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Statement of Purpose (SOP) For Masters (MS): Format, Examples & Writing Guide

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28th Feb, 2023
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Statement of Purpose (SOP) For Masters (MS): Format, Examples & Writing Guide

A statement of purpose (SOP) is often known as a personal essay which is a crucial part of college applications, especially during a master’s degree. An SOP should reflect who the applicant is, their interests, academic and professional qualifications, and how they can add value to the college by being a part of it. In addition to good writing skills, SOP should have a crips description of what one brings to the institution. 

Admission committees often choose candidates based on their future goals and evidence of past successes and failures. Hence, making it an exceptional addition to your master’s degree application process. An SOP for masters is a subjective measure of your application and should be compelling enough to offer you an edge over others. It adds a lot of value to your application and is thoroughly inspected before the admissions committee takes a decision. 

Following the right set of rules and format can ensure your statement of purpose for masters stands out among others. This blog will guide you on how to make your SOP for masters more impactful.

Format of an SOP

SOP for masters formats consists of various guidelines that candidates must follow to compile informative details that appear as crisp as it reads. 

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  • The statement of purpose should be written in coherent paragraphs following the general essay writing rules. 
  • One can add tricks to add a personal element to the essay. The essay can be written in bullet format but should be avoided as much as possible. 
  • A standard statement of purpose is ideally two pages long. One should stay within the limit as it will become dragging otherwise. 
  • A statement of purpose for masters is written in a 12 – point font with double-spaced, normal margins and should be around 800-1000 words. One should never exceed the limit. 
  • Ideally, an SOP should have 5-7 paragraphs with 150-250 words each. Broadly, it has an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Vocabulary, punctuation, and spelling should be correct. 
  • In the standard SOP samples for MS, name or course details are not necessary to add in the essay, but if the university has mentioned it in the guidelines, then ensure the relevant information is added to the document. 

SOP Content: What should you include?

Here are all the details your statement of purpose for masters should cover through its entirety. 

  • Introduction to your personal and professional background
  • Reasons why you wish to pursue the relevant course
  • Details about academic background 
  • Professional experience (if any)
  • Extracurricular activities relevant to your course of study
  • Share experiences narrating your leadership, communication, team player and problem-solving skills
  • Pointers that compel you towards the program you are applying for
  • Career highlights
  • Published works

In order to understand the right format, we are providing a standard template for a statement of purpose for masters to help you draft your SOP accordingly. Accurate format plays a key role as committees follow strict parameters. Therefore, ensure your SOP follows the relevant guidelines. 

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Writing Guide for a standard SOP

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction

Start by giving a crips introduction and state your goals and aspirations in life. One can mention their personality traits and personal achievements. Utilise this section to talk about yourself and your career in an engaging manner. You can also use quotes to make it interesting while stating what you aspire to obtain through your future career endeavours. Ensure to keep the details as relevant as possible while maintaining a formal yet conversational tone.

  • Paragraph 2: Career Graph

This section must provide a brief history of your academics and relevant work experience. You can include the reason why you chose a particular subject or line of work. Talk about the highs and lows of career progression. To make it even more attractive, candidates can detail their problem-solving nature at work by narrating any relevant incident. This section can be divided into academics, curricula, work experience, etc. 

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  • Paragraph 3: Reason for choosing the degree

This section comprises the reason for choosing a particular degree and why candidates aspire to pursue it. One can make it engaging by describing their career goals, aspirations or any incident which led them to opt for this career. To convince the admissions committee, one must show an honest interest in the subject and a passion for pursuing it. 

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  • Paragraph 4: Plan to achieve the goal

This part forms the conclusion of the essay. It has to be very strongly worded and should hit the spot. It should convey one’s course of action and how one plans to pull it off. Here, applicants should talk about how they would contribute to the subject and how they plan to work through it in the future. Candidates can go in-depth to talk about how important the course is to them and how admittance to that university will be helpful in their career growth. 

Sample SOP

There are many ways one can shape their SOPs depending on the chosen subject for the application. Among various SOP samples for MS, here is a precise one – 

Example:

“After 3.5 years of undergraduate education in civil engineering, I feel entirely content with my decision to pursue engineering as a career because it has shown me the most practical and down-to-earth method for solving human problems. I firmly believe that enrolling in XYZ University’s graduate program at this point in my professional development will be the best move. My choice to focus on civil engineering came directly from my desire to help my nation build cutting-edge infrastructure to raise its international position. The progressive collection of theory and naive actual applications of the observed principles during the site visits is what inspired me to pursue my MS in civil engineering. The “Construction Management” course exposed me to a wide range of applications of operations research in project management and underlined the significance of efficient team coordination for project execution in quality construction practice. I was able to master the fundamentals thanks to my undergraduate program, but now I feel the urge to further my education by enrolling in a Master’s program at the esteemed XYZ University. My decision to pursue graduate studies in the United States has been strengthened by the rapidly developing global picture in the field of civil engineering, as well as the quality of instruction and exposure to an abundance of research activity in the US, supplemented by my interest. So, with the highly valued support of my teachers, the direction of my seniors, and careful examination of your university’s website, I am confident that my academic career will receive the exposure and advancement it sorely needs, allowing me to pursue lengthy research and thrive at it. I can say with certainty from my own experience as a student that a student’s life and educational experience can be positively impacted by your quality facilities. I sincerely hope you will allow me to attend your esteemed university to pursue my Master’s Degree.”

Tips and Tricks to Improve Your SOP:

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These pointers should make it easier for you to write the ideal SOP and make sure you stand out even before you attend your first class at your dream university.

  • Begin early, giving yourself plenty of time to reflect, explore ideas, and discuss life events.
  • Emphasise potential, competence, passion, and self-motivation.
  • Instead of using the passive voice, write in the active.
  • Maintain a formal but friendly tone.
  • Write with conviction.
  • Numbers improve your narrative since they guarantee that your SOP is both qualitative and quantitative. When describing your actions, employ anecdotes and numbers to capture the reader’s attention.
  • A solid SOP is comparable to an engaging conversation. Writing your SOP in an active voice, like a cordial chat, is a further helpful hint.
  • Do not keep your SOP a secret; share it with close friends and family. Ask them to rate it, share their thoughts, and offer helpful criticism as well. As this is the target audience for your SOP, you can also present it to a college lecturer or someone in a comparable position.
  • Before submitting the SOP, ensure to proofread it as many times as you can. The last thing you want is for your diligent work to be disregarded due to a trivial spelling or grammatical error. You might also ask a friend or member of your family to proofread it again once you’ve done so, just to be safe.

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Conclusion

We hope the given pointers and guidelines will assist you in framing a winning statement of purpose for masters. We recommend you go through various SOP samples for MS available on the internet to understand the right tone and flow of the content required to grant you a position in your dream college. Besides, if you feel your SOP requires a significant boost in terms of technical skills, upGrad has your back!

upGrad’s Masters of Science in Computer Science, offered by Liverpool John Moores University. The program is curated in collaboration with industry experts to create a dynamic curriculum comprising in-demand topics such as software development, data structure, algorithms, research methodologies, and much more. upGrad’s assistance further enhances your learning experience, helping you become an industry leader!

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Pavan Vadapalli

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Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Can SOP be copied?

SOPs cannot be copied under any circumstances. It should reflect one’s achievements, drawbacks, and learnings so that the admissions committee can understand the worth. If the SOP is not in sync with the application, it might lead to rejection.

2Which programs ask for SOPs?

SOP is required as part of the application for mainly Undergraduate programs, Graduate schools, MBA schools, PhD programs, and MS (Master of Science for Engineering) programs, among others.

3What should not be written in an SOP?

A statement of purpose should not have a dull introduction, too much specification of childhood dreams, common last-minute mistakes, unclear sentences, over complimentary, and an informal style of writing.