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Writing a Statement of Research Interests for Grad School

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Dr. Diana BetzOctober 30, 2013
A misnomer?Statement of purposeStatement of research interests and experience
Your research ideas and/or professional goals
A good match
To see if you are…
Shows you’ve done your homework onthe fieldthe programthe facultyExplains why you’re a good fit for all 3!
Do your homework!Take notes on program and faculty websitesIndividualize paragraph or 2 to highlight:Program focus and/or main research topics, and how your goals align with themFaculty you’d want to work with, and what you’d want to study with them
Don’tovershareGoal shouldn’t be to understand own or loved ones’ mental healthCase-by-case basis – ask an advisor!Avoidcliches“I want to help…”“Everyone tells me I’d make a great therapist!”
Your research ideas and/or professional goalsSkills that prepare you for this program
A good matchLikely to succeed
To see if you are…
Selectivelyhighlights achievements like:Classes(beyond requirements)Research assistant positions,internships,or jobsClinical experience (if applicable)Independent research!!
…and relates those achievements to necessary skills, like:Research design and statisticsKnowledge of your research area ofinterestIndependent, creative thoughtSticktoitivenessDedication to the long slog of research
Tell the story of how you became a person capable of conducting rigorous, independent researchHighlight what you learned from each achievementExplain how each step built on what came before it
Don’t repeat your c.v. word for wordDon’t focus on basic requirements: show how you went above and beyond
Your research ideas and/or professional goalsSkills that prepare you for this programStrong writing skills
A good matchLikely to succeedLikely to publish and secure grantsConscientious
To see if you are…
Demonstrate that you can write like a scientist:OrganizedWell-supportedConciseClearShow your attention to detailPay attention to application requirementsCheck spelling, grammar, formatting
Revise, revise, reviseFollow application requirements2 statements? Particular theme?Maintain formal toneProofread
Do NOT exceed page limitDon’t joke around or try to be cuteDon’t keep your statement to yourself: you need other eyes on it!
Faculty mentor(s) or advisor(s)Best resource!Writing CenterFor mechanics, not content
Roger Bacon [email protected]





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Writing a Statement of Research Interests for Grad School