A Statement of Purpose (SOP) for a PhD is not the same as the personal narrative of one’s history and upbringing which is usually advised while writing an SOP for undergraduate studies. Your SOP for the economics PhD should articulate in a couple of pages, your reason and motivation for pursuing a Ph.D. in economics to attain your career goal, and at least two prospective fields of concentration and your reason for these fields. Another suggestion is that GPA and course performance can be read from your transcripts so no need dwell on that in the SOP. One can use SOP to state aspects that cannot be easily gleaned from your transcripts, C.V. and letters. Use SOP wisely and in a credible manner to academic evaluators.
Here is sample Statement of Purpose for economics PhD:
“When introduced to economics in high school I realized that it interestingly qualified as a subject of both Arts and Science. It was an area defined by precise rules, principles and axioms and yet there was tremendous scope for self-expression in the form of interpretation and analysis. This facet of economics intrigued me very much and I decided to pursue further studies in Economics.
During my Master's program, I equipped myself as best as I could, with various tools used in economic analysis. I obtained rigorous training in mathematics, econometrics and game theory. After completing the Master's program, I joined National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, as I was very eager to see how one might use economics to tackle real life problems, where simplified models, and assuming away of problems may offer no respite. I did some very interesting work here, which is described in my resume. I want to delve deeper into the subject to be able to carry out independent research and analysis, hence my decision to join the Ph.D. program at UCLA.
International Economics is an area I would really like to explore. I am fascinated by game theoretic modeling of issues pertaining to International Economics. I believe that game theoretic models can be effectively used in international economics as many policy issues such as negotiations over mutual reductions in tariffs, formation and preservation of customs unions, establishment of cartels in the case of internationally traded goods, all have some game theoretic character. The current "Regionalism versus Multilateralism" debate holds its own attraction. It should be interesting to analyze the trade diversion effects of Preferential Trading Agreements and also their impact on multilateral institutions like GATT. The strategic trading that takes place in foreign exchange markets and the variety of auction like mechanisms that have been used for foreign exchange trade, especially in developing countries, are intriguing.
During my graduate studies, I aim to equip myself with some advanced tools and develop my analytical and research capabilities. I want to get an excellent command over econometrics to be able to confront stochastic statistical data with exact models of economic theories and also for empirical verification of other models, which might otherwise be set in a partial equilibrium framework. I expect to emerge as an economic engineer and an expert in model building. Econometrics per se, also interests me as a subject of economics and I might like to research in econometric methodology. I want to be an academic economist. I have cleared the National Eligibility test conducted by the University Grants Commission of India, which makes me eligible to teach an undergraduate course in economics in any Indian university.
I want to study at UCLA, as it emphasizes on the rigor and analytical tools that are necessary for academic research. I have well-developed analytical and mathematical skills and I want to exploit these skills to the greatest extent. I feel the help and guidance that can be provided to me by the distinguished faculty of your university will be invaluable. I am sure if I am given the opportunity to study at your university that attracts some of the best students from all over the world, it will provide an environment competitive enough to bring out the best in me.”