Cover Letter for a PhD without a masters

Hello everyone!

Currently in the process of writing my cover letter for a PhD competition (for context: on a cognitive neuroscience field). I have just graduated with a 2:1 and was not feeling ready for a postgrad since well, my imposter syndrome is huge and feel a 2:1 is not good enough. However! I a currently working as a RA in a lab and the main investigator asked me if I would like to do a PhD with her since she thinks I have the potential to do it. So, I just wanted to ask for advice mostly one DO’S and DONT’S for a cover letter.
I have had 2 research assistant roles during my undergrad and have had about 5 jobs during my undergrad too although in unrelated fields (customer service for example), is it worth mentioning these? I was thinking all these jobs although gave me resilience, I felt the tiredness I had affected my grades, so not sure if I should mention this struggle and what I learned form it (?).

I am also going to be starting soon some data science course, I was wondering, since they ask us to outline academic achievement and it looks past-based, is it good to mention what I will be doing in the near future and before starting my PhD (?)

Lastly, my background has not been very science based due as I did a joint major, so half was science, half was not. I was thinking of being completely honest and mentioned that although my interest when I started my undergrad were not neuroscience as such, this has changed completely as I learned more about the topic, bla bla, is that good? or do they prefer a interest that has been always there?

I would appreciate any advice you have, as fresh water in the desert.

Many thanks,


I am also in Neuroscience, the advice I received when doing the interview for my PhD was not to go to in depth about what made you interested in the topic, the main thing is your knowledge of the topic rather than how long you have been interested. I think your research assistant roles will speak for themselves but talk about the other roles in relation to transferable skills. I think showing that you are looking to learn and keen to update your skill set is worth including as it is an attitude that will serve you well so include it but don’t focus on this aspect.

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:smiling_face_with_three_hearts:Thank you Sabrina !

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Good Luck with your cover letter!