How to write a personal statement for PhD degree

How to Write a Personal Statement for a PhD

Do you want to apply for a PhD in the UK, that is to say, a doctorate at the university? Most programs in the UK require a personal statement for a PhD to understand the motivations, aspirations and personality traits of applicants. 

Therefore a personal statement is an essential part of your PhD application. How to prepare it, what to write in it? We have covered everything you need to know in the following guide.

Around 100,000 doctoral researchers in UK higher education study PhD. The number of PhD students growing significantly in the last few years.

How to write a personal statement for PhD programmes?

Whatever program you are aiming for, you must set aside time to work on your personal statement, develop a plan and above all proofread yourself.


Your personal statement for PhD is an important document. You must submit a coherent, structured, well-argued and fluid text. For this, long work is required! Make sure you have enough time to optimize and polish your speech.

Do not hesitate to allow time to pass between each proofreading to come back to your text with a fresh eye. Repeat several times to have different versions and to be able to compare.

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Make a plan

A PhD personal statement is thought about and worked on beforehand. To build a well-argued and structured essay, you must put all your ideas together and then sort and organize them. Starting to write without having a plan is a very often fatal mistake: you risk falling into a dead end or getting a text without a head or tail.

Once all your ideas are gathered, you can combine some and eliminate others. Think about your transitions and the relevance of your speech: your text must be fluid and coherent. To guide you, use our methodology and rely on our advice.

Double proofread

A personal statement no matter how well written loses all its impact and credibility if it is full of spelling or grammatical errors. You must imperatively proofread yourself and ask third parties to correct you. If English is not your first language, you should all the more allow time to adjust your text.

Checkout personal statement examples.

Structure of personal statement for PhD

Your personal statement for PhD must reflect your personality. It is a difficult exercise because it must include many elements: you must explain the logic of your career path, and your motivations and mention the future and the vision you have of your professional career. 

So, if you answer the following questions, you will have covered much of what needs to be covered:

  • Why do you want to do a PhD in this field?
  • Why did you choose this particular institution? What are your reasons for applying to this institution?
  • How do your past experiences make you a good candidate to join this program?
  • What are your strengths and qualities?
  • How will this program help you achieve your goals and achieve your career aspirations?

To answer each question, you must be concise, precise and specific. Avoid generalities, clichés and other platitudes. 

Don’t just list the elements of your resume. Be concrete and give examples to illustrate your points and bring depth to your text. If the latter can apply to anyone, your essay is too general and not personal enough to you. 

The purpose of the personal statement is after all to show who you are to the admissions jury: do not miss this opportunity and reveal to them what makes you unique.

Personal Statement for PhD: Final Thoughts

Can’t write your personal statement? This essential piece in your PhD application must be carefully worked out. Prepare in advance and do not hesitate to ask for help if needed.

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