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"my view of nuclear energy in the future" - SOP for nuclear engineering PhD

kxoh 3 / 6  
Oct 12, 2011   #1
Hi all, I found this website and would like to seek some advise on my statement of purpose for grad school application. it is rather long winded at the moment but I could not decide on which part to cut out. Would appreciate any advice or suggestions. Thanks in advance.

Please describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals. Please be specific about why ****** would be a good intellectual fit for you.

I am a Mechanical Engineering senior at *****university who is expected to receive my Bachelor of Engineering degree in December 2011. I wish to pursue a MS and ultimately PhD degree in Nuclear Engineering at **** with research emphasis in waste management and fusion analysis.

Amidst the time where mankind are posed with unprecedentedly complex energy challenges, nuclear energy remains the ultimate power source that provides most prominent solutions, both economical and technological wise. The emerging Asian countries have recognized nuclear energy is a source too dear to abandon and already expressed interests in this technology, including Malaysia. As the technology develop, the foreseeable demand of nuclear engineers in Asia has motivated me to pursue the indispensable graduate studies in order to equip myself with the necessary understandings and enhance my credentials as a research professional at an academic or commercial level.

In the wake of Fukushima incident and commission of WIPP at New Mexico, the desperation to address safety and waste management issues before nuclear energy gains its public confidence is evident. I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Jor-Shan Choi from BNRC, who is active in the study of non-proliferation policy and nuclear safety. I concur with his view that the past incidents including the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and the recent Fukushima will hold little chance in shaking the developing foundations of nuclear power in Asia, but draw a higher awareness and investment into the research of safety and viability of the technology if anything. From the development of generation IV reactors that yield higher energy rating besides minimizing waste to fusion reactors which virtually eliminate radioactive leak, the prospects of nuclear power have never been this exciting in attracting one to pursue a career in.

My academic aspiration is to transcend new scopes of research in nuclear waste management and development of the safer and more versatile fusion reactors. Undergraduate degree has provided me with a solid foundation in underlying principles of mechanical engineering where I developed strong interests in thermo-fluid and dynamic systems. My consistently high performance in academics during high school as well as undergraduate courses has earned me first class honours standing in my degree. Participating in exchange program to ***** has allowed me to gain exposure to the American education system which in my opinion nurtured my research aptitude. I attained a cumulative GPA of 3.9/4.0, which has spurred my confidence on pursuing graduate studies in United States. The Dean's List Awards from two different universities in Australia and US further recognized my capacity to excel in engineering coursework.

I previously joined ****** as a student intern where I worked on the research of building cool duct prevalence study using GIS software and spreadsheet data analysis under supervision of Dr. *****. My Mechanical Final Year Project under Dr. ***** of ***** comprised of research and novel design of a semi-portable plastic recycling stall using Solidworks package, aimed to improve profit margin of waste collectors in nations like India and China. The proposed design occupying merely 2 cubic meters and weighing less than 500kg is capable of processing raw PET bottles to clean PET flakes suitable for further processing into final products. Upon implementation, the proposed market plan not only opens up more marketting opportunity for waste collectors by eliminating waste traders who stand between collectors and recycling plants, but also revolutionize the industry with a lower cost system compatible with current recycling plants through partial decentralisation. Both experiences have burgeoned my interest and prepared me well to embark on a career path in engineering research with environmental concerns.

Having been introduced ****** Nuclear Department by my uncle who earned his PhD degree there, I am well aware of the prestigious and honorable history of the department. Browsing through the department's website quickly appealed to me with the broad spectrum of research areas and the considerable facilities. In particular, I find Professor *****'s research topics in waste management and the development of nuclear power in Asia match my interest, and was advised by Professor **** to apply for the program through an opportunity to exchange email with him.

Switching from mechanical to nuclear engineering major, I realize that my undergraduate studies have not exposed me fully to this field. I therefore seek an institution that offers a broad aspect of related courses in conjunction with well funded research facilities. It is of my sincere belief that joining the department is the most promising milestone achievable in extending my academic pursuits and working towards my career objectives. I am confident that my intellectual background and resolute dedication to academics and research will live up the expectations of the university and make original contributions to its esteemed faculty as a pioneering research institution. I therefore plead for the Admissions Committee to favourably consider me for admission.
admission2012 - / 481 90  
Oct 13, 2011   #2

You have a few grammatical errors and omitted words such as in the second sentence of the third paragraph where you should have the word "my" there. However, the major weakness of this essay is that you do not talk more about why you want to study nuclear engineering. Yes, the world knows about what happened in Japan earlier this year. That incident brought the topic of nuclear engineering to the forefront, but what specifically interests you? There is no passion for nuclear engineering that comes across in your essays. To make this essay stronger you need to show serious interest in the field beyond the fact that your uncle earned a degree there or that you browsed the department's website. Because of the events that happened in Japan earlier this year, you can expect that many other students will also attempt this switch. As such your essays really need to be well written and your passion for and desire to study NE abundantly clear. -essay polisher

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