How to Write a Statement of Purpose for Graduate Programs
A statement of purpose (also known as an SOP) is a document that provides the review committee with an understanding of who you are as an applicant and whether your academic and professional goals are a solid match for the program to which you are applying. All applicants to graduate programs at FXUA are required to submit an SOP as part of their application.
FXUA’s statement of purpose is a 500 to 1,000-word essay defining the applicant’s academic interests, professional objectives, areas of interest to be explored in the program, and reasoning behind joining the program. An SOP should be thoughtful, reflective, and written in a way that demonstrates the candidate’s own ideas. It must be written in the candidate’s own words.
As a learning community of practitioners and changemakers, we are looking for candidates that align with the mission of the university. SOPs are evaluated in their alignment to the mission and their ability to be transformative leaders who make a positive impact on the world around them.
A statement of purpose must exhibit all of the following:
- Clearly and articulately define at least two areas of professional/academic interest in the program and in FXUA and how the program will help you to develop these interests.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the program and specialization (if applicable)for which you are applying. Be sure to visit the program’s webpage to gain an understanding of your intended program’s scope, learning outcomes, and coursework before writing your SOP.
- Identify at least two professional objectives that you wish to achieve as a result of this program. Then, in your SOP, address clearly and explicitly how that specific program will help you to achieve your goals.
- Explain how you envision your education from FXUA contributing to your ability to be a transformative leader in today’s multi-dimensional, global society.
- As an intended graduate student, you must demonstrate a strong command of written communication and attention to detail in your statement of purpose. Proofread your work before sending it! If accepted, you should view the SOP as an introduction to your intended faculty, so you need to make a good first impression.
Some things to avoid in your statement of purpose:
- Avoid misspellings, punctuation errors, grammatical mistakes, etc. Your SOP should represent strong mastery of writing and should be free of errors.
- Do not rely on quotations of famous people to serve as your SOP. Your goal is to convey your thoughts, words, and ideas on your academic career and beyond.
- While it is acceptable to have someone assist you with proofreading, for example, it is not acceptable to have another person write your Statement of Purpose for you.
Plagiarism, including the copying of work from the internet, reliance on someone else to write your SOP, etc. must be avoided. Plagiarizing any part of the application is one reason for which a candidate may be disqualified from admission. If a candidate is found to have plagiarized a statement of purpose either during the admission process and/or after admission, he/she will be rejected and/or expelled.