Postgraduate Personal Statement Example: Clinical Linguistics

Reading examples of personal statements can be valuable when applying to a university or college course. 

After all, personal statement examples can teach you how to write and structure your application, and you can quickly learn how to write a personal statement by examining others.

But with so many university personal statement examples available, how do you know if you’re reading a good one?

Postgraduate personal statements should highlight relevant academic and practical experience, research skills and ambitions and their suitability for the course. This postgraduate personal statement example for Clinical Linguistics clearly illustrates these three critical elements.

Studying master’s degree personal statement examples can be especially valuable. They’re sometimes referred to as personal mission statements or statements of purpose, so if you’re tasked with writing a personal mission statement, the following example will work for you.

I’ve broken down this personal statement example section by section, with a commentary on each element. 

That way, you’ll see its strengths and weaknesses and get some inspiration for your own personal statement.

Once you’ve read the personal statement example and analysis, you’ll be able to download a pdf of the whole document, to use as inspiration for your own!

Postgraduate Personal Statement Example: Clinical Linguistics

Personal Statement Example: Introduction

“My motivation to study language disorders stems from my experience working with children with special needs growing up in bilingual families and communities. Working closely with speech-language pathologists in the Marshall Learning Group, an international special education centre, I reflected on how to best support language-impaired people as a researcher. Spending around two months with a child with Williams syndrome who could speak three languages encouraged me to look beyond the double dissociation between language and cognition. Accordingly, I assessed the language abilities in Williams syndrome, such as pragmatic ability, in a multilingual context. This experience provided me with a research focus on bilingual children with neurodevelopmental disorders and how their brains process speech and language, underpinning my decision to choose Clinical Linguistics for postgraduate study.”

My Commentary and Analysis 

This is a highly effective and well-structured introduction to a postgraduate personal statement. The writer opens with a hook that connects their interests with a meaningful personal experience, and from there, they go on to outline their relevant clinical experience and expertise. This works well, as it conveys a convincing level of knowledge and engagement through the use of relevant terminology. It also immediately shows that the writer has real-world experience with the subject they intend to study. As a result, the reader is likely to see the validity and relevance of the application as a whole.

The last sentence is quite sophisticated. It gives an example of a practical action taken in a clinical context, outlines the value of the experience to the applicant and then indicates how this forms the basis of the motivation behind their application.

Again, this serves to reassure the reader by showing them a clear link between the writer’s past, present and future aims, making it clear that the course is the next logical step on their learning journey.

If you’re struggling with your personal statement introduction, check out my article on how to write perfect opening paragraphs here.

Personal Statement Example: Academic Background 1

“My undergraduate studies in English Language and Applied Linguistics prepared me to explore psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics concerning language impairments in more depth. I am focused on applying my robust knowledge of internal linguistics, such as morphology and syntax, to understand how language is processed and represented in the mind and brain. Learning the dual-route model in visual word recognition, I grasped the classification of dyslexia in the psycholinguistics module. This sparked more comprehensive research interests in examining electrophysiological and clinical evidence of dyslexia. As a proactive learner, I gained access to neurolinguistic learning resources regarding language-related brain anatomy and neuroimaging techniques used in language disorder research. Building upon my understanding of the theoretical frameworks of dyslexia with the Cerebellar Theory deepened my knowledge of the causal relations between brain dysfunctions and language disorders such as aphasia and specific language impairment. Keen to better understand the psychological reality of human language processing mechanisms, I am enthusiastic about studying in this transnational research master’s programme.

Slater University’s language disorders and neuroimaging techniques modules align with my research interest in atypical language development. Acknowledging autistic children’s difficulties comprehending indirect speech acts, I conducted a speech-act analysis of ASD International’s Buckley Corpus data. To achieve this, I applied CHILDES clinical corpora and focused on the children’s pragmatic language deficits when volunteering at the autism support centre. Interviewing their speech-language pathologist led me to consider other receptive language difficulties, such as auditory processing disorders. Consequently, I am passionate about taking the module Language and Speech Disorders in Children and studying with Dr Lula Mogul, whose research focus is children’s auditory processing difficulties, to investigate the speech and hearing disorders affecting speech perception and comprehension.”

My Commentary and Analysis

The next section of this personal statement example begins by outlining the relevant aspects of the writer’s undergraduate education. As with the introduction, the terminology is used with authority and accuracy, conveying the impression of a deeply capable academic candidate.

What makes this more impressive is the way the writer connects the elements. They aren’t written simply as a list of accomplishments or learning experiences, but instead, the writer makes connections between each experience, what was learned and how that is relevant to moving forwards academically. 

This is what makes the difference between a good personal statement and an excellent one!

The writer refers to their capacity for independent study, which is another critical ingredient in a successful master’s personal statement.

They then go on to outline their research interests and tie this in with evidencing an understanding of what the course they are applying for has to offer in this respect, adding validity to their choice of application. They also underpin their ambitions with clinical experience once more before focusing on the work of a prominent faculty member. This again adds weight to their decision to apply for this course and shows the admissions reader that they have done their homework and fully understand the challenges and content of the modules they intend to study. 

By doing so, the writer offers reassurance to the reader and gives them the confidence to make an offer in the knowledge that the applicant is likely to flourish on the course and complete it to the best of their ability.

If you’d like to learn more about structuring your personal statement or statement of purpose, check out my awesome Personal Statement Template eBook here. It’s full of detailed examples of what to include!

Personal Statement Example: Academic Background 2

“Seeking to intervene in speech perception deficits, I was attracted by the module detailing serious games and app development for the language-impaired population. Working in the CogniFit brain-training research project against neurodegeneration, I observed serious cognitive training games extensively used in clinical practice to evaluate participants’ progress in auditory perceptual and cognitive skills. During this process, I became familiar with the EMCL++ programme, where I can develop serious game concepts that can facilitate healthcare professionals’ intervention for children with speech perception and recognition difficulties. I also aim to study the mechanisms of neuroplasticity by using neuroimaging techniques to discover how language-impaired users’ brains react to similar training activities. Equally, the Neuroimaging and Language module for online techniques, such as event-related potentials, will equip me with the necessary knowledge to measure brain activity during speech processing.”

Commentary and Analysis

This section continues in the same vein, outlining a diverse range of study experiences, the skills developed and their relevance to the application. There is a strong emerging sense that this candidate has a clear vision for their academic and professional future and has taken the time to fully prepare themselves.

This is highly impressive. 

Of equal value is the knowledge the writer shows of exactly how elements of the course will develop their knowledge. This kind of evidence is crucial in a postgraduate personal statement, and the style in which the application is written, which is concise, direct and purposeful, is also compelling.

Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!

Personal Statement Example: Academic Background 2

“The psycholinguistic modules at James University, and the opportunity to participate in the Science of Aphasia Conference, are valuable for my research on bilingualism and language disorders. Inspired by my work experience with occupational therapists, I researched phonological iconicity with Chinese-English bilinguals to discover the gustatory meanings of specific phonemes shared in both languages. This speech perception research led me to the undergraduate psycholinguistics conference, where I presented my research findings on an academic poster and exchanged ideas with my colleagues and visiting scholars. This strengthened my confidence to engage with seasoned scholars at the Science of Aphasia Conference, discuss the latest breakthroughs in clinical linguistics and possibly find my master’s thesis supervisor.

To better understand how bilingual speakers’ languages interact, I continued to study speech perception in language acquisition. Using a Python-based programme in PsychoPy to run the experiment and ANOVA in SPSS for data analysis, I researched brain-intact Chinese-English bilingual adult learners’ phonological transfer when learning a third language. These behavioural experiments kindled my curiosity about the structural plasticity in the bilingual brain, which I expect to pursue in the Bilingualism module. Meanwhile, I aim to enhance my research and statistical analysis skills in the Eye-Tracking Research and Statistics and Research Methods in Psycholinguistics modules.”

My Commentary and Analysis: 

This outstanding section demonstrates networking skills, academic engagement outside of the classroom and the development of a specialism within their discipline. These all indicate a candidate that is dedicated, strategic and dynamic, as well as ambitious. 

These experiences all add to the writer’s suitability and authority, as does the reference to the use of coding and algorithmic software such as Python. Again, rather than just listing these skills and experiences, the writer has indicated how these will be of value to a specific aspect of the course they are applying for, which further adds to their suitability.

The one thing that all successful personal statements have in common is that they are concise, engaging and accurate in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Consequently, I always recommend Grammarly to my students and clients. 

It’s an outstanding tool for ensuring your personal statement is rich with detail whilst hitting those all-important word limits. Check out the free version of Grammarly here, or hit the banner for more information.

Personal Statement Example: Conclusion

“In addition to the Language and Autism module, I desire to explore speech research modules at the University of Wildstein. Having worked with children with Down’s syndrome who find it challenging to pronounce certain words in the drama script during the rehearsal, I hope to move my research beyond speech perception to speech production at the phonetics level. Using Praat in the Articulatory, Acoustic and Perceptual Analysis of Speech Motor Disorders module, I am eager to study motor speech impairments to develop interventions for childhood dysarthria. This has expanded my capacity to think critically and learn from previous experiences, which will be beneficial when completing an internship researching language-impaired people’s speech processing at the EMCL++-associated partner, the SPRN Center on Cognition, Brain and Language in Spain. I will combine practical application with my master’s thesis and future PhD research into bilingual neurodiverse children’s communication difficulties.

As an aspiring clinical linguist, I will unite with SLP and other clinical practitioners to contribute to a comprehensive evidence base for helping bilingual and language-impaired children with developmental disabilities. Being a language lover and a speaker of three European languages, I look forward to an immersive study of Dutch and Finnish. Keen to acclimate to different learning settings, I am positive about working with peers from diverse cultural and language backgrounds and sharing my culture with them. Additionally, I will value the opportunity to participate in mobility activities and establish interpersonal and professional networks with alums and teaching cohorts worldwide. This course will unlock my potential in Clinical Linguistics and widen my engagement with related subjects in this field. I am dedicated to exploring numerous aspects of the language-brain relationship and intend to pursue further research as a PhD candidate upon graduation.”

My Commentary and Analysis

A further paragraph that outlines the writer’s academic ambitions is successful as it reinforces aspects of quality and experience whilst making new points and offering new examples. This is effective, as many conclusion sections simply repeat previous content, whereas this example adds new, equally compelling content. 

This is impressive, as the reader discovers new skills the writer possesses. Mentioning PhD ambitions further reassures any admissions reader of the importance and significance of the master’s degree course.

The last paragraph makes mention of a range of relevant transferable skills. This is quite important here, as so far, this personal statement example has been focused purely on the writer’s academic background to the exclusion of much else. 

The writer also refers to the value they hope to bring to the university community and the ways in which they aim to contribute. This is an effective and compelling way to finish a personal statement, as it widens the candidate’s suitability and suggests that they have a broader understanding of how to collaborate successfully in an academic setting.

This would have been improved with reference to industry or internship experience or  opinions on wider reading or the work of practitioners in the field. However, this is a highly effective and engaging personal statement example that uses subject-specific vocabulary to convey a compelling level of suitability. 

For more great advice, check out my article on writing an excellent final personal statement paragraph here.

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Whether you’re looking for personal mission statement examples or an example of personal purpose statement, I hope this personal statement example has been helpful. Above all, I wish you every success in your academic career. 

If you’d like to work with me to develop your personal statement 1:1 and write a powerful mission statement, I’d be delighted to hear from you. 

Find out about my personal statement support services by clicking here or on the image below.

Research and content verified by Personal Statement Planet.

David Hallen

I've worked in the Further Education and University Admissions sector for nearly 20 years as a teacher, department head, Head of Sixth Form, UCAS Admissions Advisor, UK Centre Lead and freelance personal statement advisor, editor and writer. And now I'm here for you...

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