Hints and Tips for your Letter of Motivation and the Interview


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

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 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/Diploma 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 a maximum of 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).

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).

Please submit the letter of motivation together with the application form in a simple, clear plastic cover (Klarsichthülle). Do not use any fancy and/or expensive folders, in the interest of the environment and ease of processing (copying) of your application. Similarly, avoid any 'creative' modes of application like posters or collages (or images of fluffy unicorns).

Do take care to format and edit/spell-check your application very carefully, to create the best possible impression.

You may submit your application in person, via the post, via email (attachment) or by placing it in the relevant postbox outside Mag. Wittmann's door.

© Dr. B.Soukup / Last revised: Jan 2018