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Graduate School Cover Letter Examples

With writing tips and a step-by-step guide.

Graduate School Cover Letter Examples

Looking at graduate school cover letter examples is a good idea if you plan on applying to a graduate school program, as you may be required to include a cover letter with your  CV for graduate school  and other application components. Even though it is not a required document for all grad school programs, a well-written graduate school cover letter can help you stand out to the admissions committee and improve your chances of being accepted into your chosen program. This is especially true if you are applying to a highly selective institution or trying to  get into graduate school with a low GPA.

This blog will discuss everything you need to know about writing a cover letter for graduate school. You will learn why cover letters are important, learn tips to make your graduate school cover letter stand out, and you will get to review cover letter samples that will inspire you to write your own. 

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Article Contents 10 min read

What is a graduate school cover letter.

A graduate school cover letter is a brief letter that applicants attach to their graduate school application. Much like a work cover letter, such as a  research assistant cover letter , for example, graduate school cover letters are meant to introduce you and your application to the reader. They give you an opportunity to make an excellent first impression, tell the admission committee that you are interested in their graduate school program and why you believe it is a good fit for you. 

Graduate school cover letters have become less popular as graduate schools typically ask students to fill out their personal information and submit materials online. If you are sending specific application materials or your entire application by mail, then you will need to include a graduate school cover letter. Additionally, a few institutions, like the University of Illinois graduate college, for example, require students to submit a graduate school cover letter with their application, even when it is online. 

Furthermore, even when a graduate program does not explicitly ask for a cover letter, including a well-written and informative letter can help differentiate you from the other students by leaving a lasting impression on the admission committee, thus increasing your chances of admission. That said, before you start writing a cover letter for such a program, you should verify the school's admissions website to ensure that the school accepts additional documents. 

It should also be noted that many graduate students look for work and research opportunities at the school that they will be attending. If that is the case for you, then you will need a graduate school cover letter with your application for that school-related internship, job, or research opportunity. For example, if you’re interested in conducting research with a specific professor while you complete your master’s, then it would be a good idea to send them your application with a cover letter attached so that you can communicate your suitability for their research project.

Graduate school cover letters are academic letters, meaning that they need to be formatted in a way that is professional, clear, and concise. Your graduate school cover letter should be no longer than a page, written in a classic font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman or Calibri, sized 11 or 12.

The text of your letter should be organized and separated into paragraphs. Keep in mind that your letter may go through several readers, and not all of them may be experts in the field you intend to study, so do not use overly technical language or industry-specific jargon. Keep your language succinct, clear, and consistent throughout the letter.

Lastly, your letter needs to provide a quick introduction to you as a candidate and pique the reader's interest so that they want to read the rest of your application. This means that you should not use your cover letter to list all of the experiences and skills that make you perfect for this graduate program. Simply express your interest in the program, select one or two experiences, skills, or values to focus on, and relate those to your suitability for the program you're applying for.

Wondering how to get into grad school with a lower GPA?

Step 1: Brainstorm & plan 

The first thing you want to do before you start working on your cover letter, or any graduate school admission essay, is make a plan. Think about what you want to say in your cover letter and write it down. Remember that you only have a few paragraphs to work with, and you do not want to repeat information from your personal statement or other application components. 

Once you know what you want your cover letter to say, organize it so that it flows nicely, and it is easy to follow. Your graduate school cover letter should follow the structure of a typical letter. It should have an introductory paragraph, the main body, and a closing paragraph. 

Step 2: Address your letter 

As mentioned earlier, your graduate school cover letter is, in fact, a letter! Therefore, you should begin by addressing it the way you would in a formal letter. Write your full name and mailing address at the very top. We also recommend including your email address and phone number, but this is optional. On the following line, write out the date, and then write the recipient's name (typically, this is the name of the head of the department or just the name of the school you are applying to) and their address. You should verify the school's admissions webpage for this information. If it is unclear and you are unsure whom to address in the letter, contact the school and ask for this information to ensure that your documents get to the right person. 

This first section of your letter should follow this template:

1234 Imaginary Lane

NameofCity, TN 34421

December 12, 20XX

Dr. John Smith

Department of Psychology

BeMo Academic University

66 University Circle

NameofCity, TN 34457

Once again, because this is a formal letter, you want to open your letter with the appropriate greeting or a personal salutation. If you have the name of a specific recipient, you can use the most common salutation for graduate school cover letters, which is "Dear [recipient's name]." Do not forget to include the recipient's title if you have it. If you do not have the name of a specific recipient, then you can simply address the letter "To Whom It May Concern". 

Step 4: Introduce yourself and express your interest in the graduate program

The reader will already have your name at the top of the page, but your introductory paragraph should tell them why you're writing this graduate school cover letter. You should use it to state your interest in your chosen graduate program and briefly mention your academic background and accomplishments thus far. 

Take a look at this example for context: 

I am pleased to submit my application for the Master of Applied Psychology program at X university. As a recent psychology graduate of YZ university, this graduate program is the perfect next step toward achieving my goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. 

Step 5: Talk about your suitability for this program

This is the main body of your graduate school cover letter. You should try to limit this to one paragraph, but you can use up to two of them if necessary. You should briefly touch on why you chose this particular school and program, what skills you have that have prepared you for this program, and what makes you an ideal applicant. 

You can talk about what you intend to do after this degree or specific professors and faculty members you wish to work with. The information you share here will be personal, so there is no golden template. Just ensure that it is written in an organized fashion that is easy to read and understand. 

Step 6: Conclude and close your letter 

In your last paragraph, make sure you thank the recipient for their time and consideration. You should also encourage them to reach out to you if they need additional information, or if they have any questions. Then finally, You can close your cover letter with a warm, professional closing salutation. "Sincerely" or "Warm Regards" followed by your name are some acceptable closing salutations you can use.

Step 7: List enclosed documents

This section of your graduate school cover letter will look different depending on the school you are applying to, and the application format used. If you are applying by mail, you should list the enclosed documents in the same envelope as your cover letter. If you are applying online or by email, verify that all of the documents listed on your cover letter are attached and ready to send. 

This section should be at the very bottom of the page. It should list the documents in a bullet point format, in the order in which they are enclosed. The list should look something like this: 

Sincerely, 

Jane Doe 

  • Program application form 
  • Statement of purpose
  • Academic transcripts

Letters of recommendation

Graduate school cover letter examples 

Graduate school cover letter example #1.

Candice Williams

1234 Dream St. 

Winnipeg, MB R3J 8T6

[email protected]

204-990-887

August 12, 20xx

Dr. Trevor Thorne

Department of English, Theatre, Film & Media

Toronto, ON M4C 2Y9

Dear Dr. Thorne,

I am excited to submit my application for consideration for the English literature master's program at BeMo Academic University. I have spent the past four years learning the basics of literature analysis through my bachelor's degree in the field, and I am eager to take this next step in my educational journey in order to further my training.

My undergraduate studies allowed me to explore and learn about different forms of literature from around the world. Still, I often found myself drawn to the impressive works of Shakespeare, Milton, Bronte, and many other great English writers. I had the opportunity to study in London for a year, where I attended a seminar on the impact of Charlotte Bronte's work on modern feminism led by none other than Prof. Jane Smith. She is one of the many brilliant professors in the English, Theatre, Film & Media department at BeMo that I hope to learn from. 

You will find enclosed the required application documents, including my academic CV, which provides more information on the research I have been able to do and publish so far in my short academic career. I am especially interested in the role that authors such as William Shakespeare played in the development of modern English, and I wish to explore that further through research. I feel that the rigorous curriculum this program offers will inform my future writing and research efforts, and allow me to achieve my goals. 

Thank you for your time, attention, and consideration. It is truly appreciated. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information. 

Program application form

Statement of purpose 

Graduate CV

Official undergraduate transcripts

Angela Wong

102-9876 Mainland Rd.

New Haven, CT 44567

[email protected]  

April 8, 20XX

University of BeMo

175 Academy lane

New York, NY 34567

To whom it may concern,

It is my pleasure to submit my application for the Master's degree in Early Childhood Development in the Psychology department at The University of BeMo. I am currently completing my bachelor's degree in psychology and plan to graduate in the fall. Since my goal is to pursue a career as an educational psychologist, this particular program is the perfect next step toward achieving my goal. 

My undergraduate degree includes coursework in childhood psychology, special needs education, school and family crisis intervention, and many other courses that have given me the basics required to keep up with the thorough coursework that awaits me in your rigorous program. 

I have also gained valuable knowledge in the field through shadowing and internships in different schools in my community. Observing other child educators at work confirmed that this is the right career path for me, and it motivated me anew to learn how I can best help children develop a love of learning from the early stages of their educational careers. I know that there is only so much I can learn from observing, and the fact that this program provides six months of hands-on training is one of the many reasons why I am hoping to be a student at BeMo next year. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information or documents. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Research Interest Statement

Cover letters are supposed to be a brief introduction to your application, so unless otherwise specified by the school, they should not be longer than one page. We recommend sticking to three to four paragraphs, as this is long enough to share substantial information without losing your audience. Keep in mind that your reader will also be reviewing your other application components, so you do not need to address everything in this one letter. The information in your other application components, such as your  statement of purpose , will complement your cover letter. So, treat your cover letter like a summary of your candidacy; keep it short but impactful.

Have you started working your graduate school CV? Check out this video for tips:

Be genuine & professional

The individual or committee that will review your application will probably be people that help run the program you're applying to. It is, therefore, best that they get a sense of who you genuinely are. Communicate honestly and let your personality shine through. This will help make your cover letter more memorable. That said, keep in mind that this is a professional document and that genuine does not mean informal or unprofessional. Your tone should still be courteous and consistent throughout the letter.

Proofread & edit carefully

We cannot stress how important this is. Remember that your graduate school cover letter will be one of, if not the first, document that the admissions committee will see from your application. You do not want their first impression of you to be negative. Your letter should be easy to read and follow, and it should be error-free.

Take the time to review your letter multiple times and edit for flow, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and typos. Better yet, reach out to a  grad school essay tutor  for assistance. They can review your cover letter and help you edit it to make sure it is up to par.

Grad school essay tutors can also help you with other tricky written application components, such as  grad school career goals statements . So, do not hesitate to contact one if you need  grad school application help. ","label":"Bonus tip","title":"Bonus tip"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

It is a brief letter that you attach to your graduate school application. This letter should state your interest in the program, and briefly explain why you chose it, as well as why you are a good fit for it.

Many programs do not request graduate school cover letters, but they are more common than most people think. Additionally, several programs accept grad school cover letters even when not required, so you can still submit a cover letter to help your application stand out.

That depends on the program that you are applying to. Some schools may request a cover letter for online applications, and others may not require one, but they allow students to submit them as an optional component.

Graduate school cover letters are not replacements for admission essays like a personal statement or  statement of intent . So if your school requires a graduate school cover letter, do not assume that this means you will not have to write any grad school admission essays.

Unless you are given the name of a specific member of the admission committee, you should address your graduate school cover letter to the "Admissions team," "[subject] Head of Department," or "To Whom It May Concern."

You can make your graduate school cover letter stand out by making sure your personality shines through in your writing, telling a short anecdote or interesting fact about you in the body of the letter, and detailing your relevant skills and experience.

Graduate school can be pretty competitive, but the level of competition depends on the specific program you will be applying to. Some programs have acceptance rates as high as 60%, while others admit less than 10% of applicants.

Graduate school advisors are admission experts who help students plan and prepare for graduate school applications.

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Applying to graduate school means getting together a lot of materials. Most likely, you’ll need transcripts, letters of recommendation, a CV or resume, and a statement of purpose—but do you also need a cover letter for graduate school?

Read on to learn whether you need to submit a graduate school cover letter and how to make one. We’ll also give you six essential tips for making your cover letter for graduate school shine.

Do You Need a Cover Letter for Graduate School?

Generally, you don’t need to submit a cover letter with your graduate school application. Since most programs require you to input your personal information using an online application system, you usually won’t have to submit a separate cover letter as well.

In fact, your statement of purpose already accomplishes most of what a cover letter does: it introduces who you are as well as your academic interests, accomplishments, and goals. Therefore, you most likely won’t need to write a cover letter for your application.

Rarely, a program may ask you to submit a cover letter with your application (or allow you to submit one, even if it’s not required). If you are applying to graduate school by mail, you may want (or need) to include a cover letter in order to highlight your interest in the program and ensure it reaches the correct department.

However, most programs require you to apply online, so you can’t send in an application by mail unless your program allows it.  Aside from these relatively isolated cases, you shouldn’t need to submit a cover letter for graduate school.

That said, if you’re applying for a school-related job or internship, it’s common (and often necessary) to submit a cover letter with your application.  For example, if you were a current grad student looking to conduct research under a specific professor, you could submit a cover letter to that professor explaining who you are and why you’re interested in conducting research with him or her.

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Or, let’s say you’re applying for a part-time job or internship at your school. In this case, you’ll most likely need to submit a cover letter to introduce yourself, your skills, and your employment history.

How to Write a Cover Letter for Graduate School: Step by Step

If you plan to submit a graduate school cover letter, it’s important to know what to include on it so that you can make a positive impression on the admission committee (or employer).

In this section, we go over the six essential steps for writing a great cover letter for graduate school. With each step, we give you examples using our original graduate school cover letter sample .

body_addressed_envelope

Step 1: Address Your Letter

A clear and organized cover letter is key to making a good impression. Open your letter with your name and contact information followed by your recipient’s name and contact information (as if you were addressing an envelope).

Write your full name first and then use the lines directly beneath it to write your home address. You may also include your phone number and/or email address on a fourth or fifth line after your home address; however, this is optional.

Next, insert a blank space after your contact information and write today’s date. You may use the month-day-year format (e.g., September 4, 2017) or the more formal day-month-year format (e.g., 4 September 2017). Either is fine!

Leave another blank space after the date and  write your recipient’s contact information (i.e., to whom you’re sending your cover letter and application).

The name you use here depends on where you’re sending your application. If applying for admission to a graduate program, address your letter to either the head of the department or the head of the admission committee. If you’re not sure whom to address your letter to, contact your program and ask.

Write the name of the recipient with his or her title, if applicable. On the next line, write the name of the department/school for which the recipient works along with the address of the department/school.

body_grad_cover_letter_contact_info_sample

Step 2: Use a Salutation

Like all letters, you should begin your cover letter with a greeting, or salutation, to your recipient.

The most common salutation for cover letters is “Dear [Recipent’s Name]” followed by a comma or a colon.  A comma is a little less formal than a colon, but either mark is acceptable.

If you can’t figure out whom to address your cover letter to, write, “Dear Head of Admissions,” “Dear Graduate Coordinator,” or “To Whom It May Concern.” All of these salutations are acceptable, though less personal than a name; thus, it’s best to find a specific person to address your letter to.

body_grad_cover_letter_salutation

Step 3: Introduce Yourself (Paragraph 1)

Now, we get to the heart of the cover letter. Use this first paragraph to briefly introduce yourself and what program or position you’re applying for.  Also, talk a little about what your background in the field is, why you’re interested in this position/program, and how you heard about it.

body_grad_cover_letter_paragraph_1

Step 4: Summarize Your Background and Qualifications (Paragraph 2)

For this next paragraph, you’ll give a brief summary of any relevant skills and experiences you have that make you an ideal applicant for this program/position. Be sure to focus on transferrable skills— skills that can be applied across a range of fields and positions.

In addition, think deeply about why you’re drawn to this program/school and what it can do for you. What are your research interests and how will this program help you fulfill them? What do you plan to do after completing the program?

Finally, consider how you’ll fit with the program. Do your interests match what the program offers or specializes in? Are there any specific professors or faculty members you wish to work with?

body_grad_cover_letter_paragraph_2

Step 5: Thank Your Reader and List Enclosed Materials (Paragraph 3)

The final paragraph will be a short concluding paragraph in which you thank your reader(s) and give a list of enclosed materials.

When listing what’s enclosed, you may use commas or insert a short bullet list. Normally, you’ll enclose some or all of the following materials:

  • Application for the program/position
  • Statement of purpose
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation

Be sure to list the enclosed materials in the order in which they’re enclosed. Programs may ask you to submit materials in a specific order, so check that you’re following your program’s directions exactly (and aren’t forgetting to include any documents either).

Another option is to include a list of your enclosed materials at the end of your letter instead of in this final paragraph (see step 6 for more information).

body_grad_cover_letter_paragraph_3

Step 6: Add a Closing Greeting

The last step is to wrap up your letter with a polite closing salutation. There are many greetings you can use to close your letter, such as “Sincerely,” “Yours Truly,” “Warm Regards,” and “Respectfully Yours.”

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After this greeting, insert a blank line and then type your name.  Traditionally, you’d insert three or four blank spaces before typing your name; these spaces would then be used to sign your name in pen. Nowadays it’s OK to skip this step, especially if you’re trying to save space!

Take care to avoid any overly sentimental greetings, such as “Love” or “Forever Yours,” as these are inappropriate for a professional cover letter. Likewise, avoid using the single-word closing “From,” as this can sound a bit rigid and emotionless.

body_grad_cover_letter_closing

As I mentioned before, you may also insert a list of enclosed materials after your greeting (if you didn’t list them in your concluding paragraph). To do this, insert a space after your typed name and write “Enclosed,” “Enclosure,” or “Enc” followed by a colon. Then, insert a bullet list of the enclosed materials (in the order in which they’re enclosed). Here’s an example:

body_grad_cover_letter_closing_2

6 Tips for a Great Graduate School Cover Letter

Your cover letter for graduate school needs to make a great first impression on your program’s admission committee. Here are our top tips for ensuring your cover letter exceeds even your own expectations.

#1: Use a Polite, Professional, and Positive Tone

Because your cover letter is the first document the admission committee will see, be sure to do the following:

  • Avoid slang and casual phrases. Nothing says unprofessional like “gotta” and “gonna,” so limit these words to conversations only. Remember, the cover letter is a formal document, much like an essay for school, so it’s better to err on the side of too formal than on the side of too casual.
  • Be enthusiastic. Nobody wants to admit an unenthusiastic applicant, so use strong, positive words to convey your pleasure in applying to the program. Stick with upbeat words and phrases such as “happy,” “pleased,” “excited,” “thankful,” “accomplished,” etc.
  • Thank your readers. Being polite is all about saying “thank you.” In your letter, thank your readers for their consideration and make it clear that you understand they’re spending a lot of time looking over your application. Don’t thank them over and over, though—this wastes valuable space and ultimately makes you sound desperate!

#2: Be Concise

The cover letter is not the time to delve deep into your personal reasons for pursuing a graduate degree (this is for your statement of purpose!), so be concise without forgoing critical facts about you and why you’re applying.

You’ll typically want to keep your cover letter at a maximum of one page,  with no more than two to four paragraphs. Since this letter is short, avoid getting verbose: don’t use tons of flowery language or open with a broad statement. Rather, get straight to the point of who you are, what program you’re applying to, and why you’re a qualified candidate.

If you’re not sure what to include in your letter, read through your resume/CV and statement of purpose to make note of what you’ve already mentioned in those documents. Then, cut down (or remove completely) any similar parts in your cover letter. In short, don’t repeat information you’ve already talked in detail about in other parts of your application.

#3: Use a Neutral Font Face, Size, and Color

Because the cover letter is a professional document, you’ll want to keep its format simple and elegant, as you would a school essay.

Stick with basic “generic” fonts,  such as Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, and Calibri. Don’t get creative by choosing fonts such as Comic Sans and Chiller—this will make your cover letter look wildly unprofessional and implies you’re not taking the application process seriously.

In terms of size, don’t use a super small or super large font size. You shouldn’t need to squeeze in tons of information on your cover letter, so an 11- or 12-point font should work fine.

Finally, use a regular black font color (on regular white computer paper). Wacky colors, like wacky font faces, will only make you look unprofessional!

body_colorful_paints

#4: Single-Space Text

Unlike school essays, for which you always double-space and indent your paragraphs, the cover letter is single-spaced and uses block paragraphs. This means that instead of pressing the “tab” button to indent each paragraph, you’ll separate each paragraph from the next using a single blank space.

You should also insert a blank line when indicating any sort of transition from one element in your cover letter (e.g., a salutation) to another (e.g., a paragraph). Use our graduate school cover letter sample  to better understand how spacing should look.

#5: Align Everything Left

On cover letters, everything needs to be aligned left, from your address and date to your salutations and paragraphs. As I mentioned above, you do not  need to indent your paragraphs, so keep these aligned left as well.

There’s no need to justify your paragraphs.  In fact, I advise against doing this, as the justification tool on Word often inserts bizarre spacing between words, making paragraphs more difficult to read.

#6: Edit and Proofread

Like every part of your application, take time to edit and proofread your cover letter. Go over the technical and stylistic sides of your writing: make sure your paragraphs flow well together, and check that you haven’t made any glaring grammar, spelling, or formatting mistakes. (For specific tips on formatting, see tips 3-5 above as well as our graduate school cover letter sample .)

I also strongly suggest getting someone else to read your cover letter. A separate pair of eyes will ensure that your letter is as clear and cogent as it can be.

Remember, your cover letter is the first part of your application the admission committee will see, so it must be as close as possible to perfect. Typos and errors will set a negative tone for the rest of your application, even if your other materials are strong. Don’t let the cover letter be your downfall!

body_keyboard_typing

Recap: How to Write a Cover Letter for Graduate School

Cover letters for graduate school are generally quite rare. Most programs require you to fill out your personal information and submit materials online, so you won’t usually need to submit a cover letter with your application.

That said, if you are applying for a graduate program by mail, have been asked to submit a cover letter, or are applying for a school-related job or internship, you’ll need to know how to write a cover letter for graduate school.

A graduate school cover letter must include the following elements:

  • Your name and address
  • Your recipient’s name and address
  • A greeting (usually “Dear [Name]”)
  • Two to three paragraphs explaining who you are, what you’re applying for, and why you’re a qualified applicant
  • A concluding paragraph thanking your recipient for considering you and including a list of any enclosed materials (e.g., a statement of purpose, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.)
  • A closing greeting with your name (typed, or typed and signed)

Finally, to make a great cover letter for graduate school, be sure to follow these six tips:

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  • Use a polite, professional, and positive tone
  • Use a neutral font face, size, and color
  • Single-space text
  • Align everything left
  • Edit and proofread

You should now have no trouble creating a strong cover letter for graduate school!

What’s Next?

You know how to write a graduate school cover letter—but what about a CV? A resume?  Check out our guides on how to write a CV and  resume  to learn what to include, what to leave out, and how to raise your odds of getting accepted to your program. And if you get stuck, use  our high-quality resume and CV templates  as a guide!

Need to write an essay for graduate school, too?  Learn how to write a personal statement  and how to write a statement of purpose using our in-depth guides and expert tips. We’ve also got samples of both personal statements (coming soon) and statements of purpose .

Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?

cover letter graduate school template

Author: Hannah Muniz

Hannah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in English and East Asian languages and cultures. After graduation, she taught English in Japan for two years via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel. View all posts by Hannah Muniz

cover letter graduate school template

The Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Writing academic cover letters.

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself and demonstrate the fit between your background and the advertised position. A cover letter must accompany and be tailored to any application you submit.

Take this opportunity to:

  • Briefly tell your story, explaining why you are applying for this position and will be a good fit.
  • Guide the reader’s attention to the most significant portions of your CV.
  • Explain how your particular experiences and education have provided you with the skills and experiences you need to be successful in the position.
  • Convey enthusiasm for the position for which you are applying.
  • Focus on your potential contributions to this institution—not just on why you need or want the job.
  • Answer any questions they might have. For example, “When will you complete your degree?” or “When are you available?”

What to Write About

Although most cover letters follow a similar structure, you should tailor each one for the job to which you are applying. STEM letters should typically be one page, and letters for the humanities and social sciences should not exceed two pages. Sample academic cover letter can demonstrate the basic structure.

Research each institution to which you are applying, especially its philosophy, mission statement, size, and internal structure. The Carnegie Classifications website is a great tool to assist your research. Identify the areas you find most interesting and think about ways in which you could make a contribution to the department and/or institution as a whole. Work this information into your letter. This research personalizes your letter and demonstrates your sincere interest and potential fit.

  • Address the letter to the person named in the job description, or with “Dear Members of the Search Committee.”
  • Proofread and spell check!
  • Your cover letter is a writing sample. Write concisely and effectively.
  • Single-space text with a line of space between paragraphs.

Opening paragraph

  • Introduce yourself: Mention the university you attend, your degree program, and when you expect to graduate.
  • Refer to the specific position for which you are applying.
  • Briefly, but specifically, describe what attracted you to the position and institution to which you are applying.
  • Demonstrate your enthusiasm and include a thesis statement outlining the reasons why you are a good fit for this position.

Body paragraphs

  • Use these paragraphs to paint a picture of yourself in this position.
  • Highlight your achievements and qualifications, your interest in the position, and match your skills, experiences, and philosophy to the position. Support your statements with specific examples of your skills.
  • Tailor to each application. For instance, if you are applying to a teaching-focused institution, lead with one or more paragraphs about your teaching experience and commitment. (In a letter to a more research-focused institution, these paragraphs may instead come at the end of your letter.)
  • Indicate your knowledge of the institution and perhaps give examples of how you could fit in there. For example, if there are faculty or research centers that are potential collaborators, mention these.

Concluding paragraph

  • Reinforce your interest in the position and enthusiasm for the institution.
  • Take care of any final business matters, such as indicating that letters of recommendation are being sent under separate cover (and from whom).
  • Offer to provide extra materials or additional information if necessary.
  • Indicate what you would like to see as next steps. For example, you look forward to speaking with the search committee.
  • Thank them for their time and consideration.
  • End with a professional closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Kind Regards” and your full name.

Emailing Application Materials

  • If email application is encouraged, send documents as attachments.
  • Use a short email message to indicate your application materials are attached. Then attach your cover letter and other materials as PDF document(s).

Cover Letter Ninjas

Cover Letter For Graduate School: Sample And Tips

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When you apply to graduate school, your application materials should be accompanied by a well-written cover letter. If you are submitting your application online, your cover letter for graduate school will be in a form of an email. 

At any rate, the purpose of your cover letter is three-fold:

  • Provide a summary of your application details 
  • Introduce you to the selection committee
  • Make you stand out from other applicants

Perhaps you’ve already applied for a job before and wrote a general short cover letter . But a grad school cover letter is slightly different in shape and content. 

Thus, it’s important to get all the details right. To help you with that, this post features a cover letter example for graduate school. On top, we have a few tips on how to make your letter stand out from the crowd!

Cover Letter Sample For Graduate School – .docx Format

cover letter sample for graduate school

Download example (Word version)

Cover Letter Example For Graduate School – Text Format

Dear Dr. Natel,

My name is Corrine Ninja, and I am respectfully submitting my application for entry into the graduate program at the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences – School of Anthropology. It is my intention to complete the required courses and other work to obtain my Master of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology. I am particularly excited about the opportunity to build a degree program that allows me to continue the research I began in undergraduate school on the intersection of urban and feminist cultures.

I am currently studying anthropology at The University of MO Kansas City. My application for graduation has been accepted, and I will receive my BA in Cultural Anthropology with a Minor in Women’s Studies in August 2021. I hope to begin my graduate studies immediately after that. I was encouraged to apply for this program at a lecture I attended led by Prof. Davis Beckett, your lead instructor of Anthropology Research Methods.

As part of my coursework, I have spent the last two years studying urban and feminist culture in large cities in the Midwest, with a particular interest in the ways that nearby rural cultures impact urban areas via the use of ‘othering’. I’m very proud of the work I have done as an ethnographer during this research, and hope to pursue this as a career after completing my graduate work. The MA program at the University of Kentucky is very research-intensive and that what made it highly appealing to me. I’m confident that I could be a valuable contributor to this work, and that I would also benefit from working under such skilled researchers.

Enclosed is my personal statement, CV, letters of recommendation, and application. Please contact me if you need any additional materials. I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,

Corrine Ninja

Graduate School Cover Letter Writing Tips

Here are some extra tips for writing your cover letter, determining what information to include, and making your overall application stand out.

Be Brief But Complete

Similar to a scholarship cover letter , you should balance brevity with providing all the information the selection committee needs. As a general rule, your application should include two to three paragraphs. However, don’t leave things out just to meet that criterion. Your goal is to exclude things that don’t really add useful information and to avoid being overly wordy.

Open With an Introduction and Purpose

Your cover letter should get to the point quickly. Introduce yourself, and state the reason for the letter. Provide sufficient details. The first person reading your letter may simply be looking for information on how to route your letter to the right person. 

Here’s a sample opening to try:

My name is Eleanor Hayes, and I am graduating in August with a bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina. I am writing this letter to submit my application for the MBA program at the University of Ninjas. If accepted, I intend to begin my studies in January of 2022.

Detail Your Current Academic Standing

Many students begin the application process while they are still undergraduate students. This may impact when your application is considered and the number of seats available to you. So be forthcoming about whether you are a current student. Or chose to go into the field for a couple of years and now returning to academia .

Share Why You Are Interested in The Program

Spaces in graduate programs are very limited. Across programs, Princeton admitted only 1,332 graduate students out of 12,553 applicants last year. That’s about 10.6%. Additionally, schools invest a lot of money into graduate students by way of assistantship programs and research grants . So, it makes sense that they have a vested interest in only accepting students who are going to be very dedicated to the programs that they offer. Share in detail what makes a particular program so appealing to you.

Debi D-H

Discuss Relevant Research And Experience

There’s more to graduate school admissions than having a great transcript. To compete with other applicants, you should have good research work, real-life experience, volunteer work, or internships under your belt. Out of these, choose two examples of your most relevant experience and bring them up in your cover letter. 

Indicate a Connection

If you have an alumni connection or received any sort of referral to apply, give that person’s name in your application. It’s important to credit them for pointing you in the right direction, and listing that connection may also help your application.

Final Tip: Make it Targeted

Although the application process is exhausting, avoid the temptation to send a similar letter to each selection committee. Take the time to write a targeted letter that specifically addresses each graduate program individually.

Other Cover Letter Samples

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Your cover letter is an important component of the application process. It serves as a way for you to summarize your qualifications, state your interest in a position, and stand out from other applicants.

Cover letters typically accompany each resume you submit, unless otherwise specified. It is customized to each opportunity you are pursuing.

Tips for Writing Your Cover Letter

How to ensure your content is concise, relevant, and appealing to potential employers.

  • While every cover letter is different, effective cover letters demonstrate you are a good fit for the position.
  • Convey your enthusiasm for the position and knowledge of the company.
  • Provide support and examples that showcase the skills and competencies that are being sought.
  • Focus on your accomplishments and measurable results.
  • Address your cover letter to a specific person whenever possible. It may take some resourcefulness on your part to identify the appropriate person, but the letter will be better received.  
  • Write clearly and concisely.
  • Use proper grammar and check for misspelled words.
  • Limit your letter to one page.
  • Be sure to include the date, an appropriate salutation, and close with your signature.
  • Mass produced cover letters are a common mistake, and easy to detect. Be sure to relate your specific skills and experiences to each individual position.   
  • Incorporate information that reflects your knowledge of the company, the industry, or the position. 
  • Consider that employers are seeking to fill specific roles and are looking for applicants that have the skills and qualities to succeed in that role. 

Structuring Your Cover Letter

Paragraph 1: capture attention .

  • In your first paragraph, capture the reader's attention.
  • Indicate the position you are applying for and how you learned of the vacancy, i.e. Did someone tell you about it?  Did you see an ad or website? 
  • Outline the specific reasons why you are ideal for the position.  
  • Sell yourself in paragraph 1. Do not wait until the second paragraph to articulate why you are well qualified for the position.

Paragraph 2 & 3: Create Desire 

  • Describe yourself as a serious candidate and one worth inviting for an interview. State the hard details including your specific skills, history of responsibility, success, etc. 
  • Think about ways to reinforce an image of yourself that includes as many of the desired qualities as possible. 
  • Show, don’t tell. Remember, your goal is to set yourself apart from other applicants. Do not just tell the employer you have a skill, provide evidence. For example, do not just state you are “detail oriented”. Give the reader an example of something in your work history that proves that you are detail oriented. 
  • Refer to your resume, but do not simply list the contents of it. 
  • Emphasize how your variety of experiences are connected to the position and will benefit the company. 

Paragraph 4: Call for Action 

  • Use a few lines to express your strong interest in the position and your desire to discuss your application further in an interview. 
  • Give a brief summary of the key points in the letter, but avoid repetition.

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Graduate School Cover Letter: Prompts and Template

EssayEdge > Blog > Graduate School Cover Letter: Prompts and Template

During the university application process, you may be asked to submit a cover letter for graduate school . You have to submit it to have more chances to become an admitted student and present your personality like you are the most appropriate candidate among other potential students to get a studying offer.  

Table of Contents:

Cover letter for grad school: the importance of this document

Without any doubt, a cover letter for grad school is an essential component among other documents. The reason why you should submit it is that it is an additional option to excel from the crowd of many potential students and underline your eagerness to study in a particular educational institution. 

The common trouble is that many students don’t quite understand the purpose of submitting one more document. Some of them skip this application point and spoil the impression of themselves. Others, despite everything, confidently move to the goal to make their admission dreams come true. 

In some cases, a graduate program cover letter may be suggested as a supplemental document to the CV. However, it may also be a separate document. 

It is a possibility to have a direct talk with the admissions tutor. Whether you submit the cover letter as an additional paper, keep in mind that is usually the first page of your CV for graduate school . Therefore, the admission tutor will first read the information that hides behind the well-structured sections of your achievements. 

Your cover letter graduate admission may create the first opinion so that you should be attentive while writing it. 

How to write a cover letter for grad school to make it an amazing one

Writing the cover letter graduate school admission is a crucial step in the whole process. Future students feel troubled when it comes to the issue of how to write a cover letter for grad school to make it noteworthy. You can now breathe out as here are step-by-step clues on how to write it correctly. 

  • Devote some time for the writing process You may be busy and going under in the tones of papers you need to fill in. Thy to think about the day to devote it to the cover letter writing. It won’t take a couple of minutes, get ready to spend a few hours. The approach to writing may influence the content of it. 
  • Stick to the template Don’t mess up the writing order. It may confuse the reader. You should stick to the structure to demonstrate your ability to fit into the requirements. 

These are the general tips to help you with the approach to cover letter writing. However, think carefully about each part of the cover letter and use the step by step guideline below. 

  • Start with addressing Write down your name, address, and other details to contact you (e-mail and phone number). Don’t forget to include the date when you are writing. Also, note the name of the admissions officer and the address of the educational institution. 
  • Write a straightforward greeting Don’t be general; show the reader that you know them. Write the name and the academic status of the person you are referring to. It will prove your esteem to the admissions officer. You are forbidden to write something like “Dear admissions officer” or “Dear professor”. 
  • Think about the body paragraph Write brief information about yourself and describe the purpose of the application. Name the program you are applying for and list the skills you have for it to show that you are an appropriate candidate. Write the reasons you are applying for a particular program and explain why you should be offered admission. 
  • Close the letter Thank the reader for the time they spent on your letter and close a letter with the phrase “Sincerely, (your name)”. It is the usual way to complete an official letter. Don’t be too familiar with the reader. A friendly attitude is cool but not in this case. 
  • Check the cover letter several times When the letter is written, peruse it a few times to understand whether something is missing or not. Also, check it for grammatical errors and lexical misuse. 
  • Submit the letter If you are sure that everything is right and correct, you can submit your cover letter along with the other documents. You must send it via email or upload via the special admissions website. It is better to look through the university website to understand the requirements. 

Sticking to this outline will definitely help you to write a cover letter graduate school admits you.

Need help? Check out EssayEdge editing services:

Cover letter graduate school certainly admits you

Facing the issue of submitting one more piece of writing besides graduate personal statements,   some students give up as they feel exhausted and tired of the whole admission process. However, here are some tips for you to deal with any challenges regarding the point of “ How to write a cover letter for graduate school ?”

  • Control the tone of voice. While writing, try to keep in mind that you are writing an official document. Forget about using inappropriate language and lexis that you use in everyday communication with your friends and family. 
  • Be unique. You may think that you have heard this advice a thousand times. However, it is really the key to success. Tell the information that is important to you and write only the real facts related to you. Share your expectations and intentions; don’t rewrite common phrases from successful samples . 
  • Forget about the adulation.

Don’t try to please the reader; it may only spoil the impression. Even if you find it as a chance to show your best sides, try to do it in other ways. Admission tutors read a great deal of documentation annually; therefore, they have a sharp eye on the writings magnifying the applicant. 

  • Create a visual impression. The visual part of your graduate school cover letter is a part of the whole impression of you as a person. Try to use readable 12-14 point fonts. It is forbidden to use awkward fonts as it takes a lot of time to understand the writing. Inasmuch as the reader’s time is precious, it may spoil the attitude to what will be said further in your cover letter. Also, space the writing to simplify the reading process. 
  • Check and edit your cover letter. It isn’t nonsense that you have to submit all documents without grammar, lexical and spelling mistakes. The same regards your cover letter. Ask someone to read your writing and give you feedback. Also, you can refer to a graduate editing service to be absolutely sure that everything is right.

The template for graduate school cover letter 

If you need an example to understand the pattern of a graduate school cover letter sample, this template may help you to deal with any challenges that may occur. 

  • Your personal information (name, address, phone number, email address)
  • The date when you write your cover letter
  • The addressee’s information (Academic status, name, department, university name, and address)
  • The body of the cover letter (Write short information about the reasons you decided to apply to the particular university and specialization and why you are an appropriate candidate for studying)
  • Conclude the cover letter (Write down an official pattern of closing an official letter)

When applying for a place in graduate school, we highly recommend referring to cover letter examples as they can easily increase your chances and provide you with an idea for your future document. Note that we have such samples at EssayEdge and you can find them on our “Samples” page. Use cover letter and get admitted!

This template may help you to organize the structure of the letter better. Stick to it to write a striking cover letter. 

If you are still struggling with a cover letter for graduate school , professional EssayEdge editors can help you with any problem you may have. 

The competition in admissions is always stiff, regardless of the school and course, you’re applying to. Submitting a cover letter for graduate school is a must for students who want to stand out among their competitors and get an offer. Our cover letter proofreading service can help you increase the chances of a positive outcome. Don’t hesitate and order editing here.

Robin W. - professional essay editor and proofreader

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Sample Cover Letter

Sparty Smith 466 W. Circle Dr. 2nd floor  East Lansing, Michigan 48824 

Jorge Vargas, Executive Director Community Mentorship Program 1234 Hope Street Traverse City, MI 49048

Dear Mr. Vargas:

I am interested in the Managing Director of the Community Mentorship Program. I have been working with a troubled youth for seven months through an at-risk youth mentor program at Michigan State University. I learned about this position from the Kalamazoo County Government employment website.

Through the MSU Adolescent Diversion Project, I was assigned to a youth in legal jeopardy with the juvenile justice system. During my mentor and advocate experience, I was in charge of coordinating and planning each session, educating my youth on self-advocacy, as well as providing necessary resources during the eighteen week intervention period.

My experience in the project has helped me improve my skills in leadership, organization and teamwork and has provided me with extensive knowledge working with troubled youth. I will be graduating with my PhD in psychology from Michigan State University in August and plan on relocating to Traverse City.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I am looking forward to discussing the position and my qualifications with you in more detail soon. I feel confident that I would provide the best care possible for the residents and staff at the Juvenile Home. Please contact me by email at [email protected] or by calling 517.555.5555.

Sparty Smith

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    1. Begin by addressing your cover letter The first step to writing any cover letter is addressing it properly. You should begin by writing your full name and address. You may also include your phone number or email address on an additional line, but this is optional. On the next line, write out the date.

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    A fill-in-the-blanks template that will produce your grad school cover letter within 15 minutes. Save hours of work and get a cover letter like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy. Choose from 18+ cover letter templates and download your cover letter now. Create your cover letter now What users say about ResumeLab:

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    Step 1: Address Your Letter A clear and organized cover letter is key to making a good impression. Open your letter with your name and contact information followed by your recipient's name and contact information (as if you were addressing an envelope).

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    Learn what a graduate school cover letter is, why to use it, how to create one, and review a template and example to help you format your own.

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    A fill-in-the-blanks template that will produce your grad school cover letter within 15 minutes. Save hours of work and get a cover letter like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy. Choose from 18+ cover letter templates and download your cover letter now. Create your cover letter now What users say about ResumeLab:

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    1. Write your name, date, and contact information The first step to writing a cover letter is to write your name, date, and contact information at the top of the page. Having your contact information at the top of the page makes it easier for an admissions council to contact you for the next steps or for an interview.

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    28 Stanford Career Center RESUMES/COVER LETTERS TIPS FOR CREATING A SUCCESSFUL RESUME Do's • Do design your descriptions to focus on your accomplishments, using action verbs to clearly indicate the skills you've used . See Sample Action Verb list on the next page .

  22. Sample Cover Letter

    Sparty Smith466 W. Circle Dr. 2nd floor East Lansing, Michigan 48824 Jorge Vargas, Executive DirectorCommunity Mentorship Program1234 Hope StreetTraverse City, MI 49048Dear Mr. Vargas:I am interested in the Managing Director of the Community Mentorship Program. I have been working with a troubled youth for seven months through an at-risk youth mentor program at Michigan State University.

  23. High School Student Cover Letter (Sample & Tips)

    Jamie Hart. 929 Commerce St. Stockton, CA 95202. (209) 984-3632. [email protected]. Dear Mr. Hart, My name is Daria, and I am a graduating senior at Heritage High School. I saw your posting for the position of Business Development Intern on Indeed, and was immediately compelled to apply. My academic and career goals align with the internship ...