Writing an effective Statement of Purpose
The statement of purpose is a critical component of your graduate school application used to evaluate your potential to succeed in graduate school. Generally, it should include the following three components.
1: Describe your interests and motivations
Be brief! This section gives you an opportunity to articulate the reasons why this program fits your interests and goals.
2: Summarize previous academic milestones
a) Describe any relevant research-related activities or other projects you have worked on that demonstrates your skills and preparedness for graduate school. Please include any details, such as project title, program, leaders, partners, etc. to help the readers evaluate the impact of your participation and specify your role in those activities.
b) If you have produced any scholarly products in the course of your academic work, such as journal articles, research reports, or theses, these should be highlighted as evidence of scholarly work.
c) Describe any relevant work experience, especially if similar to what you wish to study in graduate school. You can also indicate how your previous experiences helped you focus your graduate studies.
3: Elaborate on your academic interests
a) In as specific of terms as possible, describe what you would like to study in graduate school. This conveys your understanding of current research themes in your discipline. This can be done in many ways to showcase your knowledge of critical problems or significant questions that are relevant to ecosystem science and management.
b) If you have already identified a professor to serve as your primary advisor (or co-advisors), please mention them explicitly. Any information about particular projects that you will be part of in the course of your studies and associated faculty mentors will inform the readers of your intended scope of work.
For your consideration…
Professors are the people who read these statements. Your writing style should be for a professional audience that is well-versed in the technical terminology appropriate to faculty across all programs in ecosystem science and management.
Demonstrate, through direct evidence, your potential for success as a graduate student.
ESSM is committed to enhancing diversity within our programs and the broader profession.
We encourage applications from individuals who identify with historically under-represented groups in academia; students who have experienced, and worked to overcome, educational or economic disadvantage and/or have personal or family circumstances that may complicate their continued progress in research careers; and first generation college students. If there is something important that happened to you that affected you academically, state it. Write it affirmatively, showing your perseverance despite obstacles.
Organize your statement well, but be precise, ideally within 1-2 single spaced pages.
End your statement in a positive manner, indicating your excitement and readiness for the challenges ahead of you.