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But it can also mean explaining any gaps or irregularities and anticipating some of the questions they might raise.Perhaps you didn’t do as well as you hoped on your undergraduate degree, but went on to find your niche and succeed with a more specialised Masters.You know a lot about you, after all, but you only have so much time and space.
A personal statement is very likely to be requested if you you’re applying to an advertised project with pre-defined aims and objectives (and aren’t submitting your own Ph D proposal).
If so, it will be your main chance to say why you’re the best student for this position.
Either way, you should aim to be disciplined and concise.
There are two reasons for this: One is that the ability to think – and express yourself – clearly is a key Ph D skill in all subject areas. The other is that admissions tutors and prospective supervisors are people.
If you’re also submitting a separate research proposal you should probably focus more on why you want to research a Ph D than the specific topic you’re proposing to research (that, after all, is what your research proposal is for).
If you’re applying for an advertised project (and proposing your own research) you should say something about your interest in that Ph D: what interests you about it and what you can bring to it.It’s OK to acknowledge and explain that if so – particularly if your Masters relates closely to your Ph D.Similarly, if there’s a gap in your CV, it’s better to explain it than leave any begged questions – particularly if there’s a perfectly good reason why you weren’t working or studying at that point.Admissions tutors and supervisors will be interested in what’s brought you to choose a Ph D, but they won’t need to know your life story (and you won’t have time to tell it to them).If your interest in your subject was inspired in childhood, feel free to say so. Every personal statement needs to explain your motivation for taking on a Ph D, but what you include here will depend on the kind of Ph D you want to take on.Your personal statement isn’t a CV, so avoid simply listing qualifications you’ve detailed elsewhere in your application (on your CV, for example).But your personal statement a chance to comment on your CV and explain the significance of those qualifications for your Ph D application.Whereas your research proposal explains the potential of your project, your personal statement demonstrates your suitability for doctoral work in general.Writing a Ph D personal statement can seem challenging, but it’s also a valuable opportunity to state what you have to offer and ‘sell yourself’ as a Ph D candidate.It’s a good idea to say something about how this Ph D fits into your wider aims and career goals.The specifics of what you plan to do after your doctorate may not matter to your admissions tutors, but the fact that you plans and can show that a Ph D fits them demonstrates that you’ve thought seriously about a doctorate and are likely to commit to overcoming the challenges it involves.