Can my cover letter be identical to my expression of interest? - PhD application

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deepblue22
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Recently I have been contacting potential supervisors advertising funded PhDs in the field of my interest. I have essentially been sending cover letters detailing why I am interested in the project and why I am suitable for the project. I have had a number of positive replies inviting my formal application. Is it okay to use the same text in my formal cover letter attached to my application? The information that I want to convey is the same and it feels odd changing the structure of a piece of text that I have already made perfect. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Keele University
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(Original post by deepblue22)
Recently I have been contacting potential supervisors advertising funded PhDs in the field of my interest. I have essentially been sending cover letters detailing why I am interested in the project and why I am suitable for the project. I have had a number of positive replies inviting my formal application. Is it okay to use the same text in my formal cover letter attached to my application? The information that I want to convey is the same and it feels odd changing the structure of a piece of text that I have already made perfect. Thanks in advance for your help!
Hi deepblue22!

Congratulations on receiving invitations to submit your full application! It's such an exciting time so best of luck with it.

With regards to your query, it is hard to give concrete advice without knowing the letter you've already written. Personally I think it might be better to tweak your letter a little rather than sending exactly the same thing. I know that must be frustrating to hear when you've polished your existing letter so much but it'll show that you're tailoring your application to each step of the process, as well as to each supervisor/project you've applied to.

Generally a good cover letter should act as a counterpart to your CV/application form. As such it should tailor your application to the proposed PhD project (i.e. outline how the proposed project fills a research gap you've identified, why you are suited to research the topic, and, briefly, how you would intend to tackle the project) and clarify any gaps in your CV. It's also a chance to show off your communication skills and your enthusiasm for the PhD you're applying for.

It sounds like your letter already does most of this but think about if there are any areas you can expand upon or develop further. A tip I had was that academic cover letters can afford to run to two pages as opposed to the usual single page that is expected in most job applications - although do check the requirements of each supervisor/PhD as this can vary.

There's a pretty good guide to academic cover letters at https://www.findaphd.com/advice/find...r-letters.aspx (I found it really helpful in writing mine) and, if you Google search 'PhD academic cover letters' you'll also find other examples so you can see if you're on the right track. The careers department at your current university can also provide some guidance and, if you're currently studying, it is definitely worth asking tutors in your current department to look over your full application before you send it off - most tutors and supervisors are more than happy to help in this regard and provide really useful feedback. My own PhD application eventually went through 16 drafts before I submitted it, mostly as a result of feedback from my MA supervisor and another colleague in the department - it was undoubtedly a much stronger proposal as a result.

I hope that helps but please don't hesitate to ask if you have any other questions!

Amy
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deepblue22
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Thanks for your detailed response! really helpful
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