GENEVA GRADUATE INSTITUTE
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Let your application sparkle with a winning motivation letter
An application to the Geneva Graduate Institute requires you to write a letter of motivation. What is a letter of motivation exactly and how do you write a great one?
Before getting to the “how”, it is important to understand the purpose of this document, the “why”. The motivation letter helps the selection committee answer a key question about your application: are we a good fit? This is your chance to tell us why this particular programme, at this particular school, in this particular location, at this particular time, is right for you. Here are our top tips for what makes a great letter of motivation:
- Tell your story – or, rather, the relevant points about your story. Be selective. Take the reader by the hand and lead them across your trajectory. How did you come to consider our programme? What key development and growth events have led you here? How did your previous academic and personal experiences fuse together in a unique formula that produced the student you are about to become
- Demonstrate your understanding of what makes our offer unique. The Graduate Institute is a distinctive learning environment; it may not be right for everyone. How can we be reassured that it is right for you – and that you are right for us? When you read our web pages, talked to current students, alumni or faculty, or participated in our events, what is it about us that sparked your interest?
- How will your studies here help you continue your trajectory successfully? We do not expect every young applicant to have a precise career path mapped out. Rather, we would like to know that you have given some thought to what may be in store for you after our programme, and that our offer can meet those expectations, realistically. We would like to be the next chapter in your story; show us that you have outlined some kind of plot.
There are a couple of particular cases where you may “spend” a few lines of your letter to address specific concerns. For example, if there is a “grey area” somewhere in your application file that you fear the selection committee may interpret to your disadvantage, you can provide an explanation. This might be a mediocre first semester away from home, which had a long-term impact on your overall grade average but it was short-lived; you might provide a brief explanation and draw attention to the subsequent semesters, where your performance improved consistently. Or you might want to highlight an extracurricular project that changed your outlook on world events or deepened your insights, but is buried deep in your curriculum vitae and might not otherwise be noticed by the reader. A sentence or two in your motivation letter can act as a spotlight, underscoring the importance of that experience. Finally, your readers will be sensitive to all the elements of skillful writing: grammar and spelling, rich language, clear and concise structure, effective descriptions and persuasive arguments. Be careful to limit the length of your letter. Of course, if you have followed our advice so far, your letter will be unique to this application – not a template reproduced for other schools. Seize this opportunity to let your readers know that if accepted, you already possess the writing proficiency and the self-awareness expected from a graduate student. The motivation letter is the only part of your entire application that you get to create from scratch. This is your chance to shine!
Need support? Write to us at: [email protected] Or make an appointment via https://www.graduateinstitute.ch/meet-us
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Frequently Asked Questions for Admissions
In English only - Here you will find the most frequently asked questions our admissions office receives. If you do not see an answer to your question below, please contact us.
Table of Contents
- About the Graduate Institute
Selection criteria and decision.
- About the language requirements
- Financial aid
- Master’s programme
Research proposal, employment opportunities.
- Your student life in Geneva
General Information about the Institute
How many people study at the institute where do the students come from.
Since 2007, our student body has been exclusively graduate and post-graduate, with over 100 nationalities represented. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the Institute hosted 839 students, 496 in master programmes, 343 in PhD programmes and 19 in exchanges programmes. 84% of our cosmopolitan community comes from outside Switzerland and 62% is female.
The distribution of the geographic origins of our students is as follows: 16% -Switzerland 6% - Africa 19% - Asia 34% - Europe 12% - South America 13% - North America
What is the average class size?
In core or elective courses, there are between 20 and 100 students per class; in seminars, there are approximately 10 to 20 students. The seminar classes may also benefit from having a mixture of Master and PhD degree’s candidate. Our personalised approach and small classes provide an attractive ratio of students to professors allowing students to receive personal attention and commitment from our faculty members.
What are the career opportunities after graduation?
Past graduate students have gone on to diverse careers in international organisations (WHO, ILO, IMO, UNCTAD, WTO, UNHCR, WIPO, Red Cross…), NGOs, diplomacy and civil service, multinational companies, the banking and financial sector, journalism and media, communication and public relations, as well as academic research and teaching. Our students are known to be hardworking, flexible, open-minded, interdisciplinary and multilingual. During their studies, the Career Services Office sends them internship and job offers by email; its staff further helps students prepare CVs and interviews and organises meeting/conferences with managers and alumni from different sectors.
Can I enrol at the Graduate Institute part-time?
The Institute’s primary commitment is to full-time studies and it does not offer part-time education or evening classes, except for the Executive Education certificates or Executive Masters .
Does the Institute offer distance-learning courses?
Currently, the Institute does not offer distance-learning education. All the courses and seminars are held on campus.
Does the Institute offer summer or winter programmes?
The Graduate Institute currently offers two summer programmes ( International Affairs and Multilateral Governance and WTO, International Trade and Development ) and one Winter programme ( The United Nations and Global Challenges ). If you are interested in obtaining credit for one of these Summer/Winter programmes, you should contact the office responsible for study programmes abroad at your university. For further information, please visit the Short Programmes Webpages or send an email to [email protected] .
Does the Institute offer executive education programmes?
The Institute offers a wide range of executive education programmes such as degree programmes, short programmes, joint programmes as well as tailor-made programmes all geared towards mid-career professionals. For further information visit the Executive Education Website or to send an email to [email protected] .
Can I schedule an individual visit?
Prospective students may join our weekly campus tours from September to June and by registering here . Alternatively they may request an appointment via [email protected] if they would like to discuss their background in more detail. Additionally, please feel free to join our weekly online information sessions for prospective students.
Where can I find the course calalogue?
Our course catalogue is available online and updated once a year.
What is the Bologna Process?
The Bologna Process established the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe. The Process created the common degrees of Bachelor-Master-PhD and uses a common system of credits called ECTS, equivalent across Europe and recognised around the world. Switzerland and the Graduate Institute adhere to the Bologna system.
What are ECTS credits?
The ECTS system ( European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) allows for an overview of educational programmes based on the associated credits. These credits express the workload expected from the student in view of all the courses offered throughout the semester. For the Master’s programmes, a semester is equal to 30 ECTS credits. Credits are awarded once a student has successfully completed the course.
About the Admission Process
What is the application deadline.
Applications must be submitted online by January 15 at the latest. However, we have early application deadlines for those who would like to be considered for the first round of evaluations, for a decision in December, in certain cases. http://graduateinstitute.ch/home/admissions/application.html .
Please note that the Executive Education Degree Programmes have their separate application forms, procedures and deadlines. Kindly refer to their specific pages.
What is the difference between the first and second deadline?
The early admission deadlines allows you to receive an early decision but chances to be admitted or to receive a scholarship are equal for both rounds. To ensure that the quality of admitted applicants is the same throughout the process, we postpone a number of first round applications to be re-assessed during the second round.
How many times can I apply to the Graduate Institute?
There is no limited number of times.
May I apply if I have not yet completed the degree I am working on?
You may apply to the Institute during the last year of the degree or diploma necessary to gain admission to the programme you are interested in (“licence” or Bachelor’s degree for a Master, DEA or Master for the PhD). In this case, if your application is successful, admission will be granted conditionally and the final decision will depend on whether you meet the specific requirements (minimum grade) that the Admissions Office will set and which will be notified to you.
Is it possible to transfer to the Graduate Institute from another university?
No. For the time being, the Graduate Institute does not offer transfers from other Universities.
Where can I find the application form?
The application form is to be submitted online. It can be found on the admissions pages . No paper form will be accepted. A non-refundable application fee of CHF 100 is requested.
Do you have any tips for applying?
The Admission Office advises you to:
- Gather application materials early and give yourself plenty of time to complete each step as it may take time to obtain certain documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
- Think carefully about who should write your letters of recommendation. Choose people, in most cases, your teachers/professors, who can be specific about your strengths as well as your ability to overcome your weaknesses.
- In your letter of motivation, let your personality shine through. Present your profile and qualities in a focused, thoughtful and meaningful manner. Write in a natural style and support your arguments with relevant examples.
May I be exempted from paying the application fee?
No. The application fee covers the administrative and IT costs involved in the whole application process, whether or not an admission offer is eventually made. It is therefore non-refundable.
How do I know if my application is complete?
Your status can be checked online by returning to your online follow-up. Please check this information regularly.
When will I be informed whether I am admitted or refused?
The decisions regarding admission and requests for financial support are released to the candidates mid-March (regular deadline applicants) or mid-January (early deadline).
I have been admitted to one of your programmes. Can I defer my offer to next year?
No. The Graduate Institute has a non-deferral policy.
I left university a long time ago and I am no longer in touch with my professors. How should I proceed to get letters of recommendation?
You are advised to request letters from former teachers/professors, but you may also submit one letter from professional sources if you have left University for some time.
Must I have my official documents translated (diplomas, transcripts, etc.)?
Any documents that are not in English, French, German, Italian or Spanish must be accompanied by a certified translation. The translation, together with the original document, must be uploaded in a single pdf file (smaller than 2MB).
Can I submit my supporting documents by e-mail?
No. Supporting documents must be uploaded onto the online application form.
What are the requirements to be admitted to the Institute's Master Programme?
Admissions are decided on the basis of the quality of the overall application file with priority given to academic achievement, recommendations and motivation letter. There are no minimum requirements for grade point average but the process is competitive, as we only admit 30% of the candidates.
The main requirement to apply for one of our Master programmes is a bachelor's degree or a degree deemed equivalent from a university that has acquired institutional university level accreditaiton from the Swiss accreditation agency, aaq.ch , or an equivalent accreditation from the equivalent accreditation body in the university's country of operation. The degree should generally be in one of the core disciplines of the Institute (economics, law, history, political science, development) or a related field (communication, anthropology, social sciences etc...). The Admissions Committee may, however, also consider applications of students from different backgrounds with a strong academic record and a marked interest to pursue their studies in international affairs/development. If you are coming from a different area of study, it would hence be important that you mention all options/ classes/ internships that you might already have taken in international affairs, development or related disciplines. It is also important to state clearly in your motivation letter how your studies at the Institute would fit in your overall career plan and why you have decided to change orientation.
To access our disciplinary master programmes, it is important to have a good knowledge in the field of specialisation chosen (especially for the programmes in economics and law). Hence, a specialised bachelor or an interdisciplinary degree (e.g. BA in International Relations) with a minor in the desired field of specialisation would be a most appropriate fit.
The Master in International Affairs and the Master in Development Studies are open to more diverse student profiles with related professional experience/internships.
What are the requirements to be admitted to the Institute's PhD Programme?
To apply to one of our PhD programmes, you must hold a Masters degree or an equivalent qualification from a university that has acquired institutional university level accreditaiton from the Swiss accreditation agency, aaq.ch , or an equivalent accreditation from the equivalent accreditation body in the university's country of operation. The Master degree should generally be in a discipline relevant to the chosen programme. In addition, to the extent possible, you should have completed a Masters level research dissertation. Please note that you are eligible to apply during the last year of your study programme provided you will have received your final diploma before the start of the PhD programme.
Admissions are decided on the basis of the quality of the overall application file, with priority given to academic achievement, recommendations, motivation letter and thesis proposal. Click here for further information about the specific requirements of the different departments with regards to the thesis proposal. PhD supervisors are only assigned during the first semester of the PhD and potential supervisors need not be contacted in advance. However, it is important that your project proposal is in line with the research and teaching agenda of the academic department to which you apply. To see the fields of expertise of our Faculty, please consult their profiles and areas of expertise.
How important are extracurricular activities in the admissions process?
By far the most important selection criteria are the applicant’s academic curriculum and his or her academic performance. However, extracurricular or professional activities, such as internships or work experience, are an important complement.
Does the Graduate Institute have quotas for a particular region or school?
No. Applicants are compared to all other applicants, both regionally and globally.
Do I need to take the GRE in order to apply? How important are the GRE scores for the application?
The GRE is only mandatory to enter our programmes of Master and PhD in International Economics and Development Economics. If you have already taken the GRE test, please include it in your application file. Please be aware that scores are reported for five years after taking the test. Specific information can be found on the GRE website .
Does the Institute accept GMAT results?
GMAT results are not accepted in lieu of GRE scores. You can, however, include the results in your application file if you have already taken this test.
Is there an age limit for the Institute’s programmes?
There is no age limit in any of our programmes.
What does “conditional admission” mean?
There are various types of conditional offers of admission:
- Conditions on language: Candidates are admitted on the condition that they prove a sufficient level in English for the programme to which they have been accepted.
- Conditions on undergraduate degree: Candidates are admitted, but must provide, no later than the time of registration, proof of successful completion of the degree required by the programme to which they have been admitted. Students who cannot provide proof of a degree are not allowed to register for study programmes at the Institute.
- Other conditions set by the admissions Committee and detailed on the admission letter.
I have been admitted under the condition of providing English language certification, when is the deadline to provide this?
English language certificates must reach the Institute by May 30th at the latest.
What is the graduate institute's language policy.
The official working languages of the Institute are English and French. Students have the right to express themselves, orally or in writing, in one of these two languages. Applicants need to prove their English proficiency by achieving a certain score on the TOEFL, IELTS, CAE, CEP tests. Knowledge of French is not a prerequisite for entering our programmes, in fact, about a third of our students are admitted with no prior knowledge of French. Details about our language requirements .
I have no knowledge of the French language. Can I file my application?
As a rule, a knowledge of French (at least passive) is required. However, candidates without any knowledge of the French language can apply for admission and, if admitted, will have to participate in intensive French classes during the three weeks prior to the beginning of their first semester, as well as in a weekly 2-hour French course during their first academic year. Both courses are organised and financed by the Institute. At the beginning of their third semester, these students will undergo a test, the result of which will appear on their transcript and on a separate certificate. Should the test be failed, it will have to be taken again at the beginning of the fourth semester.
What English proficiency tests are recognised by the Institute?
If prospective students are not native English speakers or have not studied in an English-taught undergraduate programme, they must take an English proficiency test. These applicants are urged to visit www.toefl.org (for the TOEFL test), www.ielts.org (for the IELTS test) or www.cambridgeesol.org (for the CAE and CEP tests) as quickly as possible for more information on this examination. Some minimum scores are required for admission to the Graduate Institute.
I do not have a diploma in English and it is too late to sit the test before January 15. What can I do?
You may submit your application together with proof that you have enrolled to take this test, indicating the date on which you will take it. The results should be submitted to the admissions office no later than May 30th.
About Funding Your Studies
Financial aid, does the institute offer scholarships or financial aid.
A substantial number of scholarships (full, partial or to tuition reduction) are allocated each year to Master and PhD students on the basis of their and financial need and, in certain cases, academic merit.
When must I file my application for financial support?
At the same time as your general application. Candidates will find a direct link to the scholarship application form on the online application form. Please read through our scholarship regulations first.
How long do scholarships last?
Scholarships are awarded for one academic year and may be renewed.
Who is eligible for a scholarship?
The following criteria are used (this list is not exhaustive): financial need, academic and extra-curricular achievements. For specific scholarships, national or geographic criteria may apply (for instance scholarships from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation are intended for global South or developing countries’ nationals).
What are my chances of receiving a scholarship?
Approximately, 25% of all first year students receive a scholarship.
- You will find more information on Financial Aid in the FAQ for Scholarships and Special Aid
What is the cost of living in Geneva?
A budget of approximately CHF 18’000 per year is recommended (this budget would allow for a modest student lifestyle).
How much do studies cost?
From 1 September 2015:
- Non-resident students: CHF 8,000 per year (CHF 4,000 per semester)
- Resident students*: CHF 5,000 per year (CHF 2,500 per semester)
* with a Swiss residence permit at the time of application
How can I pay?
Shortly before the beginning of the semester, students receive an invoice in order to settle the payment of their semester fees. Enrolment for the semester is validated once the payment is received. Students can pay at the post office or in a bank in Switzerland, or by electronic bank transfer.
The payment methods are as follows: From Switzerland: Orange payment slip (post office or bank) Account name: Fondation pour l'Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement, CH-1211 Genève 21 Account number: 01-12533-5
From abroad: Bank transfer Bank name: UBS SA Genève, Rue du Rhône 8, 1204 Genève Account name: Fondation pour l'Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement, CP 136, CH-1211 Genève 21 Payment reference: tuition fees Account number: 240-484943.00D IBAN: CH080024024048494300D BIC/SWIFT: UBSWCHZH80A
Your Decision to Apply for a Masters Programme
What is the admission process.
Admissions are decided on the basis of the overall application file with priority given to academic achievement, recommendations and letters of motivation. In general, candidates must have obtained either a degree/diploma (“licence” or Bachelor’s degree, DEA or a degree deemed equivalent) in one of the Institute’s key disciplines (Law, Economics, History, Anthropology, Sociology, or Political Science) or in a related discipline (ex: International Affairs, Public Policy, Diplomacy, Area Studies, Geography, Geopolitics etc). For International Affairs and Development Studies, holders of a Bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than human and social sciences but with a high-quality academic record may apply for the programme.
How long is the duration of studies?
A Master’s degree is awarded after the completion obtention of 90 ECTS credits for coursework and the successful completion of the Master’s dissertation, i.e. after the fourth semester of studies (four semesters = 120 ECTS). A few rare students are able to complete their curriculum in three semesters.
What work load is involved in the Masters programme?
In general, we estimate an average of 10 hours per week for class attendance and between 20 and 30 hours per week for home and library work.
Can I do more than one programme at a time?
Students can only pursue one master programme at a time.
Can I transfer or waive classes?
For the moment, the Graduate Institute does not accept transfer credits from other institutions. According to the regulation, students do not waive any of the total number of courses required; they can ask derogations for up to two compulsory classes but must substitute them with others.
Are there Exchange Programmes available?
The Institute has concluded exchange agreements with various universities. Read more about our partner universities .
Students who are interested must apply during the second semester and have completed a minimum of 60 credits ECTS. Selection is competitive and based on academic merit. Courses taken at the host university will count towards degree requirements except for PhD programmes.
Your Decision to Apply for a PhD Programme
Do i need to have a supervisor before applying for a phd.
No, you do not. After being admitted, external PhD students are assigned a thesis supervisor before the end of the first semester.
How do I find out what the research interests of faculty members are?
Go to the Faculty pages of the Web site. Clicking on a faculty member’s name will take you to their general profile that contains detailed information on their research interests and a list of publications.
Is access from the master to the PhD programmes automatic?
Although completing a master’s programme at the Institute facilitates access to the PhD programme, the decision to admit a student is based on the application file, on the academic results as a whole and on the letters of recommendation. Master students of the Graduate Institute, during their 3rd semester, can apply for the PhD programme via the fast-track route, which allows them to complete their master and PhD programmes in five years altogether.
Can I go on with a PhD after having completed the MIA or the MDEV (the 2 interdisciplinary Masters)?
MIA or MDEV students can apply to relevant specialisations of our PhD, but admission may not be easy. Given that the PhD is disciplinary (international relations/political science, international economics, international law, international history, anthropology/sociology of development, development economics). The discipline in which MIA or MDEV students received their BA is an important criterion for admission to the PhD as well as their MA dissertation.
How close to having a fixed research topic does an applicant need to be at the time of application?
At the admission stage the faculty will be looking for evidence of scholarly achievement, capacity for independent research and sense to choose a significant topic. This will be reflected in the documents that you submit in support of your application including the letter of motivation and the proposed topic of study.
What do you mean by a "research proposal"?
The application form asks you to indicate a proposed topic of study and to submit a research proposal describing your proposed research topic in more detail. The research proposal is a very important component of your application. Potential supervisors and others in related research areas will be involved in assessing your application and they will be looking at your proposal for evidence that you have an appropriate background for the topic area and for your own ideas about how research on that topic should best be taken forward. What you write is not binding, but it will give an idea of your background, interests and ideas. Click here for details .
My research topic overlaps with other disciplines or fields (for ex. Development, Law, Political Science, etc.). Can I still apply for a specific area of specialisation and will there be adequate supervision for me?
If your topic encompasses more than one field or discipline, it is possible to be admitted to one department but to ask to be jointly supervised by professors from two different academic departments. You have also the possibility to complete a minor in another discipline (please see PhD regulation for more information).
I have already gathered data and have a research manuscript. Can I simply polish the manuscript and submit it to receive a PhD?
No, you cannot. Candidates are expected to develop a research subject and write a thesis under the supervision of a thesis director at the Graduate Institute.
How many courses do PhD students take?
By the end of the second semester, you must obtain 24 ECTS credits. You have the possibility to follow courses in another discipline in order to complete a minor validated with a certain amount of ECTS credits (please see PhD regulations). Please keep in mind that six credits are given for a half-yearly course of two hours per week during one semester, twelve credits for a yearly course of two hours per week. For further information, please check the different curricula available on the website.
How long does it take to complete a PhD degree?
According to our regulations, the PhD programme must not exceed 8 semesters. In general, the first two semesters are devoted to coursework, the third to the preliminary dissertation and the five remaining for research and writing.
Can I work as a research assistant or a teaching assistant?
Faculty members sometimes employ PhD students as research assistants on their research projects, and students are strongly encouraged to apply for these positions as they provide good professional experience. These positions vary from year to year, depending on the grant money awarded to faculty members.
Can I work on my PhD while holding a full-time job?
As a PhD student, you are expected to follow a certain number of compulsory courses during your first two semesters, to write your preliminary dissertation by the end of the third semester and to successfully defend your thesis by the end of the eighth semester. If you work full-time in Geneva at the time of your application, you can ask for a specific status allowing you delays for completing your thesis curriculum. All courses, however, take place during the day on weekdays.
Do I need to move to Geneva? Is there a residency requirement?
During the first year, there is a requirement to attend courses. After the completion of the preliminary dissertation, attendance is not compulsory and periodical visits to Geneva can be arranged by agreement with your supervisor.
Student Life in Geneva
What are the advantages of studying in geneva.
Located in the heart of Europe, Geneva is a truly international city and recognised business centre. The Graduate Institute benefits from its proximity to numerous international and non-governmental organisations, diplomatic missions and multinational companies. Geneva also has one of the largest lakes in Western Europe and is within close reach to the Alps. Our campus extends from Lake Geneva to the United Nations area. More info on student life in Geneva.
Does the Graduate Institute provide housing to students?
In 2012, the Graduate Institute opened a new student residence "La Maison des Etudiants Edgar et Danièle de Picciotto". The Maison des Etudiants houses 243 beds on ten floors. Thus it is possible to apply to the Maison des Etudiants for housing, but housing is not guaranteed. We strongly recommend applying, but also pursuing other housing options as space in the Maison des Etudiants is limited. Successful applicants will receive information on housing options further to the confirmation of admission.
What other housing resources are available?
The admission office will send you the list of student accommodation in Geneva together with your letter of admission (residence halls, university housing, hotels and furnished flats). As it is not easy to find lodging facilities we advise you to search for accommodation as soon as you receive the confirmation of your admission. In addition the Graduate Institute Student Association (GISA) provides a student-written guide on finding housing. Click here .
What are the restaurant options on campus?
The campus offers one cafeteria. There is also a restaurant, but its meals are much more expensive.
How do students get access to library and computer facilities?
Once registration fees and tuition are paid, access to library resources can be obtained; except for interlibrary loans, library privileges are free for all registered students. Concerning computer facilities, a Getting Started Kit will be provided during registration at the Student Office.
What visas and residence permits are necessary for studying in Geneva?
Depending on your country of origin, you may need a visa to enter Switzerland and/or to stay more than 3 months. Please check with your country’s Swiss embassy for details. Because the visa process may take several months, make sure to apply at your embassy as soon as possible. For more details, you will find the relevant contacts for your country on the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs website . After arrival in Switzerland, all students are required to follow the instructions of the Office cantonal de la population to apply for a “permis de séjour” (residence permit). For more information, visit the website of the Service des étrangers, Office cantonal de la Population (OCP) (in French only).
Can I work during my studies?
Non-European students must have resided in the Geneva canton for at least six months to have the right to work in Geneva. (European students do not need to wait.) Student residence permits allow to work 15 hours per week maximum during semester time and 40 hours maximum during the holidays. For more information, please click here .
What jobs/internships are available to students?
Over the years, our Career Services has developed close ties with many of the UN agencies and other international and non-governmental organisations as well as multinational companies based in Geneva and can hence offer our students a wide range of opportunities to gain work experience. Students receive job offers and employment opportunities on a weekly basis on their e-mail account. They can also ask for personalised advice. Once a year, our Career Services hold the Connexion Careers Forum where our students can meet prospective employers.
Are there student associations at the Institute?
The Graduate Institute Student Association (GISA) represents students vis-à-vis the Institute and its authorities. At registration, every student automatically becomes a member of the Association. GISA is tasked with enriching the daily lives of students and ensuring that they have the best possible tenure at the Graduate Institute during their studies. To this end GISA also funds and supervises a variety of student initiatives, which you may read about here .
How strong is the Alumni network of the Institute?
Many of our alumni have become prominent figures in world affairs. Some well-known alumni are, Leonid Hurwicz, 2007 Nobel Prize laureate in Economics, Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General, Micheline Calmy-Rey, Former Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Brad Smith, Microsoft Vice-President.
Overall the Graduate Institute has 12 000 alumni around the world and more concretely, 15 alumni chapters spanning 5 continents.
Do I have access to sports or leisure facilities?
Yes, all of our Master and PhD students have access to the University of Geneva’s sports and cultural facilities. At the Institute, there is a Ciné-club where students can attend free film screenings which are followed by a debate.
Does the Institute have parking facilities?
No, but our campus is easily accessible by public transportation, which most of our faculty, staff and students use. It is not necessary to own a car given the convenient bus and tram systems.
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©The Graduate Institute, Geneva 2018
I'm Writing a letter of motivation for graduate school at the IHEID in Geneva
icho1250 2 / 2 Oct 12, 2016 #1 hello, this is a letter of motivation for the graduate institute of geneva. If you guys could please help me correct my essay, it would be much appreciated. To the Admission Committee Of the Graduate Institute Of Geneva The purpose of this letter is to express and to explain my interest in pursuing the Masters in International Affairs at the Graduate Institute of Geneva. To better explain my motives and show why I should be granted an admission, I would like to start with this little anecdote. When I was 12 years old, I read the most influential novel of my life. It helped reshape my perception of the world, and in a sense, initiated in me a vision, a dream, and a purpose in life. The book in question (Comedia Infantil, by Henning Mankell, 1998), portrays the atrocities of war, as it follows the story of a 10 years old boy from Mozambique, who wakes up in the middle of one night to witness his village being assaulted by an armed militia. He saw his home burnt to the ground, his father shot to death, and his mother and sisters brutally raped and left for dead in the streets. The boy eventually escapes from being abducted as a child soldier, but only lives a short life in the streets before dying from a bullet wound. It was a sad but powerful story. The relevance of that story to my letter lays in the fact that after reading such book at an early age, it induced in me a burning questioning about peace and war, wealth and poverty, and how to help undeveloped countries reach economic development and stability. That naturally led me to enroll for a double bachelors in economics and international relations when I went to college. I received a scholarship from Suffolk University and went to Boston, USA for undergraduate studies. Through economics, I wanted to learn about the creation of wealth with limited resources, and the functioning of businesses and nations. I did international relations in parallel because I was interested in the nature of the political, economic and cultural interactions between nations, the causes of war, and the laws in the International system. I gained knowledge in all of that and even more. I learnt about microeconomics and macroeconomics, income distribution, regulation of domestic and international markets, and international trade. I also learnt about foreign policy, diplomacy, democracy and capitalism, the international institutions, conflict management and security. I developed valuable skills such as critical thinking, quantitative and qualitative research and great analytic abilities. Skills I think would make me a suited candidate for a master's degree in Developmental Studies. The American experience was also a great addition to what I was learning at school, as it was like the opening and the exploration of a totally new world. I tried to make the most of it, and beneficiated from a few valuable internships and small jobs. My grades could have been even higher but my first two years in college were very difficult. My father had lost his job and I had no more financial support. I had to work two to three jobs sometimes (bar waiter at night, store clerk during the day and construction on weekends) just to have food and pay for rent. Studying was hard but I still managed to graduate with a 3.4 /4 GPA. After graduation, I had the chance to do a gap year in China, to learn the language. I was teaching English classes, sharing my experience and gaining new skills and experience from the Chinese language and culture. In 2015, some friends and I started an association called "Talibe", to help the thousands of homeless children in Senegal that stay begging in the streets. We seek help through the government, privates, and local NGOs to provide food, clothing, and shelter to those children, and we have able to put three of them in school so far. I'm also currently the assistant manager of the finance department of a local company called EIC, that works closely with the UNDP to build schools, water reserves and other infrastructures in the remote rural areas of Senegal. I need to get in the Graduate Institute of Geneva because I wish to become a diplomat. I want to be able to work in the larger scale. If I'm admitted to the IHEID, I will excel in my studies, so that I can secure a job with the UN or the local NGOs present in Geneva. I'm aware of the risks to the global health that awaits the future generations: the lack of resources with the ever-growing world population, the threats to global security, all of which the undeveloped nations are the most vulnerable to. Therefore, I want to act my part and make a change in the world. I believe that international cooperation can help achieve better standards of living and development for all, and I come from a place where we need it. Therefore, I want to be an actor and an ambassador of that change for better, and I want to do so by becoming an international civil servant. I wish more than anything to participate in the discussion that will grant the African continent its deserved, needed and neglected right to a permanent seat in the Security Council of the UN. The IHEID would give me all those opportunities and even more. I'm really looking forward to pursue the Masters in International Affairs at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, and to contribute to all aspects of the university life, so I can develop my academic abilities to their full potential and have a chance to achieve my professional ambitions. I really hope I will get admitted to this program, so I can benefit from all the opportunities the Institute has to offer, and in my turn, make the best out of it so I can become one day a recognized alumni of the Institute, by my work and my achievements throughout the world. Thank you in Advance for considering my application. Sincerely Yours,
OP icho1250 2 / 2 Oct 13, 2016 #3 Hi Adreanna, Thanks a lot for reading my essay. I will incorporate your suggestions on my letter. I am even thinking of maybe writing an entirely new one since this one is old fashioned. How do you think I should rewrite it then?
The Graduate Study Programme (GSP) at UN Geneva is the longest-running educational programme of the United Nations, now in its 61 st year. Over the past six decades, the GSP has brought together and trained several thousand young people from over 100 countries on all continents. This two-week long summer seminar provides an opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of the United Nations and “International Geneva” through first-hand observations, lectures, research, and visits to Geneva-based institutions.
61st GRADUATE STUDY PROGRAMME
The 61 st Graduate Study Programme will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, from Monday, 3 July until Friday, 14 July 2023 . It will consist of lectures given by representatives of the United Nations, other international organizations and NGOs, visits to institutions, and working on group projects.
The theme of the 61 st Graduate Study Programme will be:
“ All Rights for All People ”: Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 75 ”
The first week of the Programme will provide an overview of some of the main themes addressed by “International Geneva”, such as sustainable development, humanitarian action, disarmament, peace and security, trade, climate, health, gender equality, education, refugees and migrants. In the second week, the focus will switch to human rights, part of the year-long initiative to mark the 75 th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Age and Language Requirements
- Fluency in spoken and written English is necessary . As some discussions may be held in French, knowledge of French is also recommended.
- Applicants must be between 22 and 32 years of age at the time of application.
- Applicants must be enrolled in a master’s degree, a postgraduate degree, or a doctorate programme at the time of application. Proof of enrolment will be required.
- Those who are already employed full-time are not eligible to apply.
- Those who have participated in previous editions of the Graduate Study Programme are not eligible to apply .
How to apply
Students who wish to participate in the 2023 Graduate Study Programme must submit their application online by Friday, 3 March 2023, 12 noon Geneva time . No applications will be accepted after this time. The application form shall be completed on our website , accompanied by the following documents:
- a copy of the applicant’s passport;
- a letter of recommendation (in English or in French) from a university or a governmental authority;
- a proof of current enrolment (at the time of application) in a master’s degree, a postgraduate degree, or a doctorate programme;
- copies of previous university diplomas obtained ;
- a curriculum vitae;
- a short motivation letter (300 words maximum).
Please note that incomplete applications, or submitted without the documents mentioned above, will be automatically eliminated .
Participant selection process
Participants in the Graduate Study Programme will be selected by a Selection Committee composed of UN Geneva officials with various backgrounds and professional experiences. The Selection Committee is guided by the following criteria : • Academic background and achievements • Extracurricular activities • Geographical balance • Gender balance • Knowledge of the two working languages of the Programme (fluency in English, knowledge of French) • Usefulness of the Programme for a prospective career of the applicant
Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. The Selection Committee does not disclose the motivation of its choices. Decisions of the Selection Committee are final and cannot be appealed.
Candidates will be notified of the Selection Committee's decision via email by Friday, 21 April 2023 .
Once selected, successful candidates will be asked ahead of time to provide a medical certificate attesting their good health and a proof of medical insurance coverage in Switzerland for the duration of the GSP. These two documents will be accepted in English or French only. Participation in the Graduate Study Programme is free of charge . At the same time, please bear in mind that the United Nations does not make any financial contribution towards visa, travel, board and lodging costs of participants. Governments, universities, private foundations, companies, or charities may offer grants to selected candidates.
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Applications for the IHEID / The Graduate Institute in Geneva - 2013-2014
By Lud November 13, 2012 in Government Affairs Forum
I have sent my application for the graduate institute last week which should be examined before December according to the schedule they posted. I am looking forward to hearing from them even though I am unsure to be admitted -I applied for the MIA by the way.
I thought of creating this thread for the 2013 round of applications so as to share our remarks here.
Has anyone else already sent his application?
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Lud 21 posts
florenL 14 posts
laminhphuong 8 posts
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Mar 14 2013
Dec 12 2012
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November 13, 2012
Hello! I have sent my application for the graduate institute last week which should be examined before December according to the schedule they posted. I am looking forward to hearing from them even
November 18, 2012
Hey. I'm a current student in the IR/PS program, and would be happy to answer questions. I just read through your posts and have a couple of things to say: 1. disciplinary vs. interdisciplinary: I
November 19, 2012
Hey Lud, about your first question: I don't think there's any way for you to get credits for an internship in the disciplinary masters. I was also surprised by that, but I think their rationale is
Good to hear from someone else who has gone for the November deadline. I submitted my documents last week, and apart from checking if my last recommendation was sent in, am just waiting for mid-December at this point. I applied for the Master in International Law, my top and only choice at this stage so I am hoping for good news.
I wish there was more info about the acceptance and application rate in the first round, or a breakdown between different programs, but they only give general statistics.
Me too. I am applying for Master in Development Studies though.
Good luck guys.
Hi folks! Hopefully you'll get a positive reply!
If I may ask, iShale, what has prompted your choice for the Master in International Law at the Graduate Institute? They seem to be reallly strong when it comes to international public law and more specifically certain areas within the field for sure. I am a lawyer myself and have considered this option though I finally went for the MIA as it seems better for my personal project.
... Also, I read on a thread in this very forum that someone from the Graduate Institute was calling attention on the fact that interdisciplinary Masters (International Affairs and Development) are less intellectually challenging that the other disciplinary Masters (International Law, Sociology, Political science and so on) which might be particularly suited for a future PhD. More surprisingly, the person who posted this said it was actually possible to change the Master you wish to follow even once you've been admitted for another degree. I haven't seen any official information on that though. It suprises me since your application inevitably details your interests for a specific degree and I don't see how there could an easy change for a new one at the last minute.
You'll have to find, I don´t see why they should grant you or anyone exceptional conditions -though you might wanna ask them also but I wouldn´t have big expectations.
What is so long in your letter? Are you detailing your academic and / or professional experience? I´m asking you that because I learned on this very forum that the first common mistake we do is precisely that, we tend to focus on describing our past while your resume should suffice for that. Your letter should focus on the future and how the degree you apply to happens to be the best move to go.
laminhphoung, I have to agree with Lud and there is really no need to risk anything like that giving a bad impression to the admission committee. I also found this forum to be a great resource and decided not to repeat anything that is already stated clearly in the CV or application form when I was cutting down. That said, you send a printed version of the essay so as long as it does not look like it, I am sure you can go a bit over the limit if absolutely necessary:)
Lud, I think that the MIA program is great. I picked IL because I already have a solid interdisciplinary background and am looking for some academic and intellectual growth. A lot of the program resonates with my professional aspirations, particularly those courses with great professors in the area of human rights, conflict/migration and the role of IL within international affairs.
I just checked my application status and it is officially complete. Good luck to everyone!
You guys probably already know but there's an official Facebook group "The Graduate Institute Geneva" and it's actually interesting to take a look a it: applicants and the administration talk about various things on it, very useful
One thing that is a bit stressful to read I've found there: " The Admission office is overwhelmed by applications - we are surprised by the numbers (!). " And about the statistics " the figures have not been sorted out yet by programmes but apparently a clear majority of applications went to the MIA and MDev ". It´s curious that so many applications have been sent this year... Hopefully we'll be part of the happy few!
Another quite useful comment I found there: " You can only apply to one programme. But you can insert a note on your motivation letter that you would be flexible/open for the other programme in case the committee thinks you fit it better, they can "transfer" your file to the other programme committee "
The Facebook page is such a great resource, thanks for sharing this quotes!
I actually did state that I am flexible if they would rather consider me for the MIA. This turned out to be a really good decision; I managed to get in touch with someone in the Law department too late after submitting my application, and they said admission is very hard without a legal background (despite what the website says).
Some other schools (SciencesPo for example) put a check box in the application for those open to other programs should it appear a better fit. I think that is probably the best way to go about it.
Hey. I'm a current student in the IR/PS program, and would be happy to answer questions.
I just read through your posts and have a couple of things to say:
1. disciplinary vs. interdisciplinary: In general, the disciplinary courses are more work, more rigorous and have smaller classes, esp. at the beginning. They're also a lot more theoretical, though. I personally changed from MIA to IR/PS, because I probably want to do a PhD afterwards, which can be harder for MIA. At the same time, though, grades are easier in the MIA, and ppl from interdisciplinary programs do go on to do a PhD, although they generally need a B.A. in the same discipline then. Otherwise, there've been some major changes to the MIA and MDev curriculum, which the students were not informed of prior, thus ppl like me applied to different programs than what we're actually getting, which was a bad move on the administration's part. The current programs are up-to-date and unlikely to change drastically anytime soon. The interdisciplinary programs are the two biggest programs, each having about 70 students. That makes core courses really big as well.
However, if you're not interested in doing a PhD, the MIA and MDev will allow you to do internships on the side, and in general take less of your time than the disciplinary programs. IMO, both tracks have their own merits and shortcomings, and although there is a general snobbery between interdisciplinary and disciplinary, you should choose your program based on your own goals. What some people have complained about with the MIA is that it starts off really basic, so your courses in the first semester really are introductory, which can be frustrating if you have a background in the social sciences, which some people do not.
2. Non-lawyers in IL: I know of a couple of people in International Law that have an International Relations B.A., although focusing on international law, with a B.A. thesis in law, so it's possible, but you do really need to have a background in law.
3. Changing after being admitted: It's actually quite easy to change after being admitted, provided you have the necessary background for the disciplinary masters. In general, more ppl switch from interdisciplinary to disciplinary, although switches in all direction are possible. The department head generally decides based on your credentials! I've heard of some people that were transferred from MIA to history when applying, so these things happen, even if there's no note in your SOP.
Right, that's it for now. Hope I adressed some of your concerns and don't hesitate to ask!
Thanks Toni that's really great to hear!
So I have already my first questions for you Toni!
-Regarding the internship, I had not noticed that but according to the scheduled courses there's no possibility of taking one with a disciplinary Master, or at least it would not give you any academic credit. Is that right? I actually find it really surprising. Is it not possible to bargain something?
-When it comes to elective courses, how does it actually work? Do you apply for another course offered by another track, and they'd give you the priority if you have strong arguments? At last, is there any kind of de facto flexibility? Because I have noticed, for example, that it s not possible to take "Migration Law" while studying the MIA, on the paper. Could it be possible to negotiate that? I am asking because it seems there's room for flexibility in many respects at the Institute.
about your first question: I don't think there's any way for you to get credits for an internship in the disciplinary masters. I was also surprised by that, but I think their rationale is that these M.A. prepare for PhD work, so getting the coursework done (remember that most European PhDs don't include a lot of course work, if any at all) is more important. However, many people do internships while there, both during the semester and in the summer, you just can't get any credits. In addition, quite a few people do internships in their fourth semester, when they don't have courses any more and are just writing their theses.
2. There's rules for that: 1. as an interdisciplinary student, you can take classes from the other interdisciplinary programs, 2. as a disciplinary student, you can take 2-4 classes from another (or multiple) disciplines. For out-of program classes: Every student can (currently) take two classes out-of-program, one of them in the Graduate Institute, another one at another academic institution in Geneva (e.g. University of geneva, Academy for Human Rights etc.). All of these work on a "space available" basis, however, which means that you'll only be allowed to take them if there's space, i.e. you don't get priority. At the moment, there's not much flexibility (i.e. you can't take both classes at the Institute), but the student association is actually working on changing this at the moment.
Regarding flexibility: I find the institute to be super rigid in administration questions, much more so than my undergrad.
Any idea on the applicant statistics?
Like the average age of an applicant/qualifications/experience etc
Thanks again Toni, your clarifications very helpful to many of us I'm sure!
What you say about their view on internship / PhD reminds me of what they actually do in France (I did my undergrad there). I still find it excessively rigid; they could at least give some credit as a form of acknowledgment while maintaining the obligation of taking all courses.
It's important to know what you're detailing on 2. especially by putting that with the possibility of changing from a degree to another once the semester starts -which let me think that the Institute is flexible.
Speaking of flexibility and reading your comment, I'm curious, where did you actually study before the Institute? Germany?
Hey Trinilissabee I had not seen your message,
There are global estimates / general statistics that you can find on the website, some more accurate statistics if you explore all hidden documents (I remember having read that, for example, the admission rate for legal programs is generally around 15 per cent whereas the global average is around 30 per cent). Interestingly, I wonder how these statistics work if you re able to change your program as it seems it so easy to do. And you should be able to get more specific data by contacting directly admissions staff or people in charge of the degree you re interested in.
Talking specifically about what you were thinking of, I think at best we can have guesstimates from those who study there. I remember that, talking to a guy who was taking the MIA, he said the average age would be more around late twenties than early twenties. So maybe you can expect most of students to be in the 25-30 range, which let me think that those people have generally some relevant working experience, but not an extensive one as it seems to be the case in other places (ie Princeton / Woodrow Wilson School). Otherwise as for other schools there s no way to define accurately how competitve you are in the overall pool; the quality of your application should be considered considering a variety of elements (Grades / SOP / References / Relevant experiences / Languages / Relevant publications... ). On that there s a very interesting thread on the forum, in the Government Affairs section I think, that you could consult (something like "Am I competitive?").
But probablyToni and other IHEID students will have more detailed replies for you.
Regarding the statistics. Keep in mind that this is purely speculation from talking to students and TAs/professors:
Generally, MIA and MDev people seem to be older than those from the disciplinary masters. I'd say that MIA/MDev average might be about 25/26, while the disciplinary Masters average is closer to 24. Compared to its stateside peers, people definitely tend to be younger at IHEID. In addition, work experience is not as important in admissions as it is in the US, even for the interdisciplinary masters. I'd say your academic performance and LORs are probably the most important things, followed by your SOP.
Regarding admission statistics: The institute doesn't publish them, I believe. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the MIA is the most "competitive" program in sheer numbers, while "History" and "Anthropology and Sociology of Development" are quite easy to get into.
IRToni, thanks for taking the time to write and share all this information.
I was wondering, since you mentioned it is possible to transfer to a disciplinary program - have you ever encountered someone going from MIA to Law? Is that even plausible, given the different course requirements? In my case, if my legal background is deemed insufficient for IL, do you think I could potentially transfer after taking some courses from the Law department as an MIA student?
This is all very hypothetical since I pretty much shot myself in the foot by not going for MIA in the first place:)
On the bright side, you still have a non-wounded foot...
Applied for Master in IL program, Application was delivered on Nov.14. Status changed to "complete" on Nov. 20. Status changed to "Under Consideration" on Nov. 27. Any one else got a similar status update? I was also curious whether they notify each applicant after they review his/her application or do they just notify everyone on Dec. 14 (for first round of admissions)?
Yes everyone who sent an application on time should have that status. I think that on FB IHEID staff mentioned decisions could be made (and communicated I guess) as early as the 7th of December. Maybe this could depend on the degree you're applying to since every degree has its admissions commitee -if I got it right. Fingers crossed!
I am in the same boat as you guys. My application status is "under consideration".
It might be a bit optimistic to expect results by mid December, I read on a different thread that some of last years early applicants didn't get results until January. Iv got my fingers crossed for the MIA, this is my first choice as well.
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- Applying For Scholarships
How to Write a Scholarship Motivation Letter in 2023
Jennifer Finetti Sep 26, 2022
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A scholarship motivation letter can make or break your application. This is your opportunity to showcase your knowledge before an in-person interview. Motivation letters are not required for every application. Yet when they are necessary, they are critical. In this guide, we will provide tips for writing a scholarship motivation letter.
What is a scholarship motivation letter?
A motivation letter is like a cover letter you may include with a job application and resume. The goal of the letter is to explain:
- Why you are a good candidate for the scholarship
- What you plan to do with the education you receive.
Review committees often use motivation letters to narrow down their pool of applicants. Then they assess the rest of the application from the candidates they like best.
Motivation letters are usually required for graduate-level scholarships. Sometimes, you may need to write one for specialty programs at a bachelor’s level too. If you have the option to include a motivation letter with your scholarship application, take it. This may be the only chance you have to wow the review committee.
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Motivation letter for scholarship applications – general guidelines
Usually, the application will not specify how long your motivation letter should be. You will need to use your best judgment to write a concise motivation letter. The letter should include:
- The most important elements of your resume
- Your education
- Your professional experiences and plans for the future.
Motivation letters are usually around 500-1,000 words. Split them into paragraphs for easy reading.
Tailor your motivation letter to fit the sholarship
Your motivation letter should link your future plans with the goals of the scholarship . How will you benefit from continued education in this field? How will you use this knowledge to support the mission of the scholarship provider?
Say that the scholarship is from an agency that supports wildlife preservation. Your letter should explain how you plan to apply your education towards a career in that field.
You also need to establish why you deserve this application more than other applicants. What specific experiences do you have now that set you apart from the rest? What specific plans do you have that will address a current issue in the world? Even if you currently have limited knowledge about the issue, use that to your advantage. Explain how you could thrive with more education and solve even more problems in the future.
The structure of a scholarship motivation letter
Scholarship motivation letters vary by award, but they usually consist of three elements:
- An introduction
- Three body paragraphs
- A conclusion
Your introduction should include your name, level of education and the degree program.
Your first body paragraph should include any work-related experience you have. This can include both paid and unpaid internships. You should show the growth of your career in chronological order. Finally, suggest where your career will go with continued education.
Your second body paragraph should explain what you hope to gain from your education. Think of which problems you aim to solve or uncover.
Your final body paragraph should explain your holistic plans for the future. Some ideas for inspiration:
- You can include extra education you plan to pursue after education.
- You can write about companies or agencies you’d like to work for after graduation.
- You can talk about programs or organizations you would like to develop.
Finally, your conclusion should re-emphasize why you are a good candidate for the scholarship.
What NOT to include when writing a scholarship motivation letter
Your scholarship motivation letter should be well-written with no grammar or spelling errors. Use a professional tone and advanced phrasing (no slang). Provide specific examples about your past, present and future. Stay away from vague generalizations. Vagueness suggests a lack of care or knowledge. Neither of these are impressive to a scholarship review committee.
Some final tips
Writing a motivation letter for scholarship applications takes time and commitment. Plan what you will say in advance, and allow at least three days to write the letter, review it, step away from it and edit it. This extra time will provide the best chance of success with your application.
A Sample Scholarship Motivation Letter
Julie Moore 9876 Smith St. Stillwater, OK 74074The Scholarship Committee 123 Learning Rd. Suite 4A Oklahoma City, OK 73127
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Julie Moore and I am a third year student at Oklahoma State University. I am currently pursuing a five-year Bachelor of Architecture Degree. My plan is to follow up with a one-year master’s degree after I graduate.
In high school, I worked extensively with my local Habitat for Humanity branch to help build homes for low income families. I learned about the construction process from the ground up, and I discovered the importance of function in architectural design. The homes we built during my four years as a volunteer were never extravagant. They served their purpose and became a beacon of hope for their owners.
My education has been focused on this mindset: function over form, stability over showmanship. I have enrolled in several classes that crossover to the Architectural Engineering major. My goal is to have a comprehensive view of how design meets structure. I have worked on three extra-credit residential design projects under the supervision of my architecture professors (Dr. X and Dr. Y). This helped speed up my research and education.
My goal is to become an architect to create accessible, affordable housing opportunities in underprivileged communities. Living in a college town, I have seen countless rental properties available. Yet there are few homes for sale that are affordable enough for college students and first-time buyers. This is the case in many towns throughout America, especially areas with a low standard of living. I want to create neighborhoods that include affordable starter homes. This would enable low and middle-class families to build equity, avoid excessive debt, and create financial stability for their futures.
This summer, I will intern with LMNOP Architects. Upon completion of my master’s degree, I hope to continue there as I further develop my skills. After working under acclaimed residential architects Suzan Craft and Peter Wood, I would like to open my own architectural firm focused on developing inexpensive, high-quality housing. I also would like to work with Habitat for Humanity again, this time as an architect instead of a general laborer. I believe firmly in their mission to build “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” I appreciate your consideration. With your help, I can continue my schooling in architecture and design to bring accessible homes to those in need.
Sincerely, Julie Moore
- Scholarship Essay
As a parent who recently helped her own kids embark on their college journeys, Jennifer approaches the transition from high school to college from a unique perspective. She truly enjoys engaging with students – helping them to build the confidence, knowledge, and insight needed to pursue their educational and career goals, while also empowering them with the strategies and skills needed to access scholarships and financial aid that can help limit college costs. She understands the importance of ensuring access to the edtech tools and resources that can make this process easier and more equitable - this drive to support underserved populations is what drew her to ScholarshipOwl. Jennifer has coached students from around the world, as well as in-person with local students in her own community. Her areas of focus include career exploration, major selection, college search and selection, college application assistance, financial aid and scholarship consultation, essay review and feedback, and more. She works with students who are at the top of their class, as well as those who are struggling. She firmly believes that all students, regardless of their circumstances, can succeed if they stay focused and work hard in school. Jennifer earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from National University, and her BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz.
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How to Write a Motivation Letter for Master’s Degree with Sample
Applying for a master’s degree program can be very competitive and involve several parts. Even when not required, we recommend sending a motivation letter for master’s program. This is a letter, similar to a cover letter for a job application , that tells the reader your qualifications and other reasons that you make a great candidate for their program.
Your motivation letter is a key part of your application package. It’s the first thing that the admissions committee will read, and it can be what they’ll base their decision on. Your motivation letter should give a strong impression of who you are and how your background, skills, experiences, and goals will benefit the program. It also demonstrates a level of commitment and research because you took the time to write a strong, relevant motivation letter for the master’s program.
- 1 Preparing to Write Your Motivation Letter
- 2.1 Introduction
- 2.3 Conclusion
- 3 Things to Avoid When Writing Your Motivation Letter
- 4 A Sample Motivation Letter for a Masters Degree Application
Preparing to Write Your Motivation Letter
To prepare to write your motivation letter, you want to understand the program, its requirements, and the course of study. Your goal is to show that you will be a great addition to their program.
Review the requirements for the program and the course of study. Make a list of the traits and qualifications that are both required and preferred for the program. If you know any or can find any on places like LinkedIn , newsletters, or more, you can include any traits that are common amongst current and past students. One thing that is sure is that you will need to write and research in a particular area.
Often, a master’s program will require that you write a thesis on a topic related to your course of study. The admissions committee will be looking to see if they think you can successfully do this and other projects in the program. They will want to see evidence of diligence, commitment, and quality work.
Once you have that list, make a new list (you can use two columns on a piece of paper or spreadsheet if you want) of any accomplishments that satisfy the requirements for the program. If you have any large research projects, papers, or similar these can be great additions. They don’t necessarily need to be in school. They could be at your job, volunteer activities, or anywhere else. It can be especially powerful if you can show that your project was able to drive some position change. “I completed a study of how we staff our engineering department and was able to reduce headcount by 10% while also reducing absenteeism by 15% by changing the scheduling model that we used. We saw employee satisfaction go up considerably in the same time period, even with less headcount.” These may not be directly related to the course of study. They should that you can finish a big project and appreciate its results.
Similarly, if you have other work that relates to the course of study, or a story about why you care about that course of study that can be impressive too. “I was volunteering in my town restoring old ships. It was then that I realized that each of these ships had a fascinating story of their own. I quickly realized that I had a passion and interest in 18th-century colonial history and its impacts on our society today.” These don’t show accomplishment, but they do show that you care about the subject.
Of course, things like grades or marks and your course of study can be interesting and good information. However, remember that they are going to get this from your school records. It can be much more impactful to tell them why this matters and how this makes you a powerful candidate for their program. You want to stand out and show why you are better than someone else who is applying.
We are going to use this next part to help us with the next part.
Writing the Motivation Letter for Your Master’s Program Application
Now that we have our list of accomplishments and qualifications, we can get to work writing. We recommend a simple three-part structure. We are going to present those three parts in the order they will be in your letter. Sometimes, writers find that starting with the body helps, and then they go back and write the introduction and conclusion. The body is the hardest part, at least normally, so you can reward yourself with the easier parts afterward.
The introduction is a simple paragraph, usually only a few sentences. You want to introduce yourself, and why you’re writing, including the program. You also want to include one or two sentences about why you make a great candidate. You really don’t need any more than that.
The body of your motivation letter does most of the work. You are going to use the work you did before and write 1-3 paragraphs about why you are a great candidate. In an ideal letter, you include a story or impressive accomplishments that show that you are ready to do the work and research necessary to complete the program.
It can also be very powerful to show why you are passionate about the school, the program, or the course of study. This shows that you are more likely to work hard and contribute to the program.
The last strategy that can be effective is to include a story about how this program can contribute to a bright future. You can talk about goals that you have and are passionate about and how this program can make them happen.
The school is looking to see that you are capable of doing the work they need, contributing to the field of study, and then later reflecting well on the program. You want to write about passions, goals, or accomplishments that demonstrate this.
Closeout your letter by thanking them for their time. You can express how excited you are about the opportunity and that you are available to discuss your candidacy. You can include your email and phone number to make it easy to contact them.
Sounds easy right? No, of course, it’s not, but it can be very effective. People like to be inspired. Ideally, your motivation letter will inspire them while showing your passion, commitment and capability. That will help an admissions officer to want to accept you.
Things to Avoid When Writing Your Motivation Letter
Before we wrap things up, it’s worth mentioning a few things that candidates sometimes do that we see as mistakes or opportunities to improve. The good news is that most of them are simple and obvious, but not everyone does them. Doing this well is one more way you can shine in your motivation letter for your master’s program.
As you read through these, one big thing to keep in mind. The goal of your motivation letter is to show the admissions committees and officers that you are capable of and committed to doing the work necessary to complete your graduate education. Nothing destroys that impression faster than sloppy work.
- Spelling – At a minimum, you want to use a spell checker. We all have them. There is no excuse for having misspelled words. Unfortunately, for all of us, this doesn’t cover everything. You want to avoid incorrect homonyms and such as well. Using words like “too” when you meant “to” does not inspire confidence.
- Grammar – The same can be said for grammar, though this is tougher. For both spelling and grammar, we recommend using a tool like Grammarly . Their free tool (you can pay too if you want) does a good job of pointing out common spelling and grammatical mistakes. It’s not perfect, but it does a good job of avoiding the largest issues.
- Using a Generic Addressee – You want to address the letter to someone. This could be the admissions officer, the head of the admissions committee, even the dean of the program. This makes the letter more personal and shows that you did some research.
- Sending the Same Letter Multiple Times – Odds are good that you are applying to more than one program. That’s completely fine. While the programs are probably similar, write a new letter and do the work for each one. Your accomplishments will stay your accomplishments but each program offers something slightly different and is looking for someone slightly different. Show them that you took the time to learn that. They won’t know what you sent someone else, but it’s often more obvious than you think when the letter wasn’t true for them.
- Writing More than One Page – Yes, you will probably be writing a long, involved, and well-researched thesis. This isn’t it. Keep it to one page. Most readers won’t go past that anyway. Make it easy on them.
- Being Dishonest – Sometimes, an applicant feels like they need to create accomplishments to be competitive. It’s not the case. Of course, we all would love to cure cancer by the time we’re 18. We’ve all heard about teenagers speaking that the UN . That’s amazing, but for most of us, that isn’t true. The admissions office knows that and you are more likely to get caught than to impress them.
The good news is that most of these are very easy to avoid, but please go through this list before you send your letter.
A Sample Motivation Letter for a Masters Degree Application
We’re including a sample letter to help give you the format and layout of your letter. Please feel free to use this as a guide but do not send it. Each of us has our own story and the reason that we would make a great candidate for something that we are applying for. This isn’t your story and it won’t help you get in. Please do the work to write your own letter, but feel free to use this as a guide. We want you to get admitted, but with your story.
Good luck with your studies. We would love to hear how it goes.
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27 thoughts on “How to Write a Motivation Letter for Master’s Degree with Sample”
I want motivation letter for master of sciences, Epidemiology I hold bachelor degree in medicine and surgery M.B.B.S
dears, could you help me the steps I have to go through to write the motivation letter for Scholarship on development studies?
Need a motivation letter, cover letter, resume for PhD application
I need a motivation letter to follow a masters degree program in electrical engineering at NSNTU, Norway. could you pl. help
Hi,I need an example of a motivation letter and a recommendation letter
We don’t currently have any recommendation letters but if you look at the home page, there is a long list of motivation letters for various scenarios. Pick the one that best matches your needs. Then, copy it and use it as a starting point for what you need. Don’t use our letters, they’re intended to get you started. You want to use one that works for you and your needs. Good luck!
Hello, I need motivation letter to follow a masters degree in Applied Mathematics at University of Pretoria. Could you please help.?
Hi Judith. You can use the template on this page to get started. Copy that and then use the instructions on this page and here to tell your own story. Explain why you should be picked for their program and why you want it. The template is there to help get you started. Good luck on your program!
Dear sir!, I need the procedure how to write motivation letter please!, I hold my BSc degree in biilogy and I want to study masters program abroad
Excellent! On this page, you’ll find a sample motivation letter for your master’s. Use that and the general instructions from here to write a letter that tells your story and why they should pick you for their program. We are working on ways to let you download the sample letters to make it easier to get started. Good luck on your application!
Hello, thanks for your beautiful orientation, on the motivation letter. I am John Sahr Sellu from Sierra Leone. I have a Bachelors’s degree with honors in Pharmacy. I graduated from the college of medicine and allied health sciences, the University of Sierra Leone in 2020. Now I want to apply for a master’s degree in public health, specifically Epidemiology. So I please need your help in achieving this goal. Thanks.
Congratulations on your amazing achievements. We can use all the talent we can get in Epidemiology, so thank you. Unfortunately, we don’t have any templates for that program specifically. If you haven’t already, make sure to review our general guidance on How to Write a Motivation Letter . You can also use the template on this page to get started. Just like with any of our templates, don’t copy it exactly but use it as a guide to getting started on your own letter with your own story. Good luck!
Hello! I need a very professional motivation letter for my masters in finance/ international relations/management in France. My goal is to leave my country and I need to succeed in every admission step so i can achieve it. I really need your help! Thank you
Fantastic! I recommend that you take a look at the samples here and on our Motivation Letters for Study Abroad . Copy the samples there and follow the guidance to make sure that they know why you want the opportunity and why they should choose you. Good luck in your studies!
Hello, please I need a motivation letter to use and apply for Erasmus Mondus scholarship. Just a hint on the caption. I could make up the content.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources for customized support but Fiverr has some good freelancers that can help out. Make sure to interview them first. Gauge their writing skills and they should ask questions about your background before doing your letter. You might ask if they’re willing to share an anonymous sample to get an idea of their writing skills. This link (and the one before) will take you right to a search for motivation letter.
Freelancers change so we don’t tend to recommend anyone specific but if someone does a great job there please feel free to leave their name here for others.
Good luck on your studies!
Hello, could you please help, I need a motivational letter to follow masters degree in health system and services research program at Stellenbosch.
dear kindly help me with outline in writing the motivation letter for master’s degree program best regards Dr.Darison Andrew,MD
Hi Dr. Andrew,
The basic strategy is that you want to find out what they’re looking for and what experience, accomplishments, and goals you have that show you are an outstanding candidate (as best you can). Then, the easiest format is a three-part letter with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction simply highlights the program you’re applying for and maybe one or two sentences about why you’re a good candidate. Then, the body spends 2-3 paragraphs on why you’re a great candidate. You close it out by thanking them and suggesting/asking for/offering a meeting. I like to include my contact information there to make it easier for the reader. THe article has some more specifics.
Afternoon Sir/ Madam
My name is Zinhle L. Mokoena kindly help me with motivation letter for Masters degree. I wish to continue with my studies
Your assistance will be highly appreciated
Thank you Zinhle L. Mokoena
I encourage you to read this post and the others on the structure of a motivation letter. We don’t have resources to write it for you, or help you much beyond that.
Essentially, you want to write a letter in three parts: – Introduction – Body – Conclusion
In the introduction, you want to introduce yourself and the program that you are applying to, and maybe 1-2 sentences about why you’re a great candidate that is supported below.
You want to show how you are a great candidate in the body. I’m not completely clear on what you’re applying for but it looks to be research related. So, you probably want to show your academic background, any research you have done, and any publications you have. This section should be 1-3 paragraphs.
In the conclusion, summarize (in probably one sentence) how you are a good candidate. Offer a meeting or discussion to discuss further and maybe give an easy way to contact you like an email or phone number.
The whole letter should be no more than one page.
If you are applying in English and English isn’t your first language, you might want to look at Grammarly . For native English speakers, the free version is a powerful spell checker and basic grammar checker. However, for non-native English speakers (or weaker writers) it does a great job of highlighting phrasing opportunities. (The paid version only on that but it’s worth it even if only for a month or during the time you are applying). I’m a native English speaker and I use it. I don’t share that as an ad to give you a tool that might help.
If you’re not applying in English, I don’t have the same kinds of tools to recommend but make sure to spell-check and grammar check.
If you still have trouble, you can hire someone to help you write it. Fiverr is a good place for that. There are a lot of freelancers on their advertising motivation letter help. I don’t have any specific people to recommend, but we do have a guide to help you find someone to help. You can find that here .
Please i need a motivation letter for a master’s studies in Mechanical Engineering. Thank you.
If you are applying in English and English isn’t your first language, you might want to look at Grammarly. For native English speakers, the free version is a powerful spell checker and basic grammar checker. However, for non-native English speakers (or weaker writers) it does a great job of highlighting phrasing opportunities. (The paid version only on that but it’s worth it even if only for a month or during the time you are applying). I’m a native English speaker and I use it. I don’t share that as an ad to give you a tool that might help.
If you still have trouble, you can hire someone to help you write it. Fiverr is a good place for that. There are a lot of freelancers on their advertising motivation letter help. I don’t have any specific people to recommend, but we do have a guide to help you find someone to help. You can find that here.
Hi my name is Abraham, i need a motivational letter for MBA. Thanks Abraham
We don’t have the resources to actually write the letter for you. You can hire someone to help you write it. Fiverr is a good place for that. There are a lot of freelancers on their advertising motivation letter help. I don’t have any specific people to recommend, but we do have a guide to help you find someone to help. You can find that here .
To write it yourself, which is what we’re trying to help you do, we have a post on writing a Motivation Letter for an MBA . I encourage you to read this post and the others on the structure of a motivation letter.
If you’re not applying in English, I don’t have the same kinds of tools to recommend but make sure to spell-check and grammar check, we like Grammarly which has some great resources.
Had some email problems so just replying again so that you get notified of my original response. Thank you.
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- Certificates and Other Documents /
How to Write a Motivation Letter?
- Updated on
- Oct 11, 2022
Your resume represents your qualifications, achievements as well as strengths and weaknesses . Applying merely through a resume may reflect the general academic and professional information about you but it can also be seen as the lack of influential representation of the motivation and dedication you possess. This is where a Motivation Letter comes to the rescue as it is usually asked by academic institutions as well as organizations from the applicants. Through a motivational letter, you can convincingly transmit your passion, eagerness and diligence regarding how your dream course can enlighten your career path along with the benefits you wish to bring out to the institution or organization (whether as a student or an employee). Let’s explore how to write a motivational letter with the help of samples/examples for university, job application, internship and more!
This Blog Includes:
What is a letter of motivation/motivation letter , what is the difference between a motivational letter and cover letter, how to structure your motivation letter, motivation letter template/example, introduction, motivation letter example, dos and don’ts, sample motivation letter for university, sample motivation letter for internship, sample motivation letter for scholarship application, sample motivation letter for job application, sample motivation letter for job- 2, motivation letter for study abroad.
A motivation letter describes why you are a perfect candidate for a certain program/position. It is usually a one-page document that gets attached alongside your resume. Commonly there are 4 purposes for which one is required to draft it:
- For Admission: If you are applying to a university or college to get enrolled in an educational program for any level ( undergraduate or postgraduate ).
- For Training/Internship: If you want to get into a full-time internship with an organization.
- For Employment: When you want to apply for a job profile at an organisation.
- For Jobs in Social Sector especially NGOs: Non-profit organisations generally demand motivation letter to analyse the interests and intentions of job aspirants.
Must Read: How to Write An SOP?
Often students get confused between a cover letter and a motivational letter, it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of a cover letter is to accentuate some specific information mentioned on your resume and align it with the job requirements as well as the company profile. To put it simply, a cover letter is more of an introductory letter to your resume to the hiring authority whereas a motivational letter is mainly utilised as how your interests, motivations and aspirations match the academic program you want to study or a job profile you want to apply for. All the elite organizations are in search of individuals who would prove out to be an asset to the company. Thus, it should deliver your intent and excitement using the key feature as your motivation.
Every document a university or recruiter asks for serves a special purpose. Often than not, candidates are confused between the two such documents – Cover Letter and Motivation Letter. A cover letter is a professional letter given to an employer/recruiter along with a resume or CV. Cover Letters are generally used by companies, employers and recruiters as opposed to motivation letters that are used by university admission offices, educational institutes and internships. Both letters are intended to inform the recruiter or educational officer of why you are the perfect candidate and allow candidates to explain at length about their motivation, interests, hobbies, achievements and career/academic future.
Related Read: Cover Letter for Fresher
If you are targeting your dream institution or organization, presenting your motivation in a fascinating way can be a total game-changer. Ideally, the motivation letter should be on 1 page only in which you have to introduce yourself, describe your qualifications and achievement and highlight your interests as per the course/position you are applying to. Knowing the structure of your letter is pivotal towards comprehending the key elements that you need to add. Generally, the structure of a motivation letter can be any of the following:
- Either you can opt for a traditional methodology of a 3-paragraph motivation letter wherein there will be an introductory paragraph, body of content and conclusion.
- You can also use the 5-7 paragraph structure. Where you can divide the body of the letter in pointers elucidating 1-3 sentences paragraphs.
Coming to the discussion of choosing the format, if you want to go more factual and possess a varied number of achievements, you can select the 5-7 paragraph style through which you can individually emphasise upon each achievement by framing it into a single point. On the other hand, if you prefer the storytelling method you can choose the 3 paragraph format without giving many breaks to your letter.
Related Read: Career Objective For Internship
Format of a Letter of Motivation
Now that you know the two main structures you can choose from, let’s have a look at the major inclusions in the format of motivation letter:
A crisp, engaging pitch about yourself explaining why you want to apply. Some mandatory mentions are:
- Personal details (Name, Address, Email, Profile, Work Experience if any)
- Write about the course, internship or job profile you are applying for and also mention why,
- Start by putting down the general reasons explaining why you are applying to the course, internship or job position. Afterwards, dive into the main body of it.
For Example, the introduction for a motivation letter for a PhD application at a university is given below:
Sometimes conveying your zeal to enter an academic program or an organization could not be absolutely done by a resume as it restricts you to put forward only the facts and figures instead of the inspirations and motivation that urged you to pursue it. This is where a motivation letter comes into the view to ensure that your application should shine out from the hoard of other documents. Below mentioned are some quick tips and tricks to draft your motivation letter:
- While writing the letter, make sure you know the concerned person to whom you are applying. Research about the name and designation of the concerned individual and address them accordingly.
- Gauge the requirements of the program/profile and explain how you are the right fit for it.
- Mention how your beliefs and interests align with the organisation/university’s vision and mission
Are you planning to study abroad, have a look at our blog on Sponsorship Letter for Visa
Motivation letter is written for different purpose such as for internship, job application, university etc. Now that you know about a motivation letter, you should learn about how to write one. The best way to write it is by creating a genuine letter.
This is the main body of the letter. Describe your achievements, academic and professional journey and career aspirations. Elaborate on your skills and passions elucidating your zeal for your chosen course or job profile. Keep it factual and concise. Most of the time, the made-up stories get easily caught by the professionals who examine a variety of letters every day. It is strongly advised to maintain precision in your story. To cite the authenticity of your qualifications, you can also use metrics.
Have a quick example for motivation letter at some major add ones:
- My passion for ____ began when ______.
- I aspire to _____ because ______.
- I have been a part of _____ for _____ months/years. It’s the best thing for me because of ______.
- I remember once when I______ which made me realize that I_____.
- _______ resonates with me because ______.
- What distinguishes me from my peers is _______.
Motivation Letter Example:
Finally, to conclude, you can wrap up your letter and read it thoroughly before sending. Here are some of the points to help you with the concluding paragraph of the Motivation letter.
- Summarize your major points: “ I believe that I would be an appropriate fit for the program because of _____ ”
- Mention your long term goals: “ I would be obliged to be a part of _____, as it would allow me to _____ ”
- Finally, pay regards to the reader with a ‘thank you’.
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Once you are familiarized with the structure and elements of a motivation letter, let’s provide you with a motivation letter examples and samples to help you understand the tone and style as well.
The best way to write a motivation letter to write down all your ideas, experiences and achievements align them with your future career goals and then craft a creative and thoughtful essay to impress your employers or university admissions, officer.
A motivation letter is designed to help the employer gain an insight into why you are the perfect candidate for the position. Following the proper structure, writing short sentences and talking about your experiences, skills, education is essential for a motivation letter.
‘Yours Sincerely’ or ‘Best Regards’ or ‘Thank you for your time’ are perfect sentences to end a motivation letter.
You can begin a motivation letter with Dear Sir/Madam or if you are aware of the person you are addressing then you can mention their name and designation.
Thus, we hope that this blog has familiarized you with the key features of a motivation letter with the help of examples and samples for job, internship, university and more! If you are planning to apply for an academic program abroad, our Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you throughout the admission process of your chosen university while also helping you craft impressive SOP and LOR s as well as motivation letters to ensure that you get successfully shortlisted and fulfil your dream to study abroad!
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Graduate Institute Africa and Middle East Scholarships, Switzerland 2022 is open for Middle East Students, African Students . The scholarship allows Masters, PhD level programme(s) in the field of All Subjects taught at Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. The deadline of the scholarship is Open.
The Graduate Institute, Geneva offers Master and PhD scholarships to support the brightest postgraduates from the Middle East and Africa to study at the Institute. Among its alumni, the Graduate Institute is proud to include Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, Sibusio Bengu, the first black Vice-Chancellor of a South African university, and Osita Eze, former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.
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The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies is an institution of research and higher education dedicated to the study of world affairs, with a particular emphasis on the cross-cutting fields of international relations and development issues. Through their core activities, they aim to promote international cooperation and make a contribution to the progress of developing societies. More broadly, they endeavour to develop creative thinking on the major challenges of their time, foster global responsibility and advance respect for diversity. they are a cosmopolitan commu... read more
- Type Postgraduate
- Organisation Graduate Institute of Geneva
- Country to study Switzerland
- School to study Graduate Institute Geneva
- Course to study Not specified
- State of Origin
- Gender Men and Women
- Application Deadline January 15, 2022
Partial Funding: The selected PhD and master candidates will be provided scholarships towards the educational cost of a postgraduate study program at Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
Through a disciplinary or interdisciplinary lens, our master and PhD study programmes will provide you with a sound understanding of the local and global processes that define the politics and practices of international affairs and development.
Candidates must have a diploma from a Middle East or African university or hold citizenship of a MEA country. They must demonstrate financial need and an excellent academic interest and performance.
- Applicants should have been granted a Swiss Refugee status (Permit B) or have a Provisional Admission for Foreigners status (Permit F)
- Applicants must provide a letter from the Swiss Government confirming refugee status or provisional admission in Switzerland
- Applicants must be resident in Switzerland
- Applicants must be accepted into one of the study programmes at the Institute
- Only new students may apply: those already enrolled are not eligible to apply
The candidates’ eligibility is assessed by the Financial Aid Committee according to the application file, which includes documents justifying financial needs and a motivation letter. The committee pays particular attention to academic results, the motivation letter and the request for financial aid, but also to references and other relevant information.
To be considered, candidates must send their application to one of our programmes and complete the financial aid form.
For more details, click here
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7 Scholarship Motivation letter tips
Written by Concillier
07 Feb 2019
Written by Nozinhle
29 Nov 2021
13 Oct 2018
Written by Sanjay
25 Nov 2017
Hi there. If you read my previous post on the changes with the SISGP scholarship , then you might be in the process of submitting your scholarship motivation letter. One of the most frequently asked questions from you has been how to make your scholarship motivation letter stand out because let’s face it, the SISGP scholarship ↗️ is a very competitive scholarship and to get it, your motivation letter has to stand out. Here are 7 scholarship motivation letter tips based on my experience.
1. Motivation letters for universities VS. Scholarships
Anita gave a great guide on how you can be able to make a motivation letter for the university applications . There’s a subtle difference between writing a motivation letter for a university and writing a motivation letter for a scholarship. A motivation letter for the university admission will focus on why you are interested in learning at a certain university and taking a certain programme and should include your professional goals before, during and after the course. A motivation letter for the scholarship, however, would be entirely dependent on the type of scholarship you are applying for.
2. What type of scholarship are you applying for?
Different scholarships will have different profiles of people they are looking for because each scholarship has specific goals. For example:
- An academic scholarship would want you to demonstrate an outstanding history of academic achievement in your motivation letter because their goal is to attract applications from outstanding students .
- A scholarship that is being awarded to professionals will want your motivation to highlight your professional experience, past impact, professional aspirations and future impact because their goal is to attract applications from outstanding professionals who will create impact.
- Scholarships for minorities will want you to demonstrate how you fulfil the ethnic requirements and may need you to highlight some challenges that you would like to solve in your current setup once you get the scholarship.
3. Start with Brainstorming
After clearly understanding WHO exactly your scholarship is looking for, it is time to evaluate yourself to see how you compare with the person they aim to attract. A simple exercise that can help you discover if you make a great fit for a scholarship is through having a brainstorming session. It could be with yourself or with a friend/colleague who knows about your academic and professional journey. Brainstorming can be done through questions such as:
- What course have you applied for? How does it relate to your long term plan? How does it relate to the Scholarship goals?
- What makes you unique?
- What have you achieved so far? (Could be academic, professional based on the scholarship type)
- What impact have you created so far?
- What are your short and long term plans after getting the scholarship? How will the scholarship help you realise these plans?
- What impact will this scholarship have for you and society?
4. Write this up in an easy to read format
One of the biggest tricks to stand out is to put yourself in the position of the person who is going through your application. They should have an easy understanding knowing who you are, what moves and motivates you, why you stand out from the rest and why you deserve the scholarship. The overall structure and format guidelines include:
- One of the ways of making sure your motivation letter is easy to follow is to ensure that each paragraph communicates a specific point. This grounds and structures your writing and makes it easy to follow.
- Avoid typos through the use of proof-reading tools such as Grammarly . ↗️ It is a no brainer that typos make you stand out less however, we are not perfect and a typo or grammar error may crop up after several edits of your letter. Using proof-reading tools helps you tighten the loose ends.
5. Be as precise as possible
Scholarship motivation letters will almost always have a word limit. It is therefore important that you are straight to the point and precise. One of the reasons motivation letters fail is because the writer is not precise and beats around the bush. It is best to ensure that you only include information that is relevant to the requirements listed for the scholarship since those are the only details that will be considered. This process needs you to be quite critical and practical.
6. Show, don’t tell
There are certain common words that can be fetched from any motivation letter. They include “Motivated. Leader. Hardworking.” It is common for everyone to say that they are motivated and want to create a change and this is why you need to differentiate yourself through examples. You are motivated yes, but can you show or prove this? Here are 2 examples of how 2 candidates describing themselves that help to illustrate this.
“I believe that I am motivated and that getting this scholarship will allow me to fulfil my professional and personal goals as well as create an impact in my society”
“I plan to set up a women’s community education centre after I graduate to empower women with basic accounting skills to run small and medium-sized businesses. The scholarship and master programme will allow me to acquire skills that will help me to create tools and resources for their training”
See the difference? Who is more likely to be considered for the scholarship?
7. Go through your scholarship motivation letter over and over again.
It is important that the process of writing is done in cycles. After ensuring that step 1 to 6 is complete, you are ready to compile the first version of a motivation letter. Read it. Ask yourself, would you be convinced to give yourself a scholarship if you read what you have written? If not, tweak your application and revise it until you feel that what you have written is the best and cannot be changed. After doing this, ask your colleague to read it and ask for their opinion. You might be surprised how a different view of your application would allow you to add useful information that you may have left out before.
With these tips, I believe you are on your way to making sure that your scholarship motivation letter stick out. All the best in your applications!
PS: The application for SISGP scholarship ↗️ is currently open until 14th Feb so let’s get with it!
The motivation letter is the only part of your entire application that you get to create from scratch. This is your chance to shine! Need support? Write to us at: [email protected] Or make an appointment via https://www.graduateinstitute.ch/meet-us
Admitted students will start their studies at the Institute in September 2019; Admission decisions will be notified by letter, in electronic format only . A 5-Step Application Process. Complete the online application form ; Pay the application fee 15 November and 15 January deadlines: CHF 100; 1st March deadline: CHF 200
In your letter of motivation, let your personality shine through. Present your profile and qualities in a focused, thoughtful and meaningful manner. Write in a natural style and support your arguments with relevant examples. May I be exempted from paying the application fee? No.
Oct 12, 2016 #1. hello, this is a letter of motivation for the graduate institute of geneva. If you guys could please help me correct my essay, it would be much appreciated. To the Admission Committee. Of the Graduate Institute. Of Geneva. The purpose of this letter is to express and to explain my interest in pursuing the Masters in ...
I am applying to the the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva to read the Master of International Affairs program. I only been able to write 490 words of the max 800 words required.
The motivation letter is a way for you to explain why you would be a good fit for the Master's degree and the university you are applying for. It's an opportunity for you to describe in a personal way your motivation to apply and the experience you have that led you to this decision.
The Graduate Study Programme (GSP) at UN Geneva is the longest-running educational programme of the United Nations, now in its 61st year. Over the past six decades, the GSP has brought together and trained several thousand young people from over 100 countries on all continents.
I have sent my application for the graduate institute last week which should be examined before December according to the schedule they posted. I am looking forward to hearing from them even though I am unsure to be admitted -I applied for the MIA by the way.
Hello! I'm thinking about applying to the Graduate Institute in January 2012 (for a MA in PolSci), but I don't know if I have a chance of getting in. Could you please evaluate my chances? Graduated in Political Science at the University of São Paulo (Brazil's best university-my average score: 8/10) MA in Political Science at the same university (8 disciplines: 6A's, 2B's) 2 forthcoming ...
Geneva Graduate Institute January 6, 2016· With the application deadline approaching fast, read the letter of motivation of Nigina Abdul Moqim Qaumi, admitted to the Master in International Affairs (2015-2017): Why I Want to Study at the Graduate Institute.
Scholarship motivation letters vary by award, but they usually consist of three elements: An introduction Three body paragraphs A conclusion Your introduction should include your name, level of education and the degree program. Your first body paragraph should include any work-related experience you have.
The goal of your motivation letter is to show the admissions committees and officers that you are capable of and committed to doing the work necessary to complete your graduate education. Nothing destroys that impression faster than sloppy work. Spelling - At a minimum, you want to use a spell checker. We all have them.
Here are some of the points to help you with the concluding paragraph of the Motivation letter. Summarize your major points: " I believe that I would be an appropriate fit for the program because of _____ ". Mention your long term goals: " I would be obliged to be a part of _____, as it would allow me to _____ ".
The committee pays particular attention to academic results, the motivation letter and the request for financial aid, but also to references and other relevant information. Application Deadline January 15, 2022 ... Be among the first to know whenever new Graduate Institute of Geneva scholarship is going on. Enter your email address and click ...
Here are 7 scholarship motivation letter tips based on my experience. 1. Motivation letters for universities VS. Scholarships. Anita gave a great guide on how you can be able to make a motivation letter for the university applications. There's a subtle difference between writing a motivation letter for a university and writing a motivation ...