Guidelines for Personal Statement and Diversity Statement

For applicants to our PhD program, we require a statement on diversity and inclusion, in addition to a personal statement. Below is a brief guide to how you may want to approach these two statements. 

Personal Statement

We want to know who you are and why you are eager to join our Microbiology PhD program. We want to know why you are so excited about microbiology research. Be sure to tell us about your research experience. What was the topic of your research experience and why was it important? What was the gap in knowledge you wanted to fill? What was your approach to address your questions and what did you learn from your research experience? What was the most exciting moment? We are seeking applicants who are well prepared and ready to delve into microbiology research in our program!

Please also tell us what your future goals are, and how joining our Microbiology PhD program will help you prepare for the next step toward your future goals. There is no word limit for the personal statement, but the expected length is typically 800-1,200 words. 

Diversity Statement (300 words or less)

A diversity statement is a one-page document explaining your experiences and commitments to diversity. In 300 words or less, please describe 1) your experience in overcoming any adversities related to economic, social and educational disadvantages, 2) your values and your experience in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion, and 3)  how you aspire to contribute to our mission to promote diversity and inclusion in our community. 

In essence, we want to hear your story that shaped your view. Please tell us about any experiences in overcoming challenges you faced. If you grew up in a privileged environment, we would love to hear your values and your experience in promoting these values. Please tell us your experiences, lessons you learned, and how you might apply these lessons for your personal growth. We want to know what different perspectives you may bring to our community.

The University of Massachusetts Graduate School is equally committed to diversity and inclusion, and offers the Spaulding-Smith Fellowship, which is awarded to outstanding incoming PhD students from historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Upon reviewing your application, the Microbiology Admissions Committee may nominate you for this fellowship.