In the last blog I explained the general application process to Swedish Master’s programmes (link), now I’ll focus more upon the CV form. Hopefully the tips should provide relevant information for everyone, not just prospective Global Health applicants.
What is the CV form?
Basically it’s a condensed curriculum vitae proforma provided by Karolinska Institute and other Swedish Universities (found here). It is used for the Master’s applications, with the aim to provide a structured template allowing student’s to display important or relevant skills and experiences which make them suitable candidates for the programme.
What does it consist of?
First, basic personal information, name, application number, education background and previous degrees etc. Then there are four white space open questions to complete: ambition and initiative, relevant work experience, relevant research experience and the statement of intent.
What should I write?
There are no write or wrong things to write but I’ll try shine some light upon how I answered each section based on being accepted onto the course. Generally, I aimed to make each section relevant and topical to Global Health – to demonstrate a commitment and passion towards the area. Obviously some of your experiences won’t be to do with your chosen Master’s programme but demonstrate important skills and characteristics – so definitely talk about them too!
AMBITION AND INITIATIVE
“Please describe any activities that show ambition and initiative. This could be for example experience from serving on boards or committees, starting a business or running projects etc.”
For me, this was the hardest section. I guess I thought about things in my life which have shown dedication or commitment to a particular cause. For example, starting a society, project or fundraising for charity. Coming from a medical background it had a few examples which were also transferable to relevant global health problems which generally made things slightly easier.
Also thinking about things which you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into, whether these are sporting, artistic or educational achievements, all can show the ambition and initiative courses are looking for.
RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE
“Please describe any relevant work experience you might have for the programme you have applied to. State the name of the company, or the equivalent, as well as the period of time you were employed.”
Note – if applicable. Depending on your background you may or may not have any relevant employment history. However, I feel that a lot of applicants (particularly from all healthcare backgrounds) will have work experiences with global health issues. Even from other backgrounds, such as engineering, law or social sciences, you may have worked on projects which involve innovative ideas or interactions with NGOs and charities for example.
I talked about my experiences working in a diverse hospital and also a previous research assistant job involving an innovative healthcare solution.
If you do have some work experience to write about you will also need a letter / evidence from your previous employer stating your position at the time.
RELEVANT RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
“Please describe any research experience you have acquired. Describe only research experience that was not part of your academic studies. If you have relevant publications, please list them here with complete references.”
Note – if applicable. Again this is difficult, especially as it states “not part of your academic studies”, technically I presume this would exclude any research that you did for your Bachelors degree.
List any publications you have! It is also probably useful to place the abstract here and submit a PDF/paper copy of the publication when you submit all your documents to universityadmissions.se.
We were told that as the Global Health course is very competitive one of the main distinguishing features is having research experience or publications, and many of our cohort do. Nonetheless there is still a significant proportion who don’t or only have research as part of previous studies, so definitely don’t let this put you off from applying.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
“Please describe why you are applying to the specific programme and university, and why you believe you are a good candidate.”
This is the main bulk of the application and your chance to show yourself off. As I asked myself a few key questions to give a basis of a structured answer.
- Why do I want to study global health?
- What do I know about global health?
- What previous work / travelling / charity have I done around global health?
- What do I want to do with the degree after?
- Why Karolinska Institutet and Sweden?
I think the main tip for writing this section is to show passion! This sounds really cliché I know, but try to draw from past experiences and tell the reader what has really inspired you to want to enter the field of global health.
Remember the CV form is the only way of separating prospective students apart from one another so really make sure you prepare early and draft a few ideas, get help from friends, family or academics, and make sure you’re happy with your final application.