The purpose of the goals statement is to introduce yourself to the department as a thinker, a scholar, a teacher, a writer. The Admissions Committee is looking to assess your preparedness for rigorous graduate study; to that end, you should strive to be as specific as you can about your prior college-level experience studying English in its various manifestations. You might, for instance, talk about: a particular course and approach that influenced your decision to pursue an advanced degree; an interpretive problem or theoretical model you encountered that you would like to explore further; a pedagogical issue about which you would like to reflect as a scholar-practitioner; a writing project, perhaps at work, that spurred your development as a critical rhetorician. In other words, insofar as the statement is autobiographical, it should offer a glimpse of your professional goals. Of course, those goals are also personal, but the information that is of most use to us concerns how you have learned to think and write, about what, and to what further end.
Equally important is the way the statement reflects your informed understanding of the character and demands of the MA concentration to which you’re applying. The Admissions Committee looks to see whether your goals are compatible with those of your chosen concentration, as evinced both by our descriptive materials and its particular course of study. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of your concentration and, as needed, the career possibilities associated with it. And please feel free to contact the English department for further information.