Preparing a Statement of Purpose
The statement of purpose that accompanies your application serves a crucial role in the admissions decision. A clear, well-focused statement reveals your potential for graduate work and may compensate for less than stellar grades and/or test scores.
Your Statement of Purpose should include:
- Your purpose and objective for undertaking graduate study in neurobiology.
- Your research experience. Review the goals, approach, findings, and conclusions of the research that you have been involved with, as well as your role in that research.
- Describe why you chose to apply to the Neurobiology Master's Program at Northwestern. You are encouraged to identify Neurobiology MS Program faculty that you are interested in working with (please do not contact these faculty until after you have been admitted to the program).
Tips for success
1. Your statement should demonstrate your preparation for the classroom and research experiences offered by the Neurobiology MS Program, as well as how those experiences will benefit you.
2. Be as specific as possible about (1) the direction you wish to pursue in your area of interest, and (2) your career objectives.
Provide details about the types of neurobiology research that interest you, the kinds of methodologies and approaches you want to learn more about, and what parts of the field you want to study. Review the Neurobiology department’s list of MS program advisors and the Program Handbook to make sure that your interests in graduate work can be met in an area of study offered by the Neurobiology MS Program. If your prior research experience was outside of the field of neurobiology, be sure to explain your motivation for wanting to pursue research in neurobiology. The admissions committee is looking for people who are self-sufficient and strongly motivated. The program’s ultimate goal is to train people as independent scientists who can define and solve problems on their own.
3. Write clearly and persuasively
Your statement should demonstrate the clearest and most persuasive effort of which you are capable. The admissions committee will evaluate your ability to analyze research problems along with your ability to perform in a research setting.
4. Proofread your statement carefully
Ask a friend or faculty member at your undergraduate institution to look over your statement before you submit the final copy.