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Hi everyone

I'm new to this forum, and I saw that others have posted their SOPs for review. I have posted mine below, and would greatly appreciate any feedback.

This is in application for the Master of Science program in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.


<begin SOP>

A career in engineering can be thought of as climbing a tree. While everyone starts at a common trunk, the choice of each specialization is analogous to choosing which branch to follow.

Some engineers, like me, choose to explore multiple paths, or branches, in pursuit of knowledge and breadth in their career, partly for the satisfaction that is obtained by mastery of an enticing subject, and partly for the professional growth as an engineer. While returning to the trunk of the tree to re-climb another branch can be considered tiring by some, for me it is well worth the effort. The three branches of engineering I aim to collate and master, with the guidance of the faculty at the University of Arizona in the Optical Sciences department, are electro-optical, opto-mechanical, and optical design engineering. My education and experience up to this point have gotten me my fair share of electro-optical exposure, but I am aiming to grow in the areas of opto-mechanical and optical design engineering.

My undergraduate education was in electrical engineering at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. I received my B.S.E.E., with top honors, in the spring of 2010. My specialization in my undergraduate career was broad, with courses in both control and digital systems. Shortly after completing this degree, I enrolled at the University of Southern California, and will be finishing my M.S.E.E. this December. At USC my coursework could be succinctly described as focused on optical signal processing (Fourier methods in optics) and image processing. While initially focused strictly on image processing at USC, I became interested in optics when I took an introduction to lens design course at the University of California, Irvine extension campus. This course focused on the basics of lens design from a practical perspective, and covered the basics of Zemax in the design process.

As this lens design course at UCI extension spurred my interest in optics, I decided to dive into optical science on a deeper theoretical level, and blended optics coursework with my image processing work at USC. I also continued on with other optical engineering courses at UCI extension, included advanced lens design, and an introduction to opto-mechanical engineering with Solidworks. While these courses at UCI extension have been very insightful, they didn’t dive deep enough into the field of opto-mechanics. On the other hand, my courses in optics at USC were very deep theoretically in the science of optics, but they didn’t cover opto-mechanics at all. My goal, while studying at the University of Arizona, is to bridge the gap in my education and experience, from a deep conceptual/theoretical understanding of optics to a practical expertise in opto-mechanical engineering.

Aside from my education, I have extensive practical technical experience, both as an optical engineer at N2 Imaging Systems in Irvine, CA, and as a multidisciplinary technician in the live entertainment division at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. I was at Disneyland for almost ten years, where I helped design and maintain special effects for stage shows and attractions. Despite the amount of fun that I had in this job, my calling was to pursue my engineering career, so I chose to focus on my position as an Optical Engineer at N2 Imaging Systems. At N2 Imaging, I specify and perform optical testing of MTF, distortion, and effective focal length, as well as draft optical element drawings for both objective (IR and visible) and eyepiece lenses. Not only does my past experience provide me with a great foundation for pursuing opto-mechanical design and analysis, but receiving an Optical Sciences education at the University of Arizona will greatly strengthen my career as an optical engineer.

I am excited about the possibility of studying optical sciences at the University of Arizona, not only for the benefits that I will receive from a leading university in this field, but for what contributions I can make to the student community. My career, like multiple tree branches, is diverse and far reaching, but all of them stem from one common trunk: the desire to learn and grow.

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Once criticism is that it seems you could substitute XYZ University (or zzzyzx for that matter) in place of University of Arizona and not change the SOP.

Perhaps you could describe why you are selecting Arizona? Are there some specific professors whose work fits your own research interests? A particular strength or set of resources?

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  • 2 weeks later...

while reading your SoP I asked myself why University of Arizona? What makes it specific and so appealing for you? Is it just because Univ. of Arizona is one of the leaders in this field? If so, then it means you are not cool enough for the best one in this field. ( I am sure you are) Concentrate on why you chose this particular university and that will make you SoP spectacular. You vocabulary and analogy awsome for engineer ( I am also an engineer )... best wishes...

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