How to write a cover letter for a master's degree

05 Dec 2023


Etudiants & apprenants

To gain access to certain courses , a covering letter is an essential step. This is especially true in business , where the cover letter is the first contact you make with the teaching staff . It can help you stand out from the other applicants . IPAG Business School takes a look at how to write a convincing masters cover letter .

Is a covering letter necessary for admission to a Master's programme?

The cover letter plays a crucial role in your application to a Master's programme . It enables you to apply for a Master's degree at the university or school of your choice, while showing that you have given careful thought to your career plans .

This letter shows that you have considered the Grande École programme that interests you and that you have understood how these courses will help you in your future career .

While the cover letter is sometimes a compulsory prerequisite , it is also a tool for the student . It's the ideal opportunity to highlight your personality , your uniqueness and your experience . It allows you to stand out from any competitors and ensures that your application is validated. The admissions panel can learn more about you, your background and your vision for your future career.

As well as being a true testamen t to your intentions, the cover letter is also an indirect way of demonstrating your written communication skills .

Far from being a mere administrative formality , it can be the key to securing an interview with a view to your admission to a Master's programme .

What research should I do before writing a cover letter for a Masters course?

Before you start writing your letter , start by finding out about the specifics of the school and programme you are applying for. This will make your letter more consistent with your CV and your career plan .

It's very important to tailor your cover letter to the school and Master's programme you're applying for. Do not send a single standard letter to all the universities or schools you have selected. The worst idea would be to download a model letter from the Internet and send it en masse to the schools and masters courses that really interest you!

For example, you don't apply for a master's in corporate finance in exactly the same way as for a master's in supply chain . Show that your choice has been carefully thought through and that you have considered each programme . Show the jury that this is the right school for you to enter the job market .

What should your cover letter for a Masters course contain?

Writing a cover letter for a course is not always easy. You need to be both precise and concise. It should summarise your orientation , your career path and your ideas for the future. This letter complements your CV by adding a personal touch and responding to certain codes .

Take a look at this information:

  • your studies and education (if you feel it is worth mentioning) ;
  • any associative experience you may have
  • your professional experience ;
  • your personal skills and abilities ;
  • your career objectives .

How should a cover letter for a Master's degree be structured?

The header of the cover letter for a master's degree.

Address your cover letter correctly. You need to make a good impression from the very first words. This will show that you are capable of paying attention to detail.

Example: "For the attention of Mr or Mrs XXX": as far as possible, mention the name of the head of the department of your chosen course. If you don't have the name, write "Service XXX" or "École XXX". Also include the address.

Next, add a subject to your letter. Example: "Subject: Application for Master's degree XXX".

Follow this with a simple, classic opening line : "Mr XXX", "Mrs XXX", or "Dear Sir/Madam" if you don't know the name of the person you are addressing .

The body of the cover letter for a Master's degree

1. The first part should be about you. Present your profile and background, and explain why you have chosen to apply.

2. The second part focuses on the educational establishment , and more specifically on the Master's degree you wish to enter. In this section, focus on what the institution offers and what you are aiming for. List the reasons why the programme interests you and highlight the information you have gathered in your preliminary research.

3. The third part should summarise your views on your future relationship with the educational establishment. Talk about why you think you are a good fit for the programme and what this course will enable you to achieve in the future.

The conclusion of your masters application letter

The conclusion is crucial, and it's best not to rush it. Be persuasive , indicating that you are awaiting a positive response and that you are ready to commit yourself to the course.

Don't forget to say thank you and choose a polite formula . You can find inspiration on the Internet to write the most appropriate formula.

A few tips to follow when writing your cover letter for a master's degree

Whether you're looking to get into a digital marketing master's , an entrepreneurship master's or any other master's , here are a few tips for writing a powerful cover letter for your training application.

Don't hesitate to include a few concrete examples in your cover letter. This is another way of ensuring that it complements your CV and makes the members of the selection panel want to know more about you.

Avoid clichés , generalities , phrases that use a lot of emphasis or the use of many superlatives. This weighs down the message more than anything else. Your style should be both effective and punchy. Don't hesitate to ask for help and get someone else to read it for you . This outsider will be able to give you an objective opinion.

Write your letter and allow a little time to pass before rereading it. Mistakes and language errors will be easier to spot.

What are the mistakes to avoid in a cover letter for a master's degree?

In all cover letters, you should :

  • Avoid adopting an arrogant or overly modest tone .
  • Take care with the formatting of the letter and show that you have an eye for detail.
  • Identify and correct grammatical and spelling errors .
  • Avoid repeating everything on your CV .

You now have all the tools you need to apply for the Master's programme of your choice with a solid, high-quality cover letter. This will enable you to get an interview with a business school as quickly as possible. University Masters, business school... use these few tips to apply with peace of mind. Don't hesitate to contact the business school that interests you for more information and advice. Want to go further? Find out now how to find an internship for your course.

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How to write a flawless Cover Letter for Master’s applications! | Brive

How to write a flawless Cover Letter for Master’s applications!

Sample cover letter for Internship position at Ericsson

Master thesis.

I am writing this application in order to pursue Master’s Thesis, Improving OpenStack Scalability (100985) published in Ericsson career. Afterreadingthedescriptionofyourinternationalmaster thesisprogram,Ihaverealizedthatmycareerinterestsmatchyourcompanyobjectives,andIamexcitedbyyourcommitmentfordevelopingfutureleaders.

Presently, I am studying a ‘Master’s Degree Program in Telecommunication Systems’ at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH), Sweden. Recently, I had done my research methodology project ‘Performance Analysis of Software Defined Networking Topologies’ using Mininet network emulator connected to POX SDN controller and I have mostly worked with Python Scripting for this project. Withmypreviousworkexperienceandmyexemplaryacademicperformanceasaninternationalmajor,Iwas also shortlisted to work for the European’s future internet XIFI project at BTH. Moreover, I studied programming languages like Perl and PHP. I am a creative, yet result oriented, professional with strong communication skills. During my study course Applied Network Management at BTH, I am well acquainted with Linux OS and have a great passion to work on Shell scripting.

My research interests include in the field of computer networks like SDN, Cloud Computing, IP networks, NFV, and Optical Transport Networks. This made me select Telecommunication Systems as my specialization. I look forward to work in these areas where I can use my strong networking and scripting skills. Furthermore I have also completed CISCO’s CCNA course and won in the zonal round of IBNC , India.

Ericssonappealstomebecauseofitsimpressiveglobalreachandexpertiseinmanyareas.Iamparticularlyinterestedinthis positionbecauseofyourmultinationalreputationforhavingahighlysupportiveandteam-orientedculture Icanofferyouas a studentwiththeabilitytothinkoutsidetheboxandakeendesiretolearn new things, serveyourcompanyandcontributetoyourteam. As the job position is in Stockholm, I will be happy to move there, if thesis requires my full presence.

Ihave attached my resume and transcripts with this application. To process my application, ifyouneed any additionalinformation,pleaselet me know. I appreciate your time and effort for reviewing this application and look forward to meet you soon.

  • Graduate School

Graduate School Cover Letter Examples

With writing tips and a step-by-step guide.

Graduate School Cover Letter Examples

Looking at graduate school cover letter examples is a good idea if you plan on applying to a graduate school program, as you may be required to include a cover letter with your  CV for graduate school  and other application components. Even though it is not a required document for all grad school programs, a well-written graduate school cover letter can help you stand out to the admissions committee and improve your chances of being accepted into your chosen program. This is especially true if you are applying to a highly selective institution or trying to  get into graduate school with a low GPA.

This blog will discuss everything you need to know about writing a cover letter for graduate school. You will learn why cover letters are important, learn tips to make your graduate school cover letter stand out, and you will get to review cover letter samples that will inspire you to write your own. 

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 10 min read

What is a graduate school cover letter.

A graduate school cover letter is a brief letter that applicants attach to their graduate school application. Much like a work cover letter, such as a  research assistant cover letter , for example, graduate school cover letters are meant to introduce you and your application to the reader. They give you an opportunity to make an excellent first impression, tell the admission committee that you are interested in their graduate school program and why you believe it is a good fit for you. 

Graduate school cover letters have become less popular as graduate schools typically ask students to fill out their personal information and submit materials online. If you are sending specific application materials or your entire application by mail, then you will need to include a graduate school cover letter. Additionally, a few institutions, like the University of Illinois graduate college, for example, require students to submit a graduate school cover letter with their application, even when it is online. 

Furthermore, even when a graduate program does not explicitly ask for a cover letter, including a well-written and informative letter can help differentiate you from the other students by leaving a lasting impression on the admission committee, thus increasing your chances of admission. That said, before you start writing a cover letter for such a program, you should verify the school's admissions website to ensure that the school accepts additional documents. 

It should also be noted that many graduate students look for work and research opportunities at the school that they will be attending. If that is the case for you, then you will need a graduate school cover letter with your application for that school-related internship, job, or research opportunity. For example, if you’re interested in conducting research with a specific professor while you complete your master’s, then it would be a good idea to send them your application with a cover letter attached so that you can communicate your suitability for their research project.

Graduate school cover letters are academic letters, meaning that they need to be formatted in a way that is professional, clear, and concise. Your graduate school cover letter should be no longer than a page, written in a classic font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman or Calibri, sized 11 or 12.

The text of your letter should be organized and separated into paragraphs. Keep in mind that your letter may go through several readers, and not all of them may be experts in the field you intend to study, so do not use overly technical language or industry-specific jargon. Keep your language succinct, clear, and consistent throughout the letter.

Lastly, your letter needs to provide a quick introduction to you as a candidate and pique the reader's interest so that they want to read the rest of your application. This means that you should not use your cover letter to list all of the experiences and skills that make you perfect for this graduate program. Simply express your interest in the program, select one or two experiences, skills, or values to focus on, and relate those to your suitability for the program you're applying for.

Wondering how to get into grad school with a lower GPA?

Step 1: Brainstorm & plan 

The first thing you want to do before you start working on your cover letter, or any graduate school admission essay, is make a plan. Think about what you want to say in your cover letter and write it down. Remember that you only have a few paragraphs to work with, and you do not want to repeat information from your personal statement or other application components. 

Once you know what you want your cover letter to say, organize it so that it flows nicely, and it is easy to follow. Your graduate school cover letter should follow the structure of a typical letter. It should have an introductory paragraph, the main body, and a closing paragraph. 

Step 2: Address your letter 

As mentioned earlier, your graduate school cover letter is, in fact, a letter! Therefore, you should begin by addressing it the way you would in a formal letter. Write your full name and mailing address at the very top. We also recommend including your email address and phone number, but this is optional. On the following line, write out the date, and then write the recipient's name (typically, this is the name of the head of the department or just the name of the school you are applying to) and their address. You should verify the school's admissions webpage for this information. If it is unclear and you are unsure whom to address in the letter, contact the school and ask for this information to ensure that your documents get to the right person. 

This first section of your letter should follow this template:

1234 Imaginary Lane

NameofCity, TN 34421

December 12, 20XX

Dr. John Smith

Department of Psychology

BeMo Academic University

66 University Circle

NameofCity, TN 34457

Once again, because this is a formal letter, you want to open your letter with the appropriate greeting or a personal salutation. If you have the name of a specific recipient, you can use the most common salutation for graduate school cover letters, which is "Dear [recipient's name]." Do not forget to include the recipient's title if you have it. If you do not have the name of a specific recipient, then you can simply address the letter "To Whom It May Concern". 

Step 4: Introduce yourself and express your interest in the graduate program

The reader will already have your name at the top of the page, but your introductory paragraph should tell them why you're writing this graduate school cover letter. You should use it to state your interest in your chosen graduate program and briefly mention your academic background and accomplishments thus far. 

Take a look at this example for context: 

I am pleased to submit my application for the Master of Applied Psychology program at X university. As a recent psychology graduate of YZ university, this graduate program is the perfect next step toward achieving my goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. 

Step 5: Talk about your suitability for this program

This is the main body of your graduate school cover letter. You should try to limit this to one paragraph, but you can use up to two of them if necessary. You should briefly touch on why you chose this particular school and program, what skills you have that have prepared you for this program, and what makes you an ideal applicant. 

You can talk about what you intend to do after this degree or specific professors and faculty members you wish to work with. The information you share here will be personal, so there is no golden template. Just ensure that it is written in an organized fashion that is easy to read and understand. 

Step 6: Conclude and close your letter 

In your last paragraph, make sure you thank the recipient for their time and consideration. You should also encourage them to reach out to you if they need additional information, or if they have any questions. Then finally, You can close your cover letter with a warm, professional closing salutation. "Sincerely" or "Warm Regards" followed by your name are some acceptable closing salutations you can use.

Step 7: List enclosed documents

This section of your graduate school cover letter will look different depending on the school you are applying to, and the application format used. If you are applying by mail, you should list the enclosed documents in the same envelope as your cover letter. If you are applying online or by email, verify that all of the documents listed on your cover letter are attached and ready to send. 

This section should be at the very bottom of the page. It should list the documents in a bullet point format, in the order in which they are enclosed. The list should look something like this: 


Jane Doe 

  • Program application form 
  • Statement of purpose
  • Academic transcripts

Letters of recommendation

Graduate school cover letter examples 

Graduate school cover letter example #1.

Candice Williams

1234 Dream St. 

Winnipeg, MB R3J 8T6

[email protected]


August 12, 20xx

Dr. Trevor Thorne

Department of English, Theatre, Film & Media

Toronto, ON M4C 2Y9

Dear Dr. Thorne,

I am excited to submit my application for consideration for the English literature master's program at BeMo Academic University. I have spent the past four years learning the basics of literature analysis through my bachelor's degree in the field, and I am eager to take this next step in my educational journey in order to further my training.

My undergraduate studies allowed me to explore and learn about different forms of literature from around the world. Still, I often found myself drawn to the impressive works of Shakespeare, Milton, Bronte, and many other great English writers. I had the opportunity to study in London for a year, where I attended a seminar on the impact of Charlotte Bronte's work on modern feminism led by none other than Prof. Jane Smith. She is one of the many brilliant professors in the English, Theatre, Film & Media department at BeMo that I hope to learn from. 

You will find enclosed the required application documents, including my academic CV, which provides more information on the research I have been able to do and publish so far in my short academic career. I am especially interested in the role that authors such as William Shakespeare played in the development of modern English, and I wish to explore that further through research. I feel that the rigorous curriculum this program offers will inform my future writing and research efforts, and allow me to achieve my goals. 

Thank you for your time, attention, and consideration. It is truly appreciated. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information. 

Program application form

Statement of purpose 

Graduate CV

Official undergraduate transcripts

Angela Wong

102-9876 Mainland Rd.

New Haven, CT 44567

[email protected]  

April 8, 20XX

University of BeMo

175 Academy lane

New York, NY 34567

To whom it may concern,

It is my pleasure to submit my application for the Master's degree in Early Childhood Development in the Psychology department at The University of BeMo. I am currently completing my bachelor's degree in psychology and plan to graduate in the fall. Since my goal is to pursue a career as an educational psychologist, this particular program is the perfect next step toward achieving my goal. 

My undergraduate degree includes coursework in childhood psychology, special needs education, school and family crisis intervention, and many other courses that have given me the basics required to keep up with the thorough coursework that awaits me in your rigorous program. 

I have also gained valuable knowledge in the field through shadowing and internships in different schools in my community. Observing other child educators at work confirmed that this is the right career path for me, and it motivated me anew to learn how I can best help children develop a love of learning from the early stages of their educational careers. I know that there is only so much I can learn from observing, and the fact that this program provides six months of hands-on training is one of the many reasons why I am hoping to be a student at BeMo next year. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information or documents. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Research Interest Statement

Cover letters are supposed to be a brief introduction to your application, so unless otherwise specified by the school, they should not be longer than one page. We recommend sticking to three to four paragraphs, as this is long enough to share substantial information without losing your audience. Keep in mind that your reader will also be reviewing your other application components, so you do not need to address everything in this one letter. The information in your other application components, such as your  statement of purpose , will complement your cover letter. So, treat your cover letter like a summary of your candidacy; keep it short but impactful.

Have you started working your graduate school CV? Check out this video for tips:

Be genuine & professional

The individual or committee that will review your application will probably be people that help run the program you're applying to. It is, therefore, best that they get a sense of who you genuinely are. Communicate honestly and let your personality shine through. This will help make your cover letter more memorable. That said, keep in mind that this is a professional document and that genuine does not mean informal or unprofessional. Your tone should still be courteous and consistent throughout the letter.

Proofread & edit carefully

We cannot stress how important this is. Remember that your graduate school cover letter will be one of, if not the first, document that the admissions committee will see from your application. You do not want their first impression of you to be negative. Your letter should be easy to read and follow, and it should be error-free.

Take the time to review your letter multiple times and edit for flow, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and typos. Better yet, reach out to a  grad school essay tutor  for assistance. They can review your cover letter and help you edit it to make sure it is up to par.

Grad school essay tutors can also help you with other tricky written application components, such as  grad school career goals statements . So, do not hesitate to contact one if you need  grad school application help. ","label":"Bonus tip","title":"Bonus tip"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

It is a brief letter that you attach to your graduate school application. This letter should state your interest in the program, and briefly explain why you chose it, as well as why you are a good fit for it.

Many programs do not request graduate school cover letters, but they are more common than most people think. Additionally, several programs accept grad school cover letters even when not required, so you can still submit a cover letter to help your application stand out.

That depends on the program that you are applying to. Some schools may request a cover letter for online applications, and others may not require one, but they allow students to submit them as an optional component.

Graduate school cover letters are not replacements for admission essays like a personal statement or  statement of intent . So if your school requires a graduate school cover letter, do not assume that this means you will not have to write any grad school admission essays.

Unless you are given the name of a specific member of the admission committee, you should address your graduate school cover letter to the "Admissions team," "[subject] Head of Department," or "To Whom It May Concern."

You can make your graduate school cover letter stand out by making sure your personality shines through in your writing, telling a short anecdote or interesting fact about you in the body of the letter, and detailing your relevant skills and experience.

Graduate school can be pretty competitive, but the level of competition depends on the specific program you will be applying to. Some programs have acceptance rates as high as 60%, while others admit less than 10% of applicants.

Graduate school advisors are admission experts who help students plan and prepare for graduate school applications.

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cover letter for master thesis examples

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cover letter examples

Cover Letter for Industrial Master’s Thesis: Sample and Thoughts

Cover Letter for Industrial Master’s Thesis: Sample and Thoughts. For many, the end of an academic year marks the transition from students to employees. Whether you are seeking  a job in a company  or  an internship in a Company , an Industrial thesis can open the door for students. Here, I will share a sample from my Cover letter and hope that it helps. It is about securing an industrial thesis at Volvo Cars in Sweden. The industrial thesis is the gateway to secure your future job in Company or to get an Internship in Sweden as well as other EU countries. You get a chance to make references and connect with people from your field of study during your stay for industrial thesis. 

As per my own experiences, it’s a little bit tricky to get your first job in Sweden, especially in the Field of Engineering. 

Academic Curriculum Vitae (CV) & Writing Ti ps

At first, I explain the opportunity in which I am interested.  Introducing your educational background  is not a bad choice in every sense. That’s why I have mentioned related software in the field of product development. To keep the length short of the Cover letter, you can always attach details of relevant projects in your Resume.  

Read this sample and write your cover letter to find a thesis, internship or job. Best of luck with your professional carrier.  



As an engineering student in the program of Masters in Computational Structural Mechanics at Blekinge Technical institute of technology, Karlskrona Sweden. I am very interested in securing a  master’s thesis Position in Volvo Cars Gothenburg, Sweden. I believe I am a strong candidate for your thesis vacancy. While, I have attached my resume and academic records.

During the courses of my bachelor’s and master’s programs, I have studied a number of subjects and have been involved in many industrial projects related to the design and development of products. This course work and real-time projects led me to build and hone my skills in commercial softwares like ABAQUS, INVENTOR, MATLAB, COMSOL and MASTER CAM. Equipped with the knowledge of these software tools, I have learnt various aspects of decision making in the product development process, starting from virtual and physical modelling to structural simulations and experimental investigation of the product.

My master’s program has provided me with a platform to further specialize as well as diversify my technical skills in terms of creativity and innovation. Moreover, working on projects in the multicultural environment of my university, I have learnt to integrate my technical attributes with interpersonal, leadership and teamwork skills.

While, I am confident that my relevant academic record, work ethic and personal attributes would allow me to make important and valuable contributions to Volvo Cars Gothenburg, Sweden. So, I look forward to skills enhancing opportunity now and expect that this liaison will not end at the end of the thesis.

Farrukh Bashir


We provide services to write a very strong Motivation Letter/ Cover Letter for students. Here you go and submit your inquiry for further process. We will make sure, that you get admission to your desired university.

How to get Your Resume Noticed (4 Tips)?

Lastly, You can approach  Consult Studies Abroad   for Guidance about scholarships, University admissions, and much more useful information. While, We prepare a strong Scholarship Application by emphasizing Personal statements and Motivation letters. We Prepare Scholarship Applications for all countries.

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Farrukh Bashir Co-founder of Consult Studies Abroad (Consultancy Firm) and (Educational Information & Motivational Website). He is an Educational Consultant, Blog Writer and Product Design Engineer. He Studied Master’s in product development in Sweden with a Scholarship. View all posts by Farrukh Bashir

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Cover Letter Guide

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The cover letter is one of your marketing documents (in addition to your resume) and your opportunity to bring additional focus to your resume with a specific reader in mind. You will write a unique and well-researched letter for every opportunity to which you apply. Before you begin constructing your cover letter, we encourage you to consider your lens.  What we mean is that we want you to adopt the mindset, or lens, of the person who will make the hiring decision.

  • What are the most important qualities needed to be successful in this role? 
  • What type of candidate will progress to the interview? 

Many of the answers you seek are found in the job description or through a conversation with a professional who works for the organization. Use all of these resources to identify the most important messages that you need to convey about your story in the cover letter. A Cover letter is an opportunity to tell your story in a compelling way by making a claim and substantiating that claim with examples. It follows much of the same structure as an essay.

  • Present a clear thesis.
  • Provide evidence to support your claims.
  • Bring the story to a close with a succinct and compelling conclusion.

Not sure a cover letter is necessary?   Think of the cover letter as part of the resume.  If someone asks for a resume, send a resume plus a cover letter, unless there is an explicit request otherwise. This is standard practice. Also, if you are applying online and have a small text box in which to provide additional information, consider this an opportunity for a mini-cover letter.

Steps to Success

Make a strong first impression in the first sentence of the first paragraph.  A persuasive first sentence tells the reader that you are serious and keeps them reading.  Interesting and compelling information about your candidacy should be introduced in your first paragraph.  The final paragraph is too late.

Go beyond general statements that could be true for the majority of candidates.  Common qualities or characteristics will not help you to uniquely stand out.  Trust the resume to cover the basics and use the cover letter to highlight bigger patterns of success or share an anecdote about your achievements that relates to a requirement of the position.

Tell the reader about you. Communicate your interest and motivation to apply by connecting your background and interests to your knowledge of the organization.  Avoid reporting facts.  The reader already knows his or her organization but wants to know about you and why you are applying.  This is a great opportunity to show your level of research on the position.

Use evidence to build credibility around every claim in your letter.  The reader wants to believe you and needs detailed illustrations of your past success to do so.  If you have included more than a couple of claims (two or three are sufficient) about your ability to thrive in the job, you are sacrificing depth for breadth and duplicating the work that the resume should do.  Move extra information for the cover letter to the resume to improve it and trust the resume.

cover letter for master thesis examples

Cover Letter Template

cover letter for master thesis examples

Undergraduate Cover Letter Examples

Graduate Cover Letter Examples

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Academic Cover Letters

What is this handout about.

The long list of application materials required for many academic teaching jobs can be daunting. This handout will help you tackle one of the most important components: the cover letter or letter of interest. Here you will learn about writing and revising cover letters for academic teaching jobs in the United States of America.

What is an academic cover letter?

An academic cover letter describes your experiences and interest as a candidate for a specific position. It introduces you to the hiring committee and demonstrates how your academic background fits with the description of the position.

What do cover letters for academic teaching jobs typically contain?

At their most basic level, academic cover letters accomplish three things: one, they express your interest in the job; two, they provide a brief synopsis of your research and teaching; and three, they summarize your past experiences and achievements to illustrate your competence for the job. For early-career scholars, cover letters are typically no more than two pages (up to four pages for senior scholars). Occasionally, a third page may make sense for an early-career scholar if the application does not require a separate teaching statement and/or research statement. Digital versions of cover letters often contain hyperlinks to your CV or portfolio page. For some fields, cover letters may also include examples of your work, including music, popular articles, and other multimedia related to your research, service, or teaching available online. Typically, letters appear on departmental or university letterhead and include your signature. Above all, a strong cover letter presents your accomplishments and your familiarity with the institution and with the position.

How should I prepare to write my academic cover letter?

Like all writing, composing a cover letter is a process. The process may be as short as a few hours or as long as several weeks, but at the end the letter should present you as a strong candidate for the job. The following section has tips and questions for thinking through each stage of this writing process. You don’t need to answer all of these questions to write the letter; they are meant to help you brainstorm ideas.

Before you begin writing your cover letter, consider researching the institution, the department, and the student population. Incorporating all three aspects in your letter will help convey your interest in the position.

Get to know the institution. When crafting your cover letter, be aware of the type of institution to which you are applying. Knowing how the institution presents itself can help you tailor your letter and make it more specific.

  • Where is the institution located?
  • Is it on a quarter-system or semester-system?
  • What type of institution is it? Is it an R1? Is it an R2? Is it a liberal arts college? Is it an HBCU? Is it a community college? A private high school?
  • What is the institution’s culture? Is it teaching-focused or research-focused? Does it privilege experiential learning? Does it value faculty involvement outside the classroom? Is it affiliated with a specific religious tradition?
  • Does it have any specific institutional commitments?
  • How does the institution advocate for involvement in its local community?
  • What are the professional development opportunities for new and junior faculty?

Learn about the department. Knowing the specific culture and needs of the department can help you reach your audience: the department members who will be reading your documents and vetting you as a candidate.

  • Who is on the search committee? Who is the search committee chair?
  • What is the official name of the department?
  • Which different subfields make up the department?
  • Is it a dual appointment or a position in a dual department?
  • How does the department participate in specific types of student outreach?
  • Does the department have graduate students? Does it offer a terminal Master’s degree, Ph.D., or both? How large are the cohorts? How are they funded?
  • Does the department encourage or engage in interdisciplinary work?
  • Does the majority of the department favor certain theoretical or methodological approaches?
  • Does the department have partnerships with local institutions? If so, which ones?
  • Is the department attempting to fill a specific vacancy, or is it an entirely new position?
  • What are the typical course offerings in the department? Which courses might you be expected to teach? What courses might you be able to provide that are not currently available?

Consider the students. The search committee will often consider how you approach instructing and mentoring the student body. Sometimes committees will even reserve a position for a student or solicit student feedback on a candidate:

  • What populations constitute the majority of the undergraduate population?
  • Have there been any shifts in the student population recently?
  • Do students largely come from in-state or out-of-state?
  • Is there an international student population? If so, from which countries?
  • Is the university recruiting students from traditionally underrepresented populations?
  • Are students particularly active on campus? If so, how?

Many answers to these questions can be found both in the job description and on the institution’s website. If possible, consider contacting someone you know at the institution to ask about the culture directly. You can also use the institution’s course catalog, recruitment materials, alumni magazine, and other materials to get answers to these questions. The key is to understand the sort of institution to which you are applying, its immediate needs, and its future trajectory.

Remember, there is a resource that can help you with all three aspects—people. Reach out to your advisor, committee members, faculty mentors, and other contacts for insight into the prospective department’s culture and faculty. They might even help you revise your letter based on their expertise. Think of your job search as an opportunity to cultivate these relationships.

After you have done some initial research, think about how your experiences have prepared you for the job and identify the ones that seem the most relevant. Consider your previous research, internships, graduate teaching, and summer experiences. Here are some topics and questions to get you started thinking about what you might include.

Research Experiences. Consider how your research has prepared you for an academic career. Since the letter is a relatively short document, select examples of your research that really highlight who you are as a scholar, the direction you see your work going, and how your scholarship will contribute to the institution’s research community.

  • What are your current research interests?
  • What topics would you like to examine in the future?
  • How have you pursued those research interests?
  • Have you traveled for your research?
  • Have you published any of your research? Have you presented it at a conference, symposium, or elsewhere?
  • Have you worked or collaborated with scholars at different institutions on projects? If so, what did these collaborations produce?
  • Have you made your research accessible to your local community?
  • Have you received funding or merit-based fellowships for your research?
  • What other research contributions have you made? This may include opinion articles, book chapters, or participating as a journal reviewer.
  • How do your research interests relate to those of other faculty in the department or fill a gap?

Teaching Experience. Think about any teaching experience you may have. Perhaps you led recitations as a teaching assistant, taught your own course, or guest lectured. Pick a few experiences to discuss in your letter that demonstrate something about your teaching style or your interest in teaching.

  • What courses are you interested in teaching for the department? What courses have you taught that discussed similar topics or themes?
  • What new courses can you imagine offering the department that align with their aim and mission?
  • Have you used specific strategies that were helpful in your instruction?
  • What sort of resources do you typically use in the classroom?
  • Do you have anecdotes that demonstrate your teaching style?
  • What is your teaching philosophy?
  • When have you successfully navigated a difficult concept or topic in the classroom, and what did you learn?
  • What other opportunities could you provide to students?

Internships/Summer/Other Experiences. Brainstorm a list of any conferences, colloquiums, and workshops you have attended, as well as any ways you have served your department, university, or local community. This section will highlight how you participate in your university and scholarly community. Here are some examples of things you might discuss:

  • Professional development opportunities you may have pursued over the summer or during your studies
  • International travel for research or presentations
  • Any research you’ve done in a non-academic setting
  • Presentations at conferences
  • Participation in symposia, reading groups, working groups, etc.
  • Internships in which you may have implemented your research or practical skills related to your discipline
  • Participation in community engagement projects
  • Participation in or leadership of any scholarly and/or university organizations

In answering these questions, create a list of the experiences that you think best reflect you as a scholar and teacher. In choosing which experiences to highlight, consider your audience and what they would find valuable or relevant. Taking the time to really think about your reader will help you present yourself as an applicant well-qualified for the position.

Writing a draft

Remember that the job letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your accomplishments and to communicate why you would be a good fit for the position. Typically, search committees will want to know whether you are a capable job candidate, familiar with the institution, and a great future addition to the department’s faculty. As such, be aware of how the letter’s structure and content reflect your preparedness for the position.

The structure of your cover letter should reflect the typical standards for letter writing in the country in which the position is located (the list below reflects the standards for US letter writing). This usually includes a salutation, body, and closing, as well as proper contact information. If you are affiliated with a department, institution, or organization, the letter should be on letterhead.

  • Use a simple, readable font in a standard size, such as 10-12pt. Some examples of fonts that may be conventional in your field include Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman, and Verdana, among other similar fonts.
  • Do not indent paragraphs.
  • Separate all paragraphs by a line and justify them to the left.
  • Make sure that any included hyperlinks work.
  • Include your signature in the closing.

Before you send in your letter, make sure you proofread and look for formatting mistakes. You’ll read more about proofreading and revising later in this handout!

The second most important aspect of your letter is its content. Since the letter is the first chance to provide an in-depth introduction, it should expand on who you are as a scholar and possible faculty member. Below are some elements to consider including when composing your letter.

Identify the position you are applying to and introduce yourself. Traditionally, the first sentence of a job letter includes the full name of the position and where you discovered the job posting. This is also the place to introduce yourself and describe why you are applying for this position. Since the goal of a job letter is to persuade the search committee to include you on the list of candidates for further review, you may want to include an initial claim as to why you are a strong candidate for the position. Some questions you might consider:

  • What is your current status (ABD, assistant professor, post-doc, etc.)?
  • If you are ABD, have you defended your dissertation? If not, when will you defend?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why are you a strong candidate for this position?

Describe your research experience and interests. For research-centered positions, such as positions at R1 or other types of research-centered universities, include information about your research experience and current work early in the letter. For many applicants, current work will be the dissertation project. If this is the case, some suggest calling your “dissertation research” your “current project” or “work,” as this may help you present yourself as an emerging scholar rather than a graduate student. Some questions about your research that you might consider:

  • What research experiences have you had?
  • What does your current project investigate?
  • What are some of the important methods you applied?
  • Have you collaborated with others in your research?
  • Have you acquired specific skills that will be useful for the future?
  • Have you received special funding? If so, what kind?
  • Has your research received any accolades or rewards?
  • What does your current project contribute to the field?
  • Where have you presented your research?
  • Have you published your research? If so, where? Or are you working on publishing your work?
  • How does your current project fit the job description?

Present your plans for future research. This section presents your research agenda and usually includes a description of your plans for future projects and research publications. Detailing your future research demonstrates to the search committee that you’ve thought about a research trajectory and can work independently. If you are applying to a teaching-intensive position, you may want to minimize this section and/or consider including a sentence or two on how this research connects to undergraduate and/or graduate research opportunities. Some questions to get you started:

  • What is your next research project/s?
  • How does this connect to your current and past work?
  • What major theories/methods will you use?
  • How will this project contribute to the field?
  • Where do you see your specialty area or subfield going in the next ten years and how does your research contribute to or reflect this?
  • Will you be collaborating with anyone? If so, with whom?
  • How will this future project encourage academic discourse?
  • Do you already have funding? If so, from whom? If not, what plans do you have for obtaining funding?
  • How does your future research expand upon the department’s strengths while simultaneously diversifying the university’s research portfolio? (For example, does your future research involve emerging research fields, state-of-the-art technologies, or novel applications?)

Describe your teaching experience and highlight teaching strategies. This section allows you to describe your teaching philosophy and how you apply this philosophy in your classroom. Start by briefly addressing your teaching goals and values. Here, you can provide specific examples of your teaching methods by describing activities and projects you assign students. Try to link your teaching and research together. For example, if you research the rise of feminism in the 19th century, consider how you bring either the methodology or the content of your research into the classroom. For a teaching-centered institution, such as a small liberal arts college or community college, you may want to emphasize your teaching more than your research. If you do not have any teaching experience, you could describe a training, mentoring, or coaching situation that was similar to teaching and how you would apply what you learned in a classroom.

  • What is your teaching philosophy? How is your philosophy a good fit for the department in which you are applying to work?
  • What sort of teaching strategies do you use in the classroom?
  • What is your teaching style? Do you lecture? Do you emphasize discussion? Do you use specific forms of interactive learning?
  • What courses have you taught?
  • What departmental courses are you prepared to teach?
  • Will you be able to fill in any gaps in the departmental course offerings?
  • What important teaching and/or mentoring experiences have you had?
  • How would you describe yourself in the classroom?
  • What type of feedback have you gotten from students?
  • Have you received any awards or recognition for your teaching?

Talk about your service work. Service is often an important component of an academic job description. This can include things like serving on committees or funding panels, providing reviews, and doing community outreach. The cover letter gives you an opportunity to explain how you have involved yourself in university life outside the classroom. For instance, you could include descriptions of volunteer work, participation in initiatives, or your role in professional organizations. This section should demonstrate ways in which you have served your department, university, and/or scholarly community. Here are some additional examples you could discuss:

  • Participating in graduate student or junior faculty governance
  • Sitting on committees, departmental or university-wide
  • Partnerships with other university offices or departments
  • Participating in community-partnerships
  • Participating in public scholarship initiatives
  • Founding or participating in any university initiatives or programs
  • Creating extra-curricular resources or presentations

Present yourself as a future faculty member. This section demonstrates who you will be as a colleague. It gives you the opportunity to explain how you will collaborate with faculty members with similar interests; take part in departmental and/or institution wide initiatives or centers; and participate in departmental service. This shows your familiarity with the role of faculty outside the classroom and your ability to add to the departmental and/or institutional strengths or fill in any gaps.

  • What excites you about this job?
  • What faculty would you like to collaborate with and why? (This answer may be slightly tricky. See the section on name dropping below.)
  • Are there any partnerships in the university or outside of it that you wish to participate in?
  • Are there any centers associated with the university or in the community that you want to be involved in?
  • Are there faculty initiatives that you are passionate about?
  • Do you have experience collaborating across various departments or within your own department?
  • In what areas will you be able to contribute?
  • Why would you make an excellent addition to the faculty at this institution?

Compose a strong closing. This short section should acknowledge that you have sent in all other application documents and include a brief thank you for the reader’s time and/or consideration. It should also state your willingness to forward additional materials and indicate what you would like to see as next steps (e.g., a statement that you look forward to speaking with the search committee). End with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Kind Regards” followed by your full name.

If you are finding it difficult to write the different sections of your cover letter, consider composing the other academic job application documents (the research statement, teaching philosophy, and diversity statement) first and then summarizing them in your job letter.

Different kinds of letters may be required for different types of jobs. For example, some jobs may focus on research. In this case, emphasize your research experiences and current project/s. Other jobs may be more focused on teaching. In this case, highlight your teaching background and skills. Below are two models for how you could change your letter’s organization based on the job description and the institution. The models offer a guide for you to consider how changing the order of information and the amount of space dedicated to a particular topic changes the emphasis of the letter.

Research-Based Position Job Letter Example:

Teaching-based position job letter example:.

Remember your first draft does not have to be your last. Try to get feedback from different readers, especially if it is one of your first applications. It is not uncommon to go through several stages of revisions. Check out the Writing Center’s handout on editing and proofreading and video on proofreading to help with this last stage of writing.

Potential pitfalls

Using the word dissertation. Some search committee members may see the word “dissertation” as a red flag that an applicant is too focused on their role as a graduate student rather than as a prospective faculty member. It may be advantageous, then, to describe your dissertation as current research, a current research project, current work, or some other phrase that demonstrates you are aware that your dissertation is the beginning of a larger scholarly career.

Too much jargon. While you may be writing to a specific department, people on the search committee might be unfamiliar with the details of your subfield. In fact, many committees have at least one member from outside their department. Use terminology that can easily be understood by non-experts. If you want to use a specific term that is crucial to your research, then you should define it. Aim for clarity for your reader, which may mean simplification in lieu of complete precision.

Overselling yourself. While your job letter should sell you as a great candidate, saying so (e.g., “I’m the ideal candidate”) in your letter may come off to some search committee members as presumptuous. Remember that although you have an idea about the type of colleague a department is searching for, ultimately you do not know exactly what they want. Try to avoid phrases or sentences where you state you are the ideal or the only candidate right for the position.

Paying too much attention to the job description. Job descriptions are the result of a lot of debate and compromise. If you have skills or research interests outside the job description, consider including them in your letter. It may be that your extra research interests; your outside skills; and/or your extracurricular involvements make you an attractive candidate. For example, if you are a Latin Americanist who also happens to be well-versed in the Spanish Revolution, it could be worth mentioning the expanse of your research interests because a department might find you could fill in other gaps in the curriculum or add an additional or complementary perspective to the department.

Improper sendoff. The closing of your letter is just as important as the beginning. The end of the letter should reflect the professionalism of the document. There should be a thank-you and the word sincerely or a formal equivalent. Remember, it is the very last place in your letter where you present yourself as a capable future colleague.

Small oversights. Make sure to proofread your letter not just for grammar but also for content. For example, if you use material from another letter, make sure you do not include the names of another school, department, or unassociated faculty! Or, if the school is in Chicago, make sure you do not accidentally reference it as located in the Twin Cities.

Name dropping. You rarely know the internal politics of the department or institution to which you are applying. So be cautious about the names you insert in your cover letters. You do not want to unintentionally insert yourself into a departmental squabble or add fire to an interdepartmental conflict. Instead, focus on the actions you will undertake and the initiatives you are passionate about.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Ball, Cheryl E. 2013. “Understanding Cover Letters.” Inside Higher Ed , November 3, 2013. .

Borchardt, John. 2014. “Writing a Winning Cover Letter.” Science Magazine , August 6, 2014. .

Helmreich, William. 2013. “Your First Academic Job.” Inside Higher Ed , June 17, 2013. .

Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “How To Write a Journal Article Submission Cover Letter.” The Professor Is In (blog), April 26, 2013. .

Tomaska, Lubomir, and Josef Nosek. 2008. “Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Cover Letter to Accompany a Job Application for an Academic Position.” PLoS Computational Biology 14(5). .

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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StandOut CV

Graduate cover letter examples

Andrew Fennell photo

As a recent graduate, you need to effectively showcase your degree and relevant skills on your CV and cover letter.

But when you’re just starting out in your career, it can be tough to know where to begin.

In the guide below, we’ll teach you how to create a clear, concise and professional application using our graduate cover letter examples and handy top tips.

CV templates 

Graduate cover letter example 1

Graduate cover letter 1

Graduate cover letter example 2

Graduate cover letter 2

Graduate cover letter example 3

Graduate cover letter 3

These 3 Graduate cover letter examples will provide you with some good ideas on how to format a cover letter, along with the type of message you should be trying to put across to recruiters .

To further understand exactly how you can write a cover letter that will get you noticed, check out our further guidance.

How to write a Graduate cover letter

Here’s how to write your own winning Graduate cover letter

How to write a cover letter

Write your cover letter in the body of an email/message

When writing your Graduate cover letter, it’s best to type the content into the body of your email (or the job site messaging system) and not to attach the cover letter as a separate document.

This ensures that your cover letter gets seen as soon as a recruiter or employer opens your message.

If you attach the cover letter as a document, you’re making the reader go through an unnecessary step of opening the document before reading it.

If it’s in the body of the message itself, it will be seen instantly, which hugely increases the chances of it being read.

Write cover letter in body of email

Start with a friendly greeting

Cover letter address

To kick your cover letter off, start with a friendly greeting to build rapport with the recruiter instantly.

Your greeting should be personable but professional. Not too casual, but not too formal either

Go with something like…

  • Hi [insert recruiter name]
  • Hi [insert department/team name]

Avoid old-fashioned greetings like “Dear sir/madam ” unless applying to very formal companies.

How to find the contact’s name?

Addressing the recruitment contact by name is an excellent way to start building a strong relationship. If it is not listed in the job advert, try these methods to find it.

  • Check out the company website and look at their  About page. If you see a hiring manager, HR person or internal recruiter, use their name. You could also try to figure out who would be your manager in the role and use their name.
  • Head to LinkedIn , search for the company and scan through the list of employees. Most professionals are on LinkedIn these days, so this is a good bet.

Identify the role you are applying for

Once you’ve opened up the cover letter with a warm greeting to start building a relationship, it is time to identify which role you want to apply for.

Recruiters are often managing multiple vacancies, so you need to ensure you apply to the correct one.

Be very specific and use a reference number if you can find one.

  • I am interested in applying for the position of *Graduate position* with your company.
  • I would like to apply for the role of Sales assistant (Ref: 406f57393)
  • I would like to express my interest in the customer service vacancy within your retail department
  • I saw your advert for a junior project manager on Reed and would like to apply for the role.

See also: CV examples – how to write a CV – CV profiles

Highlight your suitability

The sole objective of your cover letter is to motivate recruiters into to opening your CV. And you achieve this by quickly explaining your suitability to the roles you are applying for.

Take a look at the job descriptions you are applying to, and make note of the most important skills and qualifications being asked for.

Then, when crafting your cover letter, make your suitability the central focus.

Explain why you are the best qualified candidate, and why you are so well suited to carry out the job.

This will give recruiters all the encouragement they need to open your CV and consider you for the job.

Cover letter tips

Keep it short and sharp

A good cover letter is short and sharp, getting to the point quickly with just enough information to grab the attention of recruiters.

Ideally your cover letter should be around 4-8 sentences long – anything longer will risk losing the attention of time-strapped recruiters and hiring managers .

Essentially you need to include just enough information to persuade the reader to open up your CV, where the in-depth details will sit.

Sign off professionally

To round of your CV, you should sign off with a professional signature.

This will give your cover letter a slick appearance and also give the recruiter all of the necessary contact information they need to get in touch with you.

The information to add should include:

  • A friendly sign off – e.g. “Kindest regards”
  • Your full name
  • Phone number (one you can answer quickly)
  • Email address
  • Profession title
  • Professional social network –  e.g. LinkedIn

Here is an example signature;

Warm regards,

Jill North IT Project Manager 078837437373 [email protected] LinkedIn

Quick tip: To save yourself from having to write your signature every time you send a job application, you can save it within your email drafts, or on a separate documents that you could copy in.

Email signatures

What to include in your Graduate cover letter

Here’s what kind of content you should include in your Graduate cover letter…

The exact info will obviously depend on your industry and experience level, but these are the essentials.

  • Your relevant experience – Where have you worked and what type of jobs have you held?
  • Your qualifications – Let recruiters know about your highest level of qualification to show them you have the credentials for the job.
  • The impact you have made – Show how your actions have made a positive impact on previous employers; perhaps you’ve saved them money or helped them to acquire new customers?
  • Your reasons for moving – Hiring managers will want to know why you are leaving your current or previous role, so give them a brief explanation.
  • Your availability – When can you start a new job ? Recruiters will want to know how soon they can get you on board.

Don’t forget to tailor these points to the requirements of the job advert for best results.

Graduate cover letter templates

Copy and paste these Graduate cover letter templates to get a head start on your own.

I hope you’re well.

I am excited to apply for the Graduate Structural Engineer position at Stainton Energy and I believe my strong academic background and onsite experience makes me a suitable candidate for this role.

Throughout my master’s degree at the University of Glasgow, I have engaged in large-scale installation projects, feasibility studies, and audits for civil and renewable energy construction companies. Notably, I contributed to a site audit that identified a significant submerged rock area, leading to critical modifications in project plans. Additionally, my Certified AutoCAD Professional status has enabled me to implement cost-effective materials and conduct comprehensive end-to-end component design. Throughout my academic journey, I excelled in modules encompassing Feasibility Study, Geotechnical Design, Renewable Energy Systems, and more. My final project, “A digital model of soil mechanics in an urban environment,” showcased my prowess in complex data analysis and computer modelling.

I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience and eager to discuss how my skills can contribute to the company’s success. Thank you for considering my application.

Kind regards,

Leila Marker ¦ 07777777777 ¦ [email protected]

Dear Frances,

I am excited to apply for the Graduate Research Chemist position at Helmer Laboratories as it perfectly aligns with my passion for analytical chemistry and expertise in organic synthesis.

As a detail-oriented Chemistry graduate currently pursuing my master’s in Analytical Chemistry, I possess technical proficiency in HPLC and GC-MS, enabling precise quality checks and chemical identification. My problem-solving skills and meticulous approach have streamlined workflows in a professional research laboratory and, during my internship at Lab Solutions Ltd, I contributed to significant cost savings through process optimisation and validation of an in-house HPLC method.

Throughout my academic journey, I excelled in modules covering Analytical Techniques, Advanced Organic Synthesis, and Chemical Analysis and Quality Control. My forthcoming thesis, ‘Analysis of Drug Metabolites in Urine using GC-MS,’ demonstrates my commitment to cutting-edge research.

I am confident that these collective skills make me and asses for your team and I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience to discuss them further.

Giles Stevens ¦ 07777777777 ¦ [email protected]

I am writing to apply for the Graduate Software Developer position at your esteemed organisation, as it presents an exciting opportunity to leverage my passion for programming and problem-solving.

As a Computer Science graduate, I possess a strong background in object-oriented design principles and technical solution development. My proficiency in Java, C++, and Python has allowed me to develop and deploy software updates for enterprise-level applications, ensuring seamless user experiences. During my undergraduate studies I excelled in modules covering Software Development, Data Structures and Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence. During my summer internship at Sky Blue Solutions, I collaborated with multidisciplinary teams to deliver high-quality software products. I also successfully implemented a new update deployment process, improving efficiency by 14%, and contributing to the development of an e-commerce application, increasing user engagement by 23%.

I am excited about the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications and how my skills can contribute to your organisation’s success. I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience.

Mason Harley ¦ 07777777777 ¦ [email protected]

Writing an impressive cover letter is a crucial step in landing a Graduate job, so taking the time to perfect it is well worth while.

By following the tips and examples above you will be able to create an eye-catching cover letter that will wow recruiters and ensure your CV gets read – leading to more job interviews for you.

Good luck with your job search!

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Cover Letter for PhD Application: Guide for Writing One & Example From a Real PhD Student

  • Klara Cervenanska , 
  • Updated March 27, 2023 9 min read

When applying for a PhD research position, you usually need to submit certain documents, including an academic CV and a cover letter for PhD application .

A PhD cover letter, also referred to as an academic cover letter, should be carefully crafted, well-formatted, and contain specific sections.

We'll show you how to do exactly that, along with a sample of an academic cover letter from a real person admitted to a PhD program at Lyon University in France.

And if you're not sure how to go about writing your PhD CV, check out this article: CV for PhD Application: How to Write One Like a True Scholar (+CV Example) .

Table of Contents

Click on a section to skip

What is an academic cover letter?

What to include in a cover letter for phd application, how to write a cover letter for phd application, how to format an academic cover letter, phd cover letter sample.

An academic cover letter is a document that PhD candidates submit alongside their academic CV when applying for a PhD. 

Essentially, it's a cover letter for a PhD application.

It's not exactly the same as your regular business cover letter. Nor is it the same as a personal statement or a motivation letter .

The purpose of a cover letter for PhD application is to explain to the reader, who's likely a researcher or a professor, what you can contribute to their institution and/or field.

Moreover, in a PhD application cover letter, you should explain why you're a good match for the research position on the program.

Differences between academic cover letter and business cover letter

Both these documents serve different purposes and people use them in different settings:

  • Academic cover letter is used when applying for positions in academia — most often for a PhD. More emphasis should be on education, research background and scholarly accomplishments. Moreover, it should explain what your contribution to the institution or field could be. It should also point the reader to your academic CV.
  • Regular (business) cover letter is normally used when applying for any kind of job . Hence, more emphasis should be on skills and past experience while being tailored to a specific job position. You should also explain why you're a good fit for the position at the given company. It should point the reader to your resume.

There are also other documents people often mistake for an academic cover letter. These include:

  • Motivation letter is especially relevant for fresh graduates when applying to a university, a non-profit organization, or voluntary work. A motivation letter focuses more on your interests and motives for applying.
  • Personal statement. Also used in an academic setting. It's always written by an applicant, often a prospective student, applying to college, university, or graduate school. You explain why you've chosen a particular course and why you'd be good at it. Other names include a statement of purpose or a letter of intent .

Like every cover letter, an academic one also needs to include specific elements and content sections. These are:

  • Header. Here, provide your contact information, such as your name, address, phone number, and email in the header of the document.
  • Formal salutation. In an official letter like this one, you should address the reader in a professional and formal way. If you know who'll be reading your cover letter, go with Dear Dr. [Surname] or Dear Professor [Surname] . If you don't, go with Dear Sir/Madam .
  • The specific PhD program or position. Clearly state in your letter which research position you're applying for or the name of the PhD program. A cover letter is usually read before a CV, so you need to make sure everything is clear.
  • Your motivation. Explain why you're interested in the specific PhD position — it's one of the key elements you should include.
  • Your academic background. Now, we don't mean you should list in detail every single university course you ever took. Instead, focus on the most relevant course for the PhD and describe in detail what you learned, any projects you worked on, why it was interesting (and optionally, what knowledge gap you identified). In this way, you also show a certain level of understanding of the field.
  • Your ambition. Briefly mention what your ambitions, intentions, and plans are regarding your contribution to the field when securing your PhD position. How is your research going to enrich the field? How will the institution benefit from it?
  • Conclusion. Keep the conclusion short. Contrary to a regular cover letter ending , there's no place for reiterating everything here. Simply thank the reader for your consideration and prompt them to read your academic CV.
  • Formal sign-off. Just pick from the usual: Sincerely, Respectfully, Regards... Then throw in your full name in the following line.

And that's all you need to include!

Now, let's take a look at how to write your cover letter step-by-step.

Applying for a PhD will be a lot less stressful if you follow these tips on how to write a cover letter for a research position:

Consider researching the background of the organization, department, ongoing research projects, and their past and current projects. All that before you start writing your cover letter. Knowing these things will help you tailor your letter to the specific PhD opening.

Before you actually start writing, try to sit down and take a moment to think first. Assess how your past experiences helped you prepare for the PhD position and scribble down those that are most relevant and significant for the specific program. These include any research experiences, research projects, courses, or internships.

In the first few sentences of your letter, you need to convey some basic information about yourself and what specific position you're applying for. The opening should also state firmly why you're a strong candidate for the position/program, by using a persuasive and convincing wording. Here's an example: "As an MChem Chemistry graduate with a narrow focus on the sustainable synthesis of biologically active molecules from the University of Dundee, I am excited to apply to a "Synthesis Of Small Molecule Inhibitors Using Enzymes" PhD programme at an institution with such a strong foundation and numerous research groups in this field."

This is the place where you may explore more extensively on the educational journey that brought you here. Set the foundation for demonstrating how your Master's degree and research experience seamlessly translate into the next phase — the PhD program. Emphasize how your thesis contributes to the field's body of knowledge. Mention any other publications that support your thesis. And, if you can, identify any knowledge gaps or topics that can be explored further.

This paragraph provides the opportunity to neatly tie in together everything the reader has learned about you so far. You can show how your previous experience, coupled with what you'll learn during the PhD program, will come together to produce something novel to enrich the field. First, identify the courses or topics within the PhD program that interest you the most and how they relate to you developing your research further. Second, introduce your future research aspirations and goals. Third, point out how this future work will enrich the field and what will the intellectual merit be.

When ending your PhD cover letter, briefly refer your reader to your academic CV and encourage them to examine all of the remaining projects, courses, publications, or references . Finally, thank the reader for their time and consideration and let them know you look forward to hearing from them. Sign off.

Put the letter in a drawer and don't think about it for a day or two. Then, when you read it again, you'll have a fresh pair of eyes to see the cover letter in a new light. Maybe you decide some things are redundant, or you think of something that's more relevant. Or you know, find a typo here and there.

Just like an academic cover letter needs to contain certain content components, the formatting should also align with the structural expectations for this type of document.

How long should a cover letter be? How to finish a cover letter? And what about the cover letter font and spacing?

Here's a recommended academic cover letter format:

  • Length. While STEM PhD candidates should aim for half a page to one page, humanities candidates can do 1–2 pages.
  • Font. Use one of the classics: Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial. Just no Comic Sans, we beg you. Keep the size between 10–12 points. Also remember to keep the text clean — no underlining, no bolding, and no color. However, you can use italics if appropriate.
  • Spacing. Cover letter spacing isn't complicated. Just single-space your text, make sure there's a space between each paragraph, and leave a space between the concluding paragraph and your formal sign-off.
  • Margins. The only rule here is that the margins on your cover letter should match those on your CV.
  • Consistence with your CV. Your academic cover letter should match your academic CV in all formatting aspects — including the cover letter font and spacing. For example, Kickresume lets you choose a matching template for your CV and your cover letter, so no need to worry about this.

If the institution provided any instructions for formatting your academic cover letter, don’t get creative and follow their guidelines.

Finally, to help you tie everything we talked about together, here's a cover letter sample from a real person admitted to a PhD program at Lyon University in France.

These things ensured Herrera's cover letter was successful:

  • She clearly states her motivation in the opening. In the first two paragraphs, Herrera introduces herself and her motivation to apply for the given PhD program.
  • She describes educational and research background thoroughly. The main body of the letter is dedicated to describing Herrera's educational background, research projects, internships, and skills acquired throughout the way.
  • She presents research aspirations in the letter. Herrera writes: "I have a history of proven results and profound findings. Given opportunity, I’m confident in my abilities to earn similar ground-breaking results while being part of your team."

Even though this example lacks some of the key elements, such as mentioning the specific PhD program or identifying the topics within the PhD program that interest her the most, this PhD cover letter still managed to impress the University of Lyon.

Lyon University PhD Student Cover Letter Sample

Klara graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After having written resumes for many of her fellow students, she began writing full-time for Kickresume. Klara is our go-to person for all things related to student or 'no experience resumes'. At the same time, she has written some of the most popular resume advice articles on this blog. Her pieces were featured in multiple CNBC articles. When she's not writing, you'll probably find her chasing dogs or people-watching while sipping on a cup of coffee.

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1 Biotechnology Cover Letter Example

Biotechnologists are experts at manipulating biological systems to create or improve products, turning complex scientific concepts into tangible results. Similarly, your cover letter is your chance to transform your professional experiences and skills into a compelling narrative that captures the attention of recruiters. In this guide, we'll delve into the best cover letter examples for Biotechnologists, helping you to craft a narrative that showcases your expertise and passion for the field.

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Cover Letter Examples

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The best way to start a Biotechnology cover letter is with a strong opening that grabs the reader's attention. Begin by addressing the hiring manager by name, if possible, to establish a personal connection. Then, succinctly express your enthusiasm for the role and the company, highlighting a key achievement or relevant experience that aligns with the job requirements. For example: "Dear Dr. Smith, I am thrilled to apply for the Molecular Biologist position at XYZ Biotech, where my publication on CRISPR gene-editing techniques could contribute to your innovative gene therapy projects." This approach demonstrates your specific interest in the position and showcases your relevant expertise in the biotechnology field.

Biotechnologists should end a cover letter by summarizing their interest in the position and their qualifications. They should express enthusiasm for the opportunity to contribute to the company or institution. For example, "I am excited about the prospect of bringing my unique skills and experiences in biotechnology to your esteemed organization. I am confident that I can contribute significantly to your team and look forward to the possibility of discussing my application further." It's also important to thank the reader for their time and consideration. Always end with a professional closing like "Sincerely" or "Best regards," followed by your full name. Remember, the ending of your cover letter is your final chance to make a strong impression, so make it count.

A cover letter for Biotechnologists should ideally be about one page long. This length is generally sufficient to succinctly introduce yourself, explain why you are interested in the role, highlight your most relevant skills and experiences, and conclude with a strong closing statement. It's important to keep it concise and to the point, as hiring managers often have many applications to go through. A clear, well-structured letter that effectively communicates your suitability for the role can help you stand out. Remember, the cover letter is your opportunity to make a strong first impression, so make every word count.

Writing a cover letter with no experience in Biotechnology can seem challenging, but it's important to remember that everyone starts somewhere. Here's how you can approach it: 1. Start with a Strong Opening: Begin your cover letter by stating your interest in the position and the company. Explain why you are interested in the field of biotechnology and how your interest was sparked. 2. Highlight Relevant Skills: Even if you don't have direct experience, you may have transferable skills that are relevant to the job. These could be from your education, internships, research projects, or even hobbies. For example, if you have a strong background in biology or chemistry, or if you've done any lab work or research, these are all relevant to a career in biotechnology. 3. Showcase Your Education: If you're a recent graduate, highlight your degree and any relevant coursework or projects. This can show that you have a solid foundation in the field, even if you haven't worked in it yet. 4. Show Enthusiasm and Willingness to Learn: Employers understand that entry-level candidates may not have a lot of experience. What they're looking for is someone who is eager to learn and grow. Make sure to express your enthusiasm for the field and your willingness to learn and adapt. 5. Close Strong: In your closing paragraph, reiterate your interest in the position and the company. Thank the hiring manager for considering your application and express your hope for the opportunity to further discuss your qualifications. 6. Proofread: Finally, make sure to proofread your cover letter carefully. A well-written, error-free cover letter can help make a great first impression, even without experience. Remember, everyone has to start somewhere, and a well-crafted cover letter can help you highlight your potential and passion for the field of biotechnology.

Related Cover Letters for Biotechnologys

Biomedical engineer cover letter.

cover letter for master thesis examples

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cover letter for master thesis examples

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cover letter for master thesis examples

Chemical Engineer Cover Letter

cover letter for master thesis examples

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cover letter for master thesis examples

Biotechnology Cover Letter

cover letter for master thesis examples

Biotech Lab Assistant Cover Letter

Biotechnologist cover letter, related resumes for biotechnologys, biotechnology resume example.

cover letter for master thesis examples

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