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Statement of Purpose Length if undefined: Pittsburgh


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If the school does not specify a length for the SOP what parameters should be observed?

Here is what U Pittsburgh states:

Personal Statement: In the "Additional Information" Section of the online admission form discuss at length your intellectual and professional interest in graduate study in anthropology.

This statement is a vital part of the application, and carries the most weight in our admissions decisions. Your statement might appropriately address the following questions:

a. What are your primary interests within your chosen field of study?

b. What theoretical issues do you intend to study in graduate school?

c. On what region of the world will you focus, and what topics would you like to explore for that region?

Suggestions? Typical statement word counts from past applicants?

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I went up to 1100 words and now I am whittling it back down.

A good deal could be cut out by taking out the history of my coursework and its relevance to my current research goals. If I can just cut to the current interests, the length issue would be solved. Should coursework just go in a separate list or can it have a place in the SOP?

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i think you could discuss research projects/coursework that has contextual relevance to the current interests you have now. maybe how those research projects/coursework directly inform and shape the research interests and questions you have as well as the approaches you plan to take in interrogating those questions you have. i think you could pick one or two of the MOST relevant or dynamic of the courses/research projects and demonstrate how you utilize your time and experience with coursework in ways that make a dynamic impact on the work you have produced and hope to produce. you do not need to do this with every course that you can think of that can be some way related. that would be, imHo, the opposite purpose of the the sop project/exercise.

i totally agree with the folks above who have suggested not to create an exegesis out of your transcript. that would also be outside the purpose of the sop. you need to show what you intend to do in grad school and your past should mostly serve as an informant to your future.

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2 pages, and it can be single-spaced. Double-spaced is really only relevant for when you are editing something.

Here's your format:

1st paragraph- who you want to work with, what you want to do, and why you want to work with that person to do what you do.

Everything else- flush out what you've written in your first paragraph, including academic history. If you've done a significant amount of research (i.e. you have a masters degree and are going to continue on with that work), focus less on your academic history.

This format allows for other faculty on the search committee or in the department to see who you are and what you want without having to read 2 pages. The faculty who you want to work with will be able to have the space to delve more deeply into who you are and what you're about.

Caveat: I applied 4 years ago.

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