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Writing a motivational letter for PhD. 55

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Dear Readers: thanks for stopping by. A large number of people have now read this article [As many as 18 K times read in last 16 months, as shown in above plot] But only 30 people have rated this article. If you revisit or visit for 1st time do try to be more interactive by rating and, or; liking the article. You can also share the article. If you share more, it will inspire me to write more useful material, as I maintain this site without any financial or external support. I maintain it all by myself. So by sharing eg by clicking social buttons at bottom; you can help the website. And I say that, if you like it, if you like it put a ring on it.

Disclaimer: Please do not send me your CV or motivational letters, to my email, or call me regarding this. I would go all the way to help you out. But remember there are 1000s of people reading this article in weeks times  and they can each send me something to answer or check. Obviously I can’t do. What you can do instead is write a few questions in the comments section. Then I or another reader can help you out.


As am thinking for a PhD course for some time in some foreign varsity; the varsity has a motivational letter to be answered. Will you please, suggest me what and how to answer [properly] quoted below; as you have a vast international experience.

I am suggesting you a few things, when you describe them in detail you can send me back and I will make it better ..

1.  What is your motivation to do a PhD in areas of computational sciences applied to the Energy sector?

You have to describe here the merit of any knowledge gained in computational science which can be applied to Energy sector. Energy sector is about I think: gas/petroleum/coal/fuel/hydro-power etc so there is a need of computational modeling in the understanding of these resources.

2. How will your past experience (academic curriculum, research background, knowledge of specific computational methods) help in this PhD programme? Any other aspects you would like to highlight in this regard?

So first thing you have to do is choose a good topic in comp. science PhD program. So go to the program listing site of the varsities where you want to do your PhD and choose the one that you would like to pursue. Do some research on it and find which fits your background/skills/imagination. Then think how all your skills/background/maths-olympiad/problem-solving/Computational-degree-courses have prepared you to study deeply such a PhD subject. eg FORTRAN/C++ skill means you can do computer modeling of Ocean waves. Think technically.

3. Given an option to write a thesis proposal in the area of computational sciences, do you have an idea which you can briefly explain? What is your motivation behind the idea?

This asks you to pinpoint a topic of interest. So once you have chosen a broader problem you have to streamline it. eg Ocean wave modeling is the idea in petroleum mining. But you have to look for a certain PhD program to see what they are doing and then forward me ..

4.  What were you most excited about in your Master’s research project? (could be an experimental result, a theoretical breakthrough etc) !!

Give them an example of any research-project you did during Masters/PG. What was the problem and what you accomplished !! 2 small paragraphs or 1 medium size paragraph will do.

5.  Why would you want to study in The Netherlands?

Mention why Netherlands is a better destination. How exactly the higher education is appreaciated by you in Netherlands. Just 3-4 lines or 7-8 lines max.

6.     Why do you want to work for our organization? Where do you see yourself in 8-10 years from now?

Mention the strong point of your varsity’s choice: eg if Nethrlands CooCoo University is your choice say why you like coocoo. 8-10 years goal: eg do you want to employ your strength as a teacher? or a researcher or an executive in energy-sector industry.

———— People are writing me emails reg. helping them with their letters but obviously I can’t do it for everyone ————-

Here is an excerpt from someone who is writing interesting ideas but has to elaborate more. Copying for instructional purposes. Again pl. do not send me emails or call because there are 1000s of people and I am already getting requests from many.

Dear Sir,

I am an MCA professional. I want to do PhD in computational science. But I am little bit confused what to write in proposal. I have written this one page proposal please help me whether it is good or I have to think differently.

Development and Deployment of Power cloud framework using IT for optimum utilization and conservation for energy in power sector of India.

Energy being an important element of the infrastructure sector has to be ensured its availability on sustainable basis. On the other hand, the demand for energy is growing manifold and the energy sources are becoming scarce and costlier. Among the various strategies to be evolved for meeting energy demand, efficient use of energy and its conservation emerges out to be the least cost option in any given strategies, apart from being environmentally benign.  The steps to create sustainable energy system begin with the wise use of resources; energy efficiency is the mantra that leads to sustainable energy management.

***; Did you just call at my home?

OK. This letter is interesting but you have to be more elaborate and concise at the same time. Its a bit confusing. So elaborate on each point: eg “Energy being an important element of the infrastructure sector has to be ensured its availability on sustainable basis.”  Write this into 4/5 sentences. Define whats sustainability.

The steps to create sustainable energy system begin with the wise use of resources; energy efficiency is the mantra that leads to sustainable energy management.”

Define whats efficiency and what exactly your approach isto gain such. Remember you are not formulating a solution but writing a motivation letter so don’t get trapped by sequence of definitions but make a few definition as would make things clear: “whats in your mind”.

Also I am not a professional consultant in helping writing a CV or motivation letter. This article was just one way of showing you how to do it. You have to do a bit more research on the web where a large content of such help-material is available. You can also approach professional CV writters, but I wouldn’t suggest doing so, you can do it your self.

Also a large number of people are writing me emails to help them with CV and letter writing. Obviously I can’t do so. Please keep the discussion to the website, where somebody else can also write you an answer.

– Manmohan

(Manmohan Dash) — Scientist, researcher, teacher, communicator, blogger, writer, idea generator, traveller, techno-cist


  1. Sir I’m also having ideas to do PhD .
    Information given in ad was PhD in areas of computational sciences applied to the Energy sector fully sponsored by Shell. We have to study in Netherland for four years.
    I’m an MSc IT graduate (First Class with Special distinction) from Stella Maris College, Chennai.2012 passed out
    Will this opportunity suit me??
    In the motivation letter they have asked to write a thesis proposal in the area of computational science (I’m not much familiar about computational science ).

    • Sindhuj; this opportunity is precisely for students like you. IT/Comp.Sci background, fresh out of college for pursuing PhD and in the top rank of class performance. What more can they look for. As far as you are concerned this is a fabulous opportunity. Its Shell. Its Netherlands. And its a high profile PhD. Regarding thesis-proposal, see the advise in the article again, you have to find what exact programs are available and based on your skill and training/motivation choose a topic of interest and formulate a few 1-3 page proposal yourself. If you need more help, drop in or email me once you have written a page of proposal for yourself .. [my email:]

  2. Hi, even i am interested in this program. I am working in the area of software testing. I have completed a work integrated MS in telecommunication. Do you think i can apply?

    • Hi Bony, most certainly you can. If I were a Professor in the computer science department I would certainly accept your application.

  3. Hi sir i had done my mtech project in the filed of quality engineering .can i too can apply for this phd programme.but i dont have the knowledge of computational sciences .but i am interested in this area.please help me sir.

    • Having a technical degree is sufficient to get admission into a PhD in any technical branch. Atleast thats the case in many advanced nations today. Its one’s qualification and not one’s exact degree which matters. So I think you are qualified enough to apply for this PhD in Comp. Science. But you have to first apply through the proper channel.

  4. Hi Mohan,

    I am interested in this program. So I would like to go for this. Currently I am working in IT sector as a developer in WCS7.1 & java.

    I had done MCA and have three years of experience.

    Kindly let me, can I look forward.

    • Sachin I wrote this guideline because of a request from a friend who like you has a MCA degree. So you are exactly on his foot. My best wishes for you all. Go ahead and apply for this.

    • Sachin as I said, a PhD program at Netherlands or for that matter any University is highly specific and streamlined as per a well defined coursework and thesis problems. For that one must first choose a particular place, go through what sort of problems are studied in that place, if interested contact a potential thesis advisor and decide on what problems one might be interested to work on.

      Based on the exact problem and the type of background one has, one writes a motivational letter and other required documents. You may not choose a specific advisor but simply connect with someone from a Department in the University who can then advise you on particular directions/programs of study. Also remember once selected usually with a scholarship one needs to go through a rigorous coursework which might take one anywhere between 1 to 2 years.

      So its a lot of prior preparation and motivation and that in itself can guide you to pursue what you want to in the next 5 years of your PhD work. A well written letter is a potential match maker and also ensures a position/scholarship. This writeup is just a a few guidelines in that direction.

  5. hello sir,

    i’m currently in final year of my M.Tech. (applied chemistry) in IIT-BHU. i’ve had computational chemistry as one of my courses as well. regarding this thread, i have a doubt. the thing is while writing the motivational letter, we are not addressing a particular university in particular. also, there is no listing provided as such from where we can choose what we would like to pursue as our phd thesis. so, as you mentioned earlier:

    “a PhD program at Netherlands or for that matter any University is highly specific and streamlined as per a well defined coursework and thesis problems. For that one must first choose a particular place, go through what sort of problems are studied in that place, if interested contact a potential thesis advisor and decide on what problems one might be interested to work on.”

    how to incorporate this in the motivational letter. please reply asap.


    • Saurabh; thanks for the question. THink it from the prospective of the University which accepts your letter for consideration. If they find your letter to be unsuitable to their courses or programs they may not select your letter for further consideration. You can write one letter of motivation as long as target program of study is same or atleast closely similar. Or else you have to customize your letter. A very general letter eg one that applies for a Maths degree might look very similar for different University but even for such a general case it will have a stronger attrition rate, that is, such letters may not create better impression compared to one thats very well written with regard to a specific program of study. One better find the specifics of the course either by writing to Professors or students who are already enrolled. This way your motivational letter will be more effective.

      Hope this is helpful.

  6. Hello sir,
    I completed my M.Tech in applied geology from IIT Roorkee & for the past 3 years i’m working in ONGC. I’m interested in applying for this Ph.D program in Netherlands.
    Can i apply? If yes please give me suugestion

    • Suhani; you have a very good background to join this PhD program. Geology and work experience in energy sector will be exactly useful to such PhD programs. Go aheda and apply for bunch of such programs in the world.

    • hi, I also had done M.Tech. in energy Technology..I am also also trying to get phD from shell…have u complete your motivation letter.Let me know how u had writeen this

  7. Hello,
    I am persing my MTech right now in Chemical Engineering and working in BARC since last two years, Can I apply for this post

    • As I have been saying to the other respondents “YES, yours is a technical background and beneficial towards a PhD program in Computer Science, but the actual answder depends on whether the propective University/program requires degrees in Comp. Science or not,my guess is they do not need an exact degree but choose from a wide variety of programs such as yours”.

  8. Thank u sir for your kind and immediate reply.
    But please tell me i didn’t had any subjects related to Computational Sciences so will it be a disadvantage or drawback

    • This may NOT be a drawback for two reasons: 1. You have adegree in Applied Geology and you worked for years in energy sector 2. The technical background itself may mean without a degree in Comp. science you are quite suitable for the PhD

      The actual answer depends on the policy of the University/PhD-Program so you have to know from them.

      Best wishes.

  9. Do we have to write GRE/Toffel etc to qualify this program or university require this score while admission ? or we are exempted from this under this program ?

    • @Sonu I wrote this advise as my friend wanted to know howto write one letter based on my own experience. I do not have any connection to this particular program. But its likely that this program might require you to submit GRE/TOEFL score. Many international destinations do. I am not sure about Netherlands .. You need to find from the school ..

  10. hey, i’d like to send you a draft of my letter. could you please give your insights on it. what is your mail id?

    • Saurabh this is a bad idea, this article is already read by 1000s of people and I am getting letters by email. Please take your letters to a competetnt consultant who do professional CV creation.

    • Shashikant;
      isn’t that idea already given? Or do you have something else in mind when you say “howto”? Please let me understand your comment better.

    • Respected sir,
      Myself Chetan.S i recently completed my M.Tech in Mechanical Machine Design will i be eligible to the PhD program offered by Shell in Computational science

  11. And one more thing sir i have learnt the basics in my engineering of about computational fluid dynamics as an elective and applied mathematics(mathematical modeling) in

  12. @Chetan .. As I have been advising others, YES. You are certainly as far as I can see eligible for such a PhD.

  13. Dear Sir,
    I’m B.S.SRINIVAS. i recently completed my M.Tech in Embedded Systems & B.Tech in E.C.E . but i dont have the knowledge of computational sciences. but i have good Knowledge of Thesis/Research; but i am interested in this PhD program. Can I apply for this post, please help me sir.

    • Hi Srinivas;

      thanks for dropping in .. YES it sounds you are well qualified for such a PhD program. But you have to apply to specific places or correspond with them to know specific details such as what background of students they enroll.

  14. sir , i completed my M. tech in CAD CAM ..i m mechanical engineer and working as lecturer in some college.. can i apply for this Program..

    • @niks I think you can certainly apply for this .. having a technical background seems suitable. But you have to apply at specific places to know

  15. Hi Sir,
    I have 8 yrs of exp in IT industry and currently doing M.Phil in Computer Science and want to pursue PhD in Computer Science preferably in software engineering as research area. All thru my career I was more involved on software engineering side, quality management, project management etc. I have very little knowledge computational science but i think its mainly involved of analysis and applying of computational methods. Most of my career i was involved as System Analyst.Will my profile be considered if I apply for PhD with computational science as research area?

    • @Ashraf as I have been saying to others with very similar questions “YES it sounds very suitable with your background to go for PhD in computer science but you have to apply at specific places to know their requirements” ..

  16. Hello Das sir,
    I am Venkatesh Haldule.. i am interested in research and hence have desire for this phd course.My educational background is Diploma (EC),B.E (EC).and this yeas have completed M.Tech (Energy ) from School of Energy studies ,Dept. of Physics,university of Pune. My master’s project is ”Study and Performance Measurement of Photovoltaic System and MPPT Design with Simulation”
    My core interest – Microprocessor and microcontroller applications, embedded electronics, Solar photovoltaic and electronic and Power Electronics Technologies for commercial solar applications, Micro invertor and Power Optimizers..Am I held eligible ???please guide me on this juncture.
    In the motivation letter they have asked to write a thesis proposal in the area of computational science (Qst. 3.) and Qst. 2 (How will your past experience (academic curriculum, research background, knowledge of specific computational methods) help in this PhD programme? Any other aspects you would like to highlight in this regard?).. can you elaborate this two points in detail in my case???What i should suppose to write specific in my case?my email id is reply as soon as possible.. awaiting your reply..Thanks in advance

    • You have to point out clearly and unmistakably how your background is fitting to the PhD program or even if you are in general eligible they might reject the application if its too vague. eg if you mention microprocessor but do not mention how exactly it will be a computational PhD problem it will not impress and they will reject it, You have simulation experience and thats computational hence you have to widen your description of this and any other directly related experience. But you can mention microprocessor and other background because having a technical background is ALWAYS necessary in any scientific field. Your eligibility can only be known frm them directly so you have to apply with a good application … best of luck

  17. They told that shortlisted candidates would be informed in the first or second week of november, but still i think they have shortlisted the candidates.

  18. Got a mail from Shell. It looks like the shortlisting process is done and the shortlisted candidates are informed…better luck next time…

  19. Hello Das Sir,
    I am Paramjot Singh ,Final Year IIT BHU and have done work on composites(synergy of two different materials) and studied its thermodynamics properties using computer simulations .Now, these composites would have an impact from construction point of view,but as far as universities at Netherlands are concerned they didn’t mention about composites in their program listing .Should I change my topic and modify according to their program listing

  20. Pingback: Writing a motivational letter for PhD .. « Invariance Publishing House

  21. Hi
    I am planning to purse PHD in economics…well i have experience of 5 years (currently as senior data analyst) and part as internal i am more into finance…
    I dont have any publications and i have masters degree
    So how can i strengthen my motivation letter knowing that i am interested in Econometrics and i dont have back up experience except in finance field

  22. Pingback: Request to readers. « Invariance Publishing House

  23. Hi,

    This is Kuchal, I am planning to pursue PHD in Computer Network. I have been working in a MNC in IT Infrastructure and partially associated with my academic studies, Is both Bachelors and Masters program needs to be same for applying for PHA ? Since in my case I have completed my Bachelors in Zoology (Major) and completed my Masters in IT. Will I be eligible for pursuing PHD ?

    Are there any alternative PHD Programs designed for these exceptional cases ?

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