The following questions help in drafting an SOP:
How did you develop an interest in your chosen filed?
This interest could be through a paper presentation / project / in depth knowledge in a subject / past experience / a novel or book you have read/ a movie that you watched.
General awareness and observation of a particular stream / upcoming trends and developments in a field/ If you are changing your stream, it could be awareness and observation of another field / helping friends in projects from another field, industrial visits/ lab training.
Remember you must not write childhood stories and immature things. Write mature stuff. Answer this question in about 5 sentences.
What was your undergraduate education in?
Mention the program. You can also write about your favorite courses (subjects) during your undergraduate program.
If you do so, explain why they were your favorite courses. If you ever were a rank holder or a top scorer in a particular year, mention about it here.
Answer these in 3 to 4 sentences.
Write in 4 to 5 sentences the name/s of any 1 or 2 good project/s you did in your bachelor’s degree
(if you have done diploma, then 1 project from diploma and 1 form bachelors or both from bachelors is fine. If you have done bachelors and masters, then 1 from bachelors and 1 from masters is ideal).
Explain what you learned from each of these projects. Do not write a lot of details about the projects; instead write the names of the projects--- in 2 lines; in simple non technical terms explain what the projects were about and in another 2 lines mention what you learned from each of these projects – conceptual learning, subject oriented learnings and general learning where you developed your soft skills and other managerial skills.
Make sure the projects you write about are somewhat related to what you are going to study in the US. You can also write about your final year project, but it should be related to what you will study in the US.
In 3 to 4 sentences write about your work experience/or an internship/technical training if you have done any.
Write the name of the company you worked for, the kind of work you did and the different values, qualities and skills you learned from it.
Demonstrate incidents where you were successful in showing leadership qualities.
You can also describe an incident where you used your educational knowledge and a particular expertise to solve a problem, an incident where you led your team and helped it succeed in spite of a crisis or otherwise.
Write in 2 to 3 sentences about your co curricular activities
If you have done any paper presentations and /or thesis .
If you organized any or 1 good events at college or any good workshops that you attended / conducted related to your intended program in the US.
You must bring out your learning from the paper presentations, the events and the workshops.
Mention in 4 to 5 sentences what you want to do after your master’s program.
Give specific details. Write about your dream job and describe a particular profile that you wish to work at.
Also write what kind of work/ research would you like to do in future at your dream job or the areas in which you would like to work.
If you want to work on a particular project in life, mention what kind of project, its uses, and its benefits to the end users? If you want to develop or improve upon existing technologies or products for a particular field, write what the products will be used for and how will those technologies provide better services, increase output and improve performance, according to you.
Or if you want to start your own venture/consultancy mention what your company would do business in. What services or products will your company offer and how will it be used by people and how will it benefit mankind OR if you want to continue the current work you are doing, explain how the master’s program will help you improve upon your work.
If you are applying for masters with thesis or a PhD, you have to write about areas in which you want to do research in future after your masters.
These have to be different and innovative. Also, explain how your research will enhance end outcomes and better the current scenario or solve current problems. Ensure that you are able to explain how your master’s program will enable you to realize your goals.
Write the name of the university you want to apply to and the program for which you are applying. You also have to write about any 1 or 2 professors who are teaching or doing research or executing projects in fields and courses of your intended graduate program at the university you are applying to. You must write the names of these professors and mention what these professors are teaching or doing research / projects on which interests you and that you wish to study and learn under them. Explain how the professor’s research / course work coincide with your career goals. You will make this paragraph separately for every university you are applying to. You can make this university specific paragraph by doing research on the university’s website.
If you have won any national or state level awards, do write about it here in 2 to 3 lines OR if you have done any work with the US Government, please do not forget to write about it here in 2 to 3 lines provided the work is somewhat related to the area you are applying for in the US
Remember that your sop must be able to explain how a particular master’s / Phd. Program in the US can bridge the current gap between your knowledge base (i.e. your expertise and learnings so far) and aspirations (goals / dream career).
Your SOP cannot be identical to your resume so do not mention about all the projects done so far here. Choose the best 2 and do not give too many technical details. Rather concentrate on your learnings. Keep it simple so that it can be understood even by a layman. Also, remember the SOP is more about your future goals and aspirations. Explain about your interests in a particular field , the level of working that you have been doing in that file and more that you wish to do in that field. It is a future oriented document which lays emphasis on your goals by justifying your learnings from your past academic and professional life in a particular area.
Sample SOP - Electronic and Communication Engineering Course
The desire of knowledge, like the thirst for riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it!
I was passionately interested in electronics from an early age, frequently dismantling and reassembling electronic toys and transistor radios much to the surprise and delight of my parents. Whenever a technician came to repair the television set at my place, I used to observe how he tests the circuit board inside and I was amazed as to how a circuit board was controlling my television. I even helped my Father in soldering some dismantled components on the PCB of blinking decorative lights for the traditional diwali festival during my childhood. As I gradually understood various electronic concepts, eventually I realized that everything around us from the very small TV remote control to other bigger appliances like air conditioners are based on electronics. This ubiquity fuelled my interest in this field and I began to pursue it single-mindedly, making all possible efforts to enhance my knowledge, by studying and researching all I could about Electronics.
I opted for electronics in high school for two years, which acted as an opening up of a portal to the world of electronics engineering for me. Currently pursuing Electronics Engineering at _________________ , I have been bright academically and have been among the top 10 student rankers of my class in all the semesters up till now. The entire course in electronics engineering has helped me to progressively improve my perception of the field and accrue academic and applied knowledge combined with relevant skills. Subjects like Control System, Microprocessors and Microcontrollers I & II and Digital System Design have enhanced my interest in the field of Embedded systems. It was while participating in the renowned IIT Bombay Techfest’12 in the event ‘Grid master’-grid following robot competition, that I learned my first lessons in the stream of embedded systems. Though I faced many difficulties, I worked indefatigably to finish the task on schedule and this experience boosted my confidence greatly. Being tyro in the field, I keep myself updated with new technologies through visits to the international technical exhibition in IIT-Bombay Techfests and by reading magazines like ‘Electronics Today’, ‘Electronics For You’. To explore a different facet of electronics, currently I am working on a project ‘spiking and bursting behaviour of silicon neuron circuit’ under the guidance of Dr. _________. This acquired knowledge of electronics has inspired me to explore greater depths in my preferred stream of embedded systems encouraging me to take up higher education in this field.
My schedule at the Engineering College was filled with long hours of intense study and focused work on research and projects. Projects on subjects like ‘------------’ and ‘--------------------’ were instrumental in acquiring practical knowledge in the field of Embedded Systems. I won the third prize in national level electronics project competition ‘ELECTROWORKS’13’ for the project ‘-----------------------’. I then followed it up with an internship in ____________. wherein I was trained on the Programmable Logic controllers, Human Machine Interface and Totally Integrated Automation System. Working there, I realized how to successfully tackle the challenges electronics engineers have to face in an industrial environment. I am currently doing an embedded system course under the guidance of Dr. __________________ in order to get hands-on training in AVR, ARM, MSP, DSP controllers and Raspberry-Pi. To further my interest, I took up ‘____________________’ as my final year project. Everyone does not understand the sign language that these differently abled people use to communicate with us. Thus, I am designing a glove with the arm processor and flex sensors, which will interpret the sign language and give voice output, which other people can listen and understand. This is a very noble project which aims to help special human beings.
I would like to delve further into the subject of Embedded Systems, so that I could contribute in whatever way I can to the world of technology and innovation. I think the main problem in developing countries like _______________ is lack of technical exposure and opportunities. Because of this, various industries including the main-stream electronics industry is not developing much as compared to rest of the world. I have a dream that one day I envision the Indian industry so well-developed in Embedded Systems that there is no difference between India and the developed nations. With an MS specializing in embedded systems, I will definitely have the privilege to be considered for esteemed positions, R&D and projects in firms like Siemens India Ltd., L&T etc. After securing a graduate degree, I want to return and be a major participant in the electronics development process especially in the area of embedded systems.My long term plans are to work in core research and development in the field of embedded and control system for the betterment of mankind with the innovative realization of my ideas. I believe I am ready to open up my wings and enhance my subsisting knowledge base by working with an international student community in a conducive environment equipped with an extensive ambience of proficient learning. Your course would enable me to introduce the new technologies in electronics industry in India and provide more opportunities for gen-next Indian students. I hope that you will give me an opportunity to polish my skills to a dazzling sparkle. I could then ethically use these skills back here in _________.
Your campus promotes a wide range of activities which perfectly match my interests. The research area of ‘Embedded Systems Designs’ at _______________ is very promising and it would be an honor to be a part of it and contribute to it. I find the projects ‘----------------’ and ‘------------------------’guided by Prof. -------------------------- under ‘----------------------------’ very fascinating. I have the strong academic background that will help me take on the challenges of your department and provide valuable inputs. Being on your campus will give me the feeling of advance anticipation as to what to expect when I join the industry and the experience on your campus will be invaluable for me. The very fact that I will belong to a huge family of erudite students from various cultures under the tutelage of awesome faculty will enable me to scale new heights.
My academic background and performance, and my achievements in the cultural and technical field are the strengths I bring with me to your college along with a strong determination and devotion. I feel your college will be the right place for me to realize my full potential and utilize my abilities in the best possible manner.
Sample SOP - Electronic and Communication Engineering Course
Imagine a world where you can instruct the air conditioner to cool the apartment and direct your oven to cook the turkey minutes before you enter your home so you can have a hearty meal at the end of a long day! Embedded systems have turned this dream into a reality through revolutionary home automation systems. ----- has fabricated a device called the --------- sensor that facilitates security and room temperature control. This device can warn the user if there is any movement in the apartment and thus alert with respect to the presence of a burglar. It can also count the number of people in the room and accordingly increase or decrease ventilation to modulate the temperature. With the advent of such modern devices and the upcoming Internet of Things (IOT) devices, there is tremendous scope for innovation in the field of Embedded systems.
Fascinated by these developments, I undertook a project in my final year based on --------------. In this project, I used -----------, a voice recognition chip, interfaced with a 8051 microcontroller and Zigbee modules for transmission and reception of the message. I successfully trained the chip, using a keypad to recognise the English language and basic words like “Switch On” and “Switch Off” and assigned a particular output for them. Coding the microcontroller and interfacing the Zigbee wireless transmitter was a challenging task. While executing this project, I realized the need to pursue a graduate degree to equip myself with the skills to excel in a career as an Embedded Systems Engineer. To this end, I look forward to pursuing a Master's degree in ECE with a specialisation in Embedded Systems. The initial spark for the computer engineering field was ignited when I enrolled for computer science during junior college. With my outstanding performance in the All India Engineering Entrance Examination, I secured admission into --------------------------, one of the leading engineering institutions in India. Courses such as Electronic Circuits and Design, Digital Logic Design, Microprocessors and Interfacing, Computer Vision and Image Analysis and Embedded Systems have laid the groundwork for graduate studies. My engineering studies also covered various courses in mathematics that have greatly enhanced my logical and analytical skills.
To employ my theoretical knowledge in practical applications, I worked on various projects as part of the coursework. The projects included developing a '---------', '-------------' and '-----------------------'. For my final year project on '-------------------------', we are working on developing an algorithm to detect two kinds of image forgery, namely copy-move and image splicing. Working on this project, I developed command over MATLAB and image processing concepts.
Right after my freshmen year, I took up an internship at ------------------, Sine IIT Bombay. I completed a course in mobile robotics and worked on a project named '--------------' where I was able to secure an A+ grade. The objective of this project was to program a robot to behave as a remote controlled car, a line follower and an obstacle detector. This internship introduced me to microcontrollers and ways to program them. I also learnt about various interfaced devices like the UART for communication, sensors and motors. Working on these projects has been a fascinating and challenging experience and enabled me to explore various aspects of microcontrollers and its varied applications.
To gain further experience in Embedded systems, I took up a project at --------------------- and explored the workings of stepper motors using pulse width modulation (PWM) technique. The project’s objective was to operate a stepper motor in two modes- full-wave and half-wave. In order to achieve the desired end product, I programmed a PIC33F microcontroller using keil software tool and interfaced the stepper motor to it. The PWM technique controls the current sent to the stepper motor and thereby controls its working. This internship greatly strengthened my concepts of microcontrollers.
After completing my engineering, I was placed at ------------------- where I am presently working as a ----------------. I am a part of the Simple Network Management Protocol team that manages and monitors all the ----------------- ATMs. In the past one year, I have successfully implemented this product on other vendor ATMs (apart from ------------), analysed and provided solutions for three critical customer issues and learnt various static code analysis tools for efficient coding. This professional experience has greatly strengthened my technical and programming skills and has also taught me about the importance of time management and team dynamics.
Apart from academics, I was an active member of my college dance club, ------------, and have participated in and won various dance competitions all across ----------. I was also the captain of my college throw-ball team and this experience has instilled in me important qualities such as leadership, perseverance and team-spirit. I believe in giving back to the society and since May 2014, I have been actively teaching hip-hop to a group of underprivileged kids. Interacting with these kids has been a truly humbling experience and one of the most cherished experiences to date. I would like to align myself in similar endeavours at ----------------------------------.
At this juncture, I believe that the graduate program at -------------- will help me achieve my career aspirations. My primary career objective is to make significant contributions in -------------- with its distinguished faculty, superior infrastructure and conducive academic setting will provide me with the right atmosphere for intellectual growth and self-development. The research carried out by Professor --------------------------- in the field of embedded systems is completely in sync with my interests and it would be an honour to learn from and work with such eminent professors.
I am aware of the dedication and hard-work required to complete this course and I assure the committee of my resolute determination to excel in this program. If given the opportunity, I will not only display academic excellence but will also strive to make noteworthy contributions in my chosen field. I look forward to an affirmative reply from the admissions committee.
Smart cities herald the dawn of a Jetsons’ era. Devices would be seamlessly interwoven into our day-to-day lives. For instance, water would be boiling and ready for your morning coffee by the time you wake up. When you set out for work or school, your electric vehicle will inform you of the best route to take based on current traffic and weather patterns. Pollution levels could be continuously monitored and factories could efficiently manage power consumption and waste. The world would coordinate itself into a grand orchestra with technology as its conductor. Intrigued by this idea, I took up a project in my fifth semester to enable any electronic appliance to be switched on or off by means of a web page. Essentially, this involved creating a TCP/IP stack for an ATmega8 microcontroller so it can act like a web server. Working on this project, I realized that my interest lies in developing specialised applications that have the potential to change the world as we know it. I believe that an M.Eng. in ------------- Engineering from ---------- University is the perfect fit to pursue my ambition.
My earnest efforts in academic endeavours helped me score --------- aggregate in my first six semesters and rank first in my class of 84 students. In my coursework, subjects such as Microprocessors and Microcontrollers (I and II), Computer Organization and Microcomputer System Design have acquainted me with various processors, their internal organization and interaction with memory and peripherals. Subjects such as Digital System Design, Continuous Time Signals and Systems, Discrete Time Signals and Systems, Applied and Engineering Mathematics honed my analytical abilities. In addition, courses in C, C++, Java and Assembly Language made me proficient in programming. While applying concepts learnt in these courses, I employed softwares such as MASM, MPLAB IDE, PSpice, Keil µVision, Xilinx, Scilab and MATLAB/Simulink. Thus, my education has given me a firm foothold in the arena of hardware/software systems.
Knowledge is power and in order to enhance my skill set, I enrolled for a six month course on Embedded Systems Design and Programming in my college in fall 2013. The course has provided me with a macro perspective of the embedded systems industry and has introduced me to the latest trends and various technological challenges one comes across during implementation. I was amazed by multi-core ARM architectures and their enhanced processing capabilities. While I had an opportunity to learn concepts of multiprocessing, computer architecture and operating systems, this course has enhanced my competence with extensive lab exercises in ARM processors using Embedded C and assembly language programming. While learning about high performance processors, I was motivated to explore the design of high speed arithmetic logic units. I came across the techniques of Vedic Mathematics which propose optimized speed, area and power consumption when implemented digitally. Consequently, I began working on a research paper to evaluate performance of digital Vedic Multipliers by implementing them in Verilog.
In a view to combine my affinity towards embedded systems and concepts learnt in power electronics, I am currently executing a project, “---------------------------” as my final year assignment. This entails programming a microcontroller to generate SVPWM signals based on the feedback obtained from a Hall-effect sensor. Since the goal is to develop a complete, economically viable product, I have a chance to work within realistic constraints as experienced in industry. Our team has been interacting with industry professionals and users to incorporate their feedback in our design. We also intend to publish our observations and results in a research paper by May 2015. In addition, I have worked on a couple of minor projects such as “------------” and “---------------------” which were implemented without microcontrollers. These have given me a good hold over designing of digital systems.
In my quest to explore the applications of embedded systems in the real world, I am currently conducting a study on “Smart Grids” at -------------, ----------- largest integrated power company. This assignment has given me a chance to work within the corporate structure and aided me to sharpen my research skills. While working on this project, I realized that there is a desperate need to meet the increasing demand for power and to integrate renewable sources into the grid. Development in smart grid technology is crucial to alleviate our concerns.
Besides academic engagements, I have been keenly involved in activities that have helped me develop organizing and communication skills. As the Class Representative for the last three years, I have had the opportunity to lead my peers on numerous occasions. I have also participated in coordinating activities for the ---------- chapter in my college. My creative tendencies have led me to join the music club and to write for the college magazine. Being part of the ------------- Music Club and having my articles published has allowed me to express myself to an audience. I believe that these activities have instilled a sense of confidence and moulded me into a well-rounded individual, and I hope to continue on the same lines by actively contributing to the Clubs and Societies in Cornell University. I especially look forward to participating in the activities of the Society for the Promotion of ---------- Amongst Youth (---------AY).
The M.Eng. program in Electrical and Computer Engineering at ------------- University offers an enriching experience in the terms of technical knowledge, practical exposure and professional skills . I look forward to taking courses such as -------- Advanced Microcontroller Design and ---------- Resilient Computer Systems. The research facilities and their ongoing projects at ------------- University are truly enthralling and it would be a great opportunity to assist the erudite faculty conducting research. Professor --------------- research efforts in the Computer Systems Lab are fascinating and I hope to learn and work under his guidance. What makes the program at ------------- University particularly unique is the emphasis on developing professional skills and getting hands-on experience through the M.Eng. Project.
I hope my stellar academic performance to date is a testament of my abilities to excel in the highly competitive graduate program. I assure the Admission Committee of my commitment to become a brand ambassador for the program in the ensuing years. I hope to attend ------------ University in fall --------------.
I strongly believe that fate and hard work go hand in hand in shaping one’s destiny. In -------, medical and engineering are the two most commonly explored career options. Being interested in mathematics and physics and electronics being a growing field in India, I decided to pursue Electronics Engineering.
During my tenure as a diploma student, I focused on studying calculus and understanding the fundamentals of electronics, especially the architecture of microcontroller. The final year diploma project titled “-----------” built my confidence in practically applying my subjects. Furthermore, attending workshop on “---------” introduced me to ARM processor and RTOS which motivated me to enrol for Electronics Engineering at --------, University of ----------.
In the undergraduate program, I studied subjects like Digital System and Design, Control Systems, Signal and Systems, Microprocessor and Microcontroller, Filter Design, VLSI Design amongst many others. Being academically strong I was awarded with ------------------ merit scholarship for two years. Along with understanding theoretical concepts, I started applying mathematics and programming in the field of signal and systems, image processing and designing circuits using Hardware Description language (HDL). Completing a project titled “---------------” I was exposed to the application of signal processing in biomedical field. In the 6 th semester the subject Medical Electronics was introduced for the first time in the college. Being interested in studying the application of signal processing I enrolled for the subject which changed my viewpoint of the electronics field. Inspired by the subject, I along with my team members started working on a project titled “-----------” under the guidance of Dr. ------------------. At initial stages the project seemed quite difficult but reading research papers, books and listening to online lectures helped me understand the project and introduced me to the huge quantum of ongoing research on artificial neural networks. We have submitted a paper which is under review by the IETE Journal of Research. Apart from handling technical difficulties, coordinating with professors and team members helped me to cope with deadlines. This project gave me handson experience working with HDL, mathematics and enhancing my technical skills.
Having studied Digital Signal and Systems and being familiar with C and C++ programming I took an instant liking with TMS320C5515 DSP. At present I am working on the project titled “---------” under the guidance of Prof. -------------. The project employs Gaussian Mixture Model to convert the source speaker’s speech to target speaker’s speech. I aim to complete my final year project titled “-----------------” under the guidance of Dr. ----------------. My short term goals include concentrating on efficient image processing algorithms and designing a complete real time system using Xilinx PSoC Video and Imaging kit. Furthermore I also plan to study subjects like Artificial Neural Networks and Advanced VLSI in the 8 th semester.
From the things which I have learned so far, I believe every question in the world can be answered by studying the human body. Consider any field of engineering the ideas are derived by simply studying our own mechanism. With a background in Electronics Engineering for the last six years and enduring interest in working with biomedical signals, I aim to direct my career to synthesize science and circuit design and wish to use the flexibility of circuit design to create innovative computational models to solve complex problems. Hence I believe applying for M.S. in the Electrical Engineering at the University at ---------------, The State University of -------------- will help me to broaden my understanding.
I am interested in studying subjects like Analog Integrated Circuit Layout (EE549), Biomedical Electronics (EE580), Fundamentals of Modern VLSI Devices (EE588) and Microelectronic Device Fabrication (EE548) in my graduate studies. I want to study in depth about the implementation of artificial neural networks in information processing. My long term goal is to contribute in the field of VLSI for signal processing.
My primary motive in applying for M.S. in the Electrical Engineering at --------- is because of the ongoing research in the field of Analog VLSI design and biologically inspired Neuromorphic Visual Processing System. Secondly, the availability of research labs and the scientific guidance imparted at the University with an emphasis on biomedical applications attracts me to your program. I look forward to studying Analog Circuits (EE 591) and to work in Analog VLSI System Laboratory under the guidance of Prof. ------------ I believe that having a strong technical base combined with practical experience in applying my knowledge and a considerable exposure to mathematics and programming makes me a right fit in the University’s program. Studying in Electrical Engineering at ---------- will help me to carry out indepth research and help me to move one step towards fulfilling my long term goals.
Each time I read Robert Frost’s “------------” I can’t help appreciating the efficiency with which he expresses a simple idea of stopping to take in the lovely scenery. My predilection for poetry stems from a passion to understand the world from different perspectives and every time I re-read a verse, a new interpretation emerges. The desire to critically analyze any concept has transcended to other aspects of my life as well. While working on my projects or assignments, I have never had qualms spending hours trying to solve a problem or looking up a topic at the library until I have scrutinized the concept to my heart’s desire.
Being born and brought up in the financial capital of a developing economy has been both enriching and challenging. Known as the "city of dreams", the spirit of ----------- convinces me that the sky is the limit for human progress. I was far from being undermined by the 30% female population of my undergraduate class. I remained focussed and motivated and came out top of my class every year. My efforts were recognized by the Sir ---------------- Trust who awarded me a full scholarship for the first two years of college. Besides being a great honour, it has motivated me to outperform myself every year which is reflected in my academic performance. Further, it has instilled a sense of independence in me. I am fortunate to have grown up in India where I had the opportunity to experience a potpourri of cultures and beliefs.
This has taught me to always be open to learning; personally, academically and professionally. Throughout my education, I have met people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. But the diversity only served to imbibe a sense of tolerance within each of us. I believe that this sensibility will aid me to adapt to the cultural changes that are imminent when I start my graduate education abroad. Besides academic engagements, I have been keenly involved in activities that have helped me develop organizing and communication skills. As the Class Representative for the last three years, I have had the opportunity to lead my peers on numerous occasions. I have also participated in coordinating activities for the IEEE chapter in my college. My creative tendencies have led me to join the music club and to write for the college magazine. Being part of the a cappella group and having my articles published has allowed me to express myself to an audience. I believe that these activities have instilled a sense of confidence and moulded me into a well-rounded individual, and I hope to continue on the same lines by actively contributing to the Clubs and Societies in University of ------------------. I especially look forward to being part of Girls in ------- (g-----------) and --------------- Group.
Equipped with a penchant for learning, a strong sense of tolerance and independence, I look forward to attending the University of ---------------. I look forward to being a part of the incoming graduate class in fall -----------.