SOP tips for MS (Master of Science Program) - The Statement of Purpose (SoP) is one of the most important elements of the application package for admission to MS programmes in universities abroad.In fact, an SOP is the vital aspect that decides whether your application for the MS programme will be accepted or rejected. The reason behind this is that the SoP reflects your intentions for pursuing the programme. Best thing about an SOP is that you are given a chance to explain yourself through it. More often than not, transcripts and certificates highlight only your academic prowess and that too, not to the full extent of your capabilities. A Statement of Purpose for MS gives you the chance to take the admission panel into the world of your aspirations and the ideas that influence you.
For MS programmes abroad, an SOP is a mandatory element. Hence, it is important that you perfect your SOP.
Here we bring you some important SOP tips for MS programmes with samples attached to drive home the point.
1. Keep your MS specialization in mind:
As part of the application package, one of the important things to consider before writing a statement of purpose for MS is your specialization. Make sure you highlight your specialization in the beginning of the SOP itself. Let’s say, you plan to pursue MS in Computer Science. In that case, your SOP should highlight elements which reflect your intention and reasons for wanting to join the MS course.
Here are a few samples how to start your SOP:
MS in Computer Science:
A few areas of my education have stimulated me to think as much as my undergraduate studies in Computer Programming and applied science. I was awestruck by the potential of a computer; in the way it’s faster and more powerful versions revolutionized the working of mankind.
“The computer is the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”- This quote by Steve Jobs reverberated in mind every time I entered the computer library to learn programming languages as well as concepts that explain the core of the computer and the infinite possibilities that we can explore through this medium.
MS in Civil Engineering:
In this ever-changing world of engineering, where each new day sees birth of new concepts and applications, civil engineering, I believe, is the only field where your idea can be seen and understood directly. It is civil engineering which has made modern bridges, high-rise buildings or ultra-modern condominiums possible in today’s world. I am fortunate to be the daughter of a civil engineer, whose professional influence contributed to my engineering orientation early on.
2. Reflect your intention:
It is always important that you reflect your intention to be a part of the institution for the particular course. Start with your undergraduation- your subjects of interest and move forward with what propelled you to choose the particular course and why do you think the particular university you are applying to will help you serve your purpose.
Here are a few examples:
a. During the four years of my undergraduation in *****, I explored the academic as well as practical aspects of ***** in the classroom, as a research assistant and through internships with companies.
Past summer, I worked as an intern for the engineering technology company ***** I worked on many projects, broadening my understanding of this field.
SOP for sociology:
b. My interest in ***** was sparked off by a lecture by the influential author, ****. It was in his class that I got to ideas and theories that govern us and also understand about sociological influences that affect our daily lives. In fact, the valuable experiences I have gained through my classes in ***** have encouraged me to enrich my academic background in sociology further through joining your institution.
3. Choose your angle:
Before starting the SOP, write the most important points that have impacted your decision to join an MS course in the particular subject. Once you have jotted down the points, analyse them and select the best point to create an angle for your SOP. You can definitely use other points but there should be one critical point that defines your reasons for joining the course. This point could be anything- family, personal, academic. It could also be about a particular incident in your life that influenced you to explore the course further.
Here are a few examples:
a. During my school, I worked on a Physics project where I had to construct logic gates and latches using circuit elements. I was so astounded by the Power of Electrical & Electronics that I knew if there is one thing that I would give up anything to understand this.
b. I began a round of soul searching, trying to understand my aspirations in life after graduating with excellent grades in computer science from one of the best institutes in (country): (institute). I suddenly got the answer one day, when I realized that I wanted to know how can I learn to apply my knowledge in this field to the daily lives of people. I want my knowledge in Artificial Intelligence to be part of the world’s evolution. Therefore, I believe (university), the world’s leading academy, will be my best next step to pursue my aspirations.
4. Highlight your experiences in the field:
Sometimes, universities in the USA, UK, and Australia, among others, demand work experience for admission to their MS courses.Whether you have internship experience or actual work experience in the field, it is always advisable to express your learning experiences in your Statement of Purpose. Point out what you learnt from each experience and how it influenced you to take up further studies. You can also highlight any performance appreciations you might have got in your job to prove your knowledge and interest in the job.
Here are some examples:
a. My need to understand the requirements of the industry propelled me to accept an employment opportunity after my undergraduation. My employment as a Software Engineer at ***** was a very good opportunity to gain training and work experience in the Information Management domain.
5. Answer the major questions:
A Statement of Purpose is basically like an internal assessment of your personality and your desires- whether you are good enough for the course or not. It is, therefore, important that you should have answers to all the basic questions that could crop up in in the admission panel’s mind. Here are some of the points that you should definitely mention:
a. What was your previous qualification?
Under-graduation or Masters or any other degree which makes you eligible.
b. What is the programme of interest?
While this is highlighted in the application form, it is necessary that you highlight your course of interest in your SOP.
c. Why do you want to pursue the programme?
Give reasons in detail about your intention to join the programme. What are the factors that interest you, what inspired you to join the programme?
Mention the projects you have worked on. Ideally, they should be related to the programme. But you can also mention projects that reflect other skills.
e. Events and clubs
Try to mention the important clubs or events that you have been part of. The idea here is to show the aspects that influenced you and brought out some quality in you.
f. Work experience
For those who have work experiences, it is advisable to mention the same with the kind of skills you have learnt in the organization.
Take advantage of your SOP to mention your dreams and desires. Highlight ideas which you want to turn into reality through the programme.
6. Share examples through personal experiences:
The important thing to remember about an SOP is that it is a personal statement of intent to join the programme with the university. Hence, it should highlight your personal experiences and how they have shaped you as a person. Maybe, you had some experiences when you were a child which were major turning points in your life and pushed you toward this field or your family members already working in the said field which influenced you to be a part of it.
Try to mention fascinating experiences which deliver on your purpose to join the programme.
Here are a few examples:
a. Through the opportunities I have had through my college projects, I have found an interest in research work and a strong understanding of problem solving that this field involves.
b. Many factors have influenced my decision of pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering. During my undergraduate days, I took classes from (mentor name), who provided deep insights into many aspects of the civil engineering.
By: Bedasree Das