Guidance for personal statements

The EECB admissions committee considers applicants based on their interest in science, undergraduate and/or graduate GPA, background, experience, communication skills, as well as evidence of independence and creativity. We also consider information provided in letters of recommendation. We strongly encourage applicants to share these criteria and guidelines with letter writers so they can thoughtfully reflect on your strengths, areas of needed growth and potential for success in our program based on the above criteria.

In your personal statement, please address the following so that the committee can evaluate your potential for success in our program, as well as your written communication skills:

  • Your academic background and motivation to obtain a M.S. or Ph.D. degree in the areas of Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology. If relevant, describe any presentations, posters or papers from past research.
  • Your career goals and how a M.S. or Ph.D. degree will help you attain those goals.
  • Your research interests. Pose a specific question or problem that you see yourself pursuing in graduate school. We strongly encourage you to contact one or more faculty members in our program in advance of applying to assess if they are accepting students. If you discuss potential research projects, please share those details in your personal statement. We are looking for evidence of creativity and independence with this part of your statement.
  • How your past experiences (classes, volunteer or work experience, research, formal or informal teaching, etc.) have prepared you for graduate school. Where possible, highlight your personal creativity, independence, persistence and achievements.
  • EECB is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive intellectual community. Please share your perspective or experience in contributing to such efforts, or share what you would look for as evidence of a commitment to diversity and inclusion in a graduate program. Your perspective may be due to a non-traditional educational background, your commitment to fostering increased participation from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education, or your own experience as a member of a traditionally underrepresented/marginalized group in higher education.
  • Feel free to convey any other pertinent experiences that allow the admissions committee to further understand your unique background, ambition, and motivation. This is also the place where you can address gaps in your academic record.