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science student trying to write social science SOP- help!

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I am applying for international affairs/development MA programs, but coming from a science (biology) degree I felt that I needed to focus on my work experience, but now my SOP looks like a glorified cover letter. Should I be more specific about what I want to research, even if I'm really unsure since I don't have that much academic experience yet?? Any edits, the harsher the better, (on the general layout and concept rather than grammar and wording) would be greatly appreciated!!


After graduating from my biology degree, with co-op distinction, I have spent several years of working internationally and gaining teaching and NGO experience in Canada. At this stage in my career, I am excited to continue my studies and pursue a master’s that, paired with my international work experience and science degree, will allow me to work in the field of public education of international development, human rights, and environmental conservation issues.

I have had a life long curiosity of how things work, and an undergraduate degree in biology was a perfect fit for me. While learning about the amazing facts of life, I became a capable analytical thinker with a strong grasp of scientific concepts and effective research capabilities.  Throughout my degree, I was an active volunteer for social justice issues, especially women’s rights. This included my participation with V-day, which raises awareness of violence against women, for three consecutive years. Through V-day, I helped organize, fundraise for, and performed twice, in their annual stage production, of which all funds go towards ending violence against women globally and locally. During my degree, I also took four human geography courses, which were Economic Geography, Introduction to Human Geography, Geographies of Development, and Research Methods in Human Geography, all of which deeped my understanding of and helped shape my worldview of international affairs and its affect on human development. 

Through my co-operative education program, I was able to find positions that allowed me to work in governmental positions, a private company, and an NGO, both abroad and in multiple Canadian cities. For example, my fourth co-op placement was in Entebbe, Uganda, where I interned for the (blah) NGO. To help pay for this unpaid internship position, I applied for and was awarded several scholarships. My experience working for blah was an wonderful introduction to international NGO work, and I was able to quickly adapt to the challenges of cross-cultural exchanges, language barriers, and typical NGO funding shortages. blah’s work also helped me gain an understanding of gender issues relating to international developement, as well as consider postcolonial theories, both in developing countries as well as at home in Canada.

Upon my return to Canada, having learned that the most important impact one can have on a developing country is often through supporting local initiatives that already exist in developing communities, I spent a semester putting together a fundraiser for blah that successfully raised money and awareness of many of blah’s projects. I was also asked, to write a featured article for my universitie’s newspaper about blah and my experience abroad.

After my degree, I decided to gain more international work experience. I first held a 5 month CIDA internship in South Africa, teaching local communities about sustainable marine resource management. Again, I often faced with issues of gender discrimination and racism, which were frustrating re-iterations of my experiences in Uganda. When I returned to Canada, I tutored ESL students while completing a TESOL course, and decided to teach in South Korea. I have now almost finished a year-long English teaching contract in Seoul, South Korea, where, although it is highly technologically advanced, many critics agree that social norms have not yet caught up to international standards, for example in sexist attitudes towards women, including in my own workplace. I am also currently a volunteer tutor for North Korean refugees in South Korea. Throughout my international work, I have also had the opportunity to travel to many other developing countries.  

I am currently taking online, non-credit, courses in international affairs and globalization to help solidify my theoretical knowledge of international relations and current events. I will also enroll in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics in the summer semester of 2015 in order to fulfill the prerequisites for the master’s program.

(example) program appeals to me I think the courses (especially these ones, example) offered are a great match for my career goals. Additionally, I acheived a high level of French speaking and writing abilities through being in French Immersion from Kindergarten through grade 9, and then fully immersed when my family moved to a small, french-speaking town in Quebec for my full school year of grade 10. I am excited improve my French through the bilingual components of (example), as well as through living in (town).

My ambition is to combine my work experience, science background, and (example’s interdisciplanary approach to public policy and international development to become an effective international advocate for women’s rights and environmental conservation, whether it be through public, private, or NGO work.

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

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