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Graduate School Statement of Purpose

  1. Dec 22, 2008 #1
    I need help with my Statement of Purpose. I have been doing research on experimental high energy particle physics for the past two years of my undergraduate career. However, I have discovered that there is no way I want to continue work in this field in grad school. In my personal statement, should I say that I want to continue in this field for the sake of continuity and consistency or should I be honest and talk about something that I find interesting but have little training in (Gravity). Little training, in this case, means one class on Differential Geometry and some private study.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2008 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    This probably goes without saying, but you shouldn't lie anywhere in your application package.
  4. Dec 22, 2008 #3


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    I would suggest you focus the letter on what you're interested in and explain why you have that interest, rather than wasting any time on why you're not interested in something else. When talking about your experiences in high energy particle physics, focus on what you've gotten out of the work: any skills you've acquired, presentations you've made, publications (if any), programming experience, etc.
  5. Dec 22, 2008 #4
    Try to find some things you've learned while working on HEP that would apply to Gravity.
  6. Dec 25, 2008 #5
    Although professors certainly like experience in a specific area when recruiting students, peoples' interests change over time. The ability to do research is a quality that can be transferred to another area, so I don't see it as particularly bad that you're now interested in a new area. You should definitely talk about what you're interested in now though because professors will use your app when determining who to hire. In fact, that's how my advisor found me.
  7. Dec 26, 2008 #6
    Americanforest, your experience might be somewhat useful in grad school. I'm a second year grad student in experimental high energy astrophysics. I know it's slightly different (smaller collaborations, bigger role in constructing/maintaining detectors, slightly different experimental procedures, etc.). But I have to work with electronics, and I do programming every day. In fact I've had to learn ROOT, which CERN developed for their data analysis.

    These skills are useful elsewhere in physics. If you work in theoretical cosmology, programming skills are very important. And in observational cosmology, instrumentation skill are important. You probably have this sort of experience, and you can highlight it on your essay.
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