How to Write a Motivation Letter for Master’s Degree with Sample

Applying for a master’s degree program can be very competitive and involve several parts.  Even when not required, we recommend sending a motivation letter for master’s program. This is a letter, similar to a cover letter for a job application, that tells the reader your qualifications and other reasons that you make a great candidate for their program.

Your motivation letter is a key part of your application package. It’s the first thing that the admissions committee will read, and it can be what they’ll base their decision on.  Your motivation letter should give a strong impression of who you are and how your background, skills, experiences, and goals will benefit the program.  It also demonstrates a level of commitment and research because you took the time to write a strong, relevant motivation letter for the master’s program.

Preparing to Write Your Motivation Letter

To prepare to write your motivation letter, you want to understand the program, its requirements, and the course of study. Your goal is to show that you will be a great addition to their program.

Review the requirements for the program and the course of study.  Make a list of the traits and qualifications that are both required and preferred for the program.  If you know any or can find any on places like LinkedIn, newsletters, or more, you can include any traits that are common amongst current and past students.  One thing that is sure is that you will need to write and research in a particular area.

Often, a master’s program will require that you write a thesis on a topic related to your course of study.  The admissions committee will be looking to see if they think you can successfully do this and other projects in the program.  They will want to see evidence of diligence, commitment, and quality work.

Once you have that list, make a new list (you can use two columns on a piece of paper or spreadsheet if you want) of any accomplishments that satisfy the requirements for the program.  If you have any large research projects, papers, or similar these can be great additions.  They don’t necessarily need to be in school. They could be at your job, volunteer activities, or anywhere else.  It can be especially powerful if you can show that your project was able to drive some position change.  “I completed a study of how we staff our engineering department and was able to reduce headcount by 10% while also reducing absenteeism by 15% by changing the scheduling model that we used.  We saw employee satisfaction go up considerably in the same time period, even with less headcount.”  These may not be directly related to the course of study. They should that you can finish a big project and appreciate its results.

Similarly, if you have other work that relates to the course of study, or a story about why you care about that course of study that can be impressive too.  “I was volunteering in my town restoring old ships.  It was then that I realized that each of these ships had a fascinating story of their own.  I quickly realized that I had a passion and interest in 18th-century colonial history and its impacts on our society today.”  These don’t show accomplishment, but they do show that you care about the subject.

Of course, things like grades or marks and your course of study can be interesting and good information. However, remember that they are going to get this from your school records.  It can be much more impactful to tell them why this matters and how this makes you a powerful candidate for their program.  You want to stand out and show why you are better than someone else who is applying.

We are going to use this next part to help us with the next part.

Writing the Motivation Letter for Your Master’s Program Application

Now that we have our list of accomplishments and qualifications, we can get to work writing.  We recommend a simple three-part structure.  We are going to present those three parts in the order they will be in your letter.  Sometimes, writers find that starting with the body helps, and then they go back and write the introduction and conclusion.  The body is the hardest part, at least normally, so you can reward yourself with the easier parts afterward.

Introduction

The introduction is a simple paragraph, usually only a few sentences. You want to introduce yourself, and why you’re writing, including the program.  You also want to include one or two sentences about why you make a great candidate.  You really don’t need any more than that.

Body

The body of your motivation letter does most of the work.  You are going to use the work you did before and write 1-3 paragraphs about why you are a great candidate.  In an ideal letter, you include a story or impressive accomplishments that show that you are ready to do the work and research necessary to complete the program.

It can also be very powerful to show why you are passionate about the school, the program, or the course of study.  This shows that you are more likely to work hard and contribute to the program.

The last strategy that can be effective is to include a story about how this program can contribute to a bright future. You can talk about goals that you have and are passionate about and how this program can make them happen.

The school is looking to see that you are capable of doing the work they need, contributing to the field of study, and then later reflecting well on the program. You want to write about passions, goals, or accomplishments that demonstrate this.

Conclusion

Closeout your letter by thanking them for their time.  You can express how excited you are about the opportunity and that you are available to discuss your candidacy. You can include your email and phone number to make it easy to contact them.

Sounds easy right?  No, of course, it’s not, but it can be very effective. People like to be inspired. Ideally, your motivation letter will inspire them while showing your passion, commitment and capability.  That will help an admissions officer to want to accept you.

Things to Avoid When Writing Your Motivation Letter

Before we wrap things up, it’s worth mentioning a few things that candidates sometimes do that we see as mistakes or opportunities to improve.   The good news is that most of them are simple and obvious, but not everyone does them.  Doing this well is one more way you can shine in your motivation letter for your master’s program.

As you read through these, one big thing to keep in mind. The goal of your motivation letter is to show the admissions committees and officers that you are capable of and committed to doing the work necessary to complete your graduate education.  Nothing destroys that impression faster than sloppy work.

  • Spelling – At a minimum, you want to use a spell checker. We all have them.  There is no excuse for having misspelled words. Unfortunately, for all of us, this doesn’t cover everything. You want to avoid incorrect homonyms and such as well.  Using words like “too” when you meant “to” does not inspire confidence.
  • Grammar – The same can be said for grammar, though this is tougher.  For both spelling and grammar, we recommend using a tool like Grammarly.  Their free tool (you can pay too if you want) does a good job of pointing out common spelling and grammatical mistakes. It’s not perfect, but it does a good job of avoiding the largest issues.
  • Using a Generic Addressee – You want to address the letter to someone.  This could be the admissions officer, the head of the admissions committee, even the dean of the program.  This makes the letter more personal and shows that you did some research.
  • Sending the Same Letter Multiple Times – Odds are good that you are applying to more than one program.  That’s completely fine.  While the programs are probably similar, write a new letter and do the work for each one. Your accomplishments will stay your accomplishments but each program offers something slightly different and is looking for someone slightly different. Show them that you took the time to learn that.  They won’t know what you sent someone else, but it’s often more obvious than you think when the letter wasn’t true for them.
  • Writing More than One Page – Yes, you will probably be writing a long, involved, and well-researched thesis.  This isn’t it.  Keep it to one page.  Most readers won’t go past that anyway.  Make it easy on them.
  • Being Dishonest – Sometimes, an applicant feels like they need to create accomplishments to be competitive.  It’s not the case.  Of course, we all would love to cure cancer by the time we’re 18. We’ve all heard about teenagers speaking that the UN.  That’s amazing, but for most of us, that isn’t true. The admissions office knows that and you are more likely to get caught than to impress them.

The good news is that most of these are very easy to avoid, but please go through this list before you send your letter.

A Sample Motivation Letter for a Masters Degree Application

We’re including a sample letter to help give you the format and layout of your letter.  Please feel free to use this as a guide but do not send it.  Each of us has our own story and the reason that we would make a great candidate for something that we are applying for. This isn’t your story and it won’t help you get in.  Please do the work to write your own letter, but feel free to use this as a guide. We want you to get admitted, but with your story.

Good luck with your studies. We would love to hear how it goes.

 

Motivation Letter for Masters

 

22 thoughts on “How to Write a Motivation Letter for Master’s Degree with Sample”

  1. I want motivation letter for master of sciences, Epidemiology
    I hold bachelor degree in medicine and surgery M.B.B.S

  2. Mengistu Assefa

    dears, could you help me the steps I have to go through to write the motivation letter for Scholarship on development studies?

    1. We don’t currently have any recommendation letters but if you look at the home page, there is a long list of motivation letters for various scenarios. Pick the one that best matches your needs. Then, copy it and use it as a starting point for what you need. Don’t use our letters, they’re intended to get you started. You want to use one that works for you and your needs. Good luck!

  3. Hello, I need motivation letter to follow a masters degree in Applied Mathematics at University of Pretoria. Could you please help.?

    1. Hi Judith. You can use the template on this page to get started. Copy that and then use the instructions on this page and here to tell your own story. Explain why you should be picked for their program and why you want it. The template is there to help get you started. Good luck on your program!

  4. Dear sir!, I need the procedure how to write motivation letter please!, I hold my BSc degree in biilogy and I want to study masters program abroad

    1. Excellent! On this page, you’ll find a sample motivation letter for your master’s. Use that and the general instructions from here to write a letter that tells your story and why they should pick you for their program. We are working on ways to let you download the sample letters to make it easier to get started. Good luck on your application!

  5. Hello, thanks for your beautiful orientation, on the motivation letter.
    I am John Sahr Sellu from Sierra Leone. I have a Bachelors’s degree with honors in Pharmacy. I graduated from the college of medicine and allied health sciences, the University of Sierra Leone in 2020. Now I want to apply for a master’s degree in public health, specifically Epidemiology. So I please need your help in achieving this goal. Thanks.

    1. Hello,

      Congratulations on your amazing achievements. We can use all the talent we can get in Epidemiology, so thank you. Unfortunately, we don’t have any templates for that program specifically. If you haven’t already, make sure to review our general guidance on How to Write a Motivation Letter. You can also use the template on this page to get started. Just like with any of our templates, don’t copy it exactly but use it as a guide to getting started on your own letter with your own story. Good luck!

  6. Hello! I need a very professional motivation letter for my masters in finance/ international relations/management in France. My goal is to leave my country and I need to succeed in every admission step so i can achieve it. I really need your help! Thank you

    1. Fantastic! I recommend that you take a look at the samples here and on our Motivation Letters for Study Abroad. Copy the samples there and follow the guidance to make sure that they know why you want the opportunity and why they should choose you. Good luck in your studies!

  7. Hello, please I need a motivation letter to use and apply for Erasmus Mondus scholarship. Just a hint on the caption. I could make up the content.

    1. Hi Victor,

      Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources for customized support but Fiverr has some good freelancers that can help out. Make sure to interview them first. Gauge their writing skills and they should ask questions about your background before doing your letter. You might ask if they’re willing to share an anonymous sample to get an idea of their writing skills. This link (and the one before) will take you right to a search for motivation letter.

      Freelancers change so we don’t tend to recommend anyone specific but if someone does a great job there please feel free to leave their name here for others.

      Good luck on your studies!

  8. Hello, could you please help, I need a motivational letter to follow masters degree in health system and services research program at Stellenbosch.

    1. Hi Asanda,

      Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources for customized support but Fiverr has some good freelancers that can help out. Make sure to interview them first. Gauge their writing skills and they should ask questions about your background before doing your letter. You might ask if they’re willing to share an anonymous sample to get an idea of their writing skills. This link (and the one before) will take you right to a search for motivation letter.

      Freelancers change so we don’t tend to recommend anyone specific but if someone does a great job there please feel free to leave their name here for others.

      Good luck on your studies!

  9. dear kindly help me with outline in writing the motivation letter for
    master’s degree program
    best regards
    Dr.Darison Andrew,MD

    1. Hi Dr. Andrew,

      The basic strategy is that you want to find out what they’re looking for and what experience, accomplishments, and goals you have that show you are an outstanding candidate (as best you can). Then, the easiest format is a three-part letter with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction simply highlights the program you’re applying for and maybe one or two sentences about why you’re a good candidate. Then, the body spends 2-3 paragraphs on why you’re a great candidate. You close it out by thanking them and suggesting/asking for/offering a meeting. I like to include my contact information there to make it easier for the reader. THe article has some more specifics.

      Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources for customized support but Fiverr has some good freelancers that can help out. Make sure to interview them first. Gauge their writing skills and they should ask questions about your background before doing your letter. You might ask if they’re willing to share an anonymous sample to get an idea of their writing skills. This link (and the one before) will take you right to a search for motivation letter.

      Freelancers change so we don’t tend to recommend anyone specific but if someone does a great job there please feel free to leave their name here for others.

      Good luck on your studies!

  10. Zinhle L. Mokoena

    Afternoon Sir/ Madam

    My name is Zinhle L. Mokoena kindly help me with motivation letter for Masters degree. I wish to continue with my studies

    Your assistance will be highly appreciated

    Thank you
    Zinhle L. Mokoena

    1. Hi Zinhle,

      I encourage you to read this post and the others on the structure of a motivation letter. We don’t have resources to write it for you, or help you much beyond that.

      Essentially, you want to write a letter in three parts:
      – Introduction
      – Body
      – Conclusion

      In the introduction, you want to introduce yourself and the program that you are applying to, and maybe 1-2 sentences about why you’re a great candidate that is supported below.

      You want to show how you are a great candidate in the body. I’m not completely clear on what you’re applying for but it looks to be research related. So, you probably want to show your academic background, any research you have done, and any publications you have. This section should be 1-3 paragraphs.

      In the conclusion, summarize (in probably one sentence) how you are a good candidate. Offer a meeting or discussion to discuss further and maybe give an easy way to contact you like an email or phone number.

      The whole letter should be no more than one page.

      If you are applying in English and English isn’t your first language, you might want to look at Grammarly. For native English speakers, the free version is a powerful spell checker and basic grammar checker. However, for non-native English speakers (or weaker writers) it does a great job of highlighting phrasing opportunities. (The paid version only on that but it’s worth it even if only for a month or during the time you are applying). I’m a native English speaker and I use it. I don’t share that as an ad to give you a tool that might help.

      If you’re not applying in English, I don’t have the same kinds of tools to recommend but make sure to spell-check and grammar check.

      If you still have trouble, you can hire someone to help you write it. Fiverr is a good place for that. There are a lot of freelancers on their advertising motivation letter help. I don’t have any specific people to recommend, but we do have a guide to help you find someone to help. You can find that here.

      Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top