I am just now finishing my application to the University of British Columbia, and I have come across a problem.
These are the questions that they ask:
What area of specialization would you like to study in Physics and
Astronomy. Give two preferences or state undecided.
Please state whether or not you will receive or have applied for
financial support for your studies in the form of an award,
scholarship, sponsorship or other. Please indicate the dollar amount
and duration of the support, and when it is to commence.
Please list below any academic awards, achievements, honours or
other distinctions you have received.
If relevant to your proposed field of study, please list any
publications and/or scholarly or professional organizations in which
you hold membership.
Please provide a brief statement of your research interests and goals.
Please describe any professional employment experience you have
that you feel is relevant to the field of studies you plan to pursue.
Please discuss any other information you feel would be important to
the Admission Committee in evaluating your application to the Faculty
of Graduate Studies. If you feel that your credentials and any other
information you have already provided on this form or will be
submitting to the Department in support of your application represents
you fairly, you should feel no obligation to write anything further
I am having trouble deciding what to enter for my answer to "please provide a brief statement of your research interests and goals" question. How long should this be? Should it act kind of as my statement of purpose?
I studied physics in undergrad, and took a couple of upper division astrophysics courses, but by no means to I know specific topics that I want to do my research in. I plan to state that I have not decided what I want to focus on, and will choose when I become more familiar with the field. Also, mention the research of a couple of professors that sound interesting. Because there is no statement of purpose if I do this, then my application will be way to general. This is the only section that includes information that would give them a feel for me in their program.
One more thing, I think that I will put my research experience in the professional employment section, but how specific should I be? This is what I plan to write:
I worked as an Undergraduate Researcher in Dr. XXX’s space physics laboratory for the duration of my undergraduate studies at XXX University. I conducted observational magnetospheric physics research focused on polar cap potential saturation, magnetosheath current, and viscous interaction topics. As a researcher, I worked on numerous topics during my time in the laboratory, but focus on polar cap potential saturation, magnetosheath current, and viscous interaction. We would use CISM-DX software to model the space weather environment, and used this simulation to determine interesting results as a product of varying solar wind conditions. Afterward, we would gather and analyze data from satellite repositories to determine the validity of the simulations. Sorting through years of satellite data with minute cadence is a daunting task, so I obtained skills in computer programming languages such as AWK, Fortran, and C++ as relief.
I would appreciate any insight.