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Mention Professors in SOP?


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If there is a professor you are interested in working with, you should mention them. How else will your application land in front of them to look over? Personally I have contacted one or two professors at each school I am applying to, but have found additional connections to other professors in order to highlight that I will have numerous professors to draw upon in my research, to fill committees, etc. If one of these professors was interested in being my advisor, I would be delighted to have the option in this uncertain application season.

Really mentioning as many professors as you have a legitimate connection with interest-wise is the way to go:

Scenario 1: Say at Dream School X the professor I contacted ends up having another potential student they are more excited about ( dry.gif ) then I might have a chance to still attend Dream School X working with my second or third choice professor if they know I am interested in them too.

Scenario 2: I could imagine a situation where Professor X is getting priority to accept a student and Professor Y is currently grantless, got a student last year, has a student who didn't graduate as scheduled, etc. and is therefore low on the priority list. If you want to work with Professor Y, and also mention Professor X, maybe you could get accepted as a joint advisee. Maybe they are always talking about collaborating but haven't gotten around to it and you can be their catalyst. That would not happen if you didn't mention Professor X at all.

Finally, naming more professors will potentially get your application looked at by more people with a vote if the department has any sort of communality to their acceptance decisions. My guess is that professors like to have people who are interested in their work, even if they are not directly working with them.

Don't put in names just because, but also don't hesitate to put in any professor's name who you believe you have a research connection with. I don't know much about how engineering programs work, so maybe my scenarios don't apply as well as they would to psychology but I can't see a downside to mentioning professors that you are truly interested in.

Edited by LJK
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Hi speed,

It is generally encouraged to name professors who you are interested in working with in Engineering or other Science fields. Even if you haven't contacted them before.

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Scenario 2: I could imagine a situation where Professor X is getting priority to accept a student and Professor Y is currently grantless, got a student last year, has a student who didn't graduate as scheduled, etc. and is therefore low on the priority list. If you want to work with Professor Y, and also mention Professor X, maybe you could get accepted as a joint advisee. Maybe they are always talking about collaborating but haven't gotten around to it and you can be their catalyst. That would not happen if you didn't mention Professor X at all.

Heh--Professor X. Would love to work with him.

On a less flippant note, thanks for the helpful info in this thread.

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I had the same question. Thanks speed for posting this.

I asked a few people and they said its a better idea to name a research group that you are interested in as more people will be interested in reading your Sop. I don't know if its true, but it makes sense. Anyway thanks everybody for the other answers.

Jake

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