Academic Statement Guidelines

Guidelines For Your Academic Statement


Your Academic Statement should be a concise statement of your plans for graduate study, your career goals, and how MSU's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. Your Academic Statement must include the following statement: "My intended area of specialization in the graduate program in (DEPARTMENT) at Michigan State University will be in _________________." If you have already been in contact with faculty or staff at MSU regarding your application for graduate studies, please list these contacts in your Academic Statement.


When preparing your Academic Statement, please include the following information:

  • Briefly describe key experiences that led you to graduate studies. For example, prior programming, computational, and research experience.
  • Share specific, relevant examples of how these experiences helped you develop skills for success as a graduate student. For instance, you might demonstrate ways that you have synthesized knowledge from the classroom, developed research skills, communicated effectively, acted as a leader, or gained skills and responsibility over time.
  • Make a clear connection between your previous experiences and your current interest in graduate studies. If your intended area of specialization in graduate school differs significantly from your previous experiences, please briefly explain why you decided to change focus.
  • If applicable, explain any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record and share unusual obstacles or hardships that you have overcome in pursuit of your educational objectives.
  • Explain how your goals for pursuing a PhD in CMSE and how your graduate study relate to your longer-term career plans, including the pursuit of additional degrees or certifications if applicable.
  • Finally, be sure to include the CMSE faculty with whom you may be interested in pursuing their dissertation research.  This is absolutely critical in helping the Graduate Admissions Committee determine whether you are a good fit for the PhD program!


Your Academic Statement should be concise, and no more than 2 pages when formatted in Times New Roman 12-point font with 1-inch margins and single line spacing.