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Sample Personal Statement for Political Science and International Relations

In 1999 when I was just a freshman of the XX University of China, I won the title of the Best Debater at the annual debate contest of the Department of History. The subject of the debate was “ Sino-American Relationship in the Forthcoming Millennium—on the Wane or on the Wax?” The position of the team that I represented was that the Sino-American relationship in the new century would be on the wax and our persuasive arguments ensured our ultimate triumph. During the contest, the unique perspectives, the broad range of knowledge covering history, political science and international relations, and the overwhelming oratorical eloquence that I demonstrated captured the attention of Prof. XXX, the president of the panel of judges. Prof. XXX was a leading scholar in China on modern world history and on American history. After the debate contest, he had a private conversation with me, giving positive comments on my performance while pointing out my inadequacies in my knowledge. From then on, he kept giving my guidance in international politics and relations, thus strengthening my growing interest in those two fields.

My present decision to switch from history to political science and international relations is further related to the unique education I have received at XX University and to its academic atmosphere. The university is one of the most prestigious universities in China, with unparalleled academic reputation in economics, political science and international relations. In such an academic environment, I have been exposed to knowledge in a wide range of fields. In the field of economics which I minored in, I have learned much about developmental economics and comparative economics; in the field of international relations, I have known much about world politics and economy, modern world history, the political systems of the West, etc. As my understanding of economics and history deeps, I have come to realize that politics and international relations are the main forces behind the development of the major powers of the present-day world and this very realization underlies my commitment to the study of political science and international relations as my lifelong career.

My undergraduate program should be described as rewarding and fruitful. I was the sole student in my class to win “second-class” scholarship for two consecutive years for outstanding performance in the coursework of core subjects, and my overall GPA was the third highest. Students of History Department are required to obtain the compulsory 181 credits through their 4-year program, the toughest requirement in the entire university. Even such a heavy load of coursework could not satiate my academic initiative, therefore I minored in economics to achieve extra 28 credits. I applied efficient and effective study methods to my coursework, which ensured my successful performance. In my systematic self-education, I read classic works on history and economics and followed closely the latest developments in international politics and relations.

Although a mere undergraduate, I have gained some tentative research experience by participated in several research projects. I have served as research assistant to Prof. XXX in the project under his direction--American Foreign Policy After World War I. I was research assistant to Prof. XX of the School of Economics in the project A Study of the Non-profit International Organizations. In June 2002, Prof. XX from the Wilson Research Center of the United States came to address the Symposium on the Research of Cold War History in the Future. As one of the symposium organizers, I listened to the wonderful presentations of a number of scholars on the subject and had a close talk with Prof. XX, who exposed me to the creative research methodology and the impressive research achievements of the Wilson Research Center. The experience significantly broadened my academic horizon. My thesis, entitled The Economic Policy and Sino-American Trade Relationship during the Clinton Administration, is a conscious attempt to apply interdisciplinary analysis as it encompasses fields far beyond the economic realm. Prof. XXX, who also specializes in economic history, was my supervisor. Under his fruitful guidance, I collected a large quantity of first-hand data and classified them into neat categories. Based on sufficient data, I offered my own unique analysis and proposed my interpretations of the forces at work behind the Sino-American relations in the economic realm. My thesis was given a “first-class” rating, a special honor eligible only to 5% of the students in my grade annually.

My performance in extracurricular activities can testify to my all-round personal development. I have a good foundation in computer technology. I have obtained CISCO and CCNA certificates with a high score of 949 points. I have some tentative teaching experience, and won the title of the Most Valuable Teacher during my teaching internship at the No. 2 Middle School in XX City. I have important management experience and a strong awareness of cooperation, developed through my organizational work in such student organizations as Computer Network Association, Badminton Association, Economics Study Group, and International Politics Forum. A special mention should be made of my data retrieval for the Press Information Center of XX News Agency. Due to my Internet skills and sensitivity to useful information due to my broad knowledge, I retrieved, classified and analyzed information for the Economic Decision-Making Journal and Top-Management Information Journal for high-ranking government officials and for top management of enterprises.

Despite my achievements heretofore, I am well aware of the intense competitiveness in applying for an advanced degree program at XX University which legitimately enjoys a most unparalleled academic prestige in the world. Forbidding as it is, I am bent on a Master’s program in Political Science and International Relations Research whereupon I can listen to the enlightening instructions of various academic masters. I am confident in acquiting myself satisfactorily in your program. I will try to adapt myself to your new environment as soon as possible and to achieve fruitful academic performance. It is my belief that XX University will impart to me advanced knowledge, broaden my academic perspectives, and develop my research potential.

Chin’s social and economic development requires cooperation with the international community. With China’s increasingly important role in the international arena, it is important for China to understand the prevailing international tendencies and to make full use of diplomatic resources. The United States and the European Union are two dominant forces in the world’s political arena and how to develop constructive relations with them is the key question China faces. On the other hand, China can gain important diplomatic experiences by studying the latest developments of those two forces and their both cooperative and antagonistic relations. I will continue to enrich my knowledge in political science, economics and history, follow closely the latest developments in international situation, gain essential understanding of international relations,probe in the past, present and the future of international economics, politics and relations. I will also examine China’s relative roles and foreign policies within the international framework. After completing my proposed program, I will seek a teaching and research career in China to study and to interpret this rapidly changing world.

On August 27, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. pronounced his dream to the entire world in his campaign in Washington for racial equality and for Black human rights. Ultimately he sacrificed his life for the belief that “Everyman is born equal.” As far as I myself is concerned, I have my own dream in making this decision to pursue a Master’s Program (leading to the doctoral program) in international relations at XX University. The dream is to contribute all my efforts to China’s national development in a favorable international environment in which peace and development will be the dominant principles of the international community.


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