skip to contentThe University of Texas at Austin

Statement of Purpose Guidelines

Information to include

  1. Describe, in detail, your research interests (1-3 paragraphs).
  2. Describe how you have prepared yourself for this research and for graduate education. Have you studied abroad or conducted research? Which courses fueled your interests? Don't just list courses and time abroad, explain what you learned that sparked your interest and the questions these experiences raised.
  3. Why do you want to join our graduate program? Which of our faculty would you like to work with if you are admitted and why?
  4. What are your post-graduation plans?

Things to avoid

  1. A statement longer than two pages.  Be concise.
  2. A statement of purpose is not a personal statement. Do not include anecdotes from your childhood unless it specifically relates to a larger academic question.
    • OK statement: In junior high, my best friend was Pakistani. When I would eat dinner at her house, her family would tell me stories about Partition, and this sparked my curiosity about the history and culture of Pakistan. Since then, I have taken courses to explore South Asian history and government, particularly Partition, in order to answer the question of what historical and societal circumstances led to Partition.
    • Bad statement: When I was seven years old, my grandmother went to Japan and she returned with fascinating stories of this exotic land. I imagined geishas and samurais walked the streets of Tokyo and ever since I have wanted to go there. While other kids were out riding their bikes, I sat at home reading Japanese comic books. I remember how strange my parents thought I was, especially when I asked to go to a sushi restaurant.
  3. A statement in a language other than English.  
  4. Do not have a generic statement that you send to all universities. Your statement should include why you want to attend UT and the names of faculty with whom you want to work.
  5. It is not necessary to list your GPA. The University will calculate your graduate admissions GPA and the admissions committee will review your transcripts.