When applying for a graduate programme leading to Master’s or Ph.D. degree, applicants are requested to submit a letter of motivation (sometimes called "statement of purpose"). These letters of motivation play an important role in the selection process.
How do you write a successful letter of motivation?
1. Take your time and start early. The letter of motivation is a crucial document in any application.
2. Do not start your letter of motivation by repeating your CV.
3. The letter of motivation should answer the following questions:
What is my professional goal in the context of the program I am applying for? In which sector (industry, government, academia,) do you intend to use your qualification and degree earned for your country or any other country.
In which way do you intend to contribute to the technological, scientific, social and/or political development of your home country once you are in a relevant position? (You may refer to knowledge from books and newspapers as well as to your professional or personal experience. Some facts and figures are highly welcomed).
Why do you want to study in this country?
- Is there anything in this country (technology, science, society, political system, economy…) which you think could serve as an inspiration for your own country? (Try to get some reading material from the country organizations, visit the website or the website of the Embassy in your home country and try to make contact with people who have lived in there.)
- In the context of the applied program, which specific technologies developed in that country would you like to learn more about and to apply in your home country? Why?
- Are there any organizations, institutions or companies you would like to visit or learn more about? Why?
- Why do you apply for the selected Master programme? Which of the courses offered in this programme are particularly beneficial in pursuing your professional goals? (Make sure you are well informed).
4. Make sure your letter of motivation is well composed. First, reflect on all the above questions, take notes, read more, discuss with friends. Then write an outline. Then write the text.
5. Apply an appropriate style of writing:
- Avoid all kind of vague, flowery phrases and flattery.
- Deal with your topics in a reflective and factual way. Do not campaign for your beliefs.
6. Proofread the text and delete all dispensable and redundant parts. In the end, your letter of motivation should comprise not more than one page (500 Words).