Other Documents

In addition to test scores, transcripts, recommendation letters and other application essentials, you may need to — or want to — submit additional supporting materials. What follows are a few possibilities.

Research Materials

Dissertation Abstract

The dissertation abstract may be required or submitted voluntarily. It provides you the opportunity to show the difference your research makes, how it fits into a broader context and the impact it has had on your field.

  • Be succinct. An abstract can be from 1-2 pages, depending upon conventions in your field.
  • Demonstrate passion. Bring in your original enthusiasm for your research.
  • Articulate the impact. Discuss the results or conclusions made.
  • Be engaging. Involve the reader, and engage them in your research area.
  • Choose reviewers wisely. Let your academic adviser or departmental faculty review your abstract prior to submission.

Statement of Research Plans

This may also be required or voluntary. Always frame future research in terms of future impact, showing awareness of the implications. If you plan to publish your dissertation into a book, mention that, but a search committee will be interested in how you plan to extend it further. 

  • Again, be short and sweet. This statement is usually 1-2 pages.
  • Look forward. Address plans for continuing your research.
  • Be specific. Articulate how you intend to complete it, including funding ideas. 

Writing Sample

Writing samples are often requested. Your challenge is to find the dissertation chapter, publication or sample that best represents your writing ability.

  • Make sure it stands alone. Sometimes your dissertation intro, a chapter or conclusion will work.
  • Opt for solo work. An article published with others may not be a good representation if it was collaborative.
  • Choose carefully. Consult with your department to get feedback on your choice.