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Letter of Motivation - Help reqd.


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So i am applying for masters in development studies to IHEID & Sceinces Po where both demand letter of motivation instead of SOP. Though, the content ofcourse is the same. Still, the format differs. 


For instance, when we write a letter, we mention the address, the date, subject, salutation etc etc which is not reqd in an SOP. Hence I had few questions and was wondering if anyone can help me out with it. 


1. Does writing all that (salutation, subject etc) counted within the word limit or is it the content which starts after Dear Sir/Ma'am which is counted? 


2. Starting off, with I am ___ , a graduate of ____ and interested in applying for this course too eats up the word which they anyway can see from my application profile. So in this case, what should be my opening line? Should I just start off with, "I am keen to do this course because of the following reasons or what?


3. Should I write title Letter of Motivation above or just start with the address? 


I am really confused, so I would appreciate any kind of help with this! 




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I'd never heard of a Letter of Motivation until you mentioned it. Google says it's essentially the SOP of European schools.


Google also says you can do away with the formalities of addressing an audience, etc.. So no Sir/Madam.


Where it's "titled" and such is going to depend on how it's submitted. If you copy-paste into a text field, don't bother titling it. If it's submitted as a Word doc or PDF you'll want to put your name, info, etc.. somewhere in the document and with that you can "title" it as needed. In the header or footer or something. You don't have to have a big 16pt title centered above your text like an assignment essay. Imagine they're going to print it out and put it in a folder - what happens if they drop a page? So page numbers, your name, what it is, are important to be in header or footer of the pages. Think of it like if you were the person reading it, in a heap of papers, and you dropped a page or wanted to go back and reread something. "Who is this? What is this? Are these pages out of order?"


That sort of thing.


But my understanding is that it essentially -is- a SOP. So you'll want to try and avoid the sort of opening you're looking at. It's in a file, they know who you are, what you've applied for, etc.. so you don't have to spell it out at the start. You'll mention the course and why you want to take it, but you don't have to be so literal in answering it.


What exactly does the prompt say and how does it fit into the rest of the app? Are there other areas where you can address information instead of this Letter? (CV, Resume, other personal essay).


The art of these things is getting the info you need to get across in very strict word budgets. Think of your app as a whole. What does this part need to convey to make the full picture of who you are? 

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What exactly does the prompt say and how does it fit into the rest of the app? Are there other areas where you can address information instead of this Letter? (CV, Resume, other personal essay)


Hi Loric, 


Thanks so much for the response! :)


As for the question above, no there is no place else where I can mention the address. As for the prompt, there is nothing particular mentioned, just like a normal SOP. 

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