Writing a Statement of Purpose

When writing a “Statement of Purpose” for graduate school admissions, it is important to be informative and to keep the statement between one to two pages (usually one-page for an MS program and two pages for a PhD program). You want to capture the Admissions Committee’s attention by including the following points in your statement.

  • Your background
  • Your experience as an undergraduate and through internships
  • Your research interests, your research experiences, and how you may have prepared yourself for research (important if applying for a research-based program)
  • Your leadership abilities and experiences
  • Your education and career goals: what is your reason for pursuing a graduate degree in your field of interest
  • Inform the committee if you want to pursue a Master’s with thesis, a Professional Master’s (non-thesis), or a Ph.D., and why
  • Your attraction for completing this degree at that institution

An Admission Committee will usually evaluate your “Statement of Purpose” for brevity, research interests, leadership skills and eloquence. Therefore, after you have a draft of your “Statement of Purpose,” you may want to have a current graduate student or a faculty member review it and provide feedback prior to submitting it with your application. Seeking input from those who have already been through the admission process is always a good idea! They can provide you with some excellent feedback, share their admissions experience with you, and provide you with guidance through the applications/admission process.

Guidelines and Examples Writing a Statement of Purpose