Jump to content

SOP Evaluation- Materials Engineering

Recommended Posts



I am applying to PhD program in Materials Science and Engineering for Fall 2015. Can someone please help me out by evaluating my SOP


Thanks ! :)


“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
Carl Sagan

I am xxx, Master’s Student and Graduate Student Researcher at National University of Singapore. I am currently working on the field-emission properties of 2-D carbon nanostructures. My interest lies in thin films for semiconductor applications, carbon based nanocomposites and their synthesis for engineering applications. I want to work towards a PhD in Materials Engineering at North Carolina State University, and Dr. xxx’s research group are well suited to my background and interests.


I have always been a seeker. As a child, I wondered why the iron wires in my backyard would change color and break down eventually so we had to replace them. Why I could see through the glass in my window pane but not get my hand across it was another perplexing question. The science of materials gave me all of those answers and more, but there are so many others that mankind is still in quest of. It is in pursuit of gaining insights into the essential fundamentals that I wish to study Materials Science.


Accredited to a good score in Senior Secondary School Examination, I was able to take up Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as major subjects at higher secondary level. In 2007 I obtained the 1st rank in my city and 1285th nationwide in the 10th  National Science Olympiad organized by the Science Olympiad Foundation and qualified for the Second Round with a 90 percentile score. Consequently I secured All India Rank of 1023 in the final round of the Olympiad. As learning was reinforced by acknowledgement for the same, my interest in sciences was further fortified. 


A keen desire to pursue Materials Engineering and an all India rank that placed me in the top 2.5% students nationwide among over 1 million candidates landed me at the prestigious National Institute of Technology (NIT), Jamshedpur in 2009. Overwhelmed to be a part of an Institute of national repute, I wanted to make the most out of the opportunities and facilities provided at NIT. In 2010, our team of freshmen won 2nd position for the model presented at the All India Materials Engineering Festival of NIT and the Indian Institute of Metals. Through a working model that explored the dynamics of pelletization, I discovered a practical perspective of courses taught for the very first time.


The desire to know the causes was augmented by an exposure to the scientific method at university. As a sophomore, I developed MATLAB codes for thermodynamic problems in metallurgical operations under the guidance of Dr. xxx. Codes were developed for common industrial procedures, targeted at removing redundancy in calculation of operational variables in metallurgical design problems. Also, behavior of process parameters was observed from the plots obtained. I was introduced to the inter-disciplinary nature of materials science and its limitless scope through these projects. Towards the end of sophomore year, I underwent practical training at Quality Control Laboratory of Coal India Limited. I performed the quality assessment of coal obtained from nearby mines involving chemical analysis, sampling, and determining its suitability for use in industry. This included the proximate analysis of carbon, moisture, ash and volatile matter content as well as calorific value and washability characteristics. While grasping the laboratory-industry alliance, I also gained hands on experience with several instruments used in the quality control lab. 


I made a sincere effort to quench my thirst of knowledge and with every goal attained began the pursuit of another. I had the good fortune to work with Professor xxx and Professor xxx on the ‘Replacement of Indium Tin Oxide by Carbon Nanotubes as the Anode Material in Organic Light Emitting Diodes’ and ‘Failure of S.G. Cast Iron Collector Nozzle Assembly in Steel Ladles’ respectively. The former was accepted for presentation at the National Metallurgist’s Day 2011, and the latter presented at IIT Madras Materials Engineering Conference. Towards the end of year 3, I got an opportunity to work at the prestigious National Metallurgical Laboratory, one of the Central Government Institutes established nationwide under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. My project on ‘Deposition of Superhard Ti-Si-B-C Nano-Composite Coatings on Steel by Magnetron Sputtering- Microstructure, Mechanical and Thermal Behavior’ taught me the intricacies of scientific research driven by industry, and working under as eminent a researcher as Dr. xxx was enriching in every sense of the word. I gained experience in sputtering deposition, characterization techniques, nanoindentation, thermal analysis and thin film properties. I further continued work on the high temperature properties of the same noncomposite for my final-year project on ‘High Temperature Oxidation Behavior Studies of superhard nanocomposite Ti-Si-B-C Coated Stainless Steel’. This study was presented at National Metallurgical Day 2013, IIT BHU Varanasi. I had developed an interest in advanced materials and nanocomposites, and later took elective courses in Advanced Materials during undergraduate studies.


Instruction does much, but encouragement does a lot more for the constant process that learning is. In 2013, I was awarded the second prize for my work on ‘Lowering of Alumina in high alumina Iron ores to produce DR grade iron ore pellets’ at the 26th National Convention of Metallurgical and Materials Engineers. A simple yet elegant flow diagram was developed, in which iron ore fines having a high alumina content went through a series of beneficiation processes, resulting in significantly lower alumina content; the rejects of conventional sintering was thus made suitable for industrial use.

Undergraduate studies taught me not just to love my subject, but to be passionate about it. I was elected Class Representative of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (Class of 2013) three years in a row, and also General Secretary of RLB Hall of Residence for two years. These were challenging experiences that taught me leadership, initiative and independent decision making.  I graduated in May 2013 with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 9.09 on 10. 

I was chosen the campus Ambassador for Mu Sigma Inc. as a student, and offered full time position as Trainee Decision Scientist upon graduation. Acceptance for Masters in Materials Science and Engineering at prestigious National University of Singapore (NUS) came soon after.  Graduate school at the NUS has been an unparalleled experience, which brought me to the forefront of technological innovation. I started working as a Graduate Student Researcher in Carbon Nanotechnology group under Professor Daniel Chua, alongside taking departmental courses. Working with him and the group shaped my outlook on nanomaterials for engineering applications. Nanomaterials synthesis, when put to use in device integration, including nanoelectronics and photonic devices, has the potential to drive technological innovation. I chose to concentrate on the field emission properties of 2D carbon thin films, particularly the effect of fluorine treatment on carbon nanotubes and graphene hybrid films. The results of this work are compiled in “Field Emission Properties of Surface Fluorinated Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene Hybrid films”, which is under review for publication in Applied Surface Science.  

Another experience that greatly helped me expand my horizons and contribute to the organization in the process was internship at Seagate Technology International for summer 2014. The project was designed to improve sputter process over target lifetime, utilizing metrology tools (N&K, Candela, ESCA, TOF-SIMS) for analysis of electrical, physical, mechanical and magnetic properties of the disk. At the end of my attachment, I successfully developed system for power setting updating with reducing target lifetime and also won the best Internship presentation for Summer Internship 2014 intake. The proposed system is currently in process of implementation at Launch Sputter department of Seagate.


There is an ever increasing scope of research and exploration in all the branches of applied sciences, especially those that form the backbone of modern technology. All innovation and its sustainability depend on the intelligent use of new materials in order to meet the technical challenges facing modern industry.  My long term dream is to develop materials with higher efficiency and energy saving characteristics. I believe that the PhD program at xxx University is perfect in this regard due to its focus on understanding the structure, modification and properties of materials, development of new or improved processing methods, and encouraging the multi-disciplinary nature of the field. Professor xxx research group is particularly aligned to my interests due to research emphasis on semiconductors and supersaturated semiconductor alloys for advanced electronic devices, thin films, atomic scale characterization of defects and interfaces, physical and chemical vapor deposition of thin films. Given the opportunity, I will prove to be a positive addition to the reputed xxx University.







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

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.