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Need some help with my MA application's SOP


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Hello, everyone.

I have decided to apply for a second MA in English. My first MA was in humanities and social sciences. I just had a quick question about the statement of purpose. 

For the prompt, it's asking to clarify your background in literature, as well as explain why you want to attend the program. Would it be wrong for my statement of purpose to include my interest in American Modernism? I was planning on writing about how I'm interested in American Modernism and would like to continue probing modernist texts while exploring other multiple theoretical avenues. 

Also, would it be wise to tell the ugly truth about why I'm going back to school? To be honest, I feel that my interdisciplinary degree made me miss out on so many works of literature, criticisms, and theories. I want a degree that focuses mainly on literature and allows me to solidify my research interests while fostering strong relationships with the professors. I did like NYU, but it wasn't the right fit for me, and I feel like I didn't have a close connection with the school and the professors. 

At NYU, I took two classes relating on the Modern American Novel, and they really piqued my interest. I think that's what I want to study at the doctoral level, but I'm not 100% sure. 

Thank you in advance! 

 

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Fellow NYU attendee here.

For the statement of purpose, I would definitely (and essentially) elaborate on my interest in American Modernism.
I would also think, one way of presenting the truth of why I’m going back to school is to not make it sound “ugly”. I’d aim for an honest representation that does not involve too many details of how “unfit” a particular school or program has been in the past.

Good luck!

Edited by LtotheOG
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On 2/10/2021 at 3:07 PM, LittleShakespeare90 said:

Hello, everyone.

I have decided to apply for a second MA in English. My first MA was in humanities and social sciences. I just had a quick question about the statement of purpose. 

For the prompt, it's asking to clarify your background in literature, as well as explain why you want to attend the program. Would it be wrong for my statement of purpose to include my interest in American Modernism? I was planning on writing about how I'm interested in American Modernism and would like to continue probing modernist texts while exploring other multiple theoretical avenues. 

Also, would it be wise to tell the ugly truth about why I'm going back to school? To be honest, I feel that my interdisciplinary degree made me miss out on so many works of literature, criticisms, and theories. I want a degree that focuses mainly on literature and allows me to solidify my research interests while fostering strong relationships with the professors. I did like NYU, but it wasn't the right fit for me, and I feel like I didn't have a close connection with the school and the professors. 

At NYU, I took two classes relating on the Modern American Novel, and they really piqued my interest. I think that's what I want to study at the doctoral level, but I'm not 100% sure. 

Thank you in advance! 

 

 

In reverse order:  It's a statement of purpose, not a confessional, so you don't want to get into any of the angst surrounding the previous MA. If you touch on it, do so quickly and concisely, along the lines of explaining that while you found value in your previous degree's interdisciplinary approach, you are seeking to engage in more targeted research on American Modernism.

That brings us to your interest in American Modernism.  After reading your SoP, it should be clear which aspects of American Modernism interest you.  Which authors/issues do you want to explore?  What research questions do you have about the field?  These don't need to be fully formed yet (though they will need to be a bit more concrete when you apply to PhD programs), but you should have some sense of where you want your research to go.  For example, when I applied to my MA program, my SoP mentioned that I was interested in representations of teachers and scenes of education in Shakespeare.  I had a vague sense that Shakespeare was representing his teachers as fools and his fools as teachers, and I wanted to explore that a bit more.  Don't just give them a sub-field.  Give them an idea of what you want to do in that sub-field.

Finally, for the bit about "why you want to attend the program," they want to know that you've done your background on their school.  Are there professors in that department that you are particularly excited to work with?  Resources/collections at that university that will help your research?  Make that clear in the SoP.

 

A good SoP for an MA program tells the admissions committee where you want your research to go and why you want/need to do that work at that particular school.  Beyond that, the rest of it is just window dressing.  Above all else--never make the same mistakes I made in my first application cycle (I legit told the U of Delaware that I was applying to their PhD program because it was close to my brother's family and family is important to me. Trust me--they do not give an eff, haha).

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