Tips for your Letter of Motivation and the Interview

DON'T FORGET!

Please insert a small-size (ID-type) photo of yourself in the top right corner of your letter of motivation. This merely serves as a memory prompt during the interview, to make identification and recall easier for the committee.

Motivation Letter and Calculation of Grade Average

Your letter of motivation must be typed and in English, of a length of 1 to 1 1/2 pages maximum.

In it, you should state the reasons for your application to the exchange programme. The following areas are particularly relevant:

  1. your (academic) motivation for applying to the programme/to a particular university;
  2. motivations derived from personal (academic) interests;
  3. expectations regarding the advancement of your academic career and/or professional development;
  4. potential effects of the exchange on your subsequent professional career;
  5. courses and thematic areas you wish to cover abroad (including which local courses at our department you would like to 'replace' with courses abroad);
  6. any preparatory work for/ synergies with your planned MA thesis*
    [*but note that Erasmus-exchanges cannot be undertaken without obtaining any course credits];
  7. length and time (semester) you wish to stay.

Please indicate three preferences regarding places/ universities you wish to apply for, together with the reasons for which you consider studying there a useful complementation to your local studies in Vienna (do read through the universities' websites beforehand for this purpose). You may also limit yourself to only one or two preferences (although high competition for particular placements may then limit your overall chances to study abroad). Make sure the places mentioned in your motivation letter correspond to the places chosen in Mobility Online!

Submit only one letter of motivation that features all three of your preferences (meaning, do NOT submit three texts for three different placements). You may wish to refer to concrete courses from the current listings at your universities of preference (without going into too much detail); you may also bring such listings to the interview.

It may be relevant to mention any previous stays abroad in your motivation letter, if these can be shown to pertain to your current application (e.g. a high school semester or Au Pair-stay which shows that you were able to cope with and adapt to international settings and foreign cultures).

Do not use any fancy and/or expensive layout or images for your letter. Do take care to format and edit/spell-check your application very carefully, to create the best possible impression. DO NOT FORGET TO incorporate a passport-sized picture in your motivation letter.

NEW in 2020: In a footnote, also add your grade average in ENGLISH STUDIES. For this, please choose all courses taken at the Department of English (but not in other subjects), but only those courses you passed (you may ignore all fail grades!).

Multiply each course grade with the number of ECTS and form the sum of all courses so far taken.
Then, form the sum of the ECTS of all courses and divide the first sum by the second sum.

Example:
Course A          6 ECTS    sehr gut (1)
Course B          2 ECTS    gut (2)
Course C          1 ECTS    befriedigend (3)

Calculation: 6x1 + 2x2 + 1x3 = 13/9 = 1,44

© Dr. B.Soukup / Last revised: Jan 2020