to study primary sources on rescuing in the Middle East. My decision to pursue doctoral studies is also informed by my professional experiences at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), J-PAL North America (MIT), and SYE Initiative and DAWNetwork. At the SSRC, I coordinated a fellowship that supports African PhD candidates studying peace and security. I planned and attended five workshops in sub-Saharan Africa, where fellows developed dissertation proposals, discussed research methodology, and fine-tuned their dissertations. At J-PAL North America, I coordinate fundraising, accruing $15 million to support randomized evaluations on poverty alleviation. As Program Manager at SYE Initiative, a nonprofit that helps Syrian and Iraqi students apply to college, and as founder of DAWNetwork, a mentorship program for Syrian girls, I fostered my interest in the Middle East and developed deep networks in both Syria and Iraq. Working with students in contexts where academic inquiry is so deeply politicized has reinforced my resolve to take more critical approaches to historical narratives. Genocide Studies inherently prompts interdisciplinary questions: history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science are all essential to gaining a more comprehensive understanding of mass atrocities and transitional justice. My undergraduate studies taught me the value of interdisciplinary approaches to studying conflict, while my history-centered Master’s program enriched my understanding of the foundational need for historical analyses. The constrained definitions of “rescuing” conjoined with the politicization of the rescuer label have established accepted histories out of incomplete narratives; combining historical sources, including archival sources and oral testimonies, with the interdisciplinary dynamics of peace studies will be essential to bringing more complex narratives to light. The University of Notre Dame’s Peace Studies and History PhD is an ideal fit to pursue research on the creation and manipulation of rescuing narratives throughout the 20th century. I look forward to studying with and being advised by scholars who have grappled with the historical legacies of mass conflict. In the History department, I hope to work with Professors Aron Coleman and James Dell. Coleman’s work on the legacies of national identity, and the interplay between memory, history, and violence, as well as his regional expertise on the Levant, provides an ideal ecosystem for exploring rescuing narratives at the macro-level. James Dell’s work on nationalism and state making would provide thematic and methodological groundings for my own research. I furthermore hope to enrich my research through the interdisciplinary approach of Peace Studies by studying the dynamics of rescuing through the lenses of transitional justice and comparative genocide studies with Professor Veraga. I look forward to the intellectual dialogue and mentorship I would find at the University of Notre Dame, where I could grapple with fundamental questions on resistance, peace and war, and the manipulation of history to realize political goals. — — —
PhD statement of purpose example, with analysis:
Paul Rusesabagina, the hero of the Hollywood blockbuster Hotel Rwanda , is not considered a “rescuer” in Rwanda nor in academic literature because, according to the Rwandan government, he made Tutsis pay to stay at the Hotel de Milles Collines. Similarly vexing, there are very few “Righteous Among the Nations” from Denmark, despite 99% of Danish Jews surviving the Holocaust; the Danish Underground wanted to be seen as a communal movement, precluding them from the honor, which is only given to individuals. Much of the limited scholarship on rescuing during mass atrocities defines “rescuers” using stringent constraints set by Yad Vashem’s “Righteous Among the Nations” eligibility criteria: individuals must be non-Jewish and have (1) had active involvement in saving Jews; (2) risked their lives, liberty, or position; and (3) been only altruistically motivated. The Rwandan government supplements these criteria with additional constraints in the context of the Rwandan genocide: only those who saved lives but did not kill can be considered rescuers, reaffirming a criterion of moral absolutism, and denying the study of complex actors. — — —
This first paragraph speaks to limited scholarship on defining rescuers within the broader context of Peace Studies. This first paragraph is focused on drawing an introductory narrative by highlighting a description of a Hollywood film and how popular media helps shed light on how academic research is needed to redefine “rescuers”. This first paragraph helps set the stage for subsequent paragraphs to define specific research questions and how this intellectual interest was fostered in previous educational pursuits at the undergraduate and master’s level.
Overall, this is a fantastic start to the statement of purpose that could be perhaps strengthened with a more explicit thesis statement of why this doctoral program is uniquely suited towards providing the student the academic training needed to tackle a normatively important question.
Now onto the next paragraph:
I will commit my academic career to expanding how we study rescuing narratives in contexts of mass atrocities and transitional justice, starting with four questions: (1) what do we learn from studying individuals who saved lives but do not meet the “Righteous Among the Nations” eligibility criteria; (2) how might we understand institutions and states as rescuers, going beyond the existing literature on so-called “altruistic” individuals; (3) how would studying rescuing outside of the contexts of the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust — the primary case studies of academic literature — influence our understanding of rescuing; and (4) how and to what effect has the “rescuer” label been politicized? To begin to explore these questions, I will focus my doctoral studies on a historical analysis of how regional and international state actors in the modern Middle East established themselves as altruistic rescuers, but then used the morally absolute definition of rescuing to deny or rationalize their involvement in subsequent war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. — — —
This is a fantastic paragraph that is, appropriately, featured prominently at the beginning of the statement of purpose. The student does an exemplary job clearly articulating the academic questions they wish to explore in potential admission to the multidisciplinary peace studies graduate program. In the above paragraph, the applicant clearly articulates academic interests to “expand” the scholarly field of inquiry of developing narratives in contexts of mass atrocities, such as the previously mentioned Rwandan genocide and Holocaust. Again, the only suggestion towards strengthening an already outstanding statement introduction is, early on, identifying how individual faculty expertise could help the student tackle the “big questions” laid out in this paragraph. Put simply, how does this specific scholarly interest in “rescuers” fit with the department’s program offering and why are you applying for this specific graduate program?
Overall, the preceding two paragraphs help complete the first critical task of this statement of purpose: (1) inspiration for their intellectual interest in the historical narrative of peace studies.
The next pargaph:
The University of Amsterdam and the University of Chicago provided me with a strong intellectual foundation for pursuing this research. In my Master’s thesis, which was awarded the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Humanities Thesis Prize, I developed a historical analysis of rescuing during the Rwandan genocide. I used oral testimonies, memoirs, newspaper articles, and government-sponsored content to compare the reasons given for rescuing by Hutu rescuers, UN Commander Roméo Dallaire, humanitarian aid worker Carl Wilkens, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front. I then wrote a peer-reviewed book chapter, forthcoming, which explored the constraints of the “rescuer” label ( The Holocaust: Remembrance, Respect, Resilience, edited by Michael Posner and Suki John). At UChicago, I delved into the history of human rights through the Human Rights minor with Susan Gzesh and Mark Bradley and engaged in the interdisciplinary discourse on mass violence through courses including “Perpetrators, Victims, and Bystanders” (Eric Stover) and “Insurgency, Terrorism, and Civil War” (Paul Staniland). Through Harvard’s history study abroad program in Ghana (Emmanuel Akyeampong), I researched how the Middle Passage developed trauma-based communal identities. Building on my coursework, my Bachelor’s thesis developed a historical analysis to evaluate early warning signs of genocidal events in Darfur. Arabic classes in high school and college and Arabic lessons with tutors, as well as an immersion course in Summer 2022, will enable me to study primary sources on rescuing in the Middle East. — — —
These two preceding paragraphs highlight the applicant’s strong record of accomplishments (point (4) above) and how this record helps inform their decision to apply to the program. This section, in a very effective manner, demonstrates her strong likelihood of success in a graduate program in peace studies. In the first paragraph, the applicant highlights previous work at the master’s level and touches on previous research conducted at this level of graduate education. Moreover, the applicant shares that they have engaged in peer reviewed research on the topic prior to a doctoral program. Given the challenges of publishing, this is a major accomplishment and should be a central component of the application. Indeed, one suggestion to tweak this statement of purpose would be to signal this scholarship to the admissions committee within the first few paragraphs and how this experience leads to an academic interest in peace studies at the doctoral level.
Another potential suggestion to strengthen this already outstanding statement of purpose is to go chronologically with respect to highlighting these academic achievements. One potential avenue could be to first discuss how the undergraduate experience informs the decision to pursue a master’s degree within the area of peace studies. The structure of such a narrative of academic accomplishments is apparent in the two preceding paragraphs. I would focus on using the material in these two paragraphs to firmly build a scholarly journey: how did your experience at the undergraduate level inform your decision to pursue a master’s degree and, ultimately, how did this cumulative journey from the undergraduate to the master’s level inform the decision to pursue the stellar research highlighted previously in a peace studies PhD?
My decision to pursue doctoral studies is also informed by my professional experiences at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), J-PAL North America (MIT), and SYE Initiative and DAWNetwork. At the SSRC, I coordinated a fellowship that supports African PhD candidates studying peace and security. I planned and attended five workshops in sub-Saharan Africa, where fellows developed dissertation proposals, discussed research methodology, and fine-tuned their dissertations. At J-PAL North America, I coordinate fundraising, accruing $15 million to support randomized evaluations on poverty alleviation. As Program Manager at SYE Initiative, a nonprofit that helps Syrian and Iraqi students apply to college, and as founder of DAWNetwork, a mentorship program for Syrian girls, I fostered my interest in the Middle East and developed deep networks in both Syria and Iraq. Working with students in contexts where academic inquiry is so deeply politicized has reinforced my resolve to take more critical approaches to historical narratives. — — —
This professional experience paragraph further strengthens the statement of purpose by articulating how these professional experiences inform the scholarly interest in developing narratives of rescuers during catastrophic events involving human suffering. This professional experience is rich and applied, showcasing that the applicant has direct experience in organizing workshops in sub-Saharan Africa and exposure with refugees fleeing war-torn areas. The author uses this professional experience to build on the personal narrative and explicitly states how this professional experience is relevant to developing a scholarly interest in the topic of defining rescuers. Specifically, this passage effectively intertwines how Syrian and Iraqi student networks informed her interest in conducting research on developing historical narratives during times of conflict. This is a very strong section that defines how professional experience informs her desire to pursue a graduate degree assessing these important research questions.
Overall, the preceding two paragraphs help tackle another key component of this academic statement by addressing: (2) strong record of accomplishments designed to signal success in the competitive environment of graduate doctoral studies.
Genocide Studies inherently prompts interdisciplinary questions: history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science are all essential to gaining a more comprehensive understanding of mass atrocities and transitional justice. My undergraduate studies taught me the value of interdisciplinary approaches to studying conflict, while my history-centered Master’s program enriched my understanding of the foundational need for historical analyses. The constrained definitions of “rescuing” conjoined with the politicization of the rescuer label have established accepted histories out of incomplete narratives; combining historical sources, including archival sources and oral testimonies, with the interdisciplinary dynamics of peace studies will be essential to bringing more complex narratives to light. — — —
This is a terrific paragraph that highlights both academic interests and fit with the program.
One potential recommendation to strengthen this paragraph is to expand it by connecting the historical and political analysis plan advocated to the interdisciplinary nature of the peace studies program. For example, why is an interdisciplinary approach appealing? Is it due to differing theoretical approaches to genocide studies or is it due to difference in methodological approaches?
This section could expand as to why their multidisciplinary approach towards studying conflict would be an ideal fit in this peace studies program with perhaps tying this section back to the professional experience of assessing both the politicization and historical origins of conflict. This expansion of the paragraph would really drive home another key consideration: (3) specific cross-disciplinary academic research interest the student would pursue in the doctoral program in peace studies.
The University of Notre Dame’s Peace Studies and History PhD is an ideal fit to pursue research on the creation and manipulation of rescuing narratives throughout the 20th century. I look forward to studying with and being advised by scholars who have grappled with the historical legacies of mass conflict. In the History department, I hope to work with Professors Aron Coleman and James Dell. Coleman’s work on the legacies of national identity, and the interplay between memory, history, and violence, as well as his regional expertise on the Levant, provides an ideal ecosystem for exploring rescuing narratives at the macro-level. James Dell’s work on nationalism and state making would provide thematic and methodological groundings for my own research. I furthermore hope to enrich my research through the interdisciplinary approach of Peace Studies by studying the dynamics of rescuing through the lenses of transitional justice and comparative genocide studies with Professor Veraga. I look forward to the intellectual dialogue and mentorship I would find at the University of Notre Dame, where I could grapple with fundamental questions on resistance, peace and war, and the manipulation of history to realize political goals. — — —
Next, let’s discuss the student’s final paragraph:
This is another terrific paragraph that articulates why the specific department of peace studies is an attractive option for the applicant to pursue a doctoral degree assessing the narratives used to define “rescuers” in mass atrocities. This paragraph is terrific for a few key reasons:
There is clear identification of scholars and their work in the area of defining narratives to mass atrocities. Indeed, there is clear overlap between the research areas of the identified faculty and the academic interests pursued by the applicant. This strongly signals to the admissions committee that the applicant has taken the time to not only familiarize themselves with the work provided by the faculty member, but also how these research areas can inform potential mentorship in graduate school. It would strengthen this SoP even further to feature this paragraph more prominently rather than being relegated to the concluding paragraph—departments would like to see how a prospective student fits in with the scholarly orientation of individual faculty members and this paragraph does just that.
Overall, the preceding section helps tackle the fifth key component: (5) highlighting how the academic interests would fit neatly within the expertise of faculty already at the Kroc Institute.
In sum, this is an outstanding statement of purpose that hits all the key components that signal to a doctoral admissions committee as to why an applicant would thrive as a scholar within their department.
Graduate school personal statement example 5
This statement of purpose is geared towards application for the Masters in Family and Community Education at the Teachers College, Columbia University. This applied degree program is designed to give educators the intellectual skills needed to consider how education is linked with family and family support institutions, such as schools, day care centers, and social service agencies. As such, this degree program seeks educators that would like to continue their education with an emphasis on how to integrate family support structures into their teaching and mentorship pedagogy, emphasizing a critical understanding of the role family and support institutions play in shaping educational policy, practice, and instruction.
In the statement of purpose analysis below, we assess a strong statement of purpose that can be also improved in providing a competitive application for this degree program. As discussed above, a statement of purpose is an academic statement designed to build a thesis as to why the academic interests of the student are a “good fit” for the academic program considered and to signal ultimate success if selected for admission.
Overall, this statement of purpose, while requiring some editing, establishes a strong foundation anchoring a successful application for admission to the degree program. As the specific analysis will show, the applicant draws on their diverse experience as a nonbinary and Latinx educator to emphasize their intellectual interests in how to use racial justice to develop the quantitative and ethnographic skills needed to support diverse student populations, particularly Black and Latinx queer youth. Moreover, and while a bit limited as the forthcoming analysis shows, the applicant also articulates how admission to the Masters in Family and Community Education program will sharpen pedological practices that will inform their approach to community-based learning to diverse student populations.
As public school educators, my parents understood that learning went beyond the four walls of the classroom. With an open door policy for students and their families, my parents modeled for me how to welcome and nurture relationships with newly arrived immigrant and working class communities. The house I grew up in was home to parent-teacher conferences over cafecito, informal English-language lessons, and communal gatherings during American holidays. In our home, I remember providing gentle guidance to a heartbroken mother whose gay child was being bullied and harassed. As a gay and Latinx child, school taught me that the key to avoiding harassment was a series of rather unsuccessful attempts to codeswitch and hide my truths. Thankfully, my home, my parents, and my experiences as Latinx and nonbinary propelled me to further explore how queer students could be supported outside school—particularly through museums and community centers. I am confident that my aspiration to create spaces of truth-telling and healing for queer, Black, and Latinx youth can be fortified through the Family and Community Education concentration within the International Educational Development program at Teachers College. Both my commitment to racial justice and my interest in exploring how museums mediate critical conversations brought me to Washington, D.C., to work with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). In my role at ASALH, I support the sacred work of honoring those who experienced racial injustice in the United States by creating curricular materials for schools and organizations visiting D.C.’s museums. In addition to curriculum development and marketing, I am also responsible for facilitating visits that are mindful and considerate of how Black visitors may be moving through the space with intimate and personal familiarity. In an early instance, I was guiding a Black North Carolinian family who had driven to visit memorials. During their visit, I was struck by the gravity of a request they made—for me to help find the names of potential kin lynched in Johnston County, North Carolina. While we did not find a recognizable name, the family’s grief and mourning translated into a weighted silence that I have grown accustomed to reverently witnessing. Every time I observe families in shock and awe when reading the atrocities that occurred in their own counties—counties that, to this day, omit our history of racial terror. The existence of Equal Justice Initiative’s memorial in the “Cradle of the Confederacy” provided me a fresh lens to how a community space can reckon with complex histories and provide a pathway toward necessary healing. If a memorial like this could stand in the Deep South then there is surely room for spaces that reflect the histories of LGBTQ+ Black and Latinx people. During my undergraduate studies, I read the work of Hope Jensen Leichter from Teachers College on Families and Communities as Educators. I was interested in how “the family selects, criticizes, appraises, complements and transforms the museum experience.” Leichter’s wisdom inspired me to build a permanent LGBTQ+ resource room at Williams College that also acted as an archive of queer experiences. I carry the lessons of Leichter’s assertions into my work within the greater D.C. community. Earlier this year, I worked with volunteers to open an LGBTQ+ resource center that houses a food pantry, mentorship programs, and health resources. As a mentor to queer youth, I am confronted with providing social-emotional care to students who are underserved by local schools. Additionally, our center guides confused and weary parents through a process of understanding, acceptance, and care for their LGBTQ+ children. Most recently, I worked with Alia, a student who came out as bisexual to a parent who was initially unaccepting. In two months, Alia’s mother went from denial to collecting pamphlets on allyship. Alia’s story reminded me of my own coming out experience and how I sought out guidance from other queer peers and elders when home became hostile. The gradual process of acceptance between Alia and her mother motivates me to study effective programming that not only support queer youth but educates families on complex topics such as gender and sexuality. Studying at Teachers College will provide me the opportunity to engage with organizations such as the LGBT Center of New York, which houses family support groups and museum exhibits that families can experience together. Teachers College would provide an opportunity for me to further develop my quantitative and ethnographic skills in assessing how community institutions support Black and Latinx queer youth. I am also interested in the global lens of this work with professors like Regina Cortina. Professor Cortina’s research in the education of indigenous children across Latin America piques my interest in how communities unite to preserve their unique heritage, culture, and identity. At Teachers College, I will further investigate the pedagogical practices that shaped my belief in the power of education to strengthen families and foster the type of community-based learning I first experienced at home. I ultimately seek to follow my parents model of community engagement by supporting LGBTQ+ youth who face close-minded individuals, closed borders, and closed doors. — — —
Let’s start with paragraph one:
As public school educators, my parents understood that learning went beyond the four walls of the classroom. With an open door policy for students and their families, my parents modeled for me how to welcome and nurture relationships with newly arrived immigrant and working class communities. The house I grew up in was home to parent-teacher conferences over cafecito, informal English-language lessons, and communal gatherings during American holidays. In our home, I remember providing gentle guidance to a heartbroken mother whose gay child was being bullied and harassed. As a gay and Latinx child, school taught me that the key to avoiding harassment was a series of rather unsuccessful attempts to codeswitch and hide my truths. Thankfully, my home, my parents, and my experiences as Latinx and nonbinary propelled me to further explore how queer students could be supported outside school—particularly through museums and community centers. I am confident that my aspiration to create spaces of truth-telling and healing for queer, Black, and Latinx youth can be fortified through the Family and Community Education concentration within the International Educational Development program at Teachers College.
This initial paragraph is excellent in laying a strong foundation to address the first two areas that a statement of purpose should focus on:
Whether past professional and personal experiences help shape these intellectual interests.
First, the author draws on personal experience as a gay Latinx child in a “newly arrived” immigrant and working-class community to highlight an interest in assessing how underserved populations, particularly queer students, could be supported outside of school. This is excellent given the focus of the Family and Community Education centers on how extracurricular institutions, such as family and community support structures, can improve extracurricular outcomes.
By bringing in a personal experience of growing up in a diverse community actively involved in the educational experience of their children. This personal narrative is directly congruent with the educational goals of the applied program and signals a “good fit” with the goals of the academic program of interest.
Onto the next paragraph:
Both my commitment to racial justice and my interest in exploring how museums mediate critical conversations brought me to Washington, D.C., to work with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). In my role at ASALH, I support the sacred work of honoring those who experienced racial injustice in the United States by creating curricular materials for schools and organizations visiting D.C.’s museums. In addition to curriculum development and marketing, I am also responsible for facilitating visits that are mindful and considerate of how Black visitors may be moving through the space with intimate and personal familiarity. In an early instance, I was guiding a Black North Carolinian family who had driven to visit memorials. During their visit, I was struck by the gravity of a request they made—for me to help find the names of potential kin lynched in Johnston County, North Carolina. While we did not find a recognizable name, the family’s grief and mourning translated into a weighted silence that I have grown accustomed to reverently witnessing. Every time I observe families in shock and awe when reading the atrocities that occurred in their own counties—counties that, to this day, omit our history of racial terror. The existence of Equal Justice Initiative’s memorial in the “Cradle of the Confederacy” provided me a fresh lens to how a community space can reckon with complex histories and provide a pathway toward necessary healing. If a memorial like this could stand in the Deep South then there is surely room for spaces that reflect the histories of LGBTQ+ Black and Latinx people. During my undergraduate studies, I read the work of Hope Jensen Leichter from Teachers College on Families and Communities as Educators. I was interested in how “the family selects, criticizes, appraises, complements and transforms the museum experience.” Leichter’s wisdom inspired me to build a permanent LGBTQ+ resource room at Williams College that also acted as an archive of queer experiences. I carry the lessons of Leichter’s assertions into my work within the greater D.C. community. Earlier this year, I worked with volunteers to open an LGBTQ+ resource center that houses a food pantry, mentorship programs, and health resources. As a mentor to queer youth, I am confronted with providing social-emotional care to students who are underserved by local schools. Additionally, our center guides confused and weary parents through a process of understanding, acceptance, and care for their LGBTQ+ children.
The previous four paragraphs help further articulate the second point of focus: (2) whether past professional and personal experiences help shape these intellectual interests. It is clear reading these preceding paragraphs that the applicant has important experience in racial justice, demonstrated through the development of curriculum for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. This experience helps inform how a community space with complex histories can be used “as a pathway toward necessary healing” and how these structures can integrate community support structures towards more equitable education outcomes.
Moreover, this theme is continued when speaking to their experience opening an LGBTQ+ resource center that provides a food pantry, student mentorship programs, and health resources within the greater DC community. This is an important narrative that can be further tied, explicitly, to the teaching objectives of the applied graduate program in family and community education offered at the Teacher’s College; this is a directly relevant narrative that is consistent with the academic objectives and values of the program.
Most recently, I worked with Alia, a student who came out as bisexual to a parent who was initially unaccepting. In two months, Alia’s mother went from denial to collecting pamphlets on allyship. Alia’s story reminded me of my own coming out experience and how I sought out guidance from other queer peers and elders when home became hostile. The gradual process of acceptance between Alia and her mother motivates me to study effective programming that not only support queer youth but educates families on complex topics such as gender and sexuality. Studying at Teachers College will provide me the opportunity to engage with organizations such as the LGBT Center of New York, which houses family support groups and museum exhibits that families can experience together. Teachers College would provide an opportunity for me to further develop my quantitative and ethnographic skills in assessing how community institutions support Black and Latinx queer youth. I am also interested in the global lens of this work with professors like Regina Cortina. Professor Cortina’s research in the education of indigenous children across Latin America piques my interest in how communities unite to preserve their unique heritage, culture, and identity. At Teachers College, I will further investigate the pedagogical practices that shaped my belief in the power of education to strengthen families and foster the type of community-based learning I first experienced at home. I ultimately seek to follow my parents model of community engagement by supporting LGBTQ+ youth who face close-minded individuals, closed borders, and closed doors.
Lastly, the final two paragraphs address the third point: (3) how completion of the applied degree program will provide the applicant with the skillsets they need to advance their career objectives in the education field.
First, the applicant draws on their specific experience in mentoring a bisexual student to motivate their desire to work with LGBT Center of New York during their prospective time at the Teacher’s College. As the program emphasizes community-based structures in helping achieve more equitable education outcomes, this experience signals to the admissions committee that the applicant has engaged in thoughtful analysis of how to further sharpen skill sets needed to reach underserved students in their future academic endeavors.
Coupled with the identification of specific faculty’s interest in the last paragraph and the desire to further investigate pedagogical practices to further foster community-based learning, the applicant effectively paints a picture of how admission to the applied masters of family and community education at Teacher’s College can help facilitate growth in their future career goals in the education field.
While clearly effective, this section can be further strengthened by expanding how the Masters in Family and Community Education program will sharpen pedological practices that will inform their approach to community-based learning to diverse student populations, particularly in the highlighted nonbinary and Latinx communities.
Example statement of purpose 6
The following statement of purpose example was written for UPenn’s Integrated Product Design program (but the student decided to attend Harvard).
The paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of the statement of purpose example below was written by Kathy Liu.
Want to work with Kathy through your grad school admissions process? Schedule a call with our team to learn more here .
UPenn IPD Prompt:
Personal statement of research and professional interests (2-page limit). IPD applicants may choose to write a personal statement that addresses all of the questions below or submit a statement of their own design.
Why are you applying to IPD? Why is it the right choice for you right now?
What do you believe you can achieve with us personally or professionally that you can’t anywhere else in the world?
Tell us about a time when you identified a new, unusual or different approach for addressing a problem or task?
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from a peer and how have you used that lesson in your day-to-day life?
UPenn IPD Statement of Purpose I am a student of social policy, a civic engagement practitioner, a designer and an elite athlete (in fact, last time I visited Penn’s campus I was competing against your fencing team). In all, I’m a multidisciplinary thinker. I know that innovative solutions are created through an intersection of disciplines and a diversity of practices. I am pursuing graduate study in order to further my ability to innovate and to address problems using manifold strategies. The Master of Integrated Product Design program at University of Pennsylvania is an opportunity not only to deepen my design practice but to strengthen it through innovative engineering and clever business practices. I am seeking opportunities to extend my tools for making a difference and I believe that the M:IPD program at Penn would do just that. When I started my first quarter at Northwestern University all I knew was that I wanted to study something that would allow me to leverage my education for the betterment of communities. Eventually, I landed on Social Policy, a degree that would provide the opportunity to challenge systems and learn the methodologies necessary to improve those systems. Despite my interest in making change at the policy level, I was hungry for opportunities to engage with issues in a more hands-on way. So, I pursued and completed two additional certificates: the Civic Engagement Certificate and the Design Certificate, both as a means of doing hands-on work to improve the lives of community members. Now, I am seeking graduate study for similar reasons. I want to deepen my creative practice through study of new methodologies in order to increase my breadth and efficacy as a designer. As a designer, I am focused on two main domains. Much of my design work centers around accessibility. I seek to utilize design to increase access to experiences, products and opportunities. One community that I’m particularly moved by and interested in designing for, is that of aging or older adults. A project in my portfolio, “CareBot” is an example of my work in this domain as it seeks to provide older adults with access to community, family, and empathetic medical care. In my time in the M:IPD program, I would be interested in continuing and expanding upon this focus. The engineering aspect of the program is especially interesting to me as I believe it would provide tangible means of innovation in order to bolster my aesthetic design work. I know that courses such as “Rehab Engineering & Design” would be integral to leveraging engineering methodologies for creating real-world impact. My other domain of interest is within the field of technology ethics. Issues such as cell phone addiction, data privacy, and artificial intelligence development all intrigue me. I strongly believe that technology can be developed in a way that prioritizes human connection, empathy, and access. Using systems-level design solutions, I am interested in transforming not only technology products but also the process used to develop those products in order to craft humanistic technology solutions. Penn’s multidisciplinary framework is uniquely situated to help me create thoughtful and effective design solutions to technology’s most pressing issues. No consequential innovation can be created using just one discipline but rather requires tactful marrying of many key practices. I recognize that in order to improve quality of life through my design work I require a deeper understanding of business strategy and engineering practices. As such, I am excited about the ability to focus on a number of electives in order to take advantage of the M:IPD’s three-pronged focus and develop skills across human-centered design disciplines, especially in engineering. Though Northwestern University does not have a full design degree program, I created my own path through my studies. Through the Segal Design Certificate program, I developed skills in human-centered design methodologies. I have a strong understanding of the product development process and the steps required to deliver on complex problems. To augment the program, I also participated in Advanced Design’s “Offsite” program which seeks to give developing designers the skills necessary to excel in design programs and studios. Consequently, I have proficiency in CAD, Keyshot, sketching, and physical prototyping methods. I am confident that I have the necessary skills to execute design projects, communicate my ideas, and craft effective solutions to problems that require innovation. Studying in the Weitzman School of Design and Penn Engineering would deepen this skillset and further expand it, so as to provide the skills necessary to deliver on my ideas. I have also held a number of work and internship experiences that would inform my work as both a student and a community member at Penn. In my role at Unity Technologies, I worked to identify issues with the grant evaluation process utilized by Unity’s Social Impact team. As a result of research, observation, and ideation I overhauled the grant writing and evaluation process to increase efficacy and ease of use. Currently, I work as a Design Lead at Iris Education, a startup that seeks to provide reliable and accessible information about US universities to international students. There, I run a team of four designers and developers to design the UI/UX and implement thoughtful design decisions into code. No matter my role in previous organizations, I am seen as a critical thinker and team player. Whether it be implementing one line of code or unifying a team to deliver an entire product, I am always striving to be a thoughtful and impactful problem-solver. If given the opportunity, I would work to continue growing as a leader in the Penn community and honing my collaborative skills on projects with my peers. I want to be a truly innovative designer, working to increase equity and community. I see study at Penn as an invaluable opportunity to become a triple-threat problem solver, a chameleon that can be impactful in nearly any problem solving situation. To me, the M:IPD program would provide the best path towards becoming a more effective and adroit designer. Penn’s multidisciplinary approach and community resonate with me. I have many interests, from studying social policy to playing multiple instruments to being an elite fencer, and I thrive in communities where a wide variety of interests are not only celebrated but enhanced. I am looking for a learning community that sits at the intersection of my multidisciplinary interests. The last time I was on Penn’s campus was when I was competing against Penn’s women’s fencing team. Next year I hope to be on the other side, a member of the Penn educational community, cheering on my new home team. — — —
First, let’s take a look at the opening paragraph:
I am a student of social policy, a civic engagement practitioner, a designer and an elite athlete (in fact, last time I visited Penn’s campus I was competing against your fencing team). In all, I’m a multidisciplinary thinker. I know that innovative solutions are created through an intersection of disciplines and a diversity of practices. I am pursuing graduate study in order to further my ability to innovate and to address problems using manifold strategies. The Master of Integrated Product Design program at University of Pennsylvania is an opportunity not only to deepen my design practice but to strengthen it through innovative engineering and clever business practices. I am seeking opportunities to extend my tools for making a difference and I believe that the M:IPD program at Penn would do just that.
The intro is clear and effective: Upfront in the first sentence, this paragraph gives an image of what the student is passionate about in a very specific, comprehensive, and compelling list. It immediately shows familiarity with UPenn (helping immediately draw the reader’s attention to the fact that this student is genuinely interested in UPenn specifically) using a direct anecdote of competing against the UPenn fencing team. The paragraph then clearly gives the reader the student’s “why” for grad school immediately and why UPenn’s Integrated Product Design program aligns with those goals.
The student could strengthen the intro even further by shifting some elements in the latter half of the paragraph that are a little vague: for example, “manifold strategies” could be more specific in saying things like “combination of civic engagement and social design strategies.” This isn’t particularly a concern because it’s only the introduction. But in your own SoP consider adding more details and precise phrasing.
Now, let’s get into the next paragraph:
When I started my first quarter at Northwestern University all I knew was that I wanted to study something that would allow me to leverage my education for the betterment of communities. Eventually, I landed on Social Policy, a degree that would provide the opportunity to challenge systems and learn the methodologies necessary to improve those systems. Despite my interest in making change at the policy level, I was hungry for opportunities to engage with issues in a more hands-on way. So, I pursued and completed two additional certificates: the Civic Engagement Certificate and the Design Certificate, both as a means of doing hands-on work to improve the lives of community members. Now, I am seeking graduate study for similar reasons. I want to deepen my creative practice through study of new methodologies in order to increase my breadth and efficacy as a designer.
This paragraph excels with a very clear pairing of intention (what they wanted to study and who they wanted to impact), follow-up action (which programs), and results (the student’s impact). The student does a great job of describing their academic journey, which shows that the student has long-range vision and the ability to execute towards making that vision happen. An explanation of a student’s degree program should definitely be included in the SoP and this paragraph is a great example.
The student then fantastically connects their past work and education with their current goals to pursue in grad school, showing that they’ll take what they learn to another level afterwards. This positions them as a future leader a school will want to invest in.
Let’s take a look at the next paragraph:
As a designer, I am focused on two main domains. Much of my design work centers around accessibility. I seek to utilize design to increase access to experiences, products and opportunities. One community that I’m particularly moved by and interested in designing for, is that of aging or older adults. A project in my portfolio, “CareBot” is an example of my work in this domain as it seeks to provide older adults with access to community, family, and empathetic medical care. In my time in the M:IPD program, I would be interested in continuing and expanding upon this focus. The engineering aspect of the program is especially interesting to me as I believe it would provide tangible means of innovation in order to bolster my aesthetic design work. I know that courses such as “Rehab Engineering & Design” would be integral to leveraging engineering methodologies for creating real-world impact.
Graduate programs will want to see that you are able to go past just what your major/academic program requires you to do—that you will create projects and chase your passions outside of classes. The student does a great job with that here, especially by explicitly naming their past projects like “CareBot” to show that they’ve completed bodies of work. They then wrap their projects around a theme (in this case, accessibility), which gives the reviewers further means of imagining the student’s area of impact.
After the student describes their past projects, it is especially compelling that they include the engineering focus that the M:IPD program will give to the student, since the reader has the context now to imagine where these added engineering skills will fit in the student’s skillset.
Naming specific classes that the student is interested in then shows that the student has done their research about the program and is genuinely excited about the day-to-day possibilities that the M:IPD program provides. While this student did this here as a follow-up to their projects which works for this student, you can also write these types of details in a “Why this Program” paragraph.
My other domain of interest is within the field of technology ethics. Issues such as cell phone addiction, data privacy, and artificial intelligence development all intrigue me. I strongly believe that technology can be developed in a way that prioritizes human connection, empathy, and access. Using systems-level design solutions, I am interested in transforming not only technology products but also the process used to develop those products in order to craft humanistic technology solutions. Penn’s multidisciplinary framework is uniquely situated to help me create thoughtful and effective design solutions to technology’s most pressing issues. No consequential innovation can be created using just one discipline but rather requires tactful marrying of many key practices. I recognize that in order to improve quality of life through my design work I require a deeper understanding of business strategy and engineering practices. As such, I am excited about the ability to focus on a number of electives in order to take advantage of the M:IPD’s three-pronged focus and develop skills across human-centered design disciplines, especially in engineering.
This paragraph starts with relatable and very socially relevant issues: cell phone addiction, data privacy, and artificial intelligence. These situate the student’s work within a global and modern context; the student is compassionate and socially aware with their design.
Backing up the paragraph’s emphasis on interdisciplinary design by specifically mentioning “M:IPD’s three-pronged focus” is key to showing that this statement is specific to the M:IPD program.
While effective, it would have been more compelling for this paragraph to include another example of the student’s past work—one where “tactful marrying of many key practices” created a tangible result that readers can envision and be impressed by.
Though Northwestern University does not have a full design degree program, I created my own path through my studies. Through the Segal Design Certificate program, I developed skills in human-centered design methodologies. I have a strong understanding of the product development process and the steps required to deliver on complex problems. To augment the program, I also participated in Advanced Design’s “Offsite” program which seeks to give developing designers the skills necessary to excel in design programs and studios. Consequently, I have proficiency in CAD, Keyshot, sketching, and physical prototyping methods. I am confident that I have the necessary skills to execute design projects, communicate my ideas, and craft effective solutions to problems that require innovation. Studying in the Weitzman School of Design and Penn Engineering would deepen this skillset and further expand it, so as to provide the skills necessary to deliver on my ideas.
The start of this paragraph is very strong—it shows how uniquely and actively the student chases after their own passions. They created a program to study what they wanted to, even when their university didn’t offer it!
Listing specific engineering skills is useful here to demonstrate that the student is ready to engage in a program that has an engineering component. This is not only advantageous by showing that the student is qualified with technical skills, but also shows initiative in being able to execute past projects.
I have also held a number of work and internship experiences that would inform my work as both a student and a community member at Penn. In my role at Unity Technologies, I worked to identify issues with the grant evaluation process utilized by Unity’s Social Impact team. As a result of research, observation, and ideation I overhauled the grant writing and evaluation process to increase efficacy and ease of use. Currently, I work as a Design Lead at Iris Education, a startup that seeks to provide reliable and accessible information about US universities to international students. There, I run a team of four designers and developers to design the UI/UX and implement thoughtful design decisions into code. No matter my role in previous organizations, I am seen as a critical thinker and team player. Whether it be implementing one line of code or unifying a team to deliver an entire product, I am always striving to be a thoughtful and impactful problem-solver. If given the opportunity, I would work to continue growing as a leader in the Penn community and honing my collaborative skills on projects with my peers.
This paragraph establishes 2 new key dimensions for the student:
Industry experience, and
Importantly, in both roles, the student described what they did and the impact they had. In doing this, the reader can identify how their work ties in with the human and equity-centered design themes of the work they care about.
Finally, let’s look at how this student closes their personal statement
I want to be a truly innovative designer, working to increase equity and community. I see study at Penn as an invaluable opportunity to become a triple-threat problem solver, a chameleon that can be impactful in nearly any problem solving situation. To me, the M:IPD program would provide the best path towards becoming a more effective and adroit designer. Penn’s multidisciplinary approach and community resonate with me. I have many interests, from studying social policy to playing multiple instruments to being an elite fencer, and I thrive in communities where a wide variety of interests are not only celebrated but enhanced. I am looking for a learning community that sits at the intersection of my multidisciplinary interests. The last time I was on Penn’s campus was when I was competing against Penn’s women’s fencing team. Next year I hope to be on the other side, a member of the Penn educational community, cheering on my new home team.
This strongly-worded conclusion provides a comprehensive summary of the student, effectively wrapping up their SoP with a very organized and passionate bow. While the ending sentence reads as fun and personality-driven at first, it actually also functions to reiterate the student’s commitment to teamwork and support of people first. It’s easy to imagine where the student might fit as a peer in the M:IPD program’s cohort.
On a structural note, it may be interesting for a different version of this essay to include more details about the student’s fencing experience and how that might shape their aspirations and/or approaches to their work; it’s clear they’re skilled at fencing as an elite athlete and that fencing was one of their previous ties to UPenn. But perhaps this is a great place for future students to explore when writing their own essays!
Statement of purpose for graduate school example 7
Statement of purpose written by Zack, for the University of Rhode Island Graduate Program in Oceanography .
The below statement of purpose was written for an application for the Masters in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston. This applied graduate degree program provides students with an interdisciplinary foundation to study oceanography at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sea Grant institution. This NOAA Sea Grant designation provides for specific programs involved in scientific research on various dimensions of marine conservation and use. This degree program offers various specialties ranging from biological-based inquiry of marine research to atmospheric and geological areas of focus. This degree program seeks to provide students with interdisciplinary research experience to pursue applied degrees within the field of oceanography, potentially for further career advancement in marine conservation or research, or for further continuation of the study of oceanography at the doctoral level. Independent of specific outcomes, this Masters in Oceanography program provides students with an interdisciplinary approach towards strengthening their understanding of various aspects of marine oceanic health and changes.
In the following statement of purpose analysis, we assess a solid, successful statement of purpose which could also be further improved as a key component of a competitive application for this degree program.
Specifically, we focus on:
whether the applicant emphasizes intellectual interests congruent with the research focus of the academic department
whether past professional and personal experiences help shape these intellectual interests, and
how completion of the applied degree program will provide the applicant with the skillsets they need to advance their career objectives in the field of Oceanography.
Overall, this statement of purpose establishes a strong foundation anchoring a successful application to a very academically focused master’s degree program (though we’ll point out elements that could be further strengthened).
The applicant draws on personal preferences relating to interest in oceanography and his academic journey to inform the decision to pursue a graduate degree program in oceanography. Specifically, the student draws on his fascination with the ocean and his previous academic interest in the medical field to define his desire to study oceanography at URI. This is a compelling narrative and, coupled with a greater focus on the specific academic interest in oceanography and how these fit his post-degree career plans, will strengthen this application for a very research-focused academic program.
I was five years old, bundled in an oversized orange life jacket over the incredibly embarrassing sun-suit my mom insisted I wear. The translucent green water revealed a foreign, mystical world of vibrantly colored corals teaming with sea anemones and clownfish. I lay terrified on the oversized surfboard as my dad pushed me into a wave that was probably only a few inches tall but felt huge. I remember struggling to my feet, the colors of the reef zipping by as I sped through the water at what felt like a million miles per hour. That moment changed the trajectory of my life. The ocean would forever become my muse. My parents are water people: my dad, an avid surfer; my mom, an avid swimmer. I soon followed suit. My love for surfing, swimming, and beach days quickly grew to dominate my life. Academically inclined and a straight-A student, I graduated college with honors. After two ill-fated medical school application cycles, however, I felt lost. Interviewing at different schools and meeting other applicants created a moment of clarity. While they wanted to discuss the pros and cons of different medical specialties, I wanted to look at weather models and swell charts. For the first time in my life, I turned away from academia and focused on other passions: travel, surfing, and exploring my place in the world. And, for the first time, doing so not through the lens of chasing academic success. I also continued to build my math and science tutoring business. I began tutoring in college as a way to make some money, but in the past few years of full-time tutoring, I’ve found that helping kids learn is rewarding in unexpected ways. I like helping kids become more excited about school and learning, seeing their “aha moments,” building bonds and helping mentor students, and feeling a sense of satisfaction upon seeing their (often unexpected) success. However, tutoring is very similar, year in and year out. For the most part, it’s the same curriculum – high school calculus and chemistry don’t really change that much. One passion that has stayed constant, and even intensified over the years, is my love for the ocean. I’ve taken every opportunity to travel, explore the coastline, and chase swells into remote corners of the world. But, it has also become apparent in my travels how dramatically the ocean is changing. My favorite island in Indonesia is being developed at light-speed. Each time I return, more and more of the coral is dead, replaced by villas for the world’s wealthy. The little beachside town in Mexico I went to with my family, formerly a turtle sanctuary, now houses luxury resorts and golf courses. And even at home in San Francisco, the parking lot where I spent countless hours hanging out with friends before and after surfing has been lost to erosion. Everywhere I look, the natural world is collapsing around us, and nowhere is this more evident than in my own safe haven: the ocean. My life is in a period of transition, just like the planet we call home. As I’ve thought about what I want to accomplish with my career, I’ve realized that it’s my moral and ethical duty to protect the oceans, a place that has given me so much joy and shaped who I am. I want formal training to gain the knowledge, skills, and credibility to join this fight. I’ve spent hours and days teaching myself how to read nautical charts and weather forecasts. I’ve stared at the ocean, trying to hypothesize how the bathymetry of the ocean floor might mean that the waves break bigger on a west versus a southwest swell direction. I’ve poured over satellite images and radar projections of storm movement and considered how that impacts wind direction. I’ve become a decent, self taught hack, but I’ve never studied the ocean in a formal academic setting. Now, I want to. The URI curriculum is the perfect fit to allow me to transition into a field about which I’m actually excited. Because I’ve never worked in the field, I appreciate that the curriculum is broad enough to allow exploration to determine my exact area of interest within oceanography. I’m excited about the opportunity for independent, experimental study to hone in on those areas. The online and self-paced nature of the program will allow me to continue working full time, pursue my recreational passion for the ocean, and start the process of pursuing a career for which I am passionate. — — —
I was five years old, bundled in an oversized orange life jacket over the incredibly embarrassing sun-suit my mom insisted I wear. The translucent green water revealed a foreign, mystical world of vibrantly colored corals teaming with sea anemones and clownfish. I lay terrified on the oversized surfboard as my dad pushed me into a wave that was probably only a few inches tall but felt huge. I remember struggling to my feet, the colors of the reef zipping by as I sped through the water at what felt like a million miles per hour. That moment changed the trajectory of my life. The ocean would forever become my muse. My parents are water people: my dad, an avid surfer; my mom, an avid swimmer. I soon followed suit. My love for surfing, swimming, and beach days quickly grew to dominate my life. Academically inclined and a straight-A student, I graduated college with honors. After two ill-fated medical school application cycles, however, I felt lost. Interviewing at different schools and meeting other applicants created a moment of clarity. While they wanted to discuss the pros and cons of different medical specialties, I wanted to look at weather models and swell charts. For the first time in my life, I turned away from academia and focused on other passions: travel, surfing, and exploring my place in the world. And, for the first time, doing so not through the lens of chasing academic success. I also continued to build my math and science tutoring business. I began tutoring in college as a way to make some money, but in the past few years of full-time tutoring, I’ve found that helping kids learn is rewarding in unexpected ways. I like helping kids become more excited about school and learning, seeing their “aha moments,” building bonds and helping mentor students, and feeling a sense of satisfaction upon seeing their (often unexpected) success. However, tutoring is very similar, year in and year out. For the most part, it’s the same curriculum – high school calculus and chemistry don’t really change that much. — — —
The preceding two paragraphs help draw a narrative of how past experiences motivate current intellectual interests:
In the first paragraph, the applicant describes a longstanding fascination with the ocean and water activities. This passage helps signal a enduring interest in the environment and activities relating to surfing and swimming.
In the second paragraph, the applicant notes being drawn back to the passion of the ocean, describing “two ill-fated medical school application cycles” as a key motivator for hitting the reset of sorts on their intellectual journal.
To an admissions committee, these two paragraphs signal tenacity in the pursuit of intellectual interests. Refocusing on the initial stated passion of the ocean, the applicant builds a narrative of returning to academia to pursue this deep-rooted interest. Coupled with sharing an enjoyable experience of tutoring students, the applicant is further arguing for a return to academia by combining two of his passions: the ocean and tutoring.
How can this section be improved?
First, what is lacking in this section is a clear, direct, coherent thesis statement as to why admissions into a graduate program would help reach professional objectives (for a statement of purpose, clarity and directness are more important than voice/style).
Second, and related, the first two paragraphs would ideally highlight professional objectives. The applicant provides a foundation towards answering these two questions by stating a passion for the ocean and for the academic pursuit of tutoring and mentoring. This can be more effectively tied together within the context of seeking admission in a research-based masters in Oceanography. For example, is admission into this program helpful with respect to developing the technical expertise to tutor and mentor students in an academic environment? Is that the goal? The first two paragraphs can be strengthened to signal how (1) the intellectual Oceanic interests fits well with the graduate program offered by the department and (2) how past experiences help shape the goals pursued within this academic program.
Now let’s take a look at the next paragraph:
One passion that has stayed constant, and even intensified over the years, is my love for the ocean. I’ve taken every opportunity to travel, explore the coastline, and chase swells into remote corners of the world. But, it has also become apparent in my travels how dramatically the ocean is changing. My favorite island in Indonesia is being developed at light-speed. Each time I return, more and more of the coral is dead, replaced by villas for the world’s wealthy. The little beachside town in Mexico I went to with my family, formerly a turtle sanctuary, now houses luxury resorts and golf courses. And even at home in San Francisco, the parking lot where I spent countless hours hanging out with friends before and after surfing has been lost to erosion. Everywhere I look, the natural world is collapsing around us, and nowhere is this more evident than in my own safe haven: the ocean. My life is in a period of transition, just like the planet we call home. As I’ve thought about what I want to accomplish with my career, I’ve realized that it’s my moral and ethical duty to protect the oceans, a place that has given me so much joy and shaped who I am. I want formal training to gain the knowledge, skills, and credibility to join this fight. — — —
The preceding paragraph builds on the previous two paragraphs by further highlighting one key component of Oceanic interests, that of conservation. This could be highlighted much earlier given that this is directly congruent with the research interests of faculty within the URI department and one of the key learning outcomes of the master’s program offered. This signals strongly that the applicant has not only coordinated his academic interests with the academic specialty offered by the department, but also offers evidence as to the first to the specific focus (1) of how these interests intersect with the research focus of faculty, especially with respect to Oceanic conservation.
Finally, let’s see how this student closes their personal statement
I’ve spent hours and days teaching myself how to read nautical charts and weather forecasts. I’ve stared at the ocean, trying to hypothesize how the bathymetry of the ocean floor might mean that the waves break bigger on a west versus a southwest swell direction. I’ve poured over satellite images and radar projections of storm movement and considered how that impacts wind direction. I’ve become a decent, self taught hack, but I’ve never studied the ocean in a formal academic setting. Now, I want to. The URI curriculum is the perfect fit to allow me to transition into a field about which I’m actually excited. Because I’ve never worked in the field, I appreciate that the curriculum is broad enough to allow exploration to determine my exact area of interest within oceanography. I’m excited about the opportunity for independent, experimental study to hone in on those areas. The online and self-paced nature of the program will allow me to continue working full time, pursue my recreational passion for the ocean, and start the process of pursuing a career for which I am passionate. — — —
This last paragraph provides a critical component of the academic statement (which could be highlighted earlier in the SoP). In this section, there is a clear attempt to signal as to why the URI Oceanography program is a terrific fit for the applicant and why this program can help pursue a career in oceanography. Highlighting the online nature of the program and the flexibility this provides towards pursuing a career in Oceanography strongly signals that preliminary research was conducted prior to applying.
In this section, I would highlight (3) which specific scales the applicant would hope to pick up in this master’s program and how this would help advance their career objectives. What are these career objectives and what skills are needed to advance them? This would strengthen an already strong statement of purpose and add more of an academic narrative to a statement designed to explain why an applicant would like to pursue a graduate degree within a given department.
Final thoughts on Statements of Purpose
We hope that, with the above guide + statement of purpose examples, you feel well-equipped to draft and revise your own SoP. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to write and revise—this is a key component of your grad school application. If you’d like to talk through ways we can support you, please feel free to contact us . And we wish you the best of luck on your application process.
Special thanks to CEG Grad School coaches Christine Rose, Kathy Liu, Kristin Joys, & Carlos A. for writing this post.
Christine (she/her) holds a Master's of Literature from the University of Toronto and a PhD in the History of Consciousness from UCSC. Her research specializes in the history of medicine, British colonialism, LGBTQI+ studies, poststructuralism, historiography, and critical race theory. A former professor at Mills College, Macalester College, and UC Davis, she offered popular interdisciplinary courses, including The Bizarre History of Medicine, Sex Panics, and Deviance & Discipline: A History of American Citizenship. She has lectured internationally at institutions such as Oxford University, Humboldt University, and MIT. Her extracurricular activities include rescuing cats and turning simple dinner plans into ridiculously complicated gourmet feasts that require buying entirely unnecessary kitchen gadgets. She spends her winters in Miami and summers in Berlin .
Kathy (she/her) is a Ph.D. student at Harvard University in Materials Science & Mechanical Engineering. After completing her B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering at Stanford, she moved to the Netherlands on a Fulbright research fellowship. Her research focuses on making dynamic, stimuli-responsive materials such as skin-inspired electronics, biomedical materials, and soft robotics. No matter where she is, she's passionate about storytelling, community, and empowering others.
Carlos (he/him) is a practicing academic originally from the Pacific Northwest. He holds a BA and PhD in political science from UCD along with a master’s in public policy from OSU. His research focuses on the nature of American elections and the factors that influence how legislators make decisions. His research has appeared in The Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, and Vox. In his spare time, he enjoys following his favorite professional baseball and college football teams while exploring the outdoors throughout the west coast, particularly in Southern California.
Kristin (she/her) has spent more than two decades enthusiastically educating and empowering changemakers. Since 2005 she has taught courses on Social Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Business at the University of Florida, where she co-founded and directs the Social Impact & Sustainability Initiative .
After earning a Ph.D. in Social Psychology in Sociology and a Graduate Certificate in Women & Gender Studies, Kristin earned a Post Doc in Management in Marketing from UF, graduate degrees in Social Entrepreneurship from INSEAD & Stanford Business School, and a certificate in Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School.
- 5 Successful Statement of Purpose Examples
What Is the Statement of Purpose?
Statement of purpose writing guidelines, step 1: do your homework, step 2: reflect and brainstorm (on paper), step 3: outline your statement of purpose, step 4: write draft of your statement of purpose, step 5: ask for critique, then revise and edit, get qualified assistance from professionals, five strong statement of purpose samples, 1. economics (phd), 2. psychology (phd), 3. history (phd), 4. economics (ma), 5. physics (phd).
Students who graduate schools need to create a statement of purpose or a letter of intent. In this article, our college admission essay writing service has gathered the most important hints on writing this paper as well as selected some good examples of statements of purpose.
This paper demonstrates your experience and interests to the admissions committee. If you are going to choose a research-focused program to get a Master's or Ph.D. degree, the statement of purpose must be focused on the past research experience and your plans for future research. If you want to select professionally-focused programs, you should mention in this paper how the chosen program is related to your experience and how you're going to use the skills in your career.
In the statement, you have also to explain to the admission officers why you have chosen this program and how the specific studying fits your interests, higher education, and future career. It's important to show your goals and hopes for receiving the degree and getting all the needed skills to use in your future career.
At the first point, you have to introduce yourself. The next step is what you can offer for the chosen program. Here you must describe your experience and personal skills to prove you can handle this position. Don't forget to mention your personal goals. If it's hard for you to highlight your skills, read the program description to understand what certain skills it may require from students.
Keep in your memory to keep this document brief and clear. You don't need to write a lot. Put there only the most important things you want admission officers to hear. This is a short summary that should make you look perfect for getting a higher education.
If you are asked to write a letter of intent for school , worry no. Open and read one more blog we have on this platform, it will guide you with this task.
Some applications call for one statement, while others require responses to a series of multiple questions. The statement of purpose is a crucial component of the graduate school admissions process. It can determine whether an applicant is accepted or rejected, irrespective of their other qualifications. Always read the instructions carefully! When in doubt, call the department or program for clarification.
So, here we outlined the 5 stages that a graduate school or a degree applicant should go through in order to write an impressive and successful statement of purpose.
- Browse through the websites of the schools/departments/programs of interest to you. Obtain brochures and booklets and read through them carefully. Highlight the aspects of the programs that appeal to you.
- Read up on the research interests and projects of the faculty in the schools/departments/programs. Read publications from a faculty of interest.
- Browse through recent articles from the research field of interest and try to get a general understanding of how the field developed and what are its current problems and challenges.
- Reflect on your intellectual development. What and when were the major moments in your life that have led you to your current research interests. What or who influenced your decision or interest.
- Why did you choose your research topics?
- Why did you choose your undergraduate major?
- What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what do you hope to accomplish?
- From the results of Step 2, determine a central theme/topic that stands out or dominates your reflections and brainstorm.
- Using bullet points and brief comments/statements, organize your reflections and brainstorm ideas that strengthen the central theme/topic of your statement of purpose.
- Your outline should cover these areas and, preferably, in this order:
- What aspects of the program or department appeals to you?
- What are your research interests?
- How did you become interested in your current research topic/area?
- How did you prepare or are preparing to address the issues in this research area/topic?
- What are your future goals for the program?
- What are your career goals ?
- What characteristics of the department or program can help you accomplish your goals?
- What positive aspects do you bring to the department/program?
When writing your statement of purpose:
- Always use positive language when referring to yourself.
- Give detailed, but concise examples.
- Use transition words, sentences and paragraphs. Your statement must read smoothly.
- Skip a line after each paragraph.
- Refrain from starting neighboring paragraphs the same way.
- Avoid using vocabulary that you do not know.
- Refrain from repeating yourself.
- Have a strong opening and closing paragraph.
- Stay within the 2-3 page limit!
- Thank the admissions committee for their time at the end of your statement of purpose.
- When you are finished with your draft statement of purpose, read it out loud to yourself and make corrections.
- Ask friends, colleagues and professors to read your edited draft. Taking their comments into consideration, revise and edit your draft.
Do you need some help with making a statement of purpose? With our excellent writers, you will impress the admission committee with a clear and strong document. Contact our qualified team now and get a good discount on your first order. Even if you need your paper to be written very fast, we can do it thanks to the highest level of professionalism of the best specialists who work with us. Receive your statement on time and get applied to study without nerves!
When introduced to economics in high school I realized that it interestingly qualified as a subject of both Arts and Science. It was an area defined by precise rules, principles and axioms and yet there was tremendous scope for self-expression in the form of interpretation and analysis. This facet of economics intrigued me very much and I decided to pursue further studies in Economics. During my Master's program I equipped myself as best as I could, with various tools used in economic analysis. I obtained rigorous training in mathematics, econometrics and game theory. After completing the Master's program, I joined National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, as I was very eager to see how one might use economics to tackle real life problems, where simplified models, and assuming away of problems may offer no respite. I did some very interesting work here, which is described in my resume. I want to delve deeper into the subject to be able to carry out independent research and analysis, hence my decision to join the Ph.D. program at UCLA. International Economics is an area I would really like to explore. I am fascinated by game theoretic modeling of issues pertaining to International Economics. I believe that game theoretic models can be effectively used in international economics as many policy issues such as negotiations over mutual reductions in tariffs, formation and preservation of customs unions, establishment of cartels in the case of internationally traded goods, all have some game theoretic character. The current "Regionalism versus Multilateralism" debate holds its own attraction. It should be interesting to analyze the trade diversion effects of Preferential Trading Agreements and also their impact on multilateral institutions like GATT. The strategic trading that takes place in foreign exchange markets and the variety of auction-like mechanisms that have been used for foreign exchange trade, especially in developing countries, are intriguing. During my graduate studies I aim to equip myself with some advanced tools and develop my analytical and research capabilities. I want to get an excellent command over econometrics to be able to confront stochastic statistical data with exact models of economic theories and also for empirical verification of other models, which might otherwise be set in a partial equilibrium framework. I expect to emerge as an economic engineer and an expert in model building.Econometrics per se, also interests me as a subject of economics and I might like to research econometric methodology. I want to be an academic economist. I have cleared the National Eligibility test conducted by the University Grants Commission of India, which makes me eligible to teach an undergraduate course in economics in any Indian university. I want to study at UCLA, as it emphasizes on the rigor and analytical tools that are necessary for academic research. I have well-developed analytical and mathematical skills and I want to exploit these skills to the greatest extent. I feel the help and guidance that can be provided to me by the distinguished faculty of your university will be invaluable. I am sure if I am given the opportunity to study at your university that attracts some of the best students from all over the world, it will provide an environment competitive enough to bring out the best in me.
When I came to college I wanted to be a doctor. I was going to study biology, pick up a second major along the way, and go to medical school to become a rural practitioner. I soon realized that I was suffering from my own version of "Med. Student Syndrome." I did not think that I was sick, but I did realize that I was obviously delusional. I realized that I did not have the burning desire to become a medical doctor. The profession did not interest me; it was my perception of the profession that had caught my fancy. Luckily, by then I had begun to study psychology, so I understood what a good delusion was like. As I studied psychology more and more, I found what excites me most of all were the investigation, dissection and understanding of problems that I saw around me in the world. I found psychology courses stimulated me to think and explore my world as I took courses in development, psychopathology, personality and behavior analysis. Dr. XXXX's behavior analysis classes gave me good critical and analytic skills through our repeated analyses, discussion and practice of both basic and complex behavioral principles. I received research training with XXX, Ph.D. while working on an autism and social behaviors study, and with XXX, Ph.D. while writing an honors thesis and subsequent poster presentation. My work with Dr. XXX helped me develop my observational skills and learn to classify and define abstract descriptors into concrete variables. In my honors research, I started with a broad question, wondering whether young adults' substance use behaviors were related to both sensation seeking and their friendships and if so how. Once I narrowed my ideas, collected and analyzed the data, I had to deal with the frustration of getting results that did not support the hypotheses. I did more data collection and analyses for a poster presentation at the Society for Prevention Research annual conference, and in post-hoc analyses I found that while I had studied the sample as a whole, males and females had different predictors of alcohol use. Even though I hadn't supported my original hypotheses, this gave me ideas as to why. One of my favorite biology professors used to say that advances in science are often made by proving something does not exist, something I learned well through my research. I am currently volunteering for a year in Fairbanks, Alaska, through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps at a parenting resource center. I work in Family Preservation Services with families whose children have been in state custody trying to keep the families together. It's difficult work; I see kids every day who are very young but who have already had pretty tough lives. Many of these children could be case studies of multiple risk factors. As some here have put it, they are "damaged." My work here has really driven my thinking about how abuse, divorce, and familial discord interact to affect children in their social interactions, their view of themselves and the world, and the future predicted for them. Through my undergraduate research, including my honors thesis, I was introduced to the issues surrounding adolescent substance use. I found myself very interested in both the specific issues of adolescent substance use and the ideas of how an adolescent's context, whether it is familial, environmental or peer, could affect the adolescent's life. I would like to find ways to help kids like those I work with have more promising lives. I am interested in studying child and adolescent mental health, particularly issues of substance use, risk and resilience, pathology and aggression, and how social and family context affects each of these issues. Essentially I am interested in ways in which we can make growing up less difficult, particularly for high-risk kids. I see myself spending my career primarily in research and teaching. I see it as crucial to have research that is well informed by clinical practice, and clinical practice well grounded in research. I also see it as necessary to ensure that research is properly disseminated, and that under-served areas gain increased attention as targets of study and clinical practice assistance. For example, most of Alaska does not have a strong university presence, and I believe that the social service programs here suffer from not being up to speed on the latest in clinical developments. I'd like to develop prevention programs and interventions to help address what I choose to specialize in, and a position as a university professor would be the ideal way to achieve this goal. Further, I am very attracted by the prospect of teaching and mentoring college students about what I love. I decided to apply to XXX University for several reasons. I am attracted to XXX University by the strong emphasis on research and methodology. Particularly, the strong preventive focus of the Child Clinical area of emphasis is one that meshes well with what I am looking for in a program. In researching XXX University, the work of Drs. XXX and XXX particularly piqued my interest. I worked with XXX at XXX University, who exposed me to much of Dr. XXX's work on children of alcoholics. I would be interested in further pursuing work in risk factors for substance abuse, particularly looking at how familial and social context affect risk behaviors. Dr. XXX' research in risk and resilience and her prevention work with high risk adolescents is very much what I am interested in doing, as I not only have research experience but the clinical work with similar populations to what Dr. XXX' is working with. The Clinical Psychology program at XXX University has everything I am looking for in a program, just as I feel I have what XXX University should be looking for in an incoming student. I would be very excited to join the incoming class at the XXX University for 2000. I feel I am well prepared to enter graduate study, and my strong motivation and career goals are a good match for what XXX has to offer.
One of the proudest accomplishments of my life was earning my college degree, despite the fact that my early adulthood pointed in the opposite direction, beginning with my marriage at the age of 19. Throughout the 1990s I lived as one of the "working poor," someone who slipped through the cracks of supposedly historic prosperity. By the age of 25 I was divorced and frustrated with menial, low-paying jobs: clerk, receptionist, and housecleaner. There is nothing like scrubbing someone else's toilet to inspire one with determination toward obtaining an education. Because of my absolute commitment toward earning my degree, I got a flexible shift at a retail warehouse which enabled me to acquire my degree while supporting myself financially. Enrolled at the local community college, I experienced a different world opening up to me; excited by a new encouraging environment, I excelled academically. I learned that if I tried hard, I could succeed; if I wanted something badly enough, I possessed the ability to take advantage of these opportunities. I worked a minimum 35-hour workweek for five years to put myself through school without succumbing to the temptation of a student loan. I paid tuition up front with the money I earned. It was the example of my mother, a Puerto Rican immigrant working diligently to provide for her family, who instilled a work ethic into me that has stood me in good stead. With a lifelong passion for history, I have developed an interest in the cultural history of early modern and modern Europeans, especially women's history. The experiences of ordinary women fascinate me: how they constitute their world through popular folktales and literature; how the seemingly irrational paradoxes of the past to modern eyes are completely rational when taken within the historical context; and finally, how these historical changes and transformations in culture constitute the present. I enjoy studying the early modern period of English history, especially the Tudor- Stuart period, because of the tensions that existed between medieval philosophies and the rising Enlightenment intellectualism. My influences have been diverse. I read the popular historian Barbara Tuchman, not for her technical accuracy, but for her beautiful prose. Natalie Zemon Davis's research inspires me in the way that she cleverly picks out fresh life from tired sources. And finally, Michel Foucault's philosophies have profoundly influenced the way I write, for now I have a philosophical grounding that makes me highly sensitive to my own biases. In fact, Foucault's post-structuralist matrix has been instrumental in shaping my current project focusing on the 17th-century midwife Elizabeth Cellier. In this project, I am reexamining the current histories of English midwifery using Cellier as a case study, detecting a decided bias embedded within them. The underlying assumption of these histories is that pre-industrial professional women-and Cellier in particular- struggled against patriarchy and oppression from the male medical community, when in fact Cellier's literature shows that she utilized the accepted discourses of patriarchy available to her in her writing and turned them into useful tools of political and religious power. As a student, I feel that my success lies in the fact that I approached my studies as if I were a professional (historian, not student, that is). I always enrolled in the most challenging courses and worked with professors I felt were the most qualified in my areas of interest. Never did I settle for an A- or B+. If I got one, I would ask what I could do to improve--and ultimately, I utilized the advice to strengthen my work. My personal academic milestone occurred while I was completing a research seminar on historical methods. This required course was taught by an Americanist-Dr. W., director of the [school withheld] history department - so our research topics were limited to American sources. I was able to work within my main interest, which is marginalized women, while using the primary sources of The New York Times. The resulting paper, "Biologically Unsound: Women, Murder, and the Insanity Plea in the Progressive Era" examined the preponderant use of the insanity plea for women who went outside their "innate nature" and murdered, regardless of the circumstances which drove them to kill. Although the topic was outside my focus, which is European history, this paper was selected for publication in the Phi Alpha Theta journal, The Historian. My focus as an undergraduate has always been with an eye toward graduate school and a career as a professional historian. Aware of the rigors of graduate study, I have not only completed an undergraduate language requirement in Spanish, but I am also currently enrolled in an accelerated French course. In addition, I have become active in the historical honor society, Phi Alpha Theta, including serving as chapter president. During my tenure our chapter hosted the Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference, the largest regional conference in the nation. With the help of faculty adviser Dr. G., I created the conference sessions, I chose appropriate student commentators for those sessions, and gave a keynote speech. The experience taught me that I have a flair for organization as well as mediation. Under my leadership, our chapter also published its first journal, and hosted a variety of campus activities. This year I am working with the Computer Society in order to establish a Website for students who need help succeeding in history courses; we are going to call it the Clio homepage. My position as an authority figure both in classroom work and within these various organizations has awakened a desire to embrace teaching, for I enjoy sharing the excitement of education with my peers, as well as helping them achieve their own academic success. I feel that my life experiences as well as my commitment to education would be an asset to Cornell's doctoral program in History. Cornell has an exciting interdisciplinary program that is exceptionally impressive. In particular, Dr. W.'s specialty in Tudor-Stuart social and cultural history complements my own interest in studying the experiences of English pre-industrial women. This combination will provide the strong background I desire in order to shape my future research interests. I feel that Cornell is a premier institution for an aspiring Ph.D. candidate and as such, a very competitive program. But I know I have the tools and the determination to excel in such a stimulating and challenging environment.
In this essay I am going to concentrate mostly on the incentives that stimulate me to pursue further studying, and reflect the motives for my choice of Princeton University as well as state my future career objectives. I have chosen to work in the area of international microeconomics because it has such a demand for new ideas. At the same time it requires a good mathematical background and has obvious implications in real life. My education suits this field very well, I have a Master of Science with Honors in the field of applied mathematics and physics and a Master of Arts in economics with a specialization in international economics. I already have extensive research experience both in applied sciences and economics, know basic economic models and have a strong background both in abstract modeling and data manipulation. All this probably makes me an economist, but my objective is to become a good one. I have been taught by very good lecturers. After the course I took with Professor Branson I decided that there is nothing more interesting than international economics. Professor A made issues of monetary economics and government policy fascinating. Lectures delivered by Professor B attracted me to labor market problems. I enjoyed listening to them and want to teach my mind to operate in a similar manner - attention is paid to every individual fact and each formal problem solved reflects a real economic situation. While writing my master's thesis I had a chance to see that a simple look at a graph can be more useful than application of sophisticated economic techniques. One of the reasons I want to study further is to reach at least the same level of intuitiveness and panoramic view of the subject as my teachers have. My Master of Arts degree was in the field of Health Economics, which I am very interested in. It was mostly an empirical dissertation. My dissertation was titled ".." and I worked under the guidance of Professor C. The greatest part of my work was devoted to macroeconomic cross-country econometric (panel data) analysis. The task was complicated by the necessity to work with omitted variables and low quality data as well as the low reliability of data for developing countries and countries in transition. We also made efforts to build a model that explains the impact of macroeconomic parameters on health deterioration and the probability of death. My master's thesis has been presented at the "Russian Economic And Political Institutions In Transition" conference and currently we are preparing it for publication. At this time I am also doing empirical research devoted to inflation and monetary policy. I feel cautious specifying which area of economics interests me most for further study, but I do not think that this is a drawback. I find economics particularly attractive for the fact that it is broad, and has not yet been split into a set of narrow sub-branches - economists all speak almost the same language. I also think that in the face of complexity we face in this discipline, it would be ineffective to specialize too narrowly. This year I realized as I had not before that I wish to continue my studies. Being a teaching assistant in Professor A's Macroeconomics and Advanced Macroeconomics classes, I understood a lot of effort must be applied for a good student to turn into a good teacher. I feel that a similar gap lies between a good student and a good researcher. I am a hardworking and determined person, and I am ready for a new leap in my economics career. I will work hard in hope that the quantity of the effort I put in will result in high quality knowledge. The fact is that the best possible supervisors and a highly competitive atmosphere are necessary for this quality. The only reasonable decision for me was to aim for such a place. All this gives me the motivation to apply to Princeton University.
My goal is to combine my background in physics and mathematics with experimental neuroscience to build quantitative models of how brains work. As a child, I fell in love with mathematical problem-solving but it was not until college that I knew what to do with that love. I considered several majors in my first few semesters at USC, but my persistent question - “yes, but how does that work?” - eventually led me to the physics department and an electricity and magnetism course with Dr. P. Z. Using the mathematical problem-solving that I reveled in, we explored the physical mechanisms behind magnets, sunsets, and a wealth of fascinating natural phenomena. The uncompromising inquisitiveness of physics resonated with my own curiosity, and I was hooked. I became especially interested in the physical basis of information processing and joined Dr. Z.’s Quantum Information Theory group in Torino. Through calculations and simulations, we sought to define an appropriate concept of thermal equilibrium in quantum mechanics. I learned a great deal about milking mathematical models and simulations for physical results, but most importantly, the excitement of constructing a new theory convinced me that I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing science. Combined with a desire to inspire other students as Dr. Z. had done for me, I knew then I wanted to become a professor. It struck me that while I and other researchers grappled with the fundamental limits of computation, we still lacked a deep understanding of the very information processor that enabled us to do so – the human brain. When I thought about math, which neurons fired? How were the things I learned embodied in my brain? Was it possible to understand the physical basis of the human mind just as we understand a magnet or sunset? I searched for a neuroscience group at USC who might have a need for a physicist and soon found Dr. B.’s group, who were having an issue with their simulations of neural synapses. Their numerical integration algorithm was having trouble with the multiple timescales present in biological dynamics, and I discovered the source of this difficulty and proposed an adaptive algorithm to significantly speed up simulations. I also assisted a graduate student in building compartmental models of hippocampal neurons, gaining valuable experience in using the simulation package NEURON. Since then, I have pursued neuroscience and physics in parallel - neuroscience for the questions that drive me and physics to better understand the physical basis of information processing and hone my ability to build and analyze mathematical models. I spent the first half of summer 2010 at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) in Waterloo, Ontario working with Dr. A. C. on the proof of a mathematical theorem that we felt might lead to new algorithms for quantum computers. Over six weeks, Dr. C. and I iterated between provisional theorems and test cases generated by a computer program I had written, converged on a candidate for the theorem, and found our proof. I gave an IQC colloquium on our findings, and Dr. C. and I are currently working on a generalization of our result for publication. Beyond offering new tools of analysis, my physics research has also influenced my neuroscience by giving me a visceral understanding of the play between theory, simulation, and experiment and how to iterate between them. Currently, I am working with USC Professor B. to understand how brains rapidly and robustly encode information presented only once. In particular, we are investigating the optimal dendrite morphology for memory capacity during one-shot learning tasks and studying how the optimal morphology varies with input features such as noise and density of activation. We hypothesize that dendrite morphology is optimized to shift response variability to a regime efficient for memory capacity. We are also exploring various definitions of memory capacity and the connections between them. One of Dr. M.’s students amassed a collection of simulation data, and my role is to build mathematical models that help explain his results, enable analytic calculations of memory capacity, and suggest new simulations to further refine our hypotheses. Our hope is that the optimal biophysical variables we identify will correspond with experimental values in the brain. Our approach is characteristic of what I believe is a unique and important contribution that physics and mathematics may offer biology - explanations for the functional role of biological mechanisms rooted in arguments for their optimality. My strategy of pursuing research in both physics and neuroscience has provided me with unique insights into the brain, valuable experience with interdisciplinary collaborations, and clarity on my career goals. I would like to pursue a Ph.D. followed by a professorship to continue my research and share my passion for discovery with eager young minds. Through collaborations with experimentalists and my training in physics and mathematics, I want to explore the links between biophysical mechanisms and their functional roles in neural computation. In addition to my research, I have pursued and excelled in several graduate courses in physics and mathematics and even picked up new analytic tools from other graduate departments, such as information theory and mathematical optimization. Concurrently, I have attained a significant knowledge of modern neuroscience through extracurricular study and research. Thus I am confident in my choice of graduate research and in my preparation for pursuing it. Furthermore, I am confident that the University of Washington’s Physics program would be a great place for me to do so. I am attracted by the large community of faculty and students interested in biophysics and particularly interested in working with Drs. A., F. R., and E. S., each of whom I have contacted. As I prefer theoretical work closely coupled with ongoing experiments, I am especially interested in a project co-advised by Dr. R. and either Dr. F. or Dr. S. Another potential focus of our collaboration could be the modulatory effect of persistent network activity on single-neuron responses and the role of this modulation in neural computation. Though the research is my main attraction to UW, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I do my best thinking in the outdoors and welcome the opportunity to spend weekends hiking and mountaineering in the environs of Seattle.
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Statement of Purpose for PhD Admission (A Universal Formula)
Formulas are beautiful, aren’t they? Whether the elegance of a binary logarithm or the universe contained within the laws of thermodynamics, it’s wondrous to see how much we can explain through gracefully arranged information. Prose writing is no different. Even with the statement of purpose for PhD admissions, when we filter our thoughts through an elegant formula, the reactive power can be amazing.
Of course, the opposite is true as well.
If our writing doesn’t conform to the timeless formulas of narrative structure, our words fall flat. We don’t overcome the activation energy requirement. Our code doesn’t compile. We submit an essay hoping it convinces some erudite professor that we’re a worthy student, but it only makes them scratch their chin and flip to the next essay in the pile.
This isn’t good, friend. Especially considering that for PhDs, writing well is part of the job.
Luckily, we don’t need to be literary scholars to utilize the eternally elegant formulas of writing. (I’ve already done that hard work for you.)
Instead, we only need the formula itself, and specific instructions about which information to plug in. Then we can fully ignite the minds and hearts of PhD advisors.
Sound good to you? If so, keep reading.
It’s time to cause a life-changing reaction.
The Statement of Purpose for PhD Formula
You may have already read “ Structure is Magic ,” my article which illustrates how successful SOPs adhere to the classic “hero’s journey.” You may also have read my SOP Starter Kit , which describes the 4 questions that every successful statement of purpose must answer to be effective. Both present the same structural formula for your SOP:
Section 1 – Introductory Frame Narrative & Academic Goal (1-2 paragraphs)
Section 2 – Why This Program (1-2 paragraphs)
Section 3 – Why You’re (Overly) Qualified (1-3 paragraphs)
Section 4 – Closing Frame Narrative (1 brief paragraph)
You should read those resources if you haven’t (especially the SOP Starter Kit which basically writes your essay for you). Yet, for our purposes today, let’s think of the formula like this:
1. Introductory Frame Narrative & Academic/Research Goal
In this introduction, you use a tiny bit of storytelling to make yourself memorable. You won’t use too much, and everything you write will build toward expressing your hyper-focused academic goal – your research proposal. It’s not a story of your childhood. In fact, it won’t mention anything prior to the last few years when you truly became a researcher. Because that is the story we’re telling – how you realized that you want to become a professional researcher .
Now, what problems do you want to solve in grad school? How did you discover these problems? Were you working 20 hours per week in the Xavier Lab at Marvel University? During an independent study, did you grow fascinated with the way Latin American literary critics have overlooked certain economic aspects of the 19th-century Belgian slave trade? In the last year or two, you took a mental leap. You transformed from a talented undergraduate to a burgeoning researcher. In this section, you tell that story, then end it by stating exactly what you hope to achieve in your PhD research.
When I ended my career with the California Ballet in 2016, I looked forward to an academic experience studying the metabolic and neurological systems which had silently governed my physical reality as a performer for so long. Surprisingly, the opportunity proved more rewarding than I could have imagined. The perseverance I cultivated as a ballerina proved essential as I immediately dove into the Psychology, Biology, and Philosophy curricula at Stark University, and I soon developed an interest in the neural regulation of metabolic development. After joining Dr. Jean Grey’s research lab in my sophomore year (a position I have maintained ever since), I had the great fortune of studying the effects of obesogenic diets on conserved signaling pathways governing metabolic regulation in Drosophila melanogaster. Through this work, I have become singularly fascinated with the myriad factors that contribute to the growing obesity epidemic, and its developmental origins in particular.
The questions that underpin our work in the Grey Lab are compelling. How do critical or sensitive periods of neuroendocrine development contribute to long-term functioning in animals and humans at the behavioral and cellular levels? Interestingly, current research at Gotham University seeks answers to these very questions, and that is precisely why I apply as a PhD candidate to the interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience.
2. Why This Program
This section is all about “fit.” This is your proof that “University X” is the perfect place for you to achieve the goal you expressed in the previous section. As you write, you’ll notice an elegant logical flow from the previous section. You’ve just told the reader: “this is my goal.”
Now, you’re telling them: “…and University X is the ideal place for me to pursue this goal, because…”
(Notice how the formula works? The seamless logical and narrative transitions are the magic behind it all.)
So, what do you say in this section? You describe the professors with whom you hope to work. You’ve already emailed them. You’ve already read their recent research. Now, in 2-4 sentences, you describe how your Academic Goal from Section 1 is uniquely related to their current work. You’ll engage with that work intellectually. You’ll link it to your own proposal. Then, you’ll repeat this 1-2 more times for each professor who you believe will be a great mentor. All the while, you’ll emphasize exactly what you want to research for the next 5 years.
At GU, I hope to continue elucidating hypothalamic metabolic circuits, and exploring how obesogenic diets affect long-term developmental outcomes in relation to the normal functioning of the satiety hormone leptin. I am quite interested in the work of Dr. Jonathan Crane, whose research on the development of hypothalamic circuits, and how they regulate feeding behavior, has been critical to my understanding of sensitive periods for the trophic actions of leptin in the brain. I believe my experience with quantitative immunohistochemistry and RT-qPCR make me well qualified to contribute to such research. In fact, Dr. Crane’s continuing work on the molecular signals connecting postnatal overnutrition to abnormal development of hypothalamic circuits represents questions similar to those that drew me to studying the neurobiological aspects of feeding and development. It also defines the kind of work I hope to accomplish as a doctoral candidate. While Dr. Crane’s investigation into the necessity of LepRb for typical hypothalamic development is fascinating, I am interested in studying the role LepRb and its developmental actions might play in leptin resistance and obesity in adulthood.
Additionally, Dr. Otto Octavius’s research on the effects of high developmental sugar consumption on memory circuits is fascinating to me; it dovetails nicely with my experience using high-fructose corn syrup diets to mimic obesogenic conditions, while using both behavioral and molecular assays such as weight, food intake, and RNA sequencing to investigate physiological and neural changes. For these reasons, I believe I would be a great fit in either the Crane Lab or the Octavius Lab, given my experience researching metabolic development at both the behavioral and cellular level.
3. Why You’re (Overly) Qualified
This section is your “Greatest Hits” list. In it, you provide relevant proof that you’re ready to succeed as a professional researcher. What is relevant proof? Your excellent undergraduate grades – that’s a good start. Specific research skills you’ve acquired ( here’s a list for STEM students, if you’re unsure). Any unique accomplishments you’ve achieved, such as presenting at conferences, co-authored papers, time you’ve spent in journal reviews, or awards from national academic organizations.
You will not mention anything unrelated to your potential as a researcher, like your job as a campus tour guide or volunteer work at homeless shelters. Admittedly, non-academic achievements can be important in showing that your values align with the department. But since the SOP has a strict word limit, such stories cause a bad reaction in our formula. They distract the reader from your TRUE academic talents, and thus, they’re best left as a side note in your CV or topic of discussion in your interviews.
The only way you would mention something “non-academic” is if it relates uniquely to your research. For example, if you’re pursuing an Art History PhD specializing in Buddhist architecture, and you’re dual-citizen in India and Hong Kong who doesn’t need to apply for visas to conduct field work, then you have a competitive advantage over others.
Having averaged 25 research hours per week during the last few academic years, and up to 50 during the summers, I believe I have acquired all the necessary tools to succeed as a graduate student at GU. I lead the developmental subdivision at the Grey Lab, a project investigating how the timing of a high-fructose diet during development affects cellular and behavioral outcomes in adult Drosophila as it relates to unpaired 1 – the Drosophila analog of leptin – and its downstream JAK/STAT signaling pathway. In investigating this evolutionarily conserved circuit, I created a new experimental protocol for carrying out developmental feeding experiments with Drosophila larvae, as well as performing behavioral assays related to feeding such as weight, two-choice feeding preference, and capillary feeding assays. Additionally, I have performed dissections and imaging with destabilized transgenic fly lines to quantify neuropeptide-f and STAT92E expression at both the cellular and terminal levels, hoping to elucidate the potential role of SOCS36E in receptor functioning. This work has lead to me identifying a unique obese phenotype related to early dysregulation of unpaired 1, of which I was slated to perform RNA sequencing prior to COVID-19 related disruptions.
Pursuing these research projects as an undergraduate has been a monumental task, I admit, so I am proud to have maintained a 4.0 GPA, all while achieving numerous successes in my second major, Philosophy. Having coauthored a paper in the American Journal of Bioethics, as well as winning the California Philosophical Association’s undergraduate award and presenting at their annual conference, I am all the more confident in my readiness to succeed at GU.
4. Closing Frame Narrative
This is the end of your journey, friend. This is where you compile the code. This is where you make the calculations work.
In this section, you’ll briefly refer back to the story you told in the introduction. This is important. It involves a literary technique called “circularity,” which gives the reader an emotional sense of completion. They’ll feel like they’ve read something elegant, something composed by a truly talented writer. If you don’t do this, the essay will feel dry – like a movie with an anticlimactic ending.
You’ll also reaffirm your academic goal and remind the reader that University X is the perfect place to achieve it. You may also end by stating your career aspirations. Want to pursue a tenure-track teaching job? Work in R&D at SpaceX? Tell them here.
When my career in ballet drew to a close, I looked forward to fully devoting my time to the study of the human brain’s infinitely curious adaptive processes. Now, I find myself in a similar situation, once again eager to devote myself to the study of the developing brain and how it governs metabolic regulation. The rigorous standards of The Grey Lab, along with Dr. Grey’s strict belief in personal responsibility, have shown me that (like dance) true intellectual contributions are only possible through perseverance, determination, and a ruthless eye for weakness in both experimental design and execution. Balancing laboratory workloads with a full schedule of undergraduate classes has been a taxing endeavor, but this too has been essential to my growth as a researcher. Today, I look forward to the new intellectual challenges that Gotham University will provide, and I am sure that I will discover new passions, curiosities, and questions as I prepare for my hopeful career in academia, as a professor.
Lab Warning: Avoid Regurgitating Research Experience
For PhD applicants, few things can bungle an application like long, meandering, and un-focused accounts of past research projects.
If you’ve mixed up all the proper SOP ingredients, pipetted them carefully into your literary test tube, and…blah…nothing happens, this is usually the reason.
In the example above, you’ll notice that the applicant NEVER ONCE mentioned any specific, singular project on which she worked. She described the problems they tackled. She described her role in the lab, new protocols she developed, and the most relevant skills she acquired. But never once did she make the mistake that hundreds, maybe thousands of applicants make every year: writing 200-word paragraphs that describe nothing more than the facts of a research project.
“ At University X, I spent eight weeks working on a project titled ‘Algorithmic stability for adaptive analysis of fart expansion.” First we did A (etc etc). Then, we did B (blah blah blah). Then, we did C (yawn). Then, we did D (tear out hair). Through this project, I acquired relevant skills in teamwork and the Washburn-Bunting Method. ”
Don’t confuse the “Statement of Purpose” with the “Research Statement” that many programs require. This latter statement DOES require you to list the facts of your research, even though it should still focus on the problems and their implications.
For example, the PhD program in Biomedicine at the University of Pennsylvania provides the following prompt:
Please provide a description of your research experience(s), including the goals of each project, approaches used, results obtained, and implications of the findings for the project and the field at large . You may choose to describe a single research experience or several experiences, but please limit your statement to around 1000 words in length .
The SOP is not a Research Statement. Much like the tricky Diversity Statement, Research Statements are all about the past. The Statement of Purpose, however, is all about the future.
So, don’t fall into the trap of drowning your essay in meaningless laboratory details. It’s not an info dump. I repeat: the statement of purpose for PhD admission is not an info dump . It’s an argument. It’s elegant writing. It’s a carefully measured formula.
You can avoid this problem by adhering to the rough word-total percentages illustrated in the graphic above:
- Frame Narrative & Academic Goal – 20-25% of word total
- Why This Program – 30% of word total
- Why I’m Qualified – 30% of word total
- Closing Frame Narrative – 15-20% of word total
Writing is no different than any other intellectual field. A great many brilliant people worked across the centuries, testing all sorts of ideas and techniques, finding some that worked and some that exploded in their face.
Even Einstein made mistakes . But no one remembers mistakes. No one saves shoddy peer-reviewed papers that don’t stand the test of time, just like no one saves SOPs from students who didn’t get admitted. Yet, Einstein’s name is synonymous with “genius” because he found a way to describe the universe with a formula that even schoolchildren know: E = mc 2 .
Now, you understand the (seemingly) simple formula that makes great essays work. You might not recognize the elegance in it, the circularity, the balance, the woven thread of narrative, but it’s stood the test of time. And if you experiment with it yourself, pouring in your own unique ingredients to see how they react, at the very least you’ll save yourself a great deal of time and trouble.
At the very most? Well, you might ignite that magical reaction where a professor finishes reading, runs her hands through her hair, and says to herself: “Whoa, this one is special.”
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Unique Sample SoP for PhD
Get hold of our free samples and learn how to work with a great sample SoP for PhD. These are samples done by our professional writers with the purpose of giving our clients a chance to know what Doctoral statement of purpose should look like. Be sure that your PhD SoP is even better than this PhD statement of purpose sample! We always strive to customize every document to the customer’s needs and create unique and creative statements. We also cover all fields including the most frequently asked ones: accounting statement of purpose and statement of purpose for computer science. If you have doubts, feel free to request a callback from one of our writers. See more SoP samples for PhD and useful tips on writing a statement of purpose for PhD program on our website.
How to Write SoP
Check out the following tips that we follow each time we craft a statement of purpose for PhD sample. When you will be writing your statement of purpose PhD, submit an ace using these instructions:
- Learn the rules. Follow the directions, so be sure to check the admissions guidelines when writing the statement of purpose PhD.
- Know your audience and write for them. Do not go into formulaic writing or be insincere. Be unique and genuine writing for the readers.
- Show your interest in the school and program. Customize your paper. Do not submit generic applications you’re using for the same schools.
- Write your first draft. Brainstorm and create an outline before writing the SoP for PhD.
- Choose a theme and stick with it. Find deeper meaning and write a clear and concise story based on your chosen theme.
- Stick with the word count limit. Do not include all your academic achievements nor consider writing an autobiography. Again, be clear and concise.
- Revise your paper. Go over your grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Check for sentence structure and logical flow.
- Get feedback from an expert or someone to review.
- Make the final copy of your personal statement.
- Enjoy the application process.
Sample SoP Samples for PhD
My grandmother was a titan. Through her gilded, skillful hands, house cleaning was an enterprise of precision, order, and exactitude, weekly shopping involved a budgetary command that few accountants possessed, and cooking was both a tsunami of creativity and the deft integration of measurement and insight. Thus when I stepped over my high school threshold, the very concept of “home economics” seemed alive with discovery and possibility. Reality far exceeded my imagination. One field trip involved meeting with the designers in a local fabric store. As I watched their slim fingers guide paisley print through the almost dance-like movements of .the loop stitching system, I ached to sit in their chairs. Then, much to my amazement, we were asked to return as “design assistants”. Moreover, we were paid $20 for doing what we longed to do! Now not only did I have pocket money, I gained the awareness of how to use this skill to increase my resources when I began an undergraduate study. It was the best of all possible worlds.Whenever there was a break that permitted a few days home, straightaway I headed to the design shop. Being surrounded by so much creative energy, watching fabric come live and discussing design techniques with my friends there, I knew that in some way, this would always be a part of my life. Every new pointer or recommendation was instantly committed to memory. It was clear that my professional future was intrinsically connected to the home economics field.
As much as I revel in hands-on involvement, I have been involved with the science of home economics for nearly 20 years – since I stood in rapt fascination at my grandmother’s knee. With all my accrued experience, I now seek to earn the credentials to become a college professor in what the subject is now called: “family and consumer science” with focus on courses such as consumer resource management, food and nutrition, human development, and textiles and clothing. This can only be achieved through doctoral-level study. Moreover, wherever I have gone, the design store, interfacing with faculty, even attending conferences, repeatedly your program of study is the first to be recommended. One elderly designer at the store who had been there for 42 years asked me to promise that I would attend the University and accomplish what she wished for the daughter she never had. With a GPA of 3.89 and 4.0 in this field, I submit my credentials to you for consideration as a PhD program candidate who is passionately committed to this field.
Using a sample statement of purpose for PhD helps guide your letter to ensure it becomes outstanding and in line with your institution’s instructions. But on no condition should you copy the PhD sample SoP as it could result in a case of plagiarism.
We are here to give you the best PhD SoP sample!
Top Clichés to Avoid in SoP for PhD
- Since I was five, I’ve always been interested in____.
- I am currently studying a _____ in _____.
- I am a ____ student and have been studying it since ____.
- ___ is a rewarding and challenging career.
- For as long as I can remember, (profession/career) have always been one of my interests.
- ____ is a profession I have always looked upon with
- I have always been determined in _____.
Statement of Purpose PhD: Top Universities
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) : The school is highly selective, accepting on 8% of applicants in 2016.
- Stanford University : Located in Silicon Valley, California, the school is known as one of the best in business courses globally.
- Harvard University : The oldest university in the country is also one of the tops in the world. It is known for medicine, business and law fields.
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech ): CALTECH is a leading school in technology and also of the smallest with only 2000+ students.
- University of Chicago : Founded in 1890, it is known for its focus on research and physics departments.
- Princeton University : The school is known in the fields of humanities and the arts and also one of the oldest founded universities, 1746.
- Cornell University : It was the first to award vet medicine in the US and is included in the top five for vet science in the 2017 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
- Yale University : The University is one highly selective law school in the country and the world. Currently, 20% of its students are international students or coming outside the USA.
- Johns Hopkins University : It is one of the most known in the world in the field of medicine and life sciences.
- Columbia University : A few notable alumni from this school include Franklin Roosevelt, Barack Obama, and Theodore Roosevelt.
List of What We Can Help With
Yes, we do share free phd samples of statements of purpose. Besides, we offer direct writing and editing help with the
- Ph.D. personal statement . We offer exceptional Ph.D. personal statement writing help. Your experiences, skills, and goals for pursuing a Ph.D. program can help to give you the winning edge if you know how to tailor your personal statement. And that’s where we come in.
- Ph.D. recommendation letter . Whether you need to write a LoR so the person to recommend can just include his or her name and sign or you are writing one for an intending Ph.D. student there is a need to include some of the vital statistics and characteristics that make the applicant a great fellow to have on campus. And we know just how to say it right.
- Ph.D. letter of intent . This letter helps the admission committee assess how much you desire to pursue this course and what value you would add to the campus as well as the society in the future. Let the committee know what your plans for the course are and what the motivation for the course is.
- Ph.D. application CV . Your curriculum vitae should help capture all relevant skills, qualification, experiences, academic activities and hobbies so the committee can help a better basis to assess your fitness for the institution.
Find more information about PhD SoP samples on our website!
Perfect History PhD Statement of Purpose (Example)
Embarking on the path toward obtaining a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in History is no small feat . This advanced degree signifies the highest level of academic achievement and requires a great deal of hard work and dedication. But before enrolling in a PhD program, you must first submit a statement of purpose , which outlines your motivations, experiences, and goals. Crafting an effective statement of purpose can be challenging, but it is also a valuable exercise in self-reflection and can make all the difference in gaining admission to a top program. Your statement of purpose should highlight your skills, experiences, and goals, and provide insights into why you are a good candidate for your desired program. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of writing a strong history PhD statement of purpose, offer tips on how to craft an effective document and provide you with a history PhD statement of purpose example to give you an idea of the tone you should adopt to increase your chances of admissions into a top program.
How important is the statement of purpose when applying to PhD programs in history?
The statement of purpose is an essential part of the application process for a PhD program in history. The statement of purpose is typically the first item that admissions committees review when evaluating candidates . Its quality plays a crucial role in helping committee members, who are often overloaded with applications, decide whether to investigate the rest of an applicant’s file. As a result, prospective PhD students have only a brief window to make a good impression. A poorly written or unclear statement of purpose can often harm an applicant’s chances of acceptance.
While there is no strict rule about the order of presentation and while sections might vary from one applicant to another, the structure of the statement of purpose should follow that of a well-crafted essay. In general, it is advisable to divide the document into several sections, each devoted to different aspects of your academic and professional interests in history.
It should provide information about your background, and experiences that have led you to pursue a PhD in history. It should also provide space for an exploration of your research goals as they relate to the field. You may discuss any specific topics or areas of focus within history that interest you most deeply. Also, it can provide detail into any relevant prior research and publications that may have already been conducted in the field.
Finally, space should be allocated for a discussion of how your skills and interests align with the program’s curriculum, faculty, and research opportunities. Overall, your statement of purpose should be an intelligible narrative that allows readers to gain insight into your unique background and motivations as they relate to history. As demonstrated in your history PhD statement of purpose example, it is up to you to come up with a well-structured version that will reflect your personality and profile.
Reflect on Your Academic Journey
Your academic journey thus far is an essential thread to weave into your statement of purpose. Start by reflecting on the ways that your previous studies and research have contributed to your intellectual curiosity and shaped your research interests. What specific courses have been most influential to you? What scholarly works have resonated with you and why? Engage in self-reflection and think critically about the ramifications of previous research and how it can impact your future research.
Address Your Research Interests
Your statement of purpose should showcase your passion and interest in the field of history. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and research skills. You should highlight your specific research interests and discuss how they fit into your long-term academic and career goals. Make sure to be specific and clear about your research interests to demonstrate that you have put considerable thought and effort into your application.
As you will see in our history PhD statement of purpose example, it is important to highlight your research interests and demonstrate a strong level of familiarity with the field. Identify gaps in the existing research that you want to address, justify the importance of the proposed doctoral project, and place it in the context of the wider historiography. Explain what makes your proposed research significant and novel, and how it can contribute to the current understanding of historical phenomena. This is your chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the field and your passion for specific topics. Be specific and avoid broad generalizations. Make sure that your interests align with the research expertise of the department and faculty you are applying to.
Emphasize Your Skills and Preparation
History PhD programs require rigorous preparation. Outline your preparation to date, including specific coursework, relevant internships, and research experience, and qualify it with academic excellence. Showcase the technical skills you have acquired and how they are relevant to pursuing advanced research in history. Highlight any language proficiency, archival research experience, or data analysis expertise, as these skills are highly sought after in the field. Describe any research projects or papers you have written, academic awards, or scholarships you received. This information will help showcase your scholarly abilities and prepare you as a competitive candidate.
Discuss Your Future Goals
The statement of purpose is not only an evaluation of your current readiness but also an assessment of your future potential. Discuss your future career goals and the impact you want to have in the field of history. Bring up how you plan to use your PhD in History to become an authoritative voice or make a significant contribution to the field. Let the admissions committee know that you have long-term goals in mind that you hope to achieve with a PhD degree in history.
Connect your goals to the program’s offerings
When applying to a PhD program in History, it is important to explain how the program’s offerings will help you achieve your goals. A statement of purpose should include specific examples that illustrate how you plan to use the resources available through the program – such as faculty advisors, courses, guest speakers, and research opportunities – to pursue your academic and professional objectives. For instance, if you are interested in researching ancient history and applying a digital humanities approach, you might explain how working with certain faculty members who specialize in this field would allow you to develop these skills. You can also discuss any interdisciplinary projects or collaborations that could help you explore new topics or deepen your understanding of existing ones.
Additionally, stating how extra-curricular activities outside of the classroom would help you become a well-rounded scholar is also important. For example, attending lectures and seminars held by experts in the field or participating in scholarly clubs may supplement your academic experience. Finally, connecting your goals to potential future career paths should be included in your statement of purpose as well. Explaining how a PhD program has the courses, faculty members, research projects, and extracurricular activities to prepare you for postdoctoral work or professional positions demonstrates that you have thoughtfully planned out your academic trajectory. By explaining specific examples of how the program will support your educational and career objectives in your statement of purpose, you can demonstrate why it is an ideal choice for you.
Demonstrate confidence and clarity
Your statement of purpose should demonstrate confidence and clarity. Use clear, concise language, and avoid using jargon or overly-complex terms. Avoid vague and unsupported statements and make sure to provide evidence of your experience and skills. By demonstrating confidence and clarity, you show your potential advisor that you are a serious candidate capable of excelling in the program.
Review and Edit
Once you have completed a draft of your statement of purpose, take the time to revise, edit, and proofread. Have a trusted friend, family member, or consultant review your statement and offer feedback. Make sure that your writing is clear, concise, and error-free. Polish your statement so that it presents you in the most compelling and professional manner possible.
History PhD Statement of Purpose Example:
“As my studies progressed throughout high school and into college, I became increasingly fascinated by this pivotal era in history and its impact on modern society. After completing a bachelor’s degree with honors in History at ABC University in 2019, I am now eager to pursue a doctoral program in Medieval History.
At ABC University, I conducted extensive research on the role of women during the Middle Ages through period texts and archaeological sites. In my honors thesis, titled…. I investigated…. In addition to developing an impressive range of research skills during my undergraduate studies, I also worked closely with esteemed faculty members such as Professor X who encouraged me to take on ambitious projects and provided me with invaluable guidance. I am now confident that I possess the skills needed to conduct advanced research at an independent level.
In my doctoral program, I am particularly excited to focus on studying women’s status in the Middle Ages through various lenses such as politics, social customs, and religion. By extending this research into other areas of medieval history, I hope to eventually write a dissertation that will form a substantial contribution to modern scholarship in this field. Additionally, I look forward to building upon the knowledge I gained during my undergraduate studies by engaging with experts in the field, taking advantage of diverse resources in libraries and archives around the world, and exploring groundbreaking methodologies for interpreting primary sources.
At XYZ University, I am eager to enroll in A, B, and C courses because…I am also looking forward to taking advantage of….etc.
After graduation, I plan on seeking employment as a tenure-track assistant professor in history at a liberal college, and in the long term, I intend to continue to teach and conduct research on…
My commitment to achieving excellence is undiminished and I am confident that I have the skills, knowledge, and passion to succeed in a doctoral program. I am excited to take my research to the next level and contribute to our understanding of an era that continues to shape modern society.”
No matter how daunting the challenge of writing a strong history PhD statement of purpose may seem, the immense rewards associated with gaining admission into a top program make it an endeavor well worth pursuing. We hope that our history PhD statement of purpose example provided you a much better understanding of how to craft an effective document that will improve your chances of success. Additionally, we’ve provided you with a sample statement of purpose to use as inspiration as you work towards achieving your dream PhD program admission. Finally, if you’re looking for professionals who can provide guidance and support through the sometimes overwhelming process of applying for grad school, take some time to check out our PhD application services . In the end, taking the right steps to maximize your prospective PhD candidate profile will pay huge dividends that will certainly benefit your academic career and beyond. So don’t hesitate and start crafting and/or improving your statement of purpose today! Got questions about the application process, or would like to get a quick assessment of your SOP? Sign up for a consultation , or send us your draft for an estimate. It’s FREE!
With a Master’s from McGill University and a Ph.D. from New York University, Dr. Philippe Barr is the founder of The Admit Lab . As a tenure-track professor, Dr. Barr spent a decade teaching and serving on several graduate admission committees at UNC-Chapel Hill before turning to full-time consulting. With more than seven years of experience as a graduate school admissions consultant, Dr. Barhas stewarded the candidate journey across multiple master’s and Ph.D. programs and helped hundreds of students get admitted to top-tier graduate programs all over the world .
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SOP For PhD
Get free statement of purpose for phd sample, statement of purpose for phd.
If you are willing to seal your berth in a reputed institute for your PhD degree, you need to seek expert help while crafting your SOP. A well-developed and tailored SOP can see you through the competition. Come to us for sop for PhD, our experts will help you with the write up. With the best sop for phd that you get from us, the entire admission process will become much easier.
Developing a successful SOP for PhD involves extensive research and a deep insight into your career and studying of statement of purpose for Phd sample. Often, students with good grades stumble while getting themselves admitted at reputed institutes for the PhD degree. Well, you should be unique, goal-oriented and professional with your SOP for Phd application. Right from your diction to the presentation, every element in the SOP casts an effect on the selectors. In order to ensure a high quality in the SOP, you should consult with the experts. You should know how to write sop for PhD , ensuring that you adhere to the cherished criteria of the institute you are applying at. Most of the students approach established platforms to get their SOPs crafted. You can come to us for an impactful SOP for your PhD degree.
We, at SOP Consultants , develop sophisticated statements of purpose for students applying for the doctorate degree at reputed universities across the globe. We have the largest portfolio of statement of purpose India services. Over the years, we have been crafting compelling SOPs for these students.
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Whichever stream you come from, simply give us a knock when you apply for admission at the university for your PhD degree. Our experts will churn up a captivating writeup for you, ensuring that you can develop an impressive profile while applying for admission. Our writers carry specialized knowledge on each domain of academics, the prospects of the career and the background of the leading institutions. An insightful SOP can get you admitted in the university with the PhD degree. In case you need an sop for PhD application or review one of the previously written sop for phd admission sample , simply come to us.
What is a statement of purpose?
A statement of purpose is a document that conveys the strengths and professional goals of a student, at the time of admission at a college or university. When you develop an SOP for PhD, you need to focus on your academic accomplishments, interests, aptitudes and future goals. It is necessary to contextualize your career objectives with the benchmarks of the institute you are applying at. Therefore, the applicant must have a detailed knowledge about the infrastructure and faculty of the university. When you approach us for an sop for PhD, our experts carry out the necessary research on the background of the university you are eyeing. They develop the SOP according to the cherished principles, aesthetics and values of the institute. This ensures that the write up carries the strength and waightage, that can get the student admitted to the university. We can assure you that the admission essay we deliver you will comply with all the rules and the phd statement of purpose example your university hands out to you for reference . Please click here to get more details.
Why is your statement of purpose for PhD important?
An SOP strengthens the profile of the student during admission. It justifies why the student is fit for admission for the PhD degree at the particular university. Besides, you need to reason out how the PhD degree from the particular institute is going to help you shape your career. Therefore, you should have a clear concept about your future prospects after you complete the degree. Most of the times, students are ambiguous with these prospects and lack experience in developing the SOP. This leads to substandard quality in these writeups. Competition in the academic circuit is high, so you need to submit a powerful SOP to make your way to the desired university. Come to us for high-quality SOP writing services. Our experts will develop the SOP format for phd for you, that can get you admitted to your dream institute.
What information does a statement of purpose for PhD contain?
- How will you benefit from the doctorate degree from this particular institute?
- Which aspects of the university appeal to you the most?
- Why do you wish to complete your PhD degree from a particular country?
- The degree of expertise you carry in your domain.
- Your plans after completing your PhD course.
- Your interests and hobbies and how they are related to the course.
- The degree of expertise you carry in your domain
I think that places have a big influence on us. Our style of thinking, how we act, and how we feel about things may all be affected by where we live. My career has been greatly affected by my upbringing in a rural area of (state name). It was a society that adhered to patriarchal standards and traditional gender inequality. Even though it had never before manifested in its real and clear form, social and cultural standards had enabled it to do so. My hometown’s patriarchal culture favored male superiority in all spheres, whereas women were viewed as inferior despite being better than males in each way. Since I’m a girl, the community’s leader and the rest of society accused my father of breaking their laws when my parents wanted to arrange for my schooling. Yet my father didn’t waver in his decision and let me join the school. Throughout every academic phase of my life, I could hear conversations behind me about how my father disobeyed the leader and how brave I was to go to school. My interest in social science was sparked by listening to unending conversations about my society and its authoritarian norms. Several such events and the need for societal change were discussed in the social science courses. Yet nobody took action. As a result, I acquired a pragmatic perspective on social issues and studied for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work from XYZ University and ABC University, respectively, that combined coursework with learning from the community. Beyond the classroom, these universities provided me with wonderful opportunities to interact with individuals from different cultural backgrounds and see how our surroundings shape us.
I interned at a few public centers in India while earning my master’s degree, which allowed me to comprehend the significance of advancing education and obliterating man-centric practices. Each angle that shapes the children’s convictions ought to be considered to work on their future. This thought truly intrigued me, so I attempted to sort out some way to comprehend it better. I included this thought in my master’s dissertation, which was named “xxxxxxxxxx.” It was a qualitative research project that managed the subjects of discrimination, prevalence, and concealment while focusing on individuals in my hometown.
I worked with various community centers in India for a considerable length of time subsequent to completing my master’s. It helped me see everything in another light. The mix of orientation, sexuality, authority, and financial status greatly impacted how people were dealt with and brought about social issues. In those five years, I got the opportunity to visit different states and evaluate their circumstances, especially in the rural areas. My openness to numerous social orders, customs, and people propelled me to direct independent research named “xxxxx,” “xxxxx,” and “xxxxx.” They both received widespread attention after their publications in an international research journal. After the publication, I even had the opportunity to take part in discussions at several universities in India, which provided the greatest setting for me to hone my interpersonal and communication abilities. While visiting colleges worked on my adaptability, doing research assisted me with fostering my problem-solving capacities, reasoning, and critical thinking skills.
While I worked, it became clear to me that the majority of a society’s members carry out and create its initiatives and activities. I heard that from a local community leader where I worked. It dismisses the real factors affecting minorities and depicts them as oppressed. My professional discoveries and experiences enlivened me to get a PhD in (name of the course). By featuring the perspectives of the mistreated, this subject of study will enhance my ability to examine social orders while being aware of my own beliefs and values.
Tracking down the right country and college to go to will assist me in fathoming the subject all the more completely and getting the right exposure. I have found that choosing Australia is the most ideal choice after going through various websites and articles. The fact that this nation offers top-notch education and numerous opportunities for research is what initially drew me there. With some of the best colleges in the world, the country is renowned for its contributions to research. The multicultural society of Australia can also help me to solidify my notions and ideas and encourage me to conduct further research.
The quality of education, research, and expertise of XYZ University in Australia are well known. My academic understanding of the topic will improve due to this doctoral programme. Further, with the assistance of knowledgeable faculty, I can develop my research skills and learn more about the methodologies and research strategies. Besides that, I’m excited to conduct research under the guidance of Prof. (Name), who has received multiple accolades for their work. Hence, by studying in this program, I intend to increase my theoretical comprehension, analytical abilities, and awareness of social issues in addition to my subject-matter expertise.
I expect to function as an academician subsequent to finishing the PhD studies, splitting my time among teaching and empowering youth while growing my insight through participating in ongoing research studies. If I get the chance to join XYZ University, I will contribute not just my intellectual, management, and reasoning skills but also my eagerness for learning. Your university will be a magnificent stage for me to accomplish my goals.
Tips to craft a powerful statement of purpose for PhD
An impressive SOP captivates the attention of the selectors right at the outset and keeps them absorbed in the writeup throughout its length. Evidently, you should know what they look out for in the SOP.
First of all, your introduction needs to be compelling, that sets the tone of the writeup. Get rid of generic information in the writeup, as your SOP revolves around yourself, not the others in general. Therefore, you need to come up with your own stories in the SOP. The introductory paragraph may contain a real-life story of the applicant, conveying the character and goals of the individual.
In case you want to know how to write statement of purpose for PhD, you can simply approach us. Our experts will develop the SOP for you, which will help you break the competitive clutter. By reviewing a phd sop sample that we have written already, you can make a better decision.
The SOP must not look like a summary of your academic pursuits and professional goals. It should focus on your strengths and you need to highlight the key moves in your academic life. Students often find it difficult to place the right words at the desired place. In other cases, they stuff too much information in the writeup. Remember, the selecting committee will not look into your SOP unless you incorporate a tone that captivates their attention. Besides, you should have a detailed knowledge about the content and structure of these SOPs. You can check out our phd sop examples in order to get a better concept about the SOPs.
Discuss the prospects that lie ahead of you, after you obtain the doctorate degree. Get across to us for effective SOP writing services for PhD.
Come to us for sop writing services for PHD
If you are willing to get admitted to a reputed university for your PhD degree, reach out to us for your SOP. The experts working with us are experienced and come with specialized knowledge on each of the course. For instance, if you need a statement of purpose for phd in biological sciences , the writers here will carry out the necessary research on the universities you are targeting and develop the essay. Besides, they integrate the necessary information about your goals and prospects, that create an impressive profile of the applicant. As you move deeper into your academics, you need to be more focussed on your career. The SOP must lucidly comprehend your goals to the selectors with the support of an organized statement of purpose format for phd .
Why to choose our SOP writing service for PhD ?
- Our writers are highly experienced in developing sop for phd. You can come to us for high-quality SOP writing services.
- We understand the value of time for the students and turn up with the essays on time.
- The experts working with us focus on the quality and formatting of the SOP.
- The charges for our SOP writing services for PhD are reasonable.
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If you are planning to apply for your Ph.D., it is important to focus on what you include in your SOP. In fact, writing an SOP for PhD is far more difficult, as compared to the ones you had crafted during your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. This type of SOP is far more research-oriented. Even if you know what you should include in the statement of purpose, it becomes difficult to articulate the ideas. This makes developing the SOP one of the most difficult aspects of your pursuit. If you are willing to pursue your Ph.D. and become a research scholar, you should seek a professional assistance in writing a statement of purpose for phd . You can approach us for a comprehensive assistance while developing your SOP. We craft impactful SOPs, backed by relevant research. Our pool of writers will churn out the statement of purpose for you. A professional hand can help you seal a berth in your dream university.
How is a Ph.D. SOP different from other SOPs?
As an applicant, you should be understanding that a Ph.D. SOP is different from the ones you craft for undergraduate, Master or MBA SOP. You might think that the general guidelines are same for writing all these types of SOP. However, the experts working with us know what each of these SOPs should include. Check out our statement of purpose for phd sample to get an idea about what you should include in this document.
For instance, your undergraduate SOP should focus on the hobbies and interests of the applicant. Your Master’s SOP should be fundamentally linked to your passion in the selected field and professional goals. When you develop an SOP for MBA, it is important to focus on your career goals, managerial and leadership abilities. On the other hand, when you develop a statement of purpose for phd , the key focus should be on the area of your research.
In this kind of SOP, you may highlight on your own research in the desired area of study, or your interest in the research carried out by your professor. Eventually, while writing a statement of purpose for phd , you should be able to showcase your research-ability, reasoning and analytical abilities, efficiency and time-management skills. The admission committee examines two important aspects in the PhD SOP. They examine whether or not the applicant has got the potential to be a scholar. They also evaluate whether the candidate will be able to contribute to the research work and the reputation of the university. Besides, they will assess how the research goals are aligned with that of the university and the faculty, eventually leading to the benefit of the department.
Writing your SOP for PhD: How to go ahead?
Here are some important aspects you should focus on while writing a statement of purpose for phd .
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Clarify your research interest lucidly
In the introductory paragraph, you should explain what led to your passion or interest in a particular aspect. In this paragraph itself, you need to propose the research topic. The problem that most students face, is that they are not able to explain their ideas in an organized way. At times, they consider two to three topics. Our writers can help you logically frame these ideas. Even if you need a statement of purpose for phd in computer science , or other practical-oriented subjects, we can craft the same for you. Make sure to cover the following aspects in the SOP:
- Why you have chosen the particular research topic?
- What existing knowledge you have to align with this topic?
- How passionate you are to pursue the same in future?
You may convey your interests and aspirations to us, and let the experts craft your SOP.
Academic background and research work
The candidate must briefly include the academic background, starting with education from the college level. You need to mention how your Master’s projects or thesis are related to the topic of your research. If you have already carried out any research work, you should discuss them here. Particularly, when you need a statement of purpose for phd in biological sciences , it is important to focus on how much detail you should include here.
You should clearly mention the topic of your dissertation and justify your motive. You may also elaborate the procedure to a certain extent, that will express your depth of understanding. The applicant should also mention whether the paper is in the approval process or has already been published. While writing a statement of purpose for phd , mention how your past experience will help you during the research.
Reasons to choose the particular program and university
This is perhaps the most diplomatic question that the students need to answer in a PhD SOP. Failure to come up with a compelling reason can lead to the rejection of the SOP. We recommend students to start with selecting a particular professor and the research topic or group. Therefore, an extensive homework needs to be done on the faculty, department, professor and facilities like research centres and laboratories. While writing a statement of purpose for phd , you should mention how these amenities will help you get across to your short and long-term goals.
One of the most important aspects of the PhD SOP is expressing your goals. The reader is likely to lose interest in the profile of the applicant, if no solid goal is mentioned in the SOP. Therefore, you need to be focused and goal-oriented. You will also need a deep insight on the employment trends and other aspects that determine your future. If you are not sure about how to write statement of purpose for phd admission , we will help you out. Our writers will craft the SOP, aligning your interest and research topic with your professional goals. You may divide your goals into different paragraphs. Focus on your short-term goals at the outset, and then explain how this will help you achieve the long-term goals.
For any assistance in writing a statement of purpose for phd , feel free to reach out to us. We would be glad to see you succeed in your academic and professional fronts.
How do I write a statement of purpose for a PhD?
What is the intention of the phd statement of purpose, is it possible to give the same statement of purpose to each program to which i apply, who’s going to read my phd sop.
The selection staff of the institute you apply at.
Is it necessary for me to make a clear comment on what I want to research?
Yes. You should speak about your research interests while describing your prior knowledge of the domain and the academic backgrounds.
How should you wrap up your PhD SOP?
The concluding part of your sop for phd application is as important as the introduction. It should serve as a restatement of the details you have included in the main body in brief. It shouldn’t contradict any point you mentioned in the body.
Should I review phd statement of purpose sample pdf before writing it?
Reviewing previously written samples obtained from the applying institution is a good way to know the format they expect from you in your SOP.
Vasuki Ram, senior writer and the founder of SOP Consultants is a B-tech Graduate who used to work in an MNC. Starting from 2013, she along with her team has assisted more than 10,000 students. Shift in her career was drastic. Read full story here.
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PrepScholar GRE Prep
Gre prep online guides and tips, 7 successful statement of purpose examples.
Not sure what graduate schools are looking for in a statement of purpose? Looking at successful graduate school statement of purpose samples can help! In this guide, we’ll orient you to what makes a great statement of purpose or letter of intent for graduate school. Then we’ll provide you with four successful statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts. We’ll also provide analysis of what makes them successful. Finally, we’ll direct you to even more helpful examples that you can find online!
The Graduate School Statement of Purpose: An Overview
A statement of purpose (also called a letter of intent or a research statement) introduces your interests and experience to the admissions committee. For research-focused programs, like most PhDs and many master’s degrees, your statement of purpose will focus primarily on your past research experience and plans. For more professionally-focused graduate programs, your statement of purpose will primarily discuss how your pursuit of this professional program relates to your past experiences, and how you will use the skills from the program in your future career.
A statement of purpose for grad school is also where you sell the admissions committee on why you belong in their program specifically. Why do you fit there, and how does what they offer fit your interests?
What’s in a Great Grad School Statement of Purpose?
Here are the essential elements of a strong graduate school statement of purpose:
Clear Articulation of Goals and Interests
A strong statement of purpose will clearly and specifically lay out your goals in undertaking the program and what you hope to accomplish with the degree. Again, for a research-focused program, this will focus primarily on the research project(s) you want to undertake while you are there. For a more professional program, discuss what interests you within the professional field and what skills/knowledge you hope to gain through the program.
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You should be as specific as possible in discussing what interests you. Use examples of particular phenomena, tools, or situations that you find exciting. If you are vague or say that everything in the field interests you, you run the risk of seeming unfocused or not actually that passionate.
Don’t worry that being too specific will box you into a particular research area or subfield during your entire tenure in graduate school. Your program understands that interests change—they won’t be pulling out your research statement to cross-reference with your dissertation proposal!
Evidence of Past Experience and Success
A great graduate school statement of purpose will also show programs that you have already been successful. They want applicants that will be able to follow through on their research/professional plans!
To this end, you’ll need to provide evidence of how your background qualifies you to pursue this program and your specific interests in the field. You’ll probably discuss your undergraduate studies and any professional experience you have. But be sure to draw on specific, vivid examples. You might draw on your thesis, major projects you’ve worked on, papers you have written/published, presentations you’ve given, mentors you’ve worked with, and so on. This gives admissions committees concrete evidence that you are qualified to undertake graduate study!
Interest and Fit With the Program
The third essential ingredient to a great statement of purpose is to clearly lay out why you and the program are a good fit. You should be able to identify both specific reasons why your work fits with the program and why the program suits your work/interests! Are there particular professors you’d like to work with? Does the department have a strong tradition in a certain methodology or theory you’re interested in? Is there a particular facet to the curriculum that you’d like to experience?
Showing that you and the program are a match shows that you chose the program thoughtfully and have genuine interest in it. Programs want to admit students who aren’t just passionate about the field. They want students who are genuinely enthused about their specific program and positioned to get the most out of what they have to offer.
The final essential piece of a strong statement of purpose or letter of intent is strong writing. Writing skills are important for all graduate programs. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can clearly and effectively communicate your ideas in a way that flows logically. Additionally, you should show that you know how to write in a way that is descriptive but concise. A statement of purpose shouldn’t ever be longer than two pages, even without a hard word limit.
Admissions committees for humanities programs may be a little more focused on writing style than admissions officers for STEM programs. But even in quantitative and science-focused fields, written communication skills are an essential part of graduate school. So a strong statement of purpose will always be effectively written. You’ll see this in our statement of purpose for graduate school samples.
Real, Successful Statement of Purpose Samples
In this section, we’ll present four successful graduate school statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts, along with a brief commentary on each statement. These statements come from a diverse selection of program types to show you how the core essentials of a statement of purpose can be implemented differently for different fields.
Note: identifying information for these statements have been changed—except for example four, which is my statement.
- Statement of Purpose Sample One: Japanese Studies MA
This statement of purpose is notable for its great use of space and its vivid descriptions. The author is able to cram a lot into about a page. She discusses how she came to her two primary research interests (and how they are connected). She integrates this discussion of her interests with information on her past experiences and qualifications for pursuing the course of study. Finally, she includes details on her goals in pursuing the program and components of the program that interest her. Her examples are specific and fleshed-out. There’s a lot very cleverly included in a small amount of page space!
Additionally, the language is very vivid. Phrases like “evocative and visceral” and “steadily unraveling,” are eye-catching and intriguing. They demonstrate that she has the writing skills necessary to pursue both graduate study and her interest in translation.
- Statement of Purpose Sample Two: Music MM
This sample is fairly long, although at 12 point Times New Roman it’s under two pages single-spaced. The length of this statement is partially due to the somewhat expansive nature of the prompt, which asks what role music has played in the applicant’s life “to date.” This invites applicants to speak more about experiences further in the past (in the childhood and teen years) than is typical for a statement of purpose. Given that this is for a master’s degree in music, this is logical; musical study is typically something that is undertaken at a fairly young age.
This statement does an excellent job describing the student’s past experiences with music in great detail. The descriptions of the student’s past compositions and experiences performing new music are particularly vivid and intriguing.
This statement also lays out and elaborates on specific goals the student hopes to pursue through the program, as well as features particular to the program that interest the student (like particular professors).
- Statement of Purpose Sample Three: Economics PhD
One of the first things you’ll likely notice about this statement is that it’s a little on the longer side. However, at 12 point Times New Roman font and single-spaced, it still comes in under 2 pages (excluding references). It makes sense for a PhD statement of purpose sample to be longer than a master’s degree statement of purpose—there’s more to lay out in terms of research interests!
The writing style is fairly straightforward—there’s definitely a stronger focus on delivering content than flashy writing style. As Economics is a more quantitative-focused field, this is fine. But the writing is still well-organized, clear, and error-free.
The writer also gives numerous examples of their past work and experience, and shows off their knowledge of the field through references, which is a nice touch.
- Statement of Purpose Sample Four: History of the Book MA
This is actually my statement of purpose. It was for a program that I got accepted to but did not end up attending, for a Master’s in the History of the Book. You’ll notice that the two essay prompts essentially asked us to split our statement of purpose into two parts: the first prompt asked about our research interests and goals, and the second prompt asked about our relevant experience and qualifications.
I’ll keep my comments on this graduate school statement of purpose sample brief because I’ll do a deep dive on it in the next section. But looking back at my statement of purpose, I do a good job outlining what within the field interests me and clearly laying out how my past experiences have qualified me for the program.
Obviously this statement did its job, since I was accepted to the program. However, if I were to improve this statement, I’d change the cliche beginning (“since I was a child”) and provide more specificity in what about the program interested me.
Deep Dive Analysis of a Sample Statement of Purpose for Graduate School
Next, we’ll do a paragraph by paragraph analysis of my statement, statement of purpose sample four. I’ll analyze its strengths and suggest ways I could shore up any weaknesses to make it even stronger.
Essay 1: Academic Interests
To refresh, here’s the first prompt: Please give a short statement that describes your academic interests, purpose, objectives and motivation in undertaking this postgraduate study. (max 3500 chars – approx. 500 words)
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Since I was a child, my favorite thing has always been a book. Not just for the stories and information they contain, although that is a large part of it. Mostly, I have been fascinated by the concept of book as object—a tangible item whose purpose is to relate intangible ideas and images. Bookbindings and jackets, different editions, the marginalia in a used book—all of these things become part of the individual book and its significance, and are worth study and consideration. Books and their equivalent forms—perfect bound, scrolled, stone tablets, papyrus—have long been an essential part of material culture and are also one of our most significant sources of information about the human historical past. Through both the literal object of the book, the words contained thereon, and its relationship to other books—forms of context, text and intertext—we are able to learn and hopefully manage layers of information with which we would otherwise have no familiarity.
First, the good: this paragraph does a good job introducing my academic interest in the book-as-object, and shows off pre-existing knowledge both of the study of material culture and literary theory. Additionally, the language is engaging: the juxtaposition of “tangible” and “intangible” in the beginning and phrases like “perfect bound, scrolled, stone tablets, papyrus” lend life to the writing and keep the reader engaged.
If I were to go back and improve this paragraph, first, I would absolutely change the first sentence to something less cliche than talking about my childhood. I might try something like “My love of books is a multifaceted thing. I don’t only love them for the stories and….” Second, I would chill out on the em dashes a little bit. Three sets in one paragraph is a little excessive. Finally, I might actually cut this paragraph down slightly to make more room word-wise later in the statement to discuss what specific things about the program interest me.
Furthermore, blogs, webcomics, digital archives, e-readers, and even social media sites like tumblr and Facebook have revolutionized the concept of the book by changing how we share and transmit ideas and information, just as the Gutenberg printing press revolutionized the book all those years ago in the fifteenth century. Once again there has been an explosion both in who can send out information and who can receive it.
This paragraph briefly and effectively introduces my other main academic interest: how new technology has changed the concept of the book-as-object. The tie-back to the printing press is a nice touch; it’s a vivid example that shows that I’m aware of important historical moments in book history.
I am deeply interested in the preservation of the physical book, as I think it is an important part of human history (not to mention a satisfying sensory experience for the reader). However I am also very concerned with the digitization and organization of information for the modern world such that the book, in all of its forms, stays relevant and easy to access and use. Collections of books, archives, and information as stored in the world’s servers, libraries and museums are essential resources that need to be properly organized and administered to be fully taken advantage of by their audiences. My purpose in applying to the University of Edinburgh’s Material Culture and History of the Book is to gain the skills necessary to keep all forms of the book relevant and functional in an age when information can move more radically than ever before.
This paragraph actually has a focus problem. Since it covers two topics, I should split it into two paragraphs: one on the integration of my two interests, and one on my goals and interests in the program. I could also stand to expand on what features the program has that interest me: professors I’d like to work with, particular aspects of the curriculum, etc.
In spite of these things, however, this paragraph does a good job clearly integrating the two academic interests related to the book I introduced in the first two paragraphs. And the language is still strong —“satisfying sensory experience” is a great phrase. However, I’ve been using the word “information,” a lot; I might try to replace with appropriate synonyms (like “knowledge”) in a couple of places.
Additionally, I intend on pursuing a PhD in Library and Information Sciences upon completion of my master’s and I feel that this program while make me uniquely suited to approach library science from a highly academic and interdisciplinary perspective.
This final paragraph offers just quick touch on my future goals beyond the program. It’s typically fine for this to be relatively brief, as it is here, just so long as you can clearly identify some future goals.
Essay 2: Relevant Experience
The second prompt just asked me to describe my relevant knowledge, training, and skills.
As a folklore and mythology student, I have gained a robust understanding of material culture and how it relates to culture as a whole. I have also learned about the transmission of ideas, information, stories and pieces of lore among and between populations, which is an important component of book history. Folklore is also deeply concerned with questions of the literary vs. oral lore and the tendency for text to “canonize” folklore, and yet text can also question or invert canonized versions; along with this my studies in my focus field of religion and storytelling have been deeply concerned with intertextuality. One of my courses was specifically concerned with the Heian-period Japanese novel The Tale of Genji and questions of translation and representation in post-Heian picture scrolls and also modern translations and manga. In addition to broader cultural questions concerned with gender and spirituality both in historical Japan and now, we considered the relationships between different Genji texts and images.
This is a strong, focused paragraph. I relate my academic background in Folklore and Mythology to my interests in studying the book, as well as showing off some of my knowledge in the area. I also chose and elaborated on a strong example (my class on the Tale of Genji ) of my relevant coursework.
I also have work experience that lends itself to the study of the book. After my freshman year of college I interned at the Chicago History Museum. Though I was in the visitor services department I was exposed to the preservation and archival departments of the museum and worked closely with the education department, which sparked my interest in archival collections and how museums present collection information to the public. After my sophomore year of college and into my junior year, I worked at Harvard’s rare books library, Houghton. At Houghton I prepared curated collections for archival storage. These collections were mostly comprised of the personal papers of noteworthy individuals, categorized into alphabetical folders. This experience made me very process-oriented and helped me to understand how collections come together on a holistic basis.
This paragraph also has a clear focus: my past, relevant work experience. Discussing archival collections and presenting information to the public links the interests discussed in my first statement with my qualifications in my second statement. However, if I were to revise this paragraph, I would add some specific examples of the amazing things I worked on and handled at Houghton Library. In that job, I got to touch Oliver Cromwell’s death mask! An interesting example would make this paragraph really pop even more.
Finally, in my current capacity as an education mentor in Allston, a suburb of Boston, I have learned the value of book history and material culture from an educational perspective. As a mentor who designs curriculum for individual students and small groups, I have learned to highly value clearly organized and useful educational resources such as websites, iPad apps, and books as tools for learning. By managing and organizing collections in a way that makes sense we are making information accessible to those who need it.
This final paragraph discusses my current (at the time) work experience in education and how that ties into my interest in the history of the book. It’s an intriguing connection and also harkens back to my discussion of information availability in the paragraph three of the first statement. Again, if I were to amp up this statement even more, I might include a specific example of a book-based (or book technology-based) project I did with one of my students. I worked on things like bookbinding and making “illuminated manuscripts” with some of my students; those would be interesting examples here.
This statement is split into two parts by virtue of the two-prompt format. However, if I were to integrate all of this information into one unified statement of purpose, I would probably briefly introduce my research interests, go in-depth on my background, then circle back around to speak more about my personal interests and goals and what intrigues me about the program. There’s not really one correct way to structure a statement of purpose just so long as it flows well and paragraphs are structured in a logical way: one topic per paragraph, with a clear topic and concluding sentence.
More Statement of Purpose Examples
We’ve provided you with four great graduate school statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts. However, if you’re looking for more, there are other sample letters of intent and statements of purpose for graduate school online. We’ve rounded up the best ones here, along with some strengths and weaknesses about each example.
Majortests Statement of Purpose Sample
This is a fairly straightforward, clearly written statement of purpose sample for a biology program. It includes useful commentary after each paragraph about what this statement of purpose is accomplishing.
- This statement of purpose sample is well-organized, with clear topic sentences and points made in each paragraph.
- The student clearly identifies what interests her about the program.
- The student proactively addresses questions about why she hasn’t gone directly to graduate school, and frames her professional research experience as a positive thing.
- She gives a tiny bit of color about her personality in a relevant way by discussing her involvement with the Natural History Society.
- In general, discussing high school interests is too far back in time unless the anecdote is very interesting or unusual. The detail about The Theory of Evolution is intriguing; the information about the high school teacher seems irrelevant. The student should have condensed this paragraph into a sentence or two.
- While this statement is cogently written and makes the candidate sound competent and well-qualified, it’s not exactly the most scintillating piece of writing out there. Some of the constructions are a little awkward or cliche. For example, the “many people have asked me” sentence followed by “the answer is” is a little bit clunky. This is probably fine for a STEM program. But just be aware that this statement is not a paragon of writing style.
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UC Berkeley History Statement of Purpose Sample
This is a graduate school statement of purpose example from the UC Berkeley History department’s PhD program, with annotations from a professor as to why it’s a successful statement.
- The author is able to very clearly and articulately lay out her research interests and link them to past work she has successfully completed, namely, her thesis.
- She is able to identify several things about the program and Berkeley that indicate why it is a good fit for her research interests.
- She addresses the time she spent away from school and frames it as a positive, emphasizing that her use of time was well-considered and productive.
- Her writing is very vivid, with excellent word choice and great imagery.
While very well-written and engaging, this sample statement of purpose for graduate school is a little bit on the long side! It’s a little over two single-spaced pages, which is definitely pushing the limits of acceptable length. Try to keep yours at 2 pages or less. Some of the information on the thesis (which comprises over half of the statement of purpose) could be condensed to bring it down to two pages.
Pharmacy Residency Letter of Intent Sample
This is not technically a sample letter of intent for graduate school because it’s actually for a pharmacy residency program. However, this example still provides illumination as to what makes a decent graduate school letter of intent sample.
- This is a serviceable letter of intent: the writer clearly lays out their own goals within the field of pharmacy, what qualifications they have and how they’ve arrived at their interests, and how the program fits their needs.
- The writing is clearly structured and well-organized.
- The main weakness is that some of the writer’s statements come across as fairly generic. For example, “The PGY-1 Residency Program at UO Hospitals will provide me with the opportunity to further develop my clinical knowledge, critical thinking, teaching, research, and leadership skills” is a generic statement that could apply to any residency program. A punchier, more program-specific conclusion would have amped up this letter.
- While the writer does a decent job providing examples of their activities, like working as a tutor and attending the APhA conference, more specificity and detail in these examples would make the statement more memorable.
- There’s a typo in the last paragraph —a “to” that doesn’t belong! This is an unprofessional blip in an otherwise solid letter. Read you own letter of intent aloud to avoid this!
NIU Bad Statement of Purpose Example
This is an ineffective graduate school statement of purpose example, with annotations on why it doesn’t work.
As you might imagine, the main strength in this document is as an example of what not to do. Otherwise, there is little to recommend it.
- The annotations quite clearly detail the weaknesses of this statement. So I won’t address them exhaustively except to point out that this statement of purpose fails at both content and style. The author includes irrelevant anecdotes and lists without offering a decisive picture of interests or any particular insight into the field. Additionally, the statement is riddled with grammatical mistakes, awkward sentence structures, and strange acronyms.
- You’ll note that the commentary advises you to “never start with a quote.” I agree that you should never start with a freestanding quote as in this example. However, I do think starting with a quote is acceptable in cases like the Berkeley history example above, where the quote is brief and then directly linked to the research interest.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples: 4 Key Points
Graduate programs ask for statement of purpose to hear about your interests and goals and why you think you and the program would be a good fit.
There are four key elements to a successful statement of purpose:
- A clear articulation of your goals and interests
- Evidence of past experiences and success
- Interest and fit with the program
- Strong writing
We’ve provided you with four successful statement of purpose samples from our graduate school experts!
We also provided additional statement of purpose samples (and a sample letter of intent) for graduate school from other sources on the internet. Now you have all kinds of guidance!
If you’re looking for more information on graduate school , see our guide to what makes a good GPA for grad school .
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Author: Ellen McCammon
Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon