Jump to content

Two research interests on SoP?


Recommended Posts

I'm thinking that I already know the answer to this question but figured I'd throw it out there to get some responses.

How important is it that on your Statement of Purpose you only state one research interest? I'm really interested in two distinct topics, terrorism and nuclear arms/non-proliferation. More specifically I am interested in the effectiveness of terrorism in achieving its political aims and how to prevent/combat it. On the other hand, I'm very interested in nuclear weapons and non-proliferation and how proliferation might not be the great evil that everyone paints it as.

In an ideal world, I'd focus on one in graduate school while still being able to research the other. My fear is that if I choose one, I'll be locked in to that and won't be able to do research in other areas. When looking at faculty, it seems normal for professors to be well-versed in a wide array of topics. However, in the case of a statement of purpose, I'm guessing that it's not advisable to have two different research interests because they'll think I'm just playing the field or don't have my mind made up.

Thoughts/advice/expert opinions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, your statement of purpose does not lock you into anything, so even if you did focus your SOP on just one area, you would still be free to research both throughout grad school.

Second, I don't think mentioning both is a bad thing. Both are clearly security issues, so you could broadly frame your interests as security and then discuss each area as a a subset of your broader interest. Also, it seems plausible that your two areas actually have some overlap. Presumably, much of the discussion of why proliferation is bad, is that it increases the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear materials. If you present the topics as somewhat overlapping, I think you will be well served by including both.

Best of luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the response. I did frame the two issues in that light. I´m finally getting to the point where my statement of purpose seems solid. Here´s to hoping that the adcoms think the same. :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use