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    PhD application motivational letter review

    Hi everybody,
    I am writing a motivational letter for a PhD application and I would really appreciate if you could check it and give me some advice if needed.

    This is what I have written so far:

    Dear Dr. XXXXXXX,
    I am interested in applying for the PhD position in ”XXXXXX” at XXX. I am a XXXXX research fellow researching in XXXX under the program XXX co-funded by XXXX and XXXXX and closely
    followed by XXX. Its main goal is to support the development of technologies specifically needed for robotic missions to the Moon and Mars, along with technology demonstrations on the International Space Station and manned and unmanned reentry systems. In particular my responsibility is to design and develop software for unmanned ground vehicles with a focus on locomotion, path-planning and sensory-motor coordination algorithms. I am an enthusiast researcher, seeking for a stimulating environment like XXXX where to obtain my PhD to pursue an academic career in the field of mobile robotics.

    In December 2011, I received my bachelor degree in mechatronics engineering with honors from University of Reggio Emilia. Later on, I felt the need to move from my city, so I chose to apply to the M.Sc. in mechatronics engineering at Polytechnic of Turin for two main reasons: its prestige and the availability of an ERASMUS scholarship for EPFL. After one year of study at Polytechnic I was awarded the scholarship so I moved in switzerland for a semester of courses where I really discovered my passion for mobile robotics. Finally, I carried out my Master thesis at NASA JPL under the supervision of XXXXX and XXXXX on an innovative human-machine interface capable of decoding hand gestures from muscular activity to control a group of quadcopters. During this experience I had a chance to deepen my knowledge of machine learning, signal processing as well as improving my coding skills in C and C++. I extensively used Matlab and simulink for courses and projects during my studies and for simulations and algorithms prototyping during my fellowship. Moreover, even if I have a short experience developing under ROS (mainly for hobby purposes), during my fellowship I have been developing software for the TBRA (Test Bench for Robotics Autonomy) robotics workframe.

    I believe that my research skills, independent work abilities and academic background qualify me for consideration. I have attached my resume so that you can get a better understanding of my career achievements.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Best regards,

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  1. Doctor Document's Avatar
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    Re: PhD application motivational letter review

    I am interested in applying for the PhD position in ”XXXXXX” at XXX.---- I will tell you my idea, but you might have a better one. This is just an idea I had while reading your essay. You can do a line break and start a new paragraph with this sentence:

    I am a XXXXX research fellow researching in XXXX under the program XXX co-funded by XXXX and XXXXX and closely
    followed by XXX. Its main goal is to....

    Then, go back and add a sentence to the end of the first paragraph. If you decide to use my suggestion, the first paragraph will only consist of two sentences. First, the reader will see this formal introduction sentence where you express interest in the position. Then, the reader will see another sentence – a very powerful sentence that surprises them in catches their attention. It will be the most important sentence of the letter, and will express the idea that you want the reader to remember.

    After that important sentence at the end of a short first paragraph – a sentence that is seen without much distraction, right at the start while the reader is still paying attention -- the reader will see how you support that main idea with the explanations given in the rest of the letter.

    So, what should you write for the second (and final) sentence of the first paragraph? It will be the main idea that the reader will remember, so you need to decide what that idea should be. As a PhD candidate, you will be most impressive if you are intensely interested in motivated about your research topic. It is especially impressive if your research topic is somehow related to research that has been done by one or more of the people will be your mentors in this program. The most impressive thing in the world is a student who wants to study with a particular professor because that professor has written books or articles that the student finds fascinating.

    Good luck! I expect that you will be well received. I'll attach a file here that I think is helpful to anyone writing a letter like this one.
    Last edited by Tdol; 22-Aug-2014 at 10:13. Reason: Irrelevant attachment removed

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