Advice to Applicants

Start Early

Graduate-level study is very different from undergraduate study – you focus on a more narrow set of interests and work more closely with a faculty adviser. Successful graduate school applicants identify 1) specific research interests, 2) programs that support those interests and 3) potential adviser within those programs. This process can take several months.

Crafting Your Personal Statement

Purpose and Parameters

Your personal statement is an opportunity to sell yourself, in terms of your research interests, research experience and research goals. Unless you have extensive research experience, most personal statements should be about two single-spaced pages. Your writing should be clear, concise, grammatically correct and professional in tone. You may convey some personal experiences that have led to your current interests or that make you a particularly promising candidate.


  • Relevant Personal Experience

A good way to start is by describing experiences that have sparked your interest in a career in mining. Perhaps a particular class, internship or research experience led to your interest – or perhaps it was a series of experiences. Be sure to convey how these personal experience have prepared you for graduate school.

  • Previous Research Experience

Describe research you have worked on in sufficient detail to convey your understanding of the scientific goals of the project. Be sure to describe the skills you have acquired in your research.

  • Current Research Interests

Describe the topics you find most interesting and why. Although you may not know the exact problem you want to address, you should be able to narrow things down to the expertise represented in a particular graduate program. For instance, you may be interested in information technology, geophysics, geomechanics, mineral processing or sustainability. Be sure to let us know if you are interested in more than one topic so we can determine all of the ways you may fit into our program.

  • Career Goals

Ending by describing the type of career you would like to have. Do you want to conduct research in an academic setting where you will also teach, or in a private or government institution where you will only conduct research? Do you see yourself working in the industry? This information will help us determine your fit to our program.

University of Arizona College of Engineering