SOP for Data Science: Sample, Format and Writing Tips

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Srishti Chatterjee
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Feb 3, 2022 19:50 IST

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is undeniably an important document that serves as a part of your application docket that is required by universities abroad. Thus, an SOP needs to be written with utmost precision and perfection. Irrespective of the course or university you are applying to, the SOP is a document with paramount importance as helps in bridging a gap between the Admissions Committee (AdCom) and the applicant. The SOP serves as an introduction of the applicant as an individual and his/her ambitions and dreams. Thus, it is necessary to understand what an SOP should contain (content) and convey (meaning).

What to include in an SOP?

In short, your SOP should outline your ambitions and motivations. It should cover the following aspects:

  • Why this course: A strong reason for choosing the subject/course/major. How this course will help you in achieving your future goals.
  • Why this university: Reason or reasons for choosing a particular institution, school, college, or university. You can also include why you chose to study in a particular country or region.
  • Academics: Briefly relate your academic performance, interests in subjects, projects developed and papers published, if any.
  • Experience: Internships, practical experience, trainings attended, or work experience should be explained. A clear outline of roles and responsibilities should be included along with the learnings.
  • Extracurricular: If you have a rich extracurricular activities background, then briefly narrate your experience and how it has helped you grow as a person. You can also include social and volunteering activities in this paragraph.
  • Future Plans: Very neatly explain your immediate (after graduating) and long-term goals. Be specific while writing about your future plans.

The AdCom expects students to be honest and creative, so try to write a rough draft first and fine tune it later. For more help, read these pointers on What to include in an SOP and What not to include in an SOP.

How to write an SOP for Data Science?

Your first impression is the last impression and this holds true when the AdCom reads your SOP. Here, the first impression is the first paragraph of your SOP, i.e., the introduction. Thus, like any other MS SOP, when you are applying for an MS programme in Data Science, you should ensure that the introduction of the SOP is eye-catching and grabs the reader’s attention. The reader expects some intriguing quality in your SOP that sets the draft apart from other applicants' drafts. Thus, you have to be honest and write an attractive introduction that reflects your passion for Data Science. Avoid lengthy paragraphs; keep it short and crisp. The following paragraphs should relate a story of your motivation, academic background, practical and work experience. It should also contain details about your career goals and the reasons for choosing this particular course and university. Similar to the introduction, the conclusion of your SOP should be concise and impactful. The conclusion must convey the gist of SOP and create a lasting impression.

Some Tips for SOP for Data Science

While writing your first draft of the SOP for MS in Data Science in top universities, you should remember that the SOP is to be written with the idea of answering a few basic questions, such as – what kind of aspiration you have and the inspiration behind it. Apart from this, there are some general points to keep in mind when writing your SOP:

  • The tone of the essay should be formal instead of conversational, after all, it is a formal application.
  • The content can be creative but not casual.
  • Avoid flowery language or jargon. Use of good vocabulary is encouraged.
  • An anecdotal approach may be followed to relate incidents that inspired you instead of blunt or short statements. A narrative tone keeps the reader interested, while flat statements tend to become monotonous after a certain point.
  • While a story can be interesting, having a lengthy SOP can tire out the reader. So, keep your SOP compact and crisp.
  • It is always a good idea to prioritize the main points or events which can be explained briefly and stick to short sentences for less relevant events.
  • It is important to not fabricate any information. It may seem an easy way out to make up stories to impress the AdCom, however, the AdCom is quite at catching untruths at once. If any event or point does not align with your profile or other documents submitted by you, then it may lead to a straight rejection. Honesty is always appreciated.
  • Similarly, plagiarism is a big NO. Taking inspiration from online sources and samples is fine but copying content directly is one big blunder. Not only this can lead to rejection of your application but some universities even blacklist student profiles.
  • Write a rough draft first. This will allow you to proofread, check grammar, and make changes accordingly.

Check out the Common Mistakes to Avoid in SOP.

SOP Format for MS Data Science

The SOP for Data Science should follow the same format and formatting as a generic MS SOP format. In general, here are some standard rules you can follow if the university has not provided any specific instructions:

standard format and formatting rules for SOP

Standard Rules for SOP

Check out Importance of Word Limit

Sample MS SOP for Data Science

Now that you are familiar with the basics of drafting an SOP for Data Science, let us check out an SOP sample for Data Science. Please note that the following sample is for reference purposes only:

“As a child, I had a curious and inquisitive mind, and my father was the one whom I would turn to for all the answers. One day, he brought home a Computer system and since then, Computers have been an integral part of my life. With each passing year, my interest in this field has grown manifolds and I have realised that Computers and Information Technology play an important role in human lives. As we draw closer to the next decade, every new discovery or research gives us something new and exciting that can shape our future and the environment of future generations.

I am particularly interested in studying Data Science since I realized Data Science and analysis are related to the effective functioning of business processes in every field. It can be used to develop marketing models or analyse big datasets to measure anything – be it profits or consumer preferences. Data Science is also the answer to the most complex business and practical questions. Thus, I believe that Data Science is the future and it will be beneficial to learn more about it. I aim to use the knowledge gained from this masters’ degree to perform meaningful analysis of large sets of data.

I have been intensively fascinated with Mathematics throughout my education. I am familiar with concepts such as __________________ which were among my favourites while pursuing my bachelor’s degree in _________ from UNIVERSITY, CITY. I have also studied Data Structures which was the beginning of my interest and played a crucial role in forming my choices. During my undergraduate studies, I got the opportunity apply practical skills while developing a project on _____________________. This was basically a _____________________________. For my final-year project, I chose to work on __________________ and use _____________ for the development of __________________.

Apart from this, I have interned at two different firms that specialized in performing data analytics tasks. My first internship was at FIRM, CITY where I worked as a ______Intern. This experience gave me insight into ________________________________. After completing my tenure here, I interned at a _______ firm known as FIRM in CITY. Here, I learned about _________________and also helped the team with a project on ______________________. My role in the project involved ___________________ which proved to be a hands-on learning experience. I also learned a lot about programming languages such as_______________. After graduating, confident with my skill-set and experience, I set out to find a job that aligned with my interests. That is when I joined FIRM, CITY in the role of a ____________________. Initially, I was in training for a few months and then later I was given the full-time responsibility of ___________________. In my tenure of ____ years, I worked on some exciting and life-changing ideas. Some of them were ______________________________________________. Out of these, the one that most appealed to me was ______________________. My contribution in this was ______________________. Needless to say, I was quite proud of how this project turned out to be.

Throughout my studies and professional experience, I was fortunate enough to meet inspiring people, create a strong network, and gain some invaluable experience related to analytics. I am still that child with a curious mind and eager to take things to the next level; which, for me, is to pursue a master’s programme. I believe I still have a lot to learn about this field and a long way to go before I can achieve my goals.

There is no doubt that this masters’ programme will help me achieve my dreams. The course is designed in such a way that it will train me in ________________. This, in turn, will help me continue with my ultimate goal to ______________.

In this journey, UNIVERSITY NAME will play a big part as firstly, it has been my dream university. Secondly, the curriculum is exactly tailored accordingly to my needs. I even plan on taking some add-on courses like ________________ to complement my degree. Lastly, the reason I chose this university is ______________________. Not to forget, the opportunity to interact and study under the tutelage of skilled faculty of the university. Some of the professors I look up to are _____________________________.

In conclusion, I eagerly look forward to joining my classmates from all over the world and engaging in bubbling conversations about our common passion – Data Science and Analytics.”

We hope the above information has helped you frame an impressive SOP for universities abroad. Just keep in mind the pointers of what to include and the ‘Don’ts’ of a good SOP. If you have any further queries, you can always reach out to us by dropping a comment below.

About the Author
Srishti Chatterjee
Study Abroad Expert

Srishti has spent six years in the Education industry helping study abroad aspirants draft their application documents for their dream universities. Experienced in creating impressive SOP, LOR, and Essays, she knows... Read Full Bio


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