Updated on March 1st, 2023
A Ph.D. letter of intent is written by a doctorate degree applicant to state how they qualify for a graduate program. It covers the applicant’s area of study and research, their academic and professional goals, and how they hope to contribute to their field. The letter is also the applicant’s opportunity to highlight their achievements, qualifications, experience, and the originality and importance of their proposed thesis.
A well-written letter of intent can be the difference between the student’s acceptance and rejection. Applicants should check the institution’s website to ensure the letter meets the content requirements and formatting guidelines (e.g., word count, font size, spacing, etc.). In general, a Ph.D. letter of intent should discuss the following:
- The proposed dissertation
- Academic and career goals
- How the applicant became interested in their field
- The approach and methodology for the proposed research
- How the research will contribute to academia in a meaningful way
- The applicant’s supervisor of choice
- How the thesis is unique, significant, and aligns with the supervisor’s background
- Awards, achievements, assets, experience, highlights, and qualifications
PhD LETTER OF INTENT
[SENDER STREET ADDRESS]
[SENDER CITY, STATE, ZIP]
[RECIPIENT NAME], [RECIPIENT TITLE]
[INSTITUTION STREET ADDRESS]
[INSTITUTION CITY, STATE, ZIP]
Dear [RECIPIENT NAME],
I’m writing to apply for the [DISCIPLINE] Ph.D. program at [INSTITUTION]. I have reached out to [SUPERVISOR] as my proposed supervisor. Their work and publications on [AREA OF RESEARCH] have greatly inspired my studies, and I believe they are the perfect person to supervise my dissertation.
If accepted, my objective is to conduct research on [AREA OF RESEARCH], an area of great importance due to [RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE]. My research methods include [METHODOLOGY], and I have a strong background in [EXPERIENCE]. I am confident that my previous studies and research would benefit the [INSTITUTION] [DISCIPLINE] program, providing new and valuable insights to the field.
I hold a [DEGREE] from [INSTITUTION] and have had the fortune of achieving [QUALIFICATIONS/ACCOMPLISHMENTS]. I have worked in [WORK EXPERIENCE] since [DATE] and volunteered for [YEARS] years with the [ORGANIZATION].
I am excited about the potential applications of my research and how it may benefit future generations. I hope to be able to contribute my efforts to [INSTITUTION] and provide new perspectives on [AREA OF RESEARCH]. Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to your response.
A letter of intent can be the admission committee’s first impression of the applicant and knowing what to include and what not to include can help ensure their letter is received favorably.
A Ph.D. applicant should:
- Have a thorough understanding of the program and its faculty’s works, publications, research, and areas of focus.
- Include specific examples of relevant publications or literature. Cite any references in the footnotes or as indicated by the university’s criteria.
- Know who will be evaluating the letter and have an understanding of what they will expect to read. If possible, investigate who will be on the admissions committee.
A Ph.D. applicant should not:
- Make past experiences the main point of the letter and should instead focus more on the applicant’s objectives and how they align with the program.
- Include irrelevant information and non-academic references.
- Provide a vague or unclear objective.