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Sample Personal Statement for Political Science

personal statement political science

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In personal statement samples by field.

The following personal statement is written by an applicant who got accepted to several top graduate schools in political science. Variations of this PS got accepted at Duke, UCLA, and NYU. Read this essay to understand what a top personal statement in political science should look like.

Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School in PoliSci

It was not until I studied the introductory “Political Thought” course during my undergrad that I discovered my passion for political philosophy. Studying ancient and modern political thought allowed me to get introduced to the thought experiments of political thinkers to construct novel political concepts. This enabled me to relate the theory to other branches of political science. However, the courses I studied at the undergrad level were introductory, hence, not enough to quench my thirst for philosophical thinking.  

The best thing that happened to me because of studying these courses was that I started thinking along the lines of philosophy. After my undergrad, I engaged in various endeavors, which also included working as an HR Manager. However, the intrigue that originated after studying the Political Thought courses kept pushing me towards further academic pursuits. I applied to the program of MA Political Science at Central European University and got in. It was here that I discovered that I needed to cover immense ground in Political Theory. The fortunate thing was that I was not confused about the line I was supposed to tread, which was political theory.

Therefore, I opted for the same line and selected electives accordingly. In the mandatory course of Political Theory, I got introduced to more profound philosophies, particularly related to liberal egalitarianism. I hadn’t read those theories before, and the start of the course was not as rosy as it was in the courses of Political Thoughts back in my bachelor’s. However, my professor, Dr. Moles, encouraged all students to participate in the rigorous debates surrounding those philosophies.

The whole process happened to be very enriching. My brain started working in that direction, and I kept philosophizing about different political ideas even during my leisure time. The unfortunate thing that happened during this course was the aggravated anxiety I was going through. The condition took a toll on my studies, and I had to seek help from the medical center at my university. There was a time when I thought I would not be able to complete my master’s. However, thanks to the encouragement of my professors and peers, I was soon back on track amid psychological challenges. After studying political theory courses from Moles, Miklosi, and Kis, I concluded that I wanted to conceptualize responsibility in egalitarian distributive justice. It was mainly due to my reading of luck egalitarianism. Under the guidance of Professor Moles, I completed my thesis on the topic of “Individual Choice and Responsibility in the Backdrop of Just Institutions.”

After my master’s, teaching was the first option that occurred to me. Therefore, I sought employment in higher-education-teaching and got employed as a lecturer. It has been a challenging yet enriching experience. I am still teaching in the same organization. I teach courses ranging from qualitative research methods to International Relations (IR). I enjoy teaching IR courses, and the most exciting thing about them is that my knowledge of political theory helps me have a profound understanding of global political issues.  

In addition to the intrigue of engaging in different philosophical debates, teaching various courses and applying my theoretical knowledge galvanize me to further advance my understanding. The important thing is that I want to produce coherent research along the lines of political and social theory. For this to happen, it is imperative to pursue a doctorate. If I get the chance to enter a doctorate, I shall research along the lines of the Theory of Justice, Liberal Rights, Marxist critique on liberal rights, etc. I am also writing a research paper on “The Moral Status of Potential Immigrants from the Rawlsian Original Position.” The topic has the potential to be converted into comprehensive doctorate research.

Numerous universities in the USA have excellent political theory faculty, and many are working in my area of interest. If I get the opportunity, I shall be able to pursue my interest in becoming a teacher and researcher. I have survived the events which could have instilled hopelessness in me. However, on the contrary, my determination shows that I have cultivated enough resilience to tread the trajectory toward my passion.


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Chris Blattman

Phd applicants: writing your statement of purpose.


  • January 11, 2022

I’ve read a lot of personal statements for PhD applications. I sat on admissions at UChicago, Columbia, and Yale, mostly in economics, political science, and public policy. Here’s the advice I’ve given my own students and research assistants to craft their statements. I give it because, sadly, I don’t find most statements helpful. This means they are not helping you, the applicant.

As with all my advice posts, it’s important that students outside elite colleges get this information, so here are some personal thoughts.

[Note: You can now subscribe by email to receive posts to your inbox.]

First, let’s clarify your number one job as an applicant: Send the best, clearest signal of your abilities as a future researcher, and minimize the noise around that signal. I explain why in a longer post on whether and how you should apply to PhD programs (including the other elements of an application packet):

the fundamental problems in graduate admissions are “information overload” and “noise”. For every slot in a PhD program, there are probably 30 to 50 applicants. A department that plans to have a class of 20 students may receive 1000 applications. Meanwhile, most departments delegate admissions to a small committee of two to six faculty. They don’t have time to read 1000 applications in detail. And the committee may change every year. Thus, their experience may be limited. And you never know who will be on the committee or what they care about. This adds further randomness. These faculty want to admit the most talented and creative young researchers who will push the field ahead. And they also want you to pass all the most technical classes, because they hate kicking students out. So the admissions committee are looking for strong signals of intelligence, creativity, determination, and other proclivities for research. But this is hard . There are too many applications. Applicants don’t have many good ways to signal quality. All applicants are trying to send the same signals. And there is a ton of uncertainty around each signal. Hence: Information overload and noise.

Yet most schools as for a written statement of some kind. Sometimes they ask for both a biographical statement and a research statement. What do they want and what should you write?

  • Don’t tell your life story. This statement is not an undergrad entry essay where you describe your life’s trials and tribulations, or your journey to wanting to do a PhD. It’s not that we don’t care. It’s just that it’s probably not relevant to judging your ability as a researcher. If it is, then weave that into the narrative around your research interests and plans. We have hundreds of these things to read and so you only want to focus on the most important information.
  • Don’t be cliché. Do not start your with your epiphany—the day the scales fell from your eyes and you realized you wanted to be a professor, or were inspired tackle big questions and social issues. Especially if it involves a child in a poor country. This approach is overused and unoriginal, and the information does not help us judge whether you will be a great researcher (see point 1).
  • Platitudes about wanting to be a professor or researcher
  • Generic or flattering statements about being excited to join a program, your admiration for the faculty, etc.
  • Unspecific interests in a research subject or field
  • Routine information such as “I am graduating in May…”
  • Filler sentences like “Please find enclosed…”
  • Start with your broad fields of interest (e.g. “I am principally interested in labor and development economics” or “I want to work at the intersection of comparative politics and international relations”)
  • Then give 2-3 examples of broad topics and questions that interest you. (“I’m interested in studying inefficiencies in labor markets, especially market power and monopsony. I’m also interested in…”)
  • Are tenure or tenure-track faculty
  • Have their primary appointment in the department you are applying to
  • Are actually there and take students (i.e. they didn’t retire last year, etc.)
  • You could discuss two ideas in moderate depth, or one idea in greater depth. Either way, I recommend this research discussion be 40-60% of your entire statement.
  • Ideally this is a question or topic of current interest in the field. One thing I often see is that students are focussed on the research frontier 10 years ago (because those are the papers they read in their classes) and are not clued in to some of the current puzzled and priorities. This is hard to avoid, but some reading and your advisors should be able to help you avoid this.
  • The best discussions will (if empirical) identify interesting data and discuss plausible empirical strategies. This is difficult, which is why it is a good signal if you do it well.
  • It’s important to locate your question in the literature without overdoing that discussion. Try to motivate the question with reference to recent and recognizable research papers and agendas. If you are mainly citing articles with few citations, in lower-ranked journals, this is a sign that you need to link your idea to bigger debates in the field, or perhaps rethink the question you are proposing.
  • This is (in my experience) the most crucial section for most social science departments. Except possibly economics. It’s not clear how seriously many departments take your statement in economics, and some of my colleagues profess to never look at the statement. That may be true, but some will look, and you have to have a statement, so I suggest following this advice to make it a research proposal.
  • Why you studied physics but now are doing political science
  • What happened in that single bad semester on your transcript
  • How to interpret your foreign GPA, and where you ranked in your class
  • Clarify your classes if they have off names (e.g. “My class called XX was a Real Analysis class using textbook X, and so I have all the mathematical requirements for entry.”
  • Get help. Your letter writers, professors you work for, or PhD student you know can read and give feedback on your statements. Ask them for their advice. Do this early–a couple months before the application, ideally. they can help you frame your question in a more interesting way, decide what papers to mention, or what is or is not frontier.
  • Don’t be repetitive. This is not the place to restate your CV (“First I worked for Professor… and then I worked for…”). They have your CV. Use this document to do something no other in your application can do. Only mention work or other experience if you can add essential, high-density information the reader cannot get elsewhere in the application packet. Maybe you picked up specific technical skills working on a project that relate to the research proposal you just described? If not, you don’t have to say anything at all about your past. Just let the research proposal speak for itself.
  • I recommend using the Hemingway Editor as a tool to write more clearly. Some long and complex sentences are ok, but sparingly. And they can often be improved. Aim for a grade 10 reading level.
  • Use active voice
  • Omit needless material and words (see points 3 and 9)
  • Limit jargon
  • Each paragraph should be a distinct idea
  • Paragraphs should have a hierarchical structure, with the big idea or general point as the first topic sentence, and the rest of the paragraph elaborates. Someone should be able to get an “executive summary” but simply reading the first line in every paragraph. they should make sense as a story/summary.
  • Use subheadings if possible, to delineate sections such as your broad fields of interest (point 4), your research proposal (point 5), and other key information (point 6)

This is just my view. Other professors will have different preferences and advice here. So ask them. Get more opinions. Or put your advice in the comments below.

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Personal statement

The quality of an applicant's personal statement is very important at LSE. The School does not interview for places so this is an applicant’s only opportunity to demonstrate they are a good fit for the course. Applicants should consult the advice here, as well as advice from UCAS when preparing to complete this section of their application. 

Please note that writing a personal statement following the guidelines below does not guarantee an offer of admission. Personal statements are looked at on a comparative basis and there is a great deal of competition for places at LSE. 

LSE does not accept additional or supplementary personal statements. We can only consider the personal statement submitted via UCAS.

Writing your personal statement

We expect that your submitted Personal Statement is structured and coherent and that you fully utilise the space available on your UCAS application form. We expect that you have checked spelling, punctuation, and grammar and that your Personal Statement flows in a logical order. We expect that your Personal Statement is entirely your own original work. We reserve the right to reject your application where it has been found that a statement has significant similarities to a previous submission or has been created with the use of Artificial Intelligence.

Before you start writing, do your research

Before you start writing your personal statement, you should visit our course guides . These guides give information on the course content of each of our undergraduate programmes. 

When assessing your personal statement our Admissions Selectors will look at how well your academic interests align with the LSE course. So, for example, the Anthropology Admissions Selector is likely to prefer a statement which focuses mainly on social anthropology - which is taught at LSE - over one which suggests the applicant is very interested in biological anthropology, or a combined degree with archaeology, as these courses are not offered at the School. 

Similarly, a personal statement which shows an interest mostly in modern international history (the focus of LSE’s International History course) is likely to be more competitive than one which shows a significant interest in ancient history, as LSE does not offer any ancient history units.   

If you are applying for a range of slightly different courses, we recommend that you focus your personal statement on the areas of overlap between them, so that your statement appeals to all of your UCAS choices. It is important to note that LSE does not accept replacement or supplementary personal statements. 

What to include in your personal statement

Your personal statement should discuss for the most part your academic interest in the subject you wish to study. One way to think about the personal statement is to reflect on what we expect from LSE undergraduates: we ask them to learn about topics relevant to their course, through reading or other experiences, and then discuss the ideas they have encountered in academic essays. This is the skill we look for in the personal statement and we recommend at least 80% of your statement should be dedicated to this type of academic discussion. 

How you show your wider engagement with your subject is entirely up to you. Our Selectors look for students who can best reflect on the experiences and academic ideas they have encountered through the opportunities available to them, not those who have had the best opportunities. If you are not sure where to start, you could try listening to podcasts of LSE public events or look in the prospectus for examples of suggested reading. Remember we are interested not just in a list of what you have read/encountered, but evidence you have reflected on the academic ideas. 

To help you begin, there are several questions you could think about:

  • Why have you chosen the course? What attracted you to the subject? Which aspects of the subject have interested you sufficiently to want to study it at degree level? Is there a specific area of the subject you wish to focus on? What are the big issues in the subject, and what do you find most interesting about them? What are your thoughts on these topics?
  • Have you developed your subject interest outside of your school studies? For example, have you undertaken any additional reading to broaden your knowledge of the subject? Have you attended lectures or explored online material relating to the subject? What did you find interesting in your reading/in the lectures you attended and what are your thoughts on the topics covered?
  • Have you gained any skills from your other school subjects that complement your application to study your chosen subject? Have you had the opportunity to undertake work experience relevant to your application? If you did, how did this experience give you a wider understanding of the topics you will study at university?
  • Have you attended any schemes or activities at LSE or other universities, such as Summer Schools, Saturday Schools, LSE Choice, etc? What you have learned from these? Have they furthered your knowledge of or interest in your chosen subject?

If you are applying for deferred entry, as well as thinking about the questions listed above, you may also wish to indicate (briefly) why you are taking a gap year and what you plan to do during the year. 

If you are applying as a post-qualified student (ie, you have already received your final results), you may wish to mention briefly what you have been doing since your exams. 

Please note : You are not expected to simply answer all of the questions above; these questions are merely intended to give you some guidance as to what to think about when writing your statement. 

Extra-curricular activities

At LSE you are admitted to study a particular degree course so the majority of your personal statement − at least 80% − should focus on your academic interest in that subject. Many students like to include some details of their extra-curricular activities such as involvement in sports, the arts, volunteering or student government. As our Selectors are most interested in your academic interests, we recommend that no more than 20% of your statement is spent discussing extra-curricular activities. 

Applying to combined degree programmes

LSE offers a number of combined degree programmes. If you are applying to one of these programmes, you are advised to give equal weighting to each subject in your statement. For instance, if you are applying to our Politics and Economics degree, you must show evidence of interest in both subjects; a statement weighted towards only one aspect of the degree will be significantly less competitive.

Example of a poor personal statement

"I have always dreamed of coming to LSE since I was young. It has been a dream of mine to study at this institution, which is well renowned for its social science courses.  

I am currently studying History, English and Business and Management at Higher level and Italian, Maths and Chemistry at Standard level in the International Baccalaureate, and feel that these subjects are providing me with a solid background for university study.  

I want to study History because I want to be a world class Historian, and feel that this degree will help me. I am especially interested in Ancient History, particularly the history concerning the Roman Empire. I am fascinated by the way in which the empire was run, and the events that led to its downfall.  

"I was the captain of the school football team, and this has taught me the importance of working together as a team, and allowed me to prioritise my time between my studies and football practice. I feel that this has provided me with the experience to successfully balance my academic and social life, and I plan to continue this balance whilst at university.  

It is my dream to become an alumnus of the School, and I am sure that as I am the top student of my class, you will offer me a place."  

This brief example of a personal statement is poor. The applicant has mentioned an interest in history but they have not discussed this in depth or shown any evidence of wider engagement with the subject. Where the applicant does talk about history, the discussion is superficial and focussed on ancient history, which LSE does not offer as part of our history course. 

The applicant has specifically mentioned LSE, which is likely to be unattractive to their other choices, and has wasted space listing their International Baccalaureate subjects, which would be shown in the qualifications section. The applicant has described how a history degree will help them get the job they later want, rather than what they are looking forward to studying during the degree. 

The applicant has reflected on the transferable skills they have developed leading the football team. This is good, but it would be nice to see the same level of reflection applied to academic topics - this student has spent more time talking about football than about history. 


UCAS reference Your teacher's reference: what we're looking for


Watch this presentation LSE Admissions Specialist Paul talks about personal statements

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Writing a personal statement.

All law schools require a personal statement as part of your admission package.  There are several well-tested guidelines you should keep in mind to write a high quality personal statement.

Be Yourself. 

What is a "personal statement"?  Notice it's not called a "work statement" or "academic statement" or "extracurricular activity statement" or "awards and honors statement."  All these things should already appear on your resume as part of your application.  So, basically, a "personal" statement is your chance to briefly tell the admissions committee personal things about you that do not otherwise appear in the rest of your application.  Primarily, it is your chance to market yourself to them by explaining what makes you unique or different; in other words, what makes you “you” such that you want to go to law school and be a lawyer.  Put simply, what personal experiences and attributes do you have that would make you a particularly good lawyer, and better than everyone else, such that the admission committee should admit you rather than other applicants.  You should not simply re-state facts about your education, employment history, etc. that are already available on the rest of your application material.  Instead, you should describe your unique and different background, interests, and qualities that made you want to be a lawyer, and which will make you an exceptionally good addition to the legal profession. 

Again, in short: who are you personally, why do you want to be a lawyer, and why will you be a particularly good lawyer?  For example, do you have a serious hobby or interest? Do you have unique work experience or accomplishments that are not clear from your resume?  Are you committed to supporting a family who loves and respects you?  Have you worked extensively to build a better community?  Have you overcome some particular hardship(s) or disadvantage(s) in your life, and that struggle has had a key role in shaping who you are today?  Do you have other unique life experiences that have profoundly affected you? Any of these subjects and many more can be used to frame a narrative personal statement that successfully tells a unique story about who you are to the Admissions Committee.

Your statement should ideally be short:  one-page single-spaced or two pages double-spaced.  Two pages double-spaced is the absolute maximum and even this amount is generally discouraged because the admission committee members have thousands of applications to review and will look negatively on you making them take extra time to read and review a lengthy personal statement.  This will also reflect poorly on your writing skills because it will appear as if you are unable to state things concisely, which is an essential attribute for a lawyer.

Be Simple and Clear. 

Your essay should be well-organized and clearly focused, using clear, simple, and understandable language.  Do NOT write using flowery language or fancy vocabulary as it makes it appear as if you are unable to express things in a simple manner (which is important for lawyers to be able to do).  Using flowery or obscure vocabulary also makes it appear as if you are simply trying to impress the admissions committee.   Write simply and stay on track with your story--for example, remain chronological for the most part--and stay focused on the specific message you hope to convey. 

Be Concrete.

Avoid clichés!  For example do not just say you “want to help people” or “want to improve the world” or “are extra-hard-working” or “are super-motivated” or “are a high achiever” or “have overcome hardship” or “are exceptionally smart and talented.” Blah, blah, blah.  Anyone can say those things, and law school admissions committee members read that sort of thing constantly. This means simply saying it is almost entirely worthless unless you back up your claims by describing numerous concrete examples from your actual life experience. 

In other words, you must explain what you have done in your life that substantially demonstrates these alleged traits.  Actions speaks far louder than words, so let your actions, achievements, and accomplishments speak for themselves.   Specifically how have you helped people?  Specifically how have you changed the world?  Specifically what have you done that shows you are extra hard-working?  Specifically what actions of yours demonstrate your alleged motivations?  Specifically what hardships or experiences have you overcome?  Specifically what demonstrates your intelligence and talent? Etc. 

Whatever your reason for wanting to be a lawyer, offer specific actions that demonstrate your alleged motives, commitment, abilities, values, etc..  If you can’t back up your claims with solid evidence, then you’d better come up with an alternative explanation that you can back up with solid evidence.  And generally, do not merely say you want to be a lawyer for the money, or simply to maintain a family tradition of being a lawyer, etc.  That may be part of your larger explanation, but also offer something deeper and more meaningful in addition to mere tradition or a bare desire for money.

Explain deficiencies. 

The personal statement--or more often an addendum to it-- is also a chance for you to offer an explanation if your overall academic history does not reflect your true abilities because of illness, tragedy, personal mistakes, or some other factor that you have had to overcome.  Or, if you have a criminal record--which you should have disclosed to the law schools if asked-- you may wish to explain what happened. Often, however, these types of explanation should be included only as a very brief (one paragraph) separate addendum to your application.  This is a judgment call on your part.  If in doubt as to whether to explain something that you've reported to a law school, contact the admissions office for that particular law school and ask them what approach you should take to maximize your chances of admission.

Answer the questions.

 If a particular law school wants you to answer specific questions on your personal statement, be sure you do answer them.  Or, many law schools also want other types other statements from you in a addition to a personal statement, such as a "diversity statement" in which you another chance to explain specifically how you will bring some unique and different experience and background to the law school.    Otherwise, if you don't address the particular things that law school is asking form, that law school’s admissions committee will see that you have sent them nothing more than a generic personal statement.  This shows that either you are not seriously interested in applying to that particular school, or you are not very thorough and well-organized.


Proofread, proofread, proofread!  Have other people proofread your statement for style, organization, and substance and make sure you proofread it extensively so that is has absolutely zero spelling or grammatical errors, etc.  A failure to do this will tell the admissions committee that either you are either a bad writer or that you are not serious about applying to law school if you won’t even take the time to proofread your personal statement to eliminate errors in English usage. _________________________________________ For more information and advice, enter the phrase “law school personal statement” into any internet search engine. To get you started, here are some websites with information and examples of personal statements:


MIT Political Science

Graduate Program

Graduate admissions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All applications for the SM and PhD programs must be submitted online through GradApply by December 15, 2023 for Fall 2024 admission. Students are admitted as degree candidates only for September. The Political Science GradApply website is at . 

The admissions committee will not review late or incomplete applications.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. The institution code is 3514, and the department code is 1902.

If your language of instruction from primary school through college/university was not English, you must take either the TOEFL iBT or the IELTS. We require a minimum TOEFL score of 100 on the internet-based test. On the IELTS you must score a minimum of 7. MIT only accepts official score reports. Degrees from US or English-speaking ­universities are not accepted in lieu of TOEFL or IELTS. In limited cases the department will consider a waiver. Applicants must request the waiver form from the department. The institution code for the TOEFL is 3514 and the department code is 92.

It is advised that these tests be taken as early as possible as official scores from ETS should be received by the deadline.

Special Instructions

In your Statement of Objectives, please be sure to discuss the research questions you would like to pursue in your graduate studies. We also require a personal statement of 250-500 words. You should use the personal statement to address how your background and life experiences (including cultural, geographical, financial, and educational opportunities and challenges) have shaped your academic career and your decision to pursue a graduate degree in political science. The personal statement is distinct from the statement of objectives in that it should focus on your personal journey to graduate school rather than your proposed academic plans.   Please submit two other documents, both in .pdf format: a copy of your resume and a writing sample. The writing sample should be no more than 50 pages in length and is used to assess your conceptual thinking and analytical skills. Therefore, please submit a writing sample that best represents your potential to conduct graduate-level research, such as a research paper or a portion of an undergraduate or master’s thesis. Writing samples are welcome from any discipline and do not need to be from a political science course.

Academic Transcripts

All applicants are required to scan and upload official transcripts with their applications . Accepted applicants will be required to provide a sealed official transcript from each school attended. Any discrepancy between the scanned and official transcript may result in a withdrawal of our offer of admission.

If you participated in a study abroad program and your coursework/credits are reflected on your home institution's official transcript, you do not need to list this or send an official transcript from that program.

If you attended a community college or university from which you did not receive a degree and transferred those credits to an institution from which you received a degree (for which you are submitting an official transcript) you do not need to list the community college/university or provide an official transcript.

Letters of Recommendation

We advise you to request letters of recommendation as soon as possible from individuals who can best evaluate your scholarly potential as a graduate student in political science. We ask that all recommendations be submitted electronically, using the online system. Use Letters of Recommendation and then Letter Status to ask for electronic recommendations and to check whether recommendations have arrived. You must e-mail your recommenders the instructions shown in Letter Status .

You may address additional questions about Political Science graduate programs and the application process to [email protected]   or [email protected] .

Application Mentorship Program

The Political Science Application Mentorship Program (PS AMP) is a student-run and student-initiated program specifically intended for PhD applicants from communities that have historically been underrepresented in higher education. This includes, but is not limited to: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), non-cisgender individuals, members of the LGBTQIA+/queer community, individuals with disabilities, first-generation college students, and individuals from low-income or otherwise disadvantaged backgrounds. If you think you fall into one of these groups but aren’t sure, we still encourage you to sign up. Applicants will be paired with graduate student mentors who can answer questions about MIT PoliSci and provide application assistance. Participating in PS AMP is completely voluntary and will not affect your graduate admissions decision. Please sign up here , and check out the FAQ page or email [email protected] .

Privacy Policy

MIT is committed to protecting the individual privacy of applicants and students by restricting the use of all collected information as specified by Institute policies. In accordance with these policies, the information in your application may be used by MIT officials only for appropriate administrative and research purposes.

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Effective Political Science Masters Personal Statement for School

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Are you looking for guidance on how to write your political science masters personal statement ? You’ve come to the right place!

You are just starting your academic journey or have several years of experience in the field. A well-written and persuasive personal statement is essential when applying for a master’s degree program. This blog post will provide tips and advice on crafting an impactful personal statement that will help set you apart from other applicants. 

We’ll also share some dos and don’ts and examples of successful statements. By the end of this post, you should have all the knowledge needed to move forward with your statement confidently. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Role of a Political Science Masters Personal Statement

When applying for a master’s degree program in political science, you will likely be asked to submit a personal statement. This statement is an opportunity for you to share your academic and professional achievements , demonstrate why you are passionate about the field.

Express what unique skills or perspectives you can bring to the classroom. It should also explain how this program would help you reach your career goals.

Your statement should be exciting and engaging while showcasing your best qualities and strengths. A well-crafted statement can make all the difference when convincing an admission’s committee that you will be a valuable addition to their program!

Tips for Crafting Your Statement

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1. Keep It Concise

Your personal statement should be no more than one page long, so keep your writing brief and focused. Stay calm in the details and maintain sight of the main point.

2. Showcase Your Strengths

Make sure to highlight any skills or characteristics that make you stand out from other applicants. Include prior work experience in the field, leadership roles held during college, volunteer activities, etc.

3. Be Specific

Avoid using generalizations and use concrete examples when possible to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the subject matter.

4. Show Passion

It’s essential to convey a genuine enthusiasm for political science and explain why you are passionate about the field.

5. Proofread

Make sure to read and re-read your statement for any typos or grammatical errors before submitting it. It’s also a good idea to have someone else review your work to ensure it is clear and concise.

Examples of Successful Statements

Here are some examples of successful personal statements that can give you an idea of what yours should look like:

“I am applying for a master’s degree in political science because I believe this program will provide me with the necessary skills and knowledge. I need this to pursue a career in public service and policymaking. My long-term goal is to serve my community by advocating for social and political reforms. I have had prior experience in the field working on campaigns for local elected officials. I am passionate about developing innovative solutions to complex challenges. With a master’s degree in political science, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of our current political climate. And learn how it impacts the lives of the folks in my society and beyond.”

“I believe that having an advanced degree in political science is essential. It will be helping me reach my long-term career goals of becoming a policy analyst. My enthusiasm for the field has been fueled by my coursework at college. And also my internship experience with a non-profit organization focused on youth advocacy. Through this program, I hope to develop the analytical skills needed to understand and assess the complexities of today’s political landscape. I am eager to contribute my knowledge, skills, and passion for this field to the classroom and beyond.”

“As a student of political science, I am passionate about the power that knowledge has to create positive change in our world. My studies have opened my eyes to the powerful impact that politics can have on people’s lives. This passion drives me to pursue a career in public service. I believe that a master’s degree in political science will help equip me with the skills and knowledge necessary. This way, I have to be an effective advocate for social issues. I also look forward to gaining further insight into existing governmental systems and exploring new possibilities for reform. With my degree, I hope to make meaningful contributions to my community by bringing diverse perspectives together and developing innovative solutions.”

Template to Try

“I am applying for a master’s degree in political science because ___________. My long-term goal is to ___________, and I have had prior experience in the field ________________. With an advanced degree, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of _________ and how it impacts the lives of those around me. I believe that my knowledge, skills, and passion for this field can contribute to the classroom and beyond.”

Your personal statement should effectively express why you are an excellent fit for the master’s degree program in political science. State how it can help you reach your career goals. Keep these tips in mind as you craft your statement, and remember to proofread before submitting! Good luck!

Effective Political Science Masters Personal Statement for School

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Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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Law School Personal Statement

Writing an effective personal statement is a challenging and often frustrating task, even for the law school applicant who has had a great deal of experience in writing. A carefully conceived essay will certainly compliment the credentials of a well-qualified applicant; it may tip the balance in favor of one applicant over another. When completing law school application forms, there is generally not enough room to elaborate or to highlight individual experiences and achievements. The personal statement may be the best opportunity to accomplish this. The personal statement is, in the abstract, an intimate portrait of a candidate. In reality, it is about you. It provides an opportunity for individual consideration which generally substitutes for a personal interview.

While there is no fixed formula for your personal statement, the key is to supply the law school with material about you and then to allow the admissions committee to draw its own conclusions from the information provided. Law school applications differ. Some applications include specific questions which provide an opportunity to deal with some of the areas mentioned here, while others will want you to include all areas in your personal statement. In preparing to write the personal statement, you should consider a number of questions. You may find some of the following suggestions helpful.

You should first consider: “Where did my interest in law begin?”, “When did I first become interested in a legal career?” You may want to highlight pivotal factors or experiences. These may include an inspirational role model such as a parent or teacher, an experience with the law or a significant high school or college course. One suggestion is to begin with a pivotal experience in your life which sparked your interest in law. It might be a job experience, a course taken as an undergraduate, or a childhood experience which developed your interest. However, simply rambling on about how you have had an interest in law since the age of ten and not explaining why does not help your case. Whatever the pivotal experience may be, find a clear way of describing this experience. You should also ask yourself: “What makes me a unique applicant?'”, “Why would this particular law school want me?”, “What makes me a desirable candidate for the rigors of studying and practicing law?” Focus upon particular personal qualities, life experiences or accomplishments which may be of interest to the admissions staff who will be reading the essay. Think of inner strengths and qualities. Consider areas in your background which may be of interest to the law school such as a rigorous undergraduate course of study, a particularly interesting employment history, life experiences and the like. Rather than listing your achievements, explain how you have excelled in areas such as scholarship or civic responsibility.

Some law schools suggest that you include a resume, if appropriate, to list achievements, extracurricular activities, employment history and the like. Other law schools include specific questions regarding these areas. The personal statement, in contrast, may focus on only one or a limited number of experiences which reveal who you are as a unique individual.

The importance of including outside interests such as extracurricular activities, student groups, the pre-law society, a fraternity, a sorority, employment and military service should be carefully weighed. Involvement in such activities should be included if it demonstrates leadership ability, professional growth or unique contributions. In contrast, simply stating that you were a member of an organization without explaining its significance to your application will not be useful. It may even lead to the conclusion that you diluted your academic efforts.

Similarly, with regard to employment history, you should only mention job experiences which have had a direct effect on your professional growth. An internship with a government agency or one within the legal field which sparked an interest in the legal profession are good examples for inclusion. One caveat – you may not want to mention affiliation with a particular political party or ideology because it may needlessly cause a subjective reaction on the part of the reader. In such a case, you may want to describe your experience in generic terms and explain how your exposure to the legal field will help you to be a successful law student. Be careful not to come off as being all-knowing. There is a tremendous difference between an essay which describes one’s budding interest in the legal profession through work experience, and an essay which attempts to demonstrate that one already has a vast knowledge of the law.

Military service may also be a factor which enhances your potential as a prospective law student. The military is often seen as a catalyst for developing and instilling discipline, leadership principles and tenacity. Focusing on themes such as these within the personal statement lets the committee know that time devoted to military service has been spent wisely. If you attended college part-time while in the military and your grades were not as good as after discharge, you may want to explain the difficulty in completing college-level courses while assigned to a military unit. In certain cases, a supporting letter from a unit commander can explain the difficulty in undertaking college studies while on active duty.

If you have definite career plans, you also focus upon the future by asking: “What are my goals and plans for the future?”, “How do these plans flow from my background and experience?”, “How will formal legal training help me to realize my goals?” In some cases, it may be appropriate to indicate whether and how a law school education would have helped you to be more effective in your prior activities. If it is applicable, indicate how law school and admission to the bar are the tools that you will need for your future endeavors.

Once you have thought through the content of your personal statement, the writing process begins. In the view of one law school admissions officer, the key is to stress strengths without being boastful or obnoxious and deal with weaknesses without being defensive. The law school application is, in a sense, your first legal case and the personal statement demonstrates how persuasive you can be in discussing your own candidacy.

Somewhere in your law school application, you will need to explain negative aspects of your credentials as a means of “damage control”. For some law schools, the personal statement provides you with this opportunity, while for other schools, an addendum or separate explanatory statement is more appropriate.

Significant adverse factors which may have affected the GPA, such as a change of major or a weak beginning, must be addressed whether in the personal statement or a separate statement. Be sure to mention such weaknesses. However, when presenting detrimental factors, do not dwell on them. Discuss meaningful personal factors but do not be melodramatic. It is particularly important to show triumph over adversity where it truthfully exists, such as a strong finish after a weak beginning.

If you are a consistently poor standardized test taker with a high grade point average, the personal statement may provide an opportunity to point this out. This does not mean that you should whine and plead. Some students utilize the entire personal statement to try to explain away a low LSAT score, rather than dedicating a single concise paragraph. The admissions staff want to see a picture of you as a whole person, not just a person who has difficulty in taking tests.

The weak points of every candidate’s law school application are always revealed and examined. The question is “on whose terms will they be examined’? You can frame the discussion by concisely confronting problem areas and then offering reasonable and informative explanations. As an illustration of this, a panel of admissions officers conducted a mock admission exercise at the 1991 Conference of the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors. The panel considered the credentials of six hypothetical applicants. The applicant who decided to dwell on the reasons for his poor grades, rather than “good, solid reasons to admit him” fared very poorly. In contrast, the applicant who briefly mentioned the death of his mother, and how this tragedy helped him to grow, fared extremely well despite several negative factors in his credentials.

Many times applicants are reluctant to discuss personal tragedies, a history of financial disadvantage, medical disabilities and things of this nature. A reluctance is understandable, but needs to be overcome. The personal statement provides a valuable tool for the admissions committee to gain insight if there are serious problems in your life which may have prevented you from reaching your highest potential. It is up to you to provide the admissions committee with your explanation of difficulties such as a difficult course of study or a severe dip in grade point average, rather than leaving it up to the committee to decide what might have happened. In some cases, supporting documentation may provide a better understanding of special circumstances or difficulties.

The personal statement should generally not exceed two typewritten pages. It should be the product of a great deal of time and thought. Law school admissions officers look for clear and concise writing, free from grammatical error. Remember that they have to read thousands of essays. Make yours memorable!

The personal statement is your opportunity to paint a self-portrait, with the paper serving as the canvas. It is not, however, the place to demonstrate your intellectual brilliance in areas such as law, politics or philosophy; nor is it a philosophical exposition on your views about world problems. For this reason, you should never submit a thesis paper, term paper or other sample of written work in the place of the personal statement. Two of the most important guidelines in writing the personal statement are: “Write about yourself” and “Be specific”.

While your essay may communicate your confidence in your ability to complete the course of study, it should not project a pompous image. The most common error is the attempt to impress. Some candidates become pretentious or pedantic in their choice of words and phrases. An example of pompous verbiage submitted as a personal statement is:

The recommendations which I have presented from legal and educational leaders in my milieu adduce the level of motivation and acumen that you require. These qualities are touted as being the sine qua non for the successful law school applicant. You will find my credentials stellar in these and other respects.

Clearly, this is an example of what not to submit to a law school. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. It is crucial to understand the difference and to demonstrate only confidence, never arrogance.

Once you have completed the thinking and writing process, an advisor should read over the finished product at least once. It would be very wise to ask someone who is very well acquainted with both your credentials and the English language to read over your statement and provide input. The insights, reactions, and suggestions provided by an objective third party will help to polish the personal statement so that it paints a vivid and supportive picture for the admissions staff.

Creating a balanced essay can be very difficult to accomplish but certainly can be mastered through conscientious effort, in some instances writing and re-writing the essay a dozen times. As the Dean of Admissions for Georgetown once remarked: “Applicants should be advised to write their statements with great care. In many cases, they will be the determining factor’.

This article was written by Kevin J. O’Connor, Esq., graduate of Montclair State University and Rutgers-Newark School of Law. It includes material presented by sources such as N.A.P.L.A., L.S.A.C., Topics in Pre-Law Advising, The American Pre-Law Advisor, and actual advisement experience at Montclair State University. The article has been updated by Dr. Marilyn Tayler, Pre-Law Advisor at Montclair State University.


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Personal statement example ba politics and sociology personal statement.

Submitted by Emma

BA Politics and Sociology Personal Statement

The world of politics is always evolving - there are always new policies or new concepts to consider, explore and analyse. Just as the progression politics and the dynamics of society have informed the modern political world, the shaping of policy and the progression of our current society and political atmosphere will inform the society of the future. Class, gender, ethnic background and sexual orientation play a determinative role in both voting habits and policy formulation, proving that Sociology is essential when it comes to the study of politics. Historically, class has played a massive part in voting behaviours, but with an increasingly diversified society and an advance in technology, this behaviour has undergone change, and since the 1970s, class voting has declined. Despite this, society and our political atmosphere has become increasingly polarised, something which I am particularly interested in. I have read ‘#republic’, which was very insightful in exploring the way in which social media shapes politics, and the effects of digital democracy. I agree partly with the idea Cass Sunstein expresses, that the advancement of technology, particularly in terms of personalised social media algorithms, has had a strong influence on the polarisation of modern politics.

The way we relate to one another can be attributed to both social and economic policy, for instance the societal effects of Thatcher’s policies, and the introduction of neo-liberalism into British politics, can be seen in an increase in self-interested and individualistic voting, and a decrease in social capital. Applying this view to my History course has been fascinating; our study of communist government, and the way social policy has affected society in the USSR and the Republic of China, have provided a great contrast to my perspective on Western social policy. Similarly, in English Literature we have studied The Handmaid’s Tale, which provides a view of the societal effects of a fictional religious military dictatorship, particularly focusing on the culture of suspicion which has been seen in totalitarian regimes in both Western and communist states.

My interest in politics and sociology has developed in my study of Government and Politics, as in class we learn about the formal processes of government, the history and development of ideologies, and we engage in class discussions - these I particularly enjoy as while they are useful in expanding my knowledge, debating is particularly beneficial in refining and nuancing my arguments. We have had particularly interesting in-class debates on the use of Trident, in which I argued for its abolition, as I believe it to be economically ineffective. Although I understood the evidence provided by those who defended it in terms of security, I ultimately wasn’t persuaded to completely reverse my view, but thinking about the reasoning behind the opposition’s argument shaped my own opinion. I engage with politics outside of my course, taking part in protests for equal rights and treatment as part of the Stand Up to Racism and Free the Nipple protests. I lead my college’s socialist society, where we lead discussions on current affairs, socialist philosophy and how that is applied in politics today. I also attend and speak at debate club, and during secondary school I took LAMDA exams in Verse and Prose and Speaking for Performance, and I took part in the West Sussex Youth Speaks contest, in which my team reached the semi-final. These activities have developed my skills in communication and public speaking, which I plan to further develop in both the pursuit of a Politics and Sociology degree and extra-curricular activities at university.

After university, I aspire to a career as a civil servant. I am deterred from pursuing a career in the forefront of politics, as I find the point scoring soundbite culture of modern mainstream politics distasteful and see the civil service as a more productive political organ.

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Phd political science, iranian applicant, focus on persion gulf.

personal statement political science

I want to devote my life to the cause of managing and preventing conflicts in the Middle East - and subsequently the world. While born in Iran, I had the privilege of living in Canada, and had the opportunity to attend a boarding school in Switzerland for my secondary education, helping to lay a foundation for a truly international consciousness through constant travel and interaction with people from around the world. Thereafter, I moved to the United States, attending universities at three cities across the country, further paving the way for the development of my identity as a global citizen.

Hassan Rouhani’s victory in the 2013 presidential elections in Iran brought unexpected hope and altered the trajectory of my life. While I intended to manage our family business in the area of international trade, the new era impelled me to seek a future in academia and politics. Ever since, I became deeply involved in research about Iran and focused my studies on Iranian foreign policy, nominally, the nuclear negotiation between Iran and the world powers, different facets of the relationship between Iran and the United States, as well as United States foreign policy towards the Middle East.

Following the completion of the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, regional tensions unexpectedly grew to a level rarely seen in the past. As my research was mainly focused on Iran’s foreign policy towards the West, in January 2016 I felt an urge to refocus my studies on the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region. My Master’s thesis, titled “Effectuating A Cooperative Future Between Iran and the Arab States of the Persian Gulf,” focused on fining ways to inhibit the escalation of current conflicts to perpetual ones, while at the same time, aims for more robust economic, social, and religious collaborations between Iran and its Arab neighbors. To broaden my audience, I translated the complete thesis in Farsi, and the Arabic version will be available early 2018.

I felt a gap in the productive analysis of the future of the Persian Gulf. The majority of the existing literature on the Persian Gulf region have focused on the importance of oil, the religious dimensions, and the proxy wars that have embroiled the Middle East as a whole. There has rarely been an analysis that differentiates Iran’s relations with its Arab neighbors, and subsequently, no blueprint exists for moving forward. I relied on the importance of understanding the merits of each bilateral relationship to better identify the past grievances, as well as the potential areas for greater cooperation.

Having heavily invested the past two years in the study of the Persian Gulf region, I feel it is only the beginning of my research in to this ever-important region, and I hope to pursue my PhD degree with a focus on Iran’s relationships with the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East as a whole. Furthermore, the principal question my research intends to answer is how to best formulate a regional architecture based on qualitative and quantitative methods in which the regional actors can address past grievances, and build on the cultural, religious, and economic ties that have existed for centuries. I now seek a much deeper understanding of the Persian Gulf Region from a broad variety of interdisciplinary perspective, in the ongoing search for trends in foreign policy decision makings and the opportunities that exist for dialogue and peaceful resolution of differences, and ways to secure a more cooperative future amongst countries in the region.

I feel that I am the best fit with the PhD Program at XXXX University because of both the focus and the flexibility of your program in addition to your world-class faculty. I have special admiration for the publications of Professor Daniel Corstange and it would be a special honor to learn directly from him given the fact that his main focus is on the Arab world which strongly complements my research. I also pay close attention to the research of Professor Robert Jervis who represents another potentially important resource for my dissertation.

In addition to the great faculty of the Political Science Department, it would be beneficial to take advantage of the distinguished professors at the School of International and Public Affairs. I have closely followed the efforts of Ambassador Luers to establish better relations between Iran and the United States, working through the Iran Project and its collaboration with the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative. Additionally, it would be an especially great honor for me to develop a professional relationship with Professor Lawrence Potter whose research and practical experience dovetails nicely with my own research focus.

While I will always be Iranian, I seek to professionally serve the international community, as an academic, diplomat, peacemaker, and someone who builds bridges to the Middle East and helps to maintain them. Based on my past experiences and the need for peace in the most unstable region of the world, I feel called to build a career in the area of international relations and diplomacy, at least in part as a result of the great need that exists for negotiating and peace building between Iran and its neighbors. My sense of global citizenship and appreciation for the vast diversity of cultural and political expression has been enhanced by the fact that I have spent my life aiming for a better Iran, and subsequently its relations with the world.

During the first semester of my Master’s Program at XXXX University, I happily registered for a course titled “United States and Iran, from Conflict to Reconciliation”; and I developed a superb relationship with Professor XXXX, going on to become her Teaching Assistant for the same course as well as an undergraduate course titled “Iran and Middle East Conflicts.” I enjoy teaching and I could not be more committed to my goal of serving as a professor following the completion of my PhD program.

I feel strongly that my studies towards the Master’s Degree in International Affairs that I recently completed at American University, coupled with my experience at the Atlantic Council in Washington, as well as my work in Tehran, will help me to hit the ground running and excel in your rigorous PhD Program.

I have fresh, highly relevant professional experience that will help me to excel at Columbia University. At the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative in Washington, where I started as an intern and was later promoted to Project Assistant, I

Ever since graduation in May 2017, I have assisted and advised several Iranian diplomats and I am currently a project assistant at the Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Political and International Studies in Tehran. Furthermore, I assisted my father in revamping our family business to better address the economic needs of Iran in the new era following the lifting of sanctions. At MehrIran International in Tehran, I serve as co-founder and Vice President. We collaborate with numerous domestic services in Iran, including foreign investment facilitation, international trade process, and other matters. I am personally responsible for conducting political risk analyses by effectively coordinating with foreign embassies in Tehran, as well as other international organizations based in places such as Qatar, Switzerland, Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Brazil. I have a long list of contacts most of which I established during my time in Washington that I have effectively used to broaden my impact.

I have been asked to publish a chapter on Iran’s foreign policy determinants for an upcoming book being published by the University of Leitz, Poland, in addition to publishing several chapters of my translated thesis in the Journal of International and Political Studies in Iran. Furthermore, I regularly write opinion pieces for the Atlantic Council website which are sometimes republished and translated to different languages by various sources around the world.  Furthermore, I was invited to present my research on “Barriers To A Cooperative Future Between Iran and the Arab States of the Persian Gulf” at the Tehran Security Conference in December 2017.

Another asset that I hope to bring to your program was the invaluable experience in the summer of last year in Geneva, Switzerland as a participant in the International Affairs and Multilateral Governance Summer Program. Peacemaking through diplomacy has always been my central focus, which is why I earned dual degrees as an undergraduate student, in Peace Studies as well as Political Science. For this reason, I am very keen on taking full advantage of the Center for International Conflict Resolution and Columbia.

I was highly active in Southern California with the United Nations Association which I co-founded a chapter in Orange and won a “Head Delegate Award” for my efforts, in addition to an Outstanding Delegate Award from the UNA Conference in Boston in November of 2011.

I thank you for considering my application for Phd in Political Science at XXXX University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

World Humanitarian Day 2016

Margo Conry Mckenzie,   Port St. Lucie, Florida 34986, USA

Statements of Excellence for Graduate School in Political Science

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Sample Statement of Purpose for the MA in Political Science, Colombian, US Military Experience

personal statement political science

I visit Colombia almost every year and like to think of myself as something of a Colombian expert in training. As both a Colombian, a member of the US Armed Forces, and an avid student of political conflict, I have long studied the civil war in Colombia with a profound sense of fascination driven by my concern for the very high levels of violence to which my people have been subjected for more than a half century. I have also closely followed the long and drawn out - but apparently, finally, more or less successful - peace process. I hope to continue to do so as a graduate student in your program, writing term papers on conflict in Colombia, as well as a host of other subjects that are related to this central interest. At the University of XXXX, I hope to better understand my land of origin and the challenges that it continues to face by learning as much as I can about political science and its relevance for our troubled times.

I will probably choose to pursue a career somewhere in the justice system. I treasure diversity and have strong feelings about equality, particularly with respect to employment at the federal level and the Armed Forces in particular. I am deeply troubled by the way in which minorities are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. While I understand the complexity of the underlying issues and the entrenched nature of the challenges involved, I still aspire to become part of a search for a sustainable solution to this great challenge. Now 28, my 10 years in the Navy enabled me to become fully American, a citizen, and a devoted public servant, with respect to both the US and my native Colombia. Nearly half of the sailors with whom I served had been born somewhere other than in the USA and I enjoyed this diversity enormously, learning about different cultures, peoples, and languages on a daily basis. Earning my Associates Degree in Sociology in May of 2013 and a Bachelors in Political Science in December of last year, 2016, I am eager to return to study and look forward to doing so full time.  I want to learn as much as I can about international politics and international conflict generally speaking.

At some point, I look forward to serving an organization that helps the disenfranchised, the at-risk. I could be a natural to help young Latino men avoid the criminal justice system, and/or helping those already caught up in the system to survive the experience. I look forward to continuing to return to Colombia on an annual basis and to furthering my engagement with social justice and peace building issues in my native land. In Colombia, the justice system is clearly divided along class lines and I look forward to paying special attention to social class and economic factors as they tend to play themselves out in a variety of conflictive parts of the world. Drug trafficking, kidnappings, and terrorism also top my list as intellectual interests. I could conceivably end up returning to law enforcement or even the US Armed Forces. For the moment, I look forward to playing with my little sister and studying full time for the next 2 years at the University of XXXX. I look forward to the time to devote myself to finding out who I am and locating myself in a complex web of issues and opportunities wherein I hope to someday make my maximum contribution to society, the United States, Colombia, and the world.  I thank you for considering my application.

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personal statement political science

I want to help you get accepted to graduate school in Political Science.

personal statement political science

You will also need a highly eloquent Statement that portrays you as someone with enormous potential to contribute to the advance of Physics over the long term. After you fill out my  Online Interview Form , I will ask you some specific questions by email if I need any further information. Please also send your resume/CV and or rough draft if you have one.

The Humanitarian Side of Political Science

Helen Joanne "Jo" Cox was a  British Labour Party  politician that passed away in June 2016.

Cox was the  Member of Parliament  (MP) for the  Batley and Spen  constituency from May 2015 until  her death  13 months later in June 2016. She won the seat with an increased majority for Labour in the  2015 general election .

Cox was born in  Batley , West Yorkshire and studied  Social and Political Sciences  at Cambridge University. Working first as a political assistant, she then joined the international  humanitarian charity   Oxfam . There, she rose to become head of policy and advocacy at  Oxfam GB . She was selected to contest the Batley and Spen parliamentary seat after the previous incumbent decided not to stand during 2015.

After having held the seat for Labour, she became a campaigner on issues relating to the  Syrian Civil War . She founded and chaired the  all-party parliamentary group  Friends of Syria. An obituary appearing in  The Independent  on the day of her death described her as having "campaigned tirelessly for refugees".

On the 16 th of June 2016, Cox  died shortly after being shot and stabbed multiple times in  Birstall , where she had been due to hold a constituency surgery . A 52-year-old man was charged with her murder. He will stand trial under the  Terrorism Acts .

Hours after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed her husband Brendan made a statement saying that she had fought for "a better world".

She met her husband while working for Oxfam - where she met her husband. She was there for eight years, and it enabled her to show inspiring leadership and political intelligence, despite her remarkably young age, according to her former colleagues.

Cox's charity work took her around the world to tackle issues like poverty and maternal mortality—issues she previously helped put on the European Parliament, as a researcher for Glenys (now Baroness) Kinnock, who was an MEP during that time.

It was around 1997, when Ed Cairns, Oxfam's senior policy advisor, first met Cox—quickly coming to regard her as a "key contact" for the charity.

"She was about the greatest person I ever met, combining a humanitarian passion with political nous," he said. "It is very rare to have someone with as much political intelligence as Jo actually show you how you can achieve things in the real world."

Together, they worked to convince the EU to establish a new code of conduct in the arms trade, which was successfully adopted in 1998. In 2001, Cox started working for Oxfam. She quickly became head of the charity's Brussels office, where Mr Cairns said she dealt with "one humanitarian crisis after another".

Talking to the Huffington Post last year, Cox herself said: "I would jump on a plane and be in Kabul one week and then Darfur the next."

Oxfam's Max Lawson described her campaigning to end the conflict in Darfur as "particularly brilliant". "She was as a ball of energy, always smiling, full of new ideas, of idealism, of passion."

Together with Amnesty International, Cox also pushed for a global arms trade treaty, which was eventually adopted in 2014 after a decades-long campaign.

At the 2005 World Summit, she argued for the international community to agree a "responsibility to protect" and intervene when governments fail to stop crimes against their citizens and was successful.

Mr Cairns said no matter how many setbacks the charity encountered, Cox would always stay positive. "She was always the first to get over the dejection of a setback, and in about half a second she would say 'right, we are going to do something else', said Cairns. "She was completely committed to achieving something tangible rather than just saying the right things."

Cox herself told the BBC: "I've been in some horrific situations - where women have been raped repeatedly in Darfur, I've been with child soldiers who have been given a Kalashnikov and kill members of their own family in Uganda.

"That's the thing that all of that experience gave me - if you ignore a problem, it gets worse," she said.

In 2007, she moved to Oxfam's New York office and became head of humanitarian campaigning around the world until around 2009.

Cairns said she was instrumental in the publication of a "landmark book" called For a Safer Tomorrow, which analyzed how the world's humanitarian policies were changing. "She was remarkably young for such a senior position," said Cairns.

"But she had a brilliant touch with everybody that she managed, she really encouraged people and was a great, motivating people manager.”

Cox left Oxfam in 2009 and became the director of ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife Sarah's Maternal Mortality Campaign, which campaigns for women's right in the developing world. Even when she moved into politics, she continued to work as a strategy consultant for Save the Children and then the NSPCC.

Such an inspiring career, but such a tragic ending. Will you have a story like this to tell when you retire? We want you to do yourself proud. To fight for your passions and be brilliant. That´s why we support people as they express themselves during the admissions process. We wouldn´t want someone amazing to fall through the cracks. Get in touch if you´d like our support.

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The University of Michigan Political Science department is one of the premier political science programs in the country and welcomes applicants from all institutions and backgrounds. We strive for a diverse student body, value applications from various groups of prospective students and employ a holistic approach when reviewing applications.

Each fall, the Department of Political Science accepts applications for admission to our doctoral program. Applications become available in September and are accepted until December 15 for admission the following fall. The required method for submission of applications is via the Rackham Graduate School online application .

The Department does not offer a terminal master's program; students seeking a master's degree in Political Science will not be able to apply to our program.

Listed below are all of the required materials for a complete application to the Department of Political Science and the most Frequesntly Asked Questions .


Applications to the graduate program in Political Science at the University of Michigan are submitted online through the Rackham Graduate School . Access to the online application will end at 11:59 pm EST on December 15.

Academic Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should be a concise statement about the applicant's academic and research background, career goals, and how the University of Michigan's Department of Political Science will help him/her to meet their career and educational objectives. Applicants should speak specifically to how their research interests align with those of the faculty in the Department.

We encourage applicants to write about their specific area of research and discuss how this research fits into the larger department as a whole. Although you are welcome to reference faculty members with whom you share research interests, we strongly discourage you from giving superficial reviews of their work. “Fit” is an important criterion when reviewing applications so we encourage you to focus on your own personal academic “fit” and strengths.

There is no specific limit to the statement; most are 2-4 pages (500-1,000 words) in length.

Personal Statement

Applicants should use the personal statement to address how their background and life experiences (including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges) motivated their decision to pursue a graduate degree in Political Science. This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to the decision to seek a graduate degree.

The personal statement is not the same as the academic statement of purpose. Please do not repeat your academic statement of purpose.


Upload an electronic version of your transcript(s) for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned or in progress through your ApplyWeb application account. If you are recommended for admission , the Rackham Graduate School will require official transcript(s). Recommended applicants will receive an email notification when the official transcript(s) are required for submission. More information about uploading and sending transcripts is HERE .  

If an applicant is not able to scan a transcript and upload it with their application, then an official transcript should be sent to:

Rackham Graduate School Attn: Transcripts/UMID# (if known) or Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy) 915 E. Washington Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070 USA

Note: The Rackham Graduate School requires the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor's degree.  Information about required academic credentials from non-U.S. institutions can be found HERE .

Standardized Tests

All applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency, unless they meet one of the criteria for an exemption.  Our department follows requirements set by the Rackham Graduate School.  Information about language test scores and language exemptions can be found HERE .

To ensure that test scores reach the Department before the December 15 deadline, it is recommended that applicants take the exam no later than mid-November.

GRE general test scores are no longer included in the admissions process for Rackham’s doctoral programs as of the 2022–2023 admissions cycle. ( More information available )

Writing Sample

The writing sample should be a good representation of original research/work by the applicant. The writing sample should reflect the same area of interest expressed in your Statement of Purpose or, if not available, strongly reflect your academic skills as a whole. The writing sample should not exceed 20 pages in length.

Letters of Recommendation

All applicants are required to submit three (3) letters of recommendation. The letters of recommendation should be submitted through the online application system. Instructions for submission can be found HERE . At this time we are not able to accept letters from letter services such as Interfolio.

Letters of recommendation should be from a person who is familiar with an applicant's research ability, writing ability, work ethic, and ability to be successful in a doctoral program. We strongly encourage applicants to have letters of recommendation submitted by political scientists, academics in related fields, or other academics who would be able to able to effectively gauge your success in a rigorous political science PhD program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the application process to the graduate program in Political Science. Click on a question to see the answer. If your question is unanswered here, please contact Megan Gosling, graduate program coordinator, at  [email protected] .

When will graduate program admission decisions be made?

Applications are accepted beginning in September. The last day that we will accept an application is December 15. The Admissions Committee reviews applications in January, intending to make decisions by the first week of February. Everyone is notified via e-mail.

How competitive is admission to your program?

The department usually receives between 320 and 375 applications for the graduate program each year. We generally admit between 5-10% of those who apply.

Do you accept students for the winter term?

No. The department accepts students starting in the fall term only.

Can I apply for a master's degree in Political Science at Michigan?

No. The Department only admits students for doctoral study. Students admitted to the doctoral program may receive a master's degree from us as part of their doctoral study.

Does the program offer any financial aid?

Yes! All applicants admitted to the graduate program will receive a 5-year funding package. This package will include a mix of fellowship and teaching. The minimum package will consist of a fellowship in year one and graduate student assistantships (teaching assistant, research assistant, etc.) in the following years. This should be regarded as the minimum package; many of our students successfully secure fellowships in the program's later years.

Fellowships and graduate student assistantships include a stipend (or salary), a full tuition waiver, and health insurance.

What are the main criteria for selection?

First and foremost, our department strongly emphasizes the overall ‘fit’ with our program. We are interested in how an applicant’s specific area of research would connect with the department as a whole. In addition, we look at the overall strength of an application. We consider all aspects of a prospective student’s application and do not prioritize one criterion over another. Our program employs a holistic approach to application review, so an applicant’s essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and application are all important to the admissions committee.

If my undergraduate institution is not as prestigious as U-M, should I apply?

Absolutely! Our department has a historic commitment to all types of diversity, including diversity of institutions. We encourage applicants who perceive their complete application as competitive to consider applying to our program.

If my GPA is not the strongest, should I still apply?

Yes. Our department reviews all aspects of an applicant’s file, and no piece of the application is weighed more heavily than another. We view an applicant’s transcript more as an intellectual biography than a measurement of the likelihood of success in our program.

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Political Science Personal Statement Personal Statement Examples

Type of paper: Personal Statement

Topic: Public , Policy , Economics , Politics , Skills , China , Professionalism , World

Published: 11/23/2021


Political Science Personal Statement for U.W. My academic and professional experiences validate my claim of competence in combining public policy analysis, economic skills and an advocacy towards the betterment of the society through the said areas of expertise. I believe that I have displayed these virtuous based on my accomplishments on several pursuits, and that my record can defend my excellence in public policy analysis and economics. In this respect, I am aware that each individual inherently possesses room for improvement in his or her chosen field of expertise, and that it is in this aspect that I now aspire to be included in your esteemed MPA Program. Historically, my background of coming from politics educator parents plays an integral part on my desire of reaching my optimal level of competence in my chosen field of interest. Understandably, in my growing-up years our home was filled with intense political atmosphere that it has become a regular staple of everyday conversations and bonding time. Perhaps it is because of this environment that I grew up to be a responsible lady who is intensely aware and concerned of various international issues and interests, not only those concerning the United States and other global economic powers, but especially those concerning my native land, China. In the same manner, my exposure to other foreign cultures has stimulated my desire to specialize in public policy and economics, especially when considering the achievements I have made in amalgamating these two skills in my endeavors in the UK, the United States and China. Such is the case in Michigan State University wherein my article had been accorded with full mark due to its competent application of applied public policy theories and economics. Here, the area of research revolved around theories in politics, economics and cultural related courses. Specifically, the article on Public Expenditure that I had written comparatively analyzed the impact of federal gasoline excise taxes and green taxes upon greenhouse gases emissions as well as the importance of government intervention. As previously stated, the high mark garnered by my article serves as a testament to my level of excellence in the field of public policy analysis and economics. The same claim regarding my competence can also be said with my academic endeavors in the United Kingdom. Here, during the summer of 2014 I was selected by the Michigan State University Study Abroad Program as a participant in Regent’s University’s classes on War and Revolution, and International Organisation & Cooperation. This was indeed especially very gratifying on my part since I was the only Chinese student chosen to participate in the said Program and that I was given the opportunity to delve on UK-based issues with students from other regions of the global community. More so, in line of improving my level of global adaptability, I chose to study the Japanese language and in the process was able to learn basic language and grammar. I believe that this is important in developing the ability to embrace diversified cultures and backgrounds especially in the field of public policy specialist, given that we need to listen and make judgments without racial bias. A more comprehensive mastery of public policy and economics has become more essential in recent times due to the reality that government functions have come to include not only the political and social aspects, but also the extensive aspects of a nation’s economy. Likewise in this regard, I believe that the knowledge I have gained in courses such as Survey of International Economics and Private Enterprises and Public Policy, have allowed me to develop a systematic set of economic perspectives and analytic tools. Indeed, these are very important in ensuring that contemporary public policy analysts are competent enough to face the growing challenges of the dynamic global society. Lastly, my experience in China has allowed me to evaluate the importance of policy-making in the real-world environment. This is especially true with my internship at Yiwu Finance Bureau. Here, it must be noted that I directly participated in the introduction of the Pre-Seed Fund (PSF), which allowed lower entry criteria, smaller scale and less operating cost for enterprises so that the industrial investment can be injected more effectively. In addition, during my stay in China I also had the opportunity to closely research the PPT mode and compare and contrast it with the existing systems in UK, New Zealand and Malaysia in reference with the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese counterpart. More so, through my collaboration with officials from Science and Technology Bureau, I made a proposal for the government to grant direct rent subsidy to eligible innovative enterprises by setting specific percentage or per square for the amounts. In this regard, as a result the present policy has been revised as to grant a 3% to 5% subsidy on rent. The academic and professional experiences stated in this paper serve as testaments to my advocacy to advance the existing social conditions through public policy analysis and economics. In accordance to this pursuit, I also intend to earn a doctorate degree and teach in an American or Chinese university, and help in training aspiring professionals acquire the necessary technical and societal virtues necessary in my chosen field of expertise. Ultimately, upon completion of your esteemed MPA Program, I aspire to share my unique perspectives of public policies which can impact more people, making our country more humane, more considerate and more efficient.


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An American flag is painted on a billboard in a field, with blue and red paths leading away from it.

Making it personal: Considering an issue’s relevance to your own life could help reduce political polarization

personal statement political science

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology, Hamilton College

personal statement political science

Associate Professor of Psychology, Hamilton College

Disclosure statement

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Hamilton College provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

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Political polarization can be reduced when people are told to think about the personal relevance of issues they might not care about at first glance.

We, a social psychologist and an evolutionary psychologist , decided to investigate this issue with two of our undergraduate students, and recently published our results in the science journal PLOS One.

Previous research has found that conservatives tend to judge “disrespecting an elder” to be more morally objectionable behavior than liberals do. But when we had liberals think about how “disrespecting an elder” could be personally relevant to them – for example, someone being mean to their own grandmother – their immorality assessments increased , becoming no different than conservatives’.

When people consider how an issue relates to them personally, an otherwise neutral event seems more threatening . This, in turn, increases someone’s perception of how morally objectionable that behavior is.

The pattern was different with conservative participants, however. When conservatives considered the personal relevance of what is typically considered a more “liberal” issue – a company lying about how much it is contributing to pollution – their judgments of how immoral that issue is did not significantly change.

Contrary to what we expected, both conservatives and liberals cared relatively equally about this threat even without thinking about its personal relevance. While some people did focus on the environmental aspect of the threat, as we intended, others focused more on the deception involved, which is less politically polarized.

All participants, no matter their politics, consistently rated more personally relevant threats as more immoral. The closer any threat feels, the bigger – and more wrong – someone considers it to be.

Why it matters

In the United States today, it can feel like conservatives and liberals are living in different realities . Our research speaks to a possible pathway for narrowing this gap.

Two rows of seated people, seen from the back, listen to four people speaking as they face the audience.

People often think of moral beliefs as relatively fixed and stable: Moral values feel ingrained in who you are. Yet our study suggests that moral beliefs may be more flexible than once thought, at least under certain circumstances.

To the extent that people can appreciate how important issues – like climate change – could affect them personally, that may lead to greater agreement from people across the political spectrum.

From a broader perspective, personal relevance is just one dimension of something called “ psychological distance .” People may perceive objects or events as close to or far away from their lives in a variety of ways: for example, whether an event occurred recently or a long time ago, and whether it is real or hypothetical.

Our research suggests that psychological distance could be an important variable to consider in all kinds of decision-making, including financial decisions, deciding where to go to college or what job to take. Thinking more abstractly or concretely about what is at stake might lead people to different conclusions and improve the quality of their decisions.

What still isn’t known

Several important questions remain. One relates to the differing pattern that we observed with conservative participants, whose assessments of a stereotypically “liberal” threat did not change much when they considered its relevance to their own lives. Would a different threat – maybe gun violence or mounting student loan debt – lead to a different pattern? Alternatively, perhaps conservatives tend to be more rigid in their beliefs than liberals, as some studies have suggested .

In addition, how might these findings contribute to actual problem-solving? Is increasing the personal relevance of otherwise-neutral threats the best way to help people see eye to eye?

Another possibility might be to push things in the opposite direction. Making potential threats seem less personally relevant, not more, might be an effective way to bring people together to work toward a realistic solution.

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Politics and International Relations Personal Statement Example 1

Politics can be seen as essentially a convention inextricably linked to the birth of diversityand conflict,but it can also be seen as a willingness to co-operate and act collectively.Mypassion to study politics further is unrelenting.The current lack of political participationin modern society intrigues me.I am certain that over time, political participation hasdeteriorated due to society simply losing interest,therefore it is my desire to examine society closely and calculate why general political participation by the mass hascrumbled,most importantly,who the fault lies with.This is one of many reasons that I feelpolitics and international relations would be an excellent combination to study.

Studying Politics and International relations will enable me to combine a subjects which I have loved since being first introduced to Nigerian politics through my uncle who was a senator,conversations with him increased my interest for politics.As an enthusiastic and highly motivated student I would love to experience and face the challenges which such a prestigious course would offer me.Studying Government and Politics at A Level reinforced my appreciation for these subjects.I understand that the disciplines are interlinked with one another, particularly when concerned with the welfare of our society.Politics deals with the distribution and the exercise of power while International Relations examine the relationship between countries and policies that are formulated.What I intend to study is not just how the policies are formed but the moral and the principles behind them and why they are successful or unsuccessful in society.Studying sociology at A level has enabled me to look at the sociological perspective of international relations and also compare any theories and political ideologies.My study of Media Studies at A Level has enabled me to develop the analytical skills required to fully understand complex texts and has provided me with the knowledge of the influence of media in politics and the importance for politicians of having the media on their side.

My passion for these subjects extends beyond an academic aspect;I have a passion for the field.I enjoy reading books such as The Globalization of World Politics,this will enable me to have a broad knowledge of international relations and to what extent its effects are seen in modern society.I often attend public debates held at parliament,particularly House of Commons,these have expanded my knowledge on topics ranging from political ideologies international policies,all of which I have found extremely useful.Being a part of"Think Outside"debating group,I represented my school on a range of debating topics,with successful results.Last year I travelled to South Africa where I had an insight into the culture and tradition of the indigenous people,this deepened my political and cultural knowledge and also emphasised the importance of family structure,education and socialisation in society. Having visited various countries and learning about their policies and how they are made and to what extent it benefits their society has inspired me to pursue a career in international relations and politics.

It is a passion of mine to learn new political and international approaches and analysis which will give me the proper foundations and broaden my knowledge.The aforementioned reasons drive my will to study politics and international relations;I believe it will give me the confidence that will make me better able to deal with the high demands of this course.Being a part of school council also head prefect ultimately inspired my drive for debating in which I represented my debating group at national competitions.At the age of 15 I was elected as my local youth mayor in which I served for 1 year this enabled me to experience the political life in a micro scale. Ultimately,I am proud of my ability to balance both study and a school life successfully.

Profile info

This personal statement was written by HeyZee for application in 2012.

HeyZee's university choices University of Sussex The University of Sheffield The University of Kent University of Exeter The University of Hull

Green : offer made Red : no offer made

HeyZee's Comments

im a normal that decided to use a non basic structure, my advice will be do not use the structure the colege gives u if you want to create a WOW personal statement, think of it like this how can you expect to make an extravegant p/s with a basic structure

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