Sample Personal Statement for Cancer Epidemiology
If judged by the criterion that “EXCELLENCE SHOULD BE A HABIT,” I find myself only in the middle of my quest for excellence. Having completed both my undergraduate program and graduate program in two leading institutions of medical science of China, I have developed a strong foundation in clinical medicine and internal medicine. During my research-intensive Master’s program, I have come to focus on cancer cells and have achieved important research findings. In order to search for continued academic and professional excellence, I deem it necessary to pursue a SD program in cancer epidemiology and the Department of Epidemiology of xx University will be the perfect academic environment in which to do so.
In applying for your program, I must direct your attention to my academic qualifications, my research achievements and my motivation toward cancer epidemiology. During my undergraduate program at The Department of Clinical Medicine, Medical School, xx University, I attained a GPA of 87/100 and a top-2 ranking among 250 students. My greatest honor came when in August 2000, as one of the three winners in our College (consisting of 1500 students) of xx Scholarship, I went on an exchange program at the School of Medicine, xx University, xx.
Having laid a solid foundation as an undergraduate, I kept excelling in my Master’s program at xx College of Clinical Medicine, xx Medical University. Apart from coursework in such core courses as biostatistics, cell biology, biochemical technique and isotopic technique, my greatest achievements lied in the improvement of experiment skills and research potential. I worked on my Master’s research projects at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, xx Institute for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Science. There, my ability to perform independent research was significantly enhanced—totally self-reliant, I read technical literature, chose my orientation, designed experiments, determined the reagents to be used, carried out specific operations, analyzed data and presented summary reports. In particular, I mastered key techniques in cell biology such as cell culture, flow cytometry, PCR, Western blotting, and cDNA microarray analysis. Through my Master’s program, I have accumulated especially strong backgrounds in mathematics, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics and statistics.
By far, my greatest distinguishing achievement has been the research I have accomplished. In a research program sponsored by the xx Foundation, I researched on the potential mechanism(s) whereby the neutral lipid isolated from the endosperm of Job's tears (NLEJ), known to possess an anticancer activity with relatively low toxicity, produces anti-proliferative effects in the PaTu-8988 and SW1990 human pancreatic cancer cells. In the research, I found that NLEJ inhibits pancreatic cancer cell growth through induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest as well as regulation of gene expression in vitro. Therefore, NLEJ might be a chemotherapeutic agent against pancreatic cancer. Based on those research findings, I have completed a research paper entitled xx, which has been accepted by Journal of xx(indexed by SCI) for publication in early 2005.
My research achievements so far also include the publication of three other papers as first author in core scholarly journals— xx ( Chinese Journal of xx, Issue 2,2004), xx (xx Medical xx, Issue 6. 2004), xx (Chinese Journal of xx, early 2005). In addition, I have written two reviews concerning the domestic research on “xx” and on “xx”.This October I have contributed two chapters “xx” and “xx” to the book xx.
With my research qualifications regarding pancreatic cancer, I have actively participated in international conferences and domestic conferences, at which three papers have been collected into international proceedings and two into domestic proceedings. In September this year, I participated in xx, an annual European conference on the basic research and clinical diagnosis in gastroenterology, at which I did an oral presentation and won an award.
Compared with average applicants whose backgrounds are related to public health, I have obvious advantages. I have professional experience as a resident physician at xx Hospital, xx University, since this July. As a matter of fact, my clinical experience spans across my undergraduate and graduate careers. Such a clinical background gives me a more comprehensive knowledge, both theoretical and perceptual, of cancer as a disease, as I have been systematically instructed about the etiology of various cancers, the mechanism of their pathogenesis at both molecular and cytobiological levels, susceptible groups, their diagnosis, treatment and prevention. In addition, I have developed unique and insightful understanding of the need to integrate basic research with clinical application and to have a close grasp of the future research orientations. I believe my comprehensive knowledge will prove a major asset for my future high-quality research.
Having developed all the requisite backgrounds, I am bent on a SD. program in cancer epidemiology at xx University. To undertake your program will obviously require me to somehow shift from clinical experiences to epidemiological research and I have important reasons to do so. Clinical medicine is primarily targeted at individual patients while cancer epidemiology will allow me not only to study the reasons for the cancer’ pathogenesis, development and distribution among certain groups of people but also learn how to formulate policies and measures to prevent, control and eliminate cancer-related diseases. I believe that cancer epidemiology is the most probable approach to unravel cancer etiology. The applied nature of epidemiology makes it highly valuable in providing guidance and directions for clinical practice and basic research. Furthermore, cancer epidemiology takes a group perspective in combating cancer, either a family group or the entire mankind can benefit macroscopically from its research findings. Finally, promotion of human health through disease prevention is always more positive and economically meaningful than post-contraction therapy.
xx’s Department of Epidemiology has a long tradition of teaching and research in the epidemiology of cancer, especially with well-grounded multidisciplinary research and cutting-edge methodology. Under your program, I will study the research methods of clinical epidemiology and molecular epidemiology, and probe into the laws of distribution and the dangerous factors of the malignant tumors, as well as the way to determine the highly susceptible groups and to develop effective preventive measures and strategies. Specifically, I will focus on the following aspects of molecular cancer epidemiology — the relationship between certain genes and cancer, the experimental research on using plant extracts to prevent cancer, searching for early-stage indicators on the molecular level to diagnose and treat cancer.
In my tentative study plan, I would spend the first two years studying genetic epidemiology, cancer genetics, the application of biomarkers in epidemiologic research. By reading large amount of literature, I will select a potential project, on which I will carry out extensive experiments in the third year. The results from the pre-experiments will help me adjust my orientation. Once the topic is decided, I will try to perfect my experiments and, with the help of literature, preliminary research results, and data analysis, I will complete my dissertation in which important breakthroughs can hopefully be achieved. I believe that my fruitful study and research at your well-respected institution will make me the first-rate cancer researcher in my home country who can, in turn, make excellence my lifelong habit.
The personal statement is one of the most important components of your application. Many of our departments do not incorporate any type of interview in their decision making process, so your personal statement is your chance to tell YOUR unique story.
A few dos and don’ts
Explain why you chose the program you’re applying to. The Bloomberg School offers nine degrees from ten academic departments, as well as fellowships, certificates and institute classes. You should explain why you think the specific program you selected is a good fit and how the Bloomberg School will advance and help you achieve your academic and professional goals.
Discuss how your professional background/research/academic training relates to your public health goals. Address the evolution of your interest in public health and your hopes and aspirations within the field.
Simply list your experience. Keep in mind that your application is reviewed holistically, so the committee can see where you went to school and what jobs you’ve held by your transcripts and resume. Tell them how your experience has made you passionate about public health.
Keep your statement to less than three pages and make sure your name is at the top of each page.
Beyond that, we don’t have any formatting requirements. Use your best judgment. Maybe consider using an easy to read font sized between 10 and 12 pts. Also think about double-spacing your statement.
THINK CLEAR AND CONCISE. Your reviewers will enjoy reading focused and legible statements.