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How to write a good letter of intent for graduate school which must include a few points


emil1412 2 / 3 1  
Nov 1, 2018   #1
ubc letter of intent

I am applying for a master of science program in UBC. Please comment on my writings. Thank you very much beforehand

Things to mention in the letter of intent

Your specific area of academic interest (research topic you want to work on)
How your past education and other experiences have prepared you to be successful in the graduate program
What you hope to achieve in the graduate program
Why this particular program at UBC is the best place for you to pursue your interests
State any work you have done in this area already (mention specific skills/techniques you have picked up).
Connect your area of interest to work being done in the program (mention specific faculty members and projects).
Refer to academic publications that have informed your interest (use correct citation as footnote).
Mention any publications, presentations or conferences you have been a part of.

I am applying for the Master of Science in the Faculty of Forestry which starts on the 2019 summer term (May). After receiving my undergraduate degree in economics - with an emphasis on environmental economics - from University of Indonesia, I have worked on a number of projects as a research assistant and an environmental economics adviser. In addition to this, I have also presented my findings regarding: the economic behavior of a community called Sawai in the The 2nd Asia-Pacific Research in Social Sciences and Humanities "Culture and Society for Local and Global Sustainable Development"; and the Social-economic circumstances that drive forest degradation on Boano Utara, Indonesian Moluccas in the The 2nd Basic and Applied Sciences Interdisciplinary Conference.

I have always been interested with the way people from different society or cultural background interact with the natural environment surrounding them. Thereby, for my undergraduate thesis, I did a research - which was funded by the Department of Anthropology, University of Indonesia - explaining how an efficient wealth distribution became the byproduct consequence of the community's clove trade and gathering done in the community of Sawai, Maluku, Indonesia. This research uses Ostrom's Institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework and the idea of explanation by causal mechanism that was promoted by Andrew Vayda (2009) and Jon Elster (1989). In the future, I want to increase my knowledge pool regarding human-nature interactions in forest management by studying local governance for forest management and ways to improve them, and explaining events or circumstances that cause their methods of governance to emerge.

After finishing my undergraduate study and thesis under the supervision of XXX, who was also the Indonesia Director of XXX, he recommended me to two of his colleagues - XXX- for the role of Economics Adviser for XXX, which was founded by them. With XXX, I have been working with local actors, such as governments and local people, as well as a number of practitioners and scientists, to understand local methods of forest management in order to find leverage point for the establishment of a sustainable conservation and development plan. Because I was exposed to experienced researchers and practitioners in XXX, I was able to broaden my understanding of how local livelihoods and governance play a significant role in the well-being of the environment surrounding them. Specific methodology that I picked up from XXX includes; the use of landscape scenario to build a general understanding of the community and their environment; and the use of future landscape scenario as a way for the community to communicate their vision of their future, such as what they want to achieve, their current constraint, and the proposed possible solution.

I have been working under the guidance of XXX in XXX, and based on the ability I have shown, he has agreed to become my prospective research supervisor in the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia. He would be a suitable research supervisor for me because of how my interest, which is understanding human-nature interactions in forest management, is in line with his interest, vast experience, and current project (multi-location study of indigenous forest governance, such as forest governance in Haida Gwai and Okanagan area). I also believe that my past experience with research regarding local governance in forest management has prepared me enough to be successful in the Master of Science program in the Faculty of Forestry. For my undergraduate thesis, I spent 2 months in a secluded village in Maluku, Indonesia to study their clove trade and gathering system. With XXX, I have visited a total of 4 different villages to look into: the community's dependency on natural resource, threats and challenges to the community's livelihood, and cajuput oil production and how it drives forest degradation. Because of this frequent exposure to different society, each of whom has a very different characteristic, I became skilled at finding ways to connect, appeal, and engage with different communities, which is necessary for gathering information related to research.

The Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia would be the best place for me to refine my knowledge and skills in my areas of interest. This is because its contribution to the development of forest science has been widely recognized. And, if I were to be accepted, I would be under the supervision of XXX, a professor who has a very extensive knowledge regarding the forest management and conservation of my home country, Indonesia. I would want to bring what I've learned from University of British Columbia to improve forest management in many countries, especially Indonesia, because of the importance of its forest to the world. I would hope to achieve this by becoming a committed and dedicated practitioner as well as researcher, whose area of focus is improving forest management for a sustainable development of quality of life. I hope that I will be given the opportunity to increase my knowledge pool in University of British Columbia as a mean to become a proficient practitioner and researcher.

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Holt  Educational Consultant - / 13,876 4563  
Nov 2, 2018   #2
Muhammad, you have done a very good job of responding to the letter if intent requirements. However, your published work needs to be properly cited within the letter as the reviewer will most likely want to read your published work as part of your application process. This was specifically requested for in the section of the writing instructions that read: Mention any publications, presentations or conferences you have been a part of.

You seem to be short the conferences references in your essay. If you can mention a few then your ability to have an influential role in this area, or contact other professionals during your thesis projects will come in handy. The reviewer will know that you have the professional contacts who can help you succeed as a masters student. I know that you mentioned working with several people directly, but an ability to meet others who can help you beyond the workplace would make your ability to perform well as a student more evident.

Overall, the content is relevant. Your experiences make you a strong contender for a student slot. Just try to add a few of the information I indicated to further increase the strength of your background. Being a published researcher with evidence of that will definitely help your essay much more.
OP emil1412 2 / 3 1  
Nov 3, 2018   #3
I appreciate the feedback. I will definitely make some changes to my letter of intent based on what you have recommended. Thank you once again


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