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OldCaptain008

Would it hurt to use the same SOP in both MA and PhD applications?

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First-time grad-school applicant here. 

The Political Science Department of the school I'm applying for offers both an MA program and a Ph.D. program. After submitting my Ph.D. application, I wonder if I can use a similar version of my SOP for the MA application.

Although I understand that the norm here is to personalize each SOP to fit each program, I fail to see the necessity in this case since I'm dealing with the same school, the same department, and the same faculty. In addition, after reading posts in this forum, which I should have done long before submitting my applications, I painfully realized that the SOP for a Ph.D. program is drastically different from the SOP for an MA program, and my current SOP works better with the MA application. So, the current situation for me is tricky since I've already submitted the Ph.D. application (partially due to its deadline being earlier than the MA program's deadline) but my SOP could potentially be actually more useful in the MA application...

With these being said, I hope someone could shine some lights on this situation. Do departments usually assign the same Adcom to review both programs? Are they going to recognize the similarity? Is it going to hurt? (not trying to be indolent, will write a new one if it is a must.)

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I think you are going to want to tweak it at least a little bit - at least in my SOP for PhD applications when asked about professional aspirations I said I wanted to become a professor (duh), however, when I applied to masters degrees I essentially said my professional aspirations were either to set myself up to work at a policy think-tank (fill in the blank for whatever your might be) and possibly to be a competitive PhD applicant. So in regards to the professional aspirations/what you hope to do with your degree portion I think you would want to tweak that.

I think the majority of your SOP can be the same though - even if the same people are reading the applications your reasons for attending the program are still the same, same professors, location, etc... For my school it was a little different since my masters was in public affairs but they applications for masters students were less reviewed by professors and more so reviewed by an admissions team that included more administrative staff and then professors reviewed top applicants for fellowships and things like that.

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5 hours ago, SerenityNow! said:

I think you are going to want to tweak it at least a little bit - at least in my SOP for PhD applications when asked about professional aspirations I said I wanted to become a professor (duh), however, when I applied to masters degrees I essentially said my professional aspirations were either to set myself up to work at a policy think-tank (fill in the blank for whatever your might be) and possibly to be a competitive PhD applicant. So in regards to the professional aspirations/what you hope to do with your degree portion I think you would want to tweak that.

I think the majority of your SOP can be the same though - even if the same people are reading the applications your reasons for attending the program are still the same, same professors, location, etc... For my school it was a little different since my masters was in public affairs but they applications for masters students were less reviewed by professors and more so reviewed by an admissions team that included more administrative staff and then professors reviewed top applicants for fellowships and things like that.

SerenityNow, thank you very much for helping me! I just received the rejection letter from the Ph.D. program, so I guess the SOP is more compatible with a Master program indeed (probably, ideally). But I'm still wondering if someone who was in my situation had done the same thing before (and got an offer). Of course, I will tweak a few things here and there in my SOP, but I'd like to know if this kind of behavior is a taboo in the Adcom's eyes. 

Best of luck to you. The MPP is definitely a more practical approach.I would have considered applying it if my main interests are not in the History and Theory.

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