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Engineer's SOP?


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how should an engineer write is SOP. i have good idea but mine is straight to the point/. Basically it says.. been in r&d cos i like r&d.. there is good progress in work.. am happy with the work i do.. so common sense dictates to step it up by PhD..

any other engineers from the core/old streams like mech chem Mat.Sci civil???????????????

it would be great if anyone with admission would wanna post a part of their sop.. can even send me the copy here :P

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In the sciences and engineering, the SOP is like a cover letter for your application. It should definitely highlight your R&D experience and any other relevant things. Unlike a CV or resume though, the SOP allows you to give a personal spin to it. So you could/should go into some detail about what your actual duties at each position was and how that helped you decide to go on the career path you have now. You can also use it to explain any differences between your experience and what the school expects. For example, being from Canada, I had a short paragraph explaining why I chose to do a MSc in Canada before going to a US grad school (since I pretty much have to start all over again). I was careful to make it clear that a MSc in Canada is really like a mini PhD, not what most Masters programs in the US are like. At a conference I recently attended in the US, when I said I was a MSc student from Canada when introducing myself, people either asked why I wasn't interested in a PhD or made comments like "well not everyone has to do a PhD". So it might be worth finding out any potential differences between your school system and the US system and addressing them if necessary.

I think you should be much more detailed/careful when writing about why you want to do a PhD. I'm sure you have other reasons, but the way you put it (i.e. a PhD is the next logical step) is not a good reason! It sounds like you want to go to their school because you can't think of anything else to do (school-wise). You should make sure you write about what your eventual goals are and why a PhD is necessary for these goals. A strong SOP would also include why you pick their school -- do they have a really good lab in your subfield? etc.

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hmm.. thats what even i have concluded. The reason i specifically i asked for an engineers view, as you pointed out, we are extremely technical when compared to other applicants. Hence my SOP turn out direct to the point.

i do have back story plus working in different labs followed by industry... i can cushion in that aspect but again.. the would has to be ur inherent interest in R&d which makes PhD as the most logical step

How did u start your SOP. Mine is just an introducing about my tech qualification which they can even get from my resue. So am i wasting the precious 4 lines which can have hugh impact??

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I'm not sure if I had a strong start to my SOP at all. The more I think about it, the more I doubt it was good but when it was application time, I was just so sick of working on these things so I set a time limit and submitted whatever I had by that deadline (I'm still in a MSc program so it's a lot of work already!). But I guess it did work out after all, so I can't complain :)

I started with mentioning that as a child (I know, cheesy), I really enjoyed doing puzzles and reading mystery books. I then talked about why I chose my undergrad school, major and why I chose the 5-year degree with co-op option instead of just a 4-year degree. Then I talked about my research experiences, in order, and what I learned from each one. I related them back to my opening thoughts by describing the experiences that convinced me that I truly wanted to do research. I admitted that I wasn't sure about what research was really all about at first. After all, it's really intimidating to a inexperienced undergrad -- how can we be expected to contribute to people working on the Universe's mysteries? But after my first work term, I realized that research really was puzzle solving lots of tiny problems (e.g. debugging code, writing a program, engineering a part to fit/do something) in order to get more clues about the bigger mysteries. And that I loved it.

I kept that theme in the rest of my SOP too, especially near the end when discussing what I want to do next. I don't think it sounded as forced as it did here when I try to describe it. It's also not that original, but I thought it's better than saying like "as a child, I was always interested in topic X" which wasn't true for me -- I had no idea what astronomy research was all about until University. Although what I did was similar anyways, I hope it was at least not boring/annoying to read!

As for my other research experience stuff, I included lots of non-technical points as well. For example, I always explained why I chose each project -- one of them was not in my field at all and I explained why I made that choice (it was my last chance to do research in something different before starting grad school in my field). I think this is important because I wanted my SOP to show how I think, what kind of person I am, and what are my approaches to learning and research. But I tried to do this by staying on the topic of my research experience.

I agree that you must show an inherent interest in research to be a good fit for the PhD programs, especially in engineering. But what I meant was that you should really spend some time discussing why a PhD is a good fit for you as well. What do you want to do with the PhD? How will it enhance your career? What are your career goals? etc. I don't think it's a good idea to do a PhD only because you want to further your education (i.e. the next logical step). PhD students are expensive -- the department will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into you. They want to know that you will be able to take the PhD and do great things with it to make it worth their investment.

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  • 1 month later...

Even I have been struggling with my sop.. Especially since I took an year off to prepare for civil services exam, but sadly, couldn't clear prelims.. But now I've decided to pursue masters instead coz anyway, I always wanted to do masters in the first place.. But had to forego the plan due to financial issues..

If I disclose the civil services prep gap, will it have a negative effect in my admission application process?

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