How to write a Statement of Purpose (SOP) ?

What is Statement of Purpose?

If you are applying for any Graduate Program, you need to submit a written statement called Statement of Purpose. It is an essay in which you should focusses on convincing the selection committee that you are a good match for the program you are applying to. As the name suggests, you should state the purpose for applying to the program.

Why do Graduate Schools ask for SOP?

  • To understand what are your academic objectives and goals.
  • To decide  if you are a good match for the program.
  • To decide if you will succeed in the graduate program.
  • Totally to know who you are and what you are capable of.

Before creating SOP check whether you have answers to these questions.

  • Why have you chosen Physics?
  • What are your research interests? How did you develop those interests?
  • What is your sole purpose of doing research?
  • What are your future goals?
  • Why do you wish to do the graduate program that you are applying for?

What SOP must contain?

1. Your brief introduction; academic interests and motivations.

Don’t mention your introduction like My name is…. I am from…. You will mention them in your CV and application form. You have to introduce yourself by your interests and ambitions.

2. What made you choose this subject at first?

You should mention what motivated you to choose Physics. That motivation might have come from Highschool, intermediate or college. It might have motivated by some teachers or professors or by some seminars. Mention that.

3. Brief summary of your previous academic career and work experience.

At least one paragraph about your high school and intermediate career. One paragraph on your bachelor’s degree. Don’t mention about your scores here. Anyway  you will submit them in CV or application form. Keep one paragraph for Master’s degree.  Mention the details about project work that you have done. Keep one paragraph for your work experience if you have any. Suppose if you haven’t done any project work or don’t have any work experience, then write little more about experiments you have done in your previous degree. Suppose if you are from other background, and now you are willing to pursue Physics degree, then express how and why your interest switched.

4. Your research interests and how did you develop those interests.

There are lots of research areas in Physics. You should mention in which area you are interested in. It is good if you have a specific area of interest. Or at least you should have mentioned a broad area of interest.

For example, if you mention that I am interested in Photovoltaics, that is good. If not you should at least mention that I am interested in Condensed Matter Physics or Energy Research. Also, you should explain how did you develop these interests.

5. What are your ambitions and future goals?

This is also an important part of SOP. You should show your ambitions and discuss about your future goals.

6. Give evidence how you are well suited to the program on the basis of your interest and ambitions.

You should mention how this graduate course suits for your interest, how it will help you to fulfil your ambitions and how useful it is for your future goals.

7. Add some sentences why you are particularly applying for this institution.

If you have created SOP, don’t send the same SOP to all institutions. Sometimes they will mention what they expect in SOP, follow them.

You have to go through the websites of the institutes. You should do some survey of their research areas. You should know what are the research groups active in the institute. What are the research facilities exist there. After doing these homework, add some sentences why you are particularly applying for this institution. You can mention that you are interested to work with a particular research group.

Care that is to be taken in the SOP.

  • Don’t write too much on your accomplishments. It will be boring. Concentrate on your purposes.
  • Don’t directly mention like I have done this, that, that’s why I am suitable for this course. Indirectly show it. Show that how you are suitable for this and how much you need this for your future.
  • If your grades are low or if you don’t have much skills or exposures, state the reasons behind it. But, convince them that you have done your best despite of all obstacles. If you can’t convince them that you tried to overcome obstacles, don’t mention these negative parts.
  • Whole essay should be of two page, not more than that. Don’t make it less than one page.
  • Make sure that there is a continuity between the sentences and paragraphs.
  • Make absolutely sure that your SOP contains no spelling or grammar mistakes.

Again, the whole article should be aligned  to convince these points:

  • Why you wish to do research?
  • Why you have chosen this research area?
  • Why you are willing to do PhD, how it is helpful to fulfil your ambitions and goals?
  • Why exactly you are applying for this institute?


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