Postgraduate Personal Statement Example: Urban Informatics

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 Urban Informatics 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: Urban Informatics

Personal Statement Example: Introduction

Not just a practical tool for mathematicians, statistics is an indispensable element within human society, as it illuminates the present and predicts the future. Each individual in every city in the world provides an endless stream of valuable data, and making full use of it can help us better organise our environments for the benefit of all. The overwhelming size and generating speed of real-world data has radically surpassed the computational power of the human brain, leading to the development of AI technology that helps us interpret the behavioural data our cities produce. I desire to better understand technology’s potential to improve quality of life and to contribute to the burgeoning field of urban informatics that drives my application to this MSc course.

Commentary and Analysis 

This personal statement begins convincingly, with the writer making a clear connection between a discipline within their field of study and the practical, valuable applications that might come from its use. There’s also a sense of a logical point developed through the opening sentences, leading confidently towards relevance to the proposed course of study.

The writer has a clear academic and professional goal, giving them a justification for the course, which is an ideal approach for admissions teams. More specific use of relevant technical vocabulary and an early link to personal experience within the field would add to the impact and help convince the reader that the writer had both interest and knowledge, making them a suitable postgraduate candidate.

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

The focused curriculum of my bachelor’s degree at Buckley University has established my academic literacy with canonical statistics theories and familiarised me with numerous programming methods. For instance, Bayesian statistics helped me gain a fuller perspective for dealing with dynamic real-world possibilities. Developing coding skills in R and Python has laid the groundwork for building neural network models.  Both disciplines proved to be highly useful in my undergraduate studies and have prepared me well for this course and my subsequent career in data analysis.

Enthusiastic about urban data application, I undertook my first research project in 2021. The Key Technology of Strengthening the Ancient City Flood-Protection Wall project was based in Chimlow, a flood-afflicted area in Mansville. Coding a KNN algorithm and collecting over 5 GB of text data about the physical characteristics of walls directly contributed to the walls’ data warehouse and stability evaluation system. The local government has adopted this system, reducing suffering from flood occurrences.

Commentary and Analysis

There’s a reassuring sense of knowledge and sophistication to the opening of this section, which indicates a sound knowledge base and a good range of relevant practical skills. The writer has attempted to illustrate how their skills are relevant to the course. However, identifying specific modules or courses within the master’s degree and linking prior academic experience directly to these would have added value to this section.

Including evidence of research experience and skills is critical, and the writer achieves this. Greater detail could have been added to illustrate a more convincing range of skills. Again, linking this passage to MSc course content and showing exactly how the undergraduate experience prepared the writer for further study would have made this more convincing.

If you’d like to learn more about how to structure 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: Practical Experience 1

Inspired by the success of this project and keen to process larger volumes of cloud data in real-life urban operations, I developed a deeper understanding of smart city management during a recent internship. As an algorithm engineer at the Park Survey, Design and Research Institute, I worked on a video recognition model project for the detection of defects in the drainage pipes of Dean city. Utilising my professional knowledge and skills, I managed a three-phase task. Firstly, I developed an innovative method for a Windows batch-processing programme which unified the names and types of more than 100,000 files. Secondly, I used label annotations to distinguish 11 defect types from 5,000 existing pictures of the city sewers. Lastly, I applied a Python clustering algorithm to extract key frames from hours of surveillance videos. This valuable opportunity to engage cloud computation and image data in a real industry context significantly economised manual workload and improved sewer maintenance efficiency. Perhaps more importantly, it confirmed my professional interest in this discipline, providing me with a sound foundation for courses such as Spatial Data Analysis and Data Mining.

Commentary and Analysis

This example of practical experience is highly relevant to the course being applied for, and the writer has done well to include it. They’ve broken down the process and the skills used comprehensively, showing mastery and capability. They’ve also linked this experience with aspects of the course they’re applying for, which immediately lifts the whole personal statement and allows the reader to see the connection between the writer and the MSc programme.

There’s also a strong use of technical/specific vocabulary here. It’s used correctly and in context to develop a persuasive point. 

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

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

The Urban Informatics MSc offered by Marshall is a critical next step in my goal to serve citizens in the public sector as a data analyst. The cutting-edge analysis-oriented faculty focus offers me the tools to get to the core of the study of urban informatics, whilst optional modules such as Tourism, Conservation and the Environment, which is of particular interest to me, provide an advantageous opportunity to study the challenges facing urban environments in greater depth. Furthermore, potential interaction with CUSP London will aid in fast-tracking my career. Finally, with a highly specialised degree and a detailed understanding of modules such as Introduction to Urban Analytics, I am confident that I will be able to contribute to the construction and management of smart cities, which are built on, run by and flourish as a result of the application and analysis of big data.

Commentary and Analysis

The writer has shown in this conclusion that they understand the course they are applying for, which is essential in any personal statement. They also express clearly their professional ambition. This is valuable, as much of the concluding content relates to how this particular course will allow the writer to achieve their goals.

However, the writer still needs to include an outline of what they will be able to offer the faculty, what makes them an ideal candidate in terms of study skills or transferable skills, or even what their proposed study focus/research objectives might be. There’s also a lack of evidence regarding their understanding of industry practices, projects or pioneers, and no mention of wider reading or independent study. 

The writer hasn’t mentioned their motivation for study, learning or collaboration or identified key teaching personnel they want to work with. You’d expect to see all these elements in a postgraduate personal statement.

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

Click here or on the banner below to get your free download of this complete personal statement example

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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