Application Essays for Masters and Doctoral Degree Programs
Criteria for Admission in Graduate Application Essays
You must write and submit the required essays. The application review committee weighs the quality of your essays very heavily in their decision about whether you will be admitted to the program. The criteria considered in their review include:
- whether the program is appropriate, given your interests, needs and background;
- whether your basic writing skills (grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.) are sufficient for graduate-level study;
- whether you are able to write a coherent, well organized essay in a style appropriate for graduate-level work in your academic field.
The assigned essays must be original to this application and responsive to the specific questions (they are not intended to be writing samples drawn from previous undergraduate or professional writing assignments). If you use any material from other sources/authors, you must include appropriate academic documentation and citation.
Business, Management, and Leadership
In an essay of approximately 600 words, describe your interest in Empire State University’s MBA program. Include your short-term and long-term post-MBA professional goals and how the MBA program will help you to achieve those goals.
In an essay of approximately 600 words, integrate a self-assessment of your readiness to meet the rigors of the graduate-level healthcare courses with your short-term and long-term goals. Explain how the M.B.A. in healthcare leadership will help you achieve these goals. In addition, indicate how your experience and skills would help you be successful in this program.
In an essay of approximately 600 words, describe your motivation for applying to the Master of Science in Finance at Empire State University. Include your short-term and long-term professional goals and how the MS in Finance will help you to achieve those goals. In addition, indicate how your experience and skills would help you be successful in this program.
In an essay of approximately 600 words, describe your interest in SUNY Empire State University’s Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Change. Include your short-term and long-term professional goals and how the Ed.D. will help you to achieve those goals.
Ed.D. Program Research Essay Guidelines
The purpose of this essay is mainly for us to learn about your research background and the topics you may be interested in researching. We do not expect you to be experts in research, or lock in yourselves into a specific topic for your dissertation at this stage.
There are many different ways to write a research essay, and you are free to submit the research essay in any format you like. The following guidelines provide one way of structuring your research essay, and indicate the content we would normally expect to see. There is no fixed word limit, but we would usually expect around 1500-2000 words.
- A proper working title for your essay.
- Why do you want to research this topic? What are the research questions you are considering? Why is this topic important? What is the context of your proposed study? How will you be able to contribute to the development of policy/practice through researching this topic?
- You need to show that you are familiar with relevant literature (academic books/journal articles) in this area. How will your research relate to existing research in this area?
List of references
- References of the work you cited in your research essay.
The M.A. in Adult Learning is specially designed for those already working, or aspire to work in the full range of settings in which learning in adulthood takes place: the private and public sector workplace, organizational and community life, formal education, higher education, social justice, literacy, human resource development, health care, etc. In an essay of approximately 600-800 words, explain: First, what is your current or aspirational area of work, and what is the basis of your commitments to the field in general and your own work in particular? Second, what is your general area of interest? This is your chance for you to describe how the MA in Adult Learning can help you meet your goals. As you imagine a capstone project for your program, what might be the general area?
To close your essay, choose a quote that resonates with you related to adult education. This can be from any setting where adult education, training and development take place. Discuss how the quote resonates with the purposes and roles of adult education. Discuss the quote in greater depth, or use it as a point of departure for developing ideas of your own. You may draw on your professional knowledge, your reading, and/or your general understanding of adult education in your chosen context. The faculty are not looking to evaluate your opinion, instead we are looking for the ways you construct a coherent argument about a topic. If you use secondary sources (not required) in the essay, use APA citations. Here are some quotes or find one of your own:
"I started looking at the word neutral and it became very obvious to me there can be no such thing as neutrality. It's a code word for the existing system. It's following the crowd...being what the system wants us to be. It was to me a refusal to oppose injustice. So, I discarded that word. When I think more about educational ideas and about changed society, it became more and more obvious that you've got to take sides." -Myles Horton, We Make the Road by Walking (1990)
“What we want to do, what we must do, is ensure that every person currently in the workforce or approaching working age has access to the resources to achieve employability on his or her own terms. That is, all must have not only the skills and competencies to fulfill the needs of their present jobs but the ability, flexibility, and means to learn new skills and competencies as required.” -Pamela Tate, “Forward,” Barry Sheckley, Lois Lamdin, and Morris Keeton, Employability in a High Performance Economy (1993)
Two essays required
- In a coherent and well-organized essay of approximately 300-600 words (typed, double-spaced), provide a statement of purpose, indicating your specific goals for the program, academic and/or professional preparation, and your ideas for a potential topic for your final project.
- Discuss an example of how you used technology and or digital tools for teaching or learning in your work or personal life. If it is accessible, link to a small sample of work using a technology or digital tool. If not accessible you can use screenshots or just describe it in two or three paragraphs. Describe the intended purpose of the example and include thoughts of what you would change or do differently to improve it. The faculty are interested in seeing an applicant's capability and potential, and they understand the possible range of experiences and proficiencies that individuals may bring to the program from interested novice to more expert. Examples of possible digital examples to describe include, but are not limited to: illustrations of teaching/training aids such as power points; training manuals or other aids; videos; google classroom; flip grid; blogs; websites; portfolios; podcast; networking page; photo page; customized form/template/brochure; flowchart/mind map/ wireframe; 3D objects; digital games applications or any example you would like to share to indicate your interest in learning more about educational technology and learning design.
Thinking clearly about issues and expressing these thoughts in writing are important aspects of graduate study at Empire State University. So that we can learn more about your interest in becoming a teacher, we would like you to discuss the following question in a coherent, well-organized essay of 600-800 words, typewritten, double-spaced pages.
What is your motivation to become a middle or high school teacher (or agricultural education teacher*) and what do you think will make you a successful student in this program?
Your essay might include some of the following points:
- Your interest in changing careers and pursuing a teaching certificate;
- Your understanding of the challenges of teaching;
- Any expertise you have acquired on the job that might transfer to a teaching situation;
- Any experiences that have helped you develop your insights and expertise in working with middle and/or adolescent youth; and
- The personal attributes and characteristics which enable teachers to work effectively with students between the ages of 12 and 17. *
*If applying for agricultural education please address working with students in grades P-12.
In a 600-800 word essay (typed and double-spaced), respond to both questions.
Discuss your position on the inclusion of special needs students in general education classrooms and how you would respond to a situation in which parents of some of your students are complaining that a student with a disability is holding back the learning and progress of the rest of the class?
Two essays required
Please respond to Question 1 and choose either Question 2 or 3. The essay should be 600-800 words per question (in one document), double-spaced and appropriate use of APA 6th edition formatting.
- What teaching experiences led you to decide to seek specific training and expertise in special education?
- As a general education teacher, in what ways have you collaborated with special education teachers and/or other service providers to address the learning needs of exceptional students in your classroom?
- Describe your experience working with English Language Learners, gifted, or special needs students in your classroom and the types of instructional strategies you employ to support their learning.
In a 600-800 word essay (typed, double-spaced), explain why you are interested in the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and how you will contribute to the learning among your peers in the program. What do you hope to achieve as a result of earning this degree?
In a 1000-1200-word essay (typed, double-spaced), please address the following:
- Why are you interested in the field of applied behavior analysis?
- Why are you interested in the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis program at Empire State University?
- Why are you interested in attending a program that emphasizes compassionate, affirming practices for those we support?
- What are your professional goals upon completing this degree?
Graduate Liberal Arts and Science
In an essay of approximately 600 words, describe your motivation for applying to the Master of Science in Applied Analytics (MSAA). Include your short-term and long-term professional goals and how the MSAA will help you to achieve those goals. In addition, indicate how your experience and skills would help you be successful in this program.
Explain how the graduate program-with specific reference to its policy emphasis and your chosen area of study-will help you achieve your purposes for pursuing a master's degree. Please include any other information about your needs and goals that might give us insight as to why our program will serve you well. The essay should be approximately 800 words, typed, double-spaced.
In an essay of approximately 600 words, describe your motivation for applying to the Master of Science in Cybersecurity at SUNY Empire. Include your short-term and long-term professional goals and how the M.S. in Cybersecurity will help you to achieve those goals. In addition, indicate how your experience and skills would help you be successful in this program.
In an essay of approximately 600 words, describe your motivation for applying to the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) at SUNY Empire. Include your short-term and long-term professional goals and how the MSIT will help you to achieve those goals. In addition, indicate how your experience and skills would help you be successful in this program.
Two essays required
The M.A. in liberal studies is specially designed for those who wish to explore a particular question, theme, problem or issue from multiple points of view. Unlike a vocationally focused degree or a degree in a single discipline, it allows you to explore the various ways in which your area of interest can be approached and analyzed.
For example, a narrowly defined vocational degree in health care management might look at health care from the legal, administrative and financial framework alone. An interdisciplinary master's degree in liberal studies, on the other hand, would understand health care as an arena for contending social interest and political ideologies and view health as a cultural preoccupation, a theme of literature and a spiritual and philosophical concern.
Similarly, a typical professionally-oriented master's degree in education might focus on applied teaching methods in a particular discipline, age group or student population. Thus, the focus might be on "teaching science in elementary school," for example or on "teaching developmentally challenged adults." An interdisciplinary master's degree in liberal studies requires a different approach, one that views teaching within a broad framework of history and social relationships and might explore the meaning of such concepts as childhood, pedagogy, normalcy and difference and encourages students to think broadly about their interests and to explore them from a variety of perspectives and viewpoints.
With these examples in mind, tell us about your area of interest in the following essays:
In a 700-1000 word essay, explain what question, theme, problem or issue do you wish to explore? How have you come to have this interest? What has shaped your curiosity? How do you see using the breadth and freedom of interdisciplinary study to organize your studies to achieve your goals for your master's degree?
According to the following quotes, our minds and our bodies, our attitudes and dreams, are molded by experience and by the cultures in which we live. Those cultures strongly influence not only what we know about also what we value and, indeed, who we are. We invite you to use one of these quotes as a basis for your essay.
As you craft your essay, you should keep a number of points in mind:
- Your essay should be approximately 700-1000 words.
- In writing your essay, you may draw on your professional knowledge, your reading, and /or your general understanding of culture and society.
- You will not be judged for your opinion. You will be evaluated for the ways in which you construct and sustain a coherent, well-organized argument.
- Avoid cliches and meaningless generalizations. Be specific and thoughtful.
- If you use secondary sources in your essay, use standard bibliographical forms.
The body – what we eat, how we dress, the daily rituals through which we attend to the body – is a medium of culture. In no case is this more strikingly true than in that of anorexia nervosa and bulimia, barely known a century ago, yet reaching epidemic proportions today. Far from being the result of a superficial fashion phenomena, these disorders reflect and call our attention to some of the central ills of our culture.
-Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body
We lived in the country where roads were not paved. Every day it seemed we complained about the long walk to the little white wood frame schoolhouse and our father told us again and again about the many miles he had walked to attend school. Generations of black people have known what it means to see education as the practice of freedom. Growing up in a community where I would be sent here and there to read the bible to Miss Zulu because she does not know how, to read this and that, a letter, words on a detergent box – to read – to write for others. How could I not understand the need for literacy? How could I not long to know? And how could I forget that fundamentally the purpose of my knowing was so I could serve those who did not know, so that I could learn and teach my own – education as the practice of freedom.
-bell hooks, Talking Back
The various disciplines that make up the arts and sciences are the cultural frames in terms of which attitudes are formed and lives conducted. The interpretive study of culture represents an attempt to come to terms with the diversity of the ways human beings construct their lives in the act of leading them.
-Clifford Geertz, Local Knowledge
Two essays required
In an essay of approximately 600 words; describe your motivation for applying to the Master of Arts in Public History (MAPH). Include your background in public history and your goals for your work in the program.
In an essay of approximately 600 words, please respond to this prompt.
In recent years, monuments and memorials to the past have come under increased scrutiny. Increasingly people are calling for the removal of memorials that they find offensive from Theodore Roosevelt's statue in front of the New York Natural History Museum to the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol England to the statue of General Lee in Richmond Virginia. As a public historian, how would you approach the issue of representation and commemoration in our public spaces? What would you propose for these controversies and why? How and what should we commemorate in the future?
Explain how the graduate program – with specific reference to its policy emphasis and your chosen area of study – will help you achieve your purposes for pursuing a master's degree. Please include any other information about your needs and goals that might give us insight as to why our program will serve you well. The essay should be approximately 800 words, typed, double-spaced.
Explain how the graduate program-with specific reference to its policy emphasis and your chosen area of study will help you achieve your purposes for pursuing a master's degree. Please include any other information about your needs and goals that might give us insight as to why our program will serve you well. The essay should be approximately 800 words, typed, and double-spaced.
In a double-spaced typewritten essay of approximately 800 words, please explain how the SUNY Empire MPA Degree will serve your personal and professional goals and objectives. In what ways will achieving an advanced degree contribute to your ability to serve the public good? Be sure to discuss briefly whether you are primarily interested in public administration or not-for-profit administration.
M.S. in Nursing (Education and Administration) Admission Essay - The MS in Nursing degree prepares graduates to advance nursing practice and education in a complex and evolving healthcare environment. Please address your personal and professional goals. In addition, provide examples of how you have exemplified professionalism as a registered nurse in at least four of the following domains, delineated by the AACN Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education(2021):
- Knowledge for Nursing Practice
- Person-Centered Care
- Population Health
- Scholarship for Nursing Discipline
- Quality and Safety
- Interprofessional; Partnerhips
- Systems-Based Practice
- Informatics and Health Care Technologies
- Personal, Professional, and Leadership Development
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2021). The essentials: Core competencies for professional nursing education.
Your essay should be a minimum of 500 words. Feel free in this essay to write in a personal, informal voice.