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Hello everyone,

I will start applying to PhD programs this month but I am not confident that my SOP is good enough. As an international student, I have little knowledge on this since writing SOP for graduate schools is not common my country (if existent). Can someone review my SOP and tell me what could be changed to improve it? Any advice is welcome :)

ps.: I have ommited the university and faculty members names for an ethical reason.

 

Thanks

 

Raul L. L. Carmo

 

I am writing on behalf of my application for the Doctoral program in Chemistry at X University. I have earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the Federal University of Viçosa (Brazil) in 2015 and the strong research on catalysis and new synthetic methodologies conducted in your institution made me very interested in pursuing graduate studies at your department.

 

Since sophomore year in college, I have been involved in research projects in the interface between organic and inorganic chemistry, studying new ways to transform abundant and cheap substances into valuable compounds using less toxic reagents and generating less waste. In my senior thesis I managed to transform compounds extracted from pine trees into biologically-active amines in a one-pot procedure using ethanol instead of toluene as a solvent, a greener approach to the synthesis of amines that led to higher yields and selectivities than the traditional systems already used. In addition, I had the opportunity to take graduate-level courses at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) about group theory, advanced mass spectrometry and experimental nuclear magnetic resonance which contributed to my understanding of important concepts of my research area. I have also spent the 2012-2013 academic year in the U.S studying chemistry at Allegheny College and University of California Davis as a recipient of the Science Without Borders scholarship. Studying abroad has introduced me to state-of-the-art science and allowed me to operate new instruments and learn new techniques not available in my home institution. In 2016, the American Chemical Society awarded me with a scholarship to travel to Panama, where I received intensive training on scientific outreach and communication. This opportunity has  impacted the way I think chemistry can serve our society and made me realize I can do more for my country than I ever expected through science. Brazil has numerous economic and social inequality problems,and I think one of the most powerful ways to overcome them is through international scientific cooperation and knowledge exchange.

 

Research experience combined with extensive theoretical and practical training received during the baccalaureate and graduate-level courses encouraged me to take a step further in my career as a scientist. My professional goal is to become highly qualified in the field of catalysis and teach at an institution committed to social, economic, environmental and scientific development in my country. The PhD program in Chemistry at X University is a very good fit for me since it has a structure with all the resources I need to advance in my research, with Dr. Y and Dr. Z groups being very active and relevant to my field. It is also a medium-sized program in a small city, in that way I would feel more at home than I would in a big city where I would only be seen as a number.

 

I am confident that the aforementioned characteristics make me a viable candidate for this graduate program. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss my candidacy with the department faculty and provide further information. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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