How to Write a Statement of Purpose – SOP (with Example)


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“Statement of Purpose” sometimes called as “Statement of Interest” is a very prior requirement for applying in various institutes for the post of Project Fellow, Internship/Training or Research Scholar.

Writing an SOP or SOI is sometimes confusing because it is not always easy for a fresher to collect all work in a single document. A well crafted SOP establishing smooth connections between all previous projects can increase the chances of approval.

So, here I present a step-by-step guide on how to write a “Statement of Purpose”. I have taken an example of my own work but overall you can look at the writing pattern, and edit it with your details.

Note: Font should be TIMES NEW ROMAN with size 12.

Firstly, tell them about your current and past affiliations of educational qualifications.

“I, Martina Saran have completed post-graduate studies in Physics from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 2012 & graduate in physical science from Delhi University in 2010. I am applying for the Research Project in your department and following serves as my Statement of interest (SOI).”

Introduce your work which you might have done in your B.Sc. or M.Sc. levels as part of project or dissertation.

“I always got fascinated about the world, which we cannot see from our naked eyes, the world which, constitute a nano, micro dimensions. So, I chose my M.Sc. final dissertation on “Synthesis and Characterization of Cobalt Nanoparticles” under the supervision of prof. Neeraj Khare. The motive of my work was to explore the change in different physical and magnetic properties in the nano-dimensional regime. I followed Chemical route to synthesize cobalt nanoparticles using a thermal decomposition method. We also studied the effect of surfactants on the growth of cobalt nanoparticles.”

Tell them about the characterizations which you have hands-on during your lab work.

In the characterization part, physical and magnetic properties are studied. In physical properties, X-ray diffraction and HRTEM analysis are done to know the crystal structure and morphology of cobalt nanoparticles. Magnetic analysis of nanoparticles is done by SQUID.

Close your introduction part by concluding remark.

“Currently, nanotechnology and nanomaterials have attracted several researchers from different fields, especially from the field of luminescence. It has been found that the physical properties of individual nanoparticles can be very different from those of their bulk counterparts. Recent studies on different luminescent nanomaterials have shown that they have a potential application in dosimetry of ionizing radiations for the measurements of high doses using the TL technique, where the conventional microcrystalline phosphors saturate.”

Try to write a brief note about your experimental or theoretical work. Professors are mostly interested in this part only. So write this part carefully and memorize your steps because they will surely be going to ask you several questions out of it.

Blah Blah Blah. This may seem uninteresting to you because this is the work dedicated to my field so just focus on the pattern rather than the scientific details.

“The cobalt nanoparticles are synthesized by injecting the organometallic precursor into the surfactant mixture of TPP and oleic acid at 200 °C and keeping the growth temperature at 185 °C under an inert environment provided by the nitrogen gas supply. octa-carbonyl dicobalt, TPP, oleic acid, dichlorobenzene and heptane are used to synthesize 16–18 nm Co nanoparticles, a three-necked flask with 40 ml of dichlorobenzene is heated to 220 °C under N2 and stirred to eliminate the dissolved ambient air. Then 2.0 mmol of oleic acid and 2.0 mmol of TPP are added. In a separate reaction vessel, 2.0 mmol of Co2CO8 is combined with 3 ml of dry dichlorobenzene, warmed briefly to nearly 60 °C under N2 until it is fully dissolved and finally injected rapidly into the flask. The solution turns black quickly and forms as Co2CO8 decomposes, nucleating Co nanoparticles and releasing gas.

The black solution refluxed at 185°C for 20 min with vigorous stirring. Then the black solution is cooled down to room temperature and a black precipitate appears by adding ethanol to the dispersion. The black precipitate is collected. It is washed with ethanol several times to remove excessive surfactant. Black precipitate forms, filter it with toluene to get narrow size distribution of CNP. Dry it at room temperature in a vacuum oven for 24 hours.”

Summarize your results and discussions, what you have obtained so far and your future perspectives.

To exploit magnetic nanoparticles for applications, understanding and ability to manipulate the synthesis process, verified by structural and magnetic characterization, is of utmost importance. Magnetic nanoparticles have the potential for many applications including data storage, nanoelectronics, bio-medical, and military. Being able to control their geometric and magnetic properties will allow custom tailoring to satisfy the different requirements of potential applications. Cobalt nanoparticles were synthesized by thermal decomposition method and found it to be a convenient. Although the agglomeration is a drawback of this technique, yet the size distribution is fairly good.

In characterization, we presented how the magnetic behaviour of a system changes when constituents are in nano dimensions. Thermal decomposition seems the best method developed to date for size and morphology control of NPs. Also, the yield of production is high and scalable. A sudden flipping from superparamagnetic to ferromagnetic with the increase in field makes it useful property in memory devices. However, one of the major disadvantages of this method is the production of organic soluble NPs which limit the extent of application uses of them in biological fields besides surface treatment is needed after synthesis.

In addition, thermal decomposition methods usually lead to complicated processes or require relatively high temperatures. Studying the effect of different surfactants and concentration values relative to reagents has been suggested as a strong method to control size and size distributions. Utilizing X-ray diffraction (XRD) and a transmission electron microscope (TEM), size, shape, and crystal structure can be evaluated and the effects of the synthesis process manipulation can be observed.

End your proposal by ensuring your bonafidity and interest in the field by telling a slight perspective of your choice of work and field.

“I wish to do my higher studies in Physics with the intention to obtain a PhD and later to engage in research and teaching as a career. Having obtained the advice from my professors, seniors and friends about my choice of Universities, I have applied to Delhi University as it is reputed for research facilities and resources and I had a dream to pursue research and a part of teaching faculty from my Zakir Husain college graduation days. The department website also revealed a very strong faculty involved in extensive research in the area of Physics, especially in “Nanoscience and Material Physics”. This has strengthened my resolve to study at Delhi University. Thereby I believe that I will have an opportunity to serve and support my nation by paying back through researching in such a frontier area of research topic which I hope given to me.”

In this way, you can structure a Statement of Purpose or Statement of Interest. Hope, this will help you in writing one of your SOP. Kindly modify accordingly and keep in mind that direct cut/paste options can cause issues during the interview. Let me tell you that I got selected for this project by this SOP only. All the Best and Have a good day 🙂

Author – Martina Saran

Ms. Martina Saran is currently a Research Scholar and doing Ph.D. from the Department of Physics & Astrophysics, University of Delhi, in Material Science/radiation physics. She has done 3 year IUAC project on the topic “Ion Beam dosimetry”. She has done masters in Physics from IIT Delhi and bachelors in Physical Sciences from Zakir Husain college, University of Delhi. Her work has been published in the field of Lyoluminescence and Thermoluminescence for high-energy gamma radiation dosimetry.

As a human being she is nature lover especially plants and birds. Besides her research, she takes growing plants and serving birds as her hobby.

5 thoughts on “How to Write a Statement of Purpose – SOP (with Example)”

  1. Hello Mam, I have to write the SOP under 250 words which part I have to skip and which part I have to elaborate … Please help me regarding this. Thank you

    1. In case of word limit, you can shrink all parts proportionally but keep in mind that the portion highlighting your own past research experience or projects should remain dominant and must acquire 100 – 150 words.

    2. You can modify according to which post you are applying!! If its internship/training elaborate your affiliation collaboration mostly… But if its PHD or project then your working experiences, hands on techniques information required. which give committee members to understand your knowledge and choice of field. I hope this will help…

  2. Hello ma’am.
    I want to pursue PhD in Nanotechnology, for application process i have to write SOP. Considering my master’s project should I write SOP?

    1. Yes!! Surely, you need to include the work experience as well as hands on expertise associated with sample preparation and characterization techniques you have through out your bachelors & Master’s project/dissertation… Hope you got my point .. Good Luck 🤞

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