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Writing a Statement of Purpose for a Degree in Math

Posted on March 7th, 2013 by Jenny Frankel

math152543722As part of the application process for a degree in math, students will often have to write what is called a “statement of purpose.” Writing a statement of purpose for a degree in math can be challenging. Here is a partial guide to writing a successful statement of purpose.

What is a statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose is a document which lets admission committees know what you would like to study and research at their respective institution. This document gives admission committees a chance to look into a student’s personality and interests. When writing a statement of purpose for a degree in math, students should put themselves in the position of the admission committee. What would you want to know about someone applying to your program? Whatever your answer, to this question, be sure to include that information in your own statement of purpose.

How long should it be?

Students should attempt to limit the statement of purpose to only one page, unless directed to do otherwise. Admission committees have to review many applications, and do not want to parse through irrelevant details, so be sure to have a clear and concise statement.

Tips for writing a statement of purpose

Thought it is meant to help you emphasize why you are a good candidate for a math program, one should avoid writing a statement of purpose for a degree in math that focuses too much on one’s past accomplishments or current good characteristics. Instead, students should try to be very specific about the research one plans to conduct while in the program. Specificity is very important. Students should not say merely that they are interested in calculus, for example. They should include which particular questions within calculus they are interested in answering. This also gives the student the chance to say why he or she believes the program he or she is applying to is a good fit. Students should be aware of the faculty members and their specializations at any department to which they apply. They can demonstrate this knowledge in their statement of purpose.

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