What are some topics to include in a personal statement for a Master’s in Physics?

Ready to start your journey?

DegreeQuery.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Graduate and professional schools frequently ask for a personal statement, also known as a statement of purpose or letter of intent. The weight placed on your composition varies from one institution to another. Another term applied to it is one of the soft factors presented to admissions. The hard elements are transcripts and standardized test scores, GRE for example. The soft or intangible factors include extra-curricular activities, community or volunteer work, and other personal accomplishments.

How articulate you are in the statement is as important as your GPA and letters of recommendation. Your command of English language structure and grammar is on display. How you express yourself on paper is equal to what you include in the personal statement.

You are not writing a resume or autobiography, but some of the material is similar, such as job history, accolades and awards, and professional goals. This information leads to why you want a graduate degree and what areas interest you for specialization. On this point, you could inform the reader why and how you’ve selected that concentration. One statement flows to another as you expand on your interest in a specific field and what you plan to do once you reach this goal. Do you plan to enter the workforce, conduct research, or pursue a doctorate?

Individuals who’ve taken public speaking may have heard the advice about the importance of the opening. Ideally, the first several words of the speech need to captivate the audience. Make the listeners want to sit up with the thought: Okay, you’ve got my attention. Similarly, the personal statement must make the reader eager to read more. For example, an event, experience, something you read, or someone you met sparked your fascination with topics related to physics. If one of these applies, explain why in specific terms.

Your writing is meant to be personal, which is why advisors recommend incorporating influences and experiences in your life. Turn negative into positive if you lost a part-time job or financial support – how did you overcome this setback through perseverance?

Did you participate in any research projects or become involved in programs outside your required courses that will illustrate your passion for physics? Did you work in a physics lab or natural museum that you can elaborate on how this was beneficial? As you address these questions and others, you need to be realistic. Stating you want to refute a current physics theory or prove one is unrealistic. You are not trying to be the next Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist who obtained his Ph.D. by the age of 23! Dr. Hawking refuted Einstein’s theory that nothing escapes a black hole. He theorized that black holes emit radiation using quantum physics, and they are not black (now known as Hawking radiation).

Your personal statement or statement of purpose should state why you’re applying to this particular program? Even though it may not be the only graduate school to which you applied. Insert the specific reasons why you selected their particular physics program by focusing on something within their curriculum, for example, that attracted you. Research or visit the school to help with this component.

Before doing an initial draft of the personal statement, check the institution’s requirements for master’s programs. Regardless of the major, all admissions will have the same statement guidelines. UTSA Graduate School in San Antonio, Texas, refers to a Statement of Purpose that should be 500 to 1000 words. Other parameters include the demonstration that you will be able to complete the degree successfully. This school also advises contacting an advisor before submission.

Admissions to the University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, part of the Graduate and Professional Studies, do not provide much guidance. The school only states that a personal statement is necessary as stipulated by the desired program.

In the first paragraph, we mentioned two terms: personal statement and statement of purpose. Students should not use these interchangeably as there is a difference. The University of California Davis sees the latter as a focus on your academic goals and achievements. Whereas the former leans towards personal experiences and influences that have influenced your dedication to physics. Davis also adheres to the advice to explain what has led you to physics as a major? And how you plan to perpetuate your interest in a career?

A quick search online populates a multitude of sites offering advice and sample statements. Begin in your sophomore or junior year writing and proofreading. Let a faculty member or professor critique it and make suggestions. After all, you will need the services and agreement of these teachers when writing letters of recommendation—another vital part of the graduate school application process.

Additional Resources:

Top 50 Highest Paying Master’s Degrees

 Should I take the GRE Physics Subject Exam?

How can a degree in Physics lead to computer programming?

Is there a professional reason to study the history of Physics?

What undergraduate degrees, other than in Physics, will help my acceptance into a Physics Master’s program?

 How long is a typical Master’s program in Physics?

Can I get a Ph.D. in Physics and without a Master’s Degree?

What are some “bridge programs” for a graduate physics program if I don’t have a robust application?

If I don’t want to teach, what kind of jobs is there with a Physics degree?

What are some typical requirements to complete before applying for a Master’s in Physics?