Developing a Statement of Purpose

Applications for graduate and professional school often include a statement of purpose which outlines your background and reasons for wanting to pursue an advanced degree in the field or profession. Always defer to the essay prompt given by the institution when writing your statement of purpose.   

Utilize grammarly@edu, a free CSUF student resource, to help with your grammar and writing style for your statement of purpose.

The following is a sample outline, which may be used in writing a statement of purpose:

Opening Paragraph

  • Introduce yourself to the selection committee and state your general reasons for pursuing graduate studies.
  • Make it interesting; the committee members will read many applications. Give them a sense of your particular talents, individuality, experience, and uniqueness.

Background

  • Concentrate on those experiences that have served as reasons for your pursuing graduate and professional studies as well as your chosen profession.
  • Describe your community and family background and how your interests in, and knowledge of, your chosen field developed. Describe any personal attributes and qualities that would help you complete your graduate studies successfully. Remember to include examples.
  • Focus on your determination to achieve your goals.

Qualifications

  • Describe those experiences that serve as a foundation for your graduate and professional studies. 
  • Discuss: (1) your expertise and accomplishments in your major field, (2) your undergraduate studies in general and how they relate to what you intend to accomplish in graduate school, (3) specific learning experiences that demonstrate your motivation and inspiration for continued study, and (4) other relevant experiences such as jobs, internships, community activities, and volunteer experience.

Goals and Objectives

Address the following items in relation to your continued studies:

  • Short term- What specific area do you want to study in graduate and professional school?
  • Long term- How do you intend to combine your knowledge and experience with your graduate work to achieve your career goals?
  • What impact will you have on society, the community, or your field of study with your advanced degree?

Closing Paragraph

  • Leave the reader with a strong sense that you are qualified and that you will be successful in graduate school. You should combine this with your qualifications.

Read more information on developing your statement of purpose PDF File Opens in new window , or call the Career Center at (657) 278-3121 to schedule an appointment.