Do you list more than one interested professors in personal statement?

bluebluesky

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2008
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I am applying to Clinical PhDs for Fall 2011.
I am wondering in personal statement if it's common to mention more than one professors. I am a little confused. If they are doing somewhat different research (which is usually the case), wouldn't it dilute the "passion" if I suddenly mention that I am also interested in another professor when a larger focus is on another professor's work?

On the other hand, if my primary interested professor is taking another applicant, that would leave me nowhere to go if I don't list other professors' names as "backups".

What's the best way to handle this? And at the same time, the scope is short and I don't think I should spend much space writing my interest to another professor? And is there any limit or recommendations as to how many I should mention?
 
Sep 14, 2010
266
1
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm only just applying myself, but for what its worth I'm told its fine to express interest in more than one Professor; you just need to make sure that their scope of work is similar enough that you don't appear to be unfocused:

ex 1. If one PI is doing Alzheimer's and another is studying the cognitive consequences of MS you can probably express interest in both: Very different diseases, but you still come off as someone whose very interested in the cognitive effects of neurodegenerative disease.

ex 2. You express interest in a professor whose looking at depression in aging populations, and another studying the prenatal factors of autistic spectrum disorder. In that case its probably going to be a lot harder to establish that you're really dedicated to the research and will stick it out all 6 years.
 

Marissa4usa

10+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2007
508
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Psychology Student
I usually describe in detail how and why my interests match with one specific professor but often times I add a shorter paragraph about how I would like to "collaborate" with another professor and explain how their research would be a beneficial addition to the work I would like to do with the professor I am primarily interested in.