Home Student & Career Tips Statement of Purpose for Masters | How to Write

Statement of Purpose for Masters | How to Write

This article contains steps on how to write a statement of purpose for masters application as well as examples of one. Kindly read along to get insights.

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Statement of purpose (SOP) and personal statement are two words that constantly cause confusion in the minds of students who desire to study abroad. To many people, these words have the same meaning, but is that really true?

Well, you will find out in the course of reading this article.

Delving in, the two words are in no way the same. A statement of purpose also known as a statement of intent is one of the important requirements for applying to study for masters in any international university.

To better understand both words, a personal statement is a type of writing in which an applicant is required to talk about their personality and academic background. In a personal statement, you are promoting yourself as to why you are the right applicant for your choice course.

Summarily, a personal statement should contain your personal story, goals and values, your motivations, reasons for your choice course and its importance in the world at large.

On the other hand, when asked to write a statement of purpose, you are required to tell the admission committee about your aim for choosing a particular course. Additionally, an exceptional SOP must include the following:

  • Education background, career goals, academic excellence, professional achievements, etc.

The statement of purpose is all about what you want to achieve in your career and is more focused on your academic/ professional qualities.

Having understood the difference between SOP and personal statement, the key similarities between SOP and personal statement remains to prove that you’re the right candidate for the admission.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE WRITING A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE FOR MASTERS

Having a clear understanding of a statement of purpose is not a guarantee for a perfect result. Writing a statement of purpose is not a quick task. You need to make sure you are setting aside enough time for the process, in some cases 6-8 weeks. Therefore, before you proceed to write your statement of purpose, do the following:

  1. Research your school and program thoroughly. Visit the school’s website and pay close attention to any mission statements. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your department and research specialties of the faculty members.
  2. Brainstorm how and why you would fit into the Institution and program. It’s not enough to want to attend a particular school just because of their reputation. While learning about the school, its faculty, and your program of choice, you should constantly think of how and why you would fit in as a student. These will come handy while writing your SOP
  3. Make a list of any requirements given by the school for your statement of purpose. This varies from school to school. So pay keen attention to the requirements and guidelines, if clearly stated. 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.

TIPS TO WRITE AN IMPRESSIVE SOP

While writing an SOP for Masters, you need to consider the course you are applying for. Here are important tips to consider:

  1. Stick to What the Admission Committee Wants To Know: Oftentimes, you might be overwhelmed and carried away in the course of writing to impress the committee. I totally understand that feeling. However, your SOP should be concise, specifying your research interests, future intentions, and other aspects that may help the admission committee in analyzing your motive for choosing their Institution.
  2. Be Authentic and Unique: In your writing, be honest, unique and genuine. A lack of authenticity is very clear to readers, not to speak of officers who have turned experts from reading hundreds of applications in each academic session. This makes it very easy for them to identify flaws and insincerity at a glance. So, making your writing stand out gives you a greater advantage.
  3. Write An Interesting Opening: In general writing, the opening paragraph is always very important. It determines whether a reader will proceed to read or lose interest. So, start with an appealing introduction that will help you capture the attention of admission officers. The best way to write an introduction is to use storytelling. Write about an incident or event that inspired you to pursue the course you want to study.
  4. Mention Your Goals: After sharing your motive to study the particular course, introduce your career goals, describe how the specific program will help you in attaining your career objective. Ensure your objectives are related to the program you are applying for.
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WRITING STRUCTURE OF A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE FOR MASTERS

Like every other form of writing, a statement of purpose should have at least 4 paragraphs and 5 paragraphs at most.

  1. First paragraph: This is the introduction and you’re expected to make an impression on your reader. We all know the things they say about first impressions, right? I bet you do. You need to grab your reader’s attention by briefly introducing yourself and why you are excited to apply to this program. You also need to clearly and concisely let readers know what you hope to accomplish with your choice of programme. Whatever the reason, the officers need to understand what you hope to accomplish if admitted.
  2. Second paragraph: Here, you give an explanation of why you’re pursuing the said goal. The Institution wants to know that you have a strong reason for pursuing advanced education. Regardless of your field, use this paragraph to passionately express your focus on meeting your goals.
  3. Third paragraph: This is where you talk about your Academic excellence. Some schools may not want this included, but for those that do, they want to see that you possess a good command of the discipline before admitting you.
  4. Fourth paragraph: Here, explanation of why this is the perfect program and how the department’s goals align with yours. Some applicants use this space to creatively demonstrate their knowledge of the school and department to impress the admissions officers. You can smartly talk about the accomplishments of alumni you admire.
  5. Fifth paragraph: This is the conclusion and summary of the SOP. This paragraph gives you the opportunity to cover all the high points once more and wrap up the statement with a neat finish. While it’s important to restate the most important aspects of your goals, be sure to keep this section short since it contains no new information. The goal is to be concise.

FORMATING

There are diverse formats in writing. However, the general format for SOP is similar to any other piece of academic writing. Most postgraduate applications are submitted directly to the university online. Where this is the case, consider using the following:

  • 12 point Times New Roman font
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • 5 line spacing
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This format will make your writing easier to read. Sadly, you probably won’t get bonus points for standing out with your general visual formatting.

In addition, your statement of purpose should be free from spelling  and grammatical errors, avoid cliches and repetitive language, avoid overly informal language, keep a positive and confident tone and ensure it doesn’t exceed 1½ pages.

A SAMPLE OF STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Below is a Statement of Purpose for Masters for Architecture:

I was 15 when I started seeing my cousin put down some beautiful drawings on a sketch pad. Sometimes, he would curse and lament about the outcome. A few times I inquired why he reacted the way he did and he would always explain. Then, I thought I really understood what it meant.

Years later, while I stood beside the hospital bed, I clearly understood why he discarded some drawings. My friend had sustained a series of burns from a fire outbreak in the house. He could have escaped if the apartment wasn’t badly structured.

While I roamed the room in anguish, 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.

The true breakthrough for me took place in my 2ndyear in college, when I was volunteering at ABC homes, a women’s shelter. 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 with tall trees nearby.

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 the completed building a year later. 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.

How can we, as architects, minimize our harm to communities and ecosystems? What are the eco-conscious solutions that architects can put forward to address the environmental changes of the 21st century?

How can we design buildings with a view to sustain long-term energy and resource efficiency without sacrificing immediate economic viability? These questions left me worried then. Thankfully,  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 XYC College of Architecture, New York. As my interest in sustainable architecture developed, I became more zealous about the social and anthropological impact of architecture.

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 Era Architectural conference held in xyz city. In fact, it was at this conference that I met Professor R.K.O, the esteemed architect and professor emeritus at the Architecture department of XYZ University.

Having a hearty talk 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 different top architects, who are making a real contribution to ecologically sustainable urban planning.

In fact, the possibility of learning from and working directly with him 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.

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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 into the next phase of my career. Eventually, I hope to specialize in sustainable, low-budget urban planning for socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

CONCLUSION

As seen in this article, a statement of purpose is quite different from a personal statement. However, it is a piece of writing that is required from every student who intends to study abroad. The aim is to know your reason for choosing to study in the country, why you chose the programme and what you hope to accomplish with it afterwards. The University wants to ascertain that you’re the right candidate for the admission, and so, you need to convince them in your writing.

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