Sample Statement of Purpose for Graduate School Application


The Graduate School application will likely ask you to write a statement of purpose. This is much like a cover letter for applying to a job. Essentially, it functions to describe your reasons for applying to the program. In four hundred to seven hundred words, describe why you want to pursue the course of study through this program, what led you to choose to apply, and what you hope to gain from the experience or degree. This gives the admissions committee the chance to see what you are like aside from your grades and scores. Thus, it is important to put effort into the statement of purpose, as it is essentially your opportunity to highlight what you see as your best features as a student.

Below are few examples of Sample statement of purpose for Graduate School Application.

Sample Statement of Purpose for Applying to Graduate English Program

If I’m being especially precise, I’d call myself an admirer of writing at best. However, I say with complete confidence that I am a reader. I recently finished Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. In it, he dictates, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” This quote has become lodged in my mind like a grape seed stuck between molars. I have come to regard truth as the highest form to which writing can ascend. I don’t mean completely honest recounts of some event. I mean written language that depicts exactly what the author intends, complete mastery of the written word, especially in fictional works. Words and sentences hammered out in concise, exact language, forgoing fanciful ballast that does not perfectly illustrate the writer’s intentions. Hemingway, along with Cormac McCarthy, Faulkner, Tobias Wolff, Raymond Carver and several others in my opinion not only accomplish this mastery, but give it definition. These are writers. I strive to emulate their style, and I expect to continue to work at writing one true sentence after the other for the rest of my life.

I have taken creative writing classes in both High School and as an undergrad English Literature major. This course of study introduced me to a myriad of authors and writing styles. Now graduated, I find myself still gravitating towards the likes of McCarthy and Wolff, both in writing style and in personal reading selection. However, my pursuit of truth in sentences has not deterred me from poetry. If anything, it has enhanced my appreciation. Elliot accomplishes so much in the imagery and diction he employs in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Shakespeare writes sonnets as though the strictures of its form do not exist.

I wrote my thesis on optimism in dystopia, using 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451 as my sample works. I was inspired by the creativity of these authors, conjuring fictional worlds simultaneously so exaggeratedly foreign and yet eerily believable. With Huxley, Orwell and Bradbury as my unknowing muses, I set out to write my own dystopia novel. It centers on a world broken by social media and that is the most I have ever revealed of it. It is still far from achieving the truth with which I hope to imbibe its sentences.  

To be in a program devoted to the development of writing skills intimidates as much as excites me. It feels to me like the crucial next step I must take towards writing this ‘true’ work I’ve become so obsessed by. Of course being published is my ultimate goal, but for the moment and the foreseeable future, my one desire is to continue reading my favorite authors and mimicking their talent to the best of my ability. In doing so, I hope to hone my own writing voice and style to the point that it is unmistakably my own, like a fingerprint or a signature.  

 

Sample Statement of Purpose for Applying to Graduate History Program

One glance at my transcripts and you will see that Anthropology was scarcely on my radar as an undergrad. I majored in English Literature, and thoroughly enjoyed my studies. Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, I am and always have been an avid and very impressionable reader. Certain ideas and patterns stick with me beyond the final pages of a book or lines of a poem. To that end, I have become fascinated by the idea of diaspora.

I first came across this term while reading The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz in an intro to literature course. The novel discussed the ways in which generations of Dominicans had come to live in the US, away from their native country for a myriad of reasons. I became gripped by the idea that whole populations of people traveled, moved or were displaced around the globe. I couldn’t stop noticing the evidence of this global diaspora omnipotent around me, and even more tangibly in my own life.

Pertaining to the idea of diaspora, one person from my hometown in Rhode Island sticks out in particular. He is my high school Spanish teacher and neighbor, who goes only by Senor. He hails from Spain, but he is always sure to correct this, citing his true homeland as the Basque Country. Geopolitically, this region has been in conflict with the government in Spain since the days of the crown. Now, Senor lives in Portsmouth, RI and is the acting President of Rhode Island’s Basque Heritage Club. Many Basques have immigrated to the US and more specifically to Rhode Island. They have built a strong community within the state much like individuals from Portugal before them and the Irish and Italians before them and the Native Americans of the Narragansett Tribe before them still further. The more patterns of diaspora I feel that I recognize, the more I want to know about the subtleties of this phenomenon. What events occurred to set the diaspora in motion? What has made it stick? What will make it change? These are the questions I hope to wrestle with through the Master’s program in Anthropology, focusing specifically in the socio-cultural subfield.

As I previously noted, much of my interest in the topic of diaspora stems from personal experience. My mother is Cuban, her parents having immigrated to the US in the 1940s. For this reason, Cuba has always been of specific personal interest to me. I am fascinated by the diaspora at work in and beyond this country. The Taino people seem to be the first documented populations in Cuba, before later being discovered and subsequently enslaved by imperial-minded Europeans. Today, I like to think of Cuba as an intriguing spectrum of diaspora, ‘melting pot’ being far too imprecise a term. I want to know more about where Cuba’s population of individuals have been, how they made up the Cuba that exists today, and how it might change next.

My transcript is lacking in social sciences courses, which I hope does not disqualify my application to the Master’s program. However, I do not regret my undergraduate degree in English, as I feel it has prepared me well in critical reading and writing. I hope to combine these skills with a continued and supplemented education in Anthropology so that I might eventually pursue and publish research.  

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