Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose explains the rationale for your individualized major and makes the case for its coherence and rigor. It should be about 2-3 double-spaced pages and should address the following four questions:

  • What is the academic focus of your proposed major? On what theme, issue, question, or problem does your major focus?
  • Why have you chosen this academic focus? What experiences shaped your decision to design this individualized major?
  • What do you hope to learn while pursuing the major and how will the courses you have selected help you to achieve those learning goals? From what disciplines or departments will you draw your courses? What insights do you hope to gain from your courses? How will these insights illuminate your theme? It is often helpful to group your courses thematically when you discuss them in your statement.
  • How does this major fit into your academic and career goals? Will you be pursuing a minor or another major? Will you be doing an internship, undergraduate research, or study abroad? Are you planning for a particular career or graduate program? How does the IMJR fit your long-term goals?

You do not need to consider these questions in any particular order, nor do you need to consider every sub-question, but be sure that your statement of purpose considers the four questions in bold.

Obtaining feedback from IISP advisors and your faculty advisors and revising your statement of purpose is critical to producing a strong application!

Sample Statements of Purpose

ASL and Child Development

Aquaculture and Fisheries

Neurodevelopment and Health