Sample SOP from Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman

Statement of purpose বা SOP নিয়ে ধূমায়ে আলোচনা করা হয়েছিলো All About SOP পোস্টে। এখানে আমরা একটা স্যাম্পল দেখবো। এটা চট্টগ্রাম বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের একজন ফ্যাকাল্টি মেম্বারের লেখা। তুনি অবশ্য এই ভার্সিটিতে যাননি, মিসিসিপি স্টেট ইউনিভার্সিটি থেকে পিএইচডি করেছিলেন। আসুন, পড়ি উনি কী লিখেছিলেন……

The College of Forest Resources,
Washington University, USA.


What I would like to search for: the Research Problem

During my Graduate study (MS), I came to learn how unscientifically the Bangladesh Forests were being managed – somewhere clear felling followed by artificial regeneration were being practiced while selection felling was being done somewhere. Unfortunately, the scenario is still neither changed nor there is any possibility for any modern forest management system to be adopted in near future. The modernization of the forest management system in the country has not been possible as, even now, we have no technology and technically sound professionals in forest department. We are still in the forest management system which was proposed and practiced by the British Colonists about 200 years ago. As a result the present condition of Bangladesh Forest Resources is unthinkably poor – the country, at present, has only about 7-8% forest coverage owned by the state! Consequently, for this poor management, the total contribution of this sector to the national economy is shamefully very low. For instance, in Bangladesh, the contribution of Agriculture to the GDP is around 43% while that of Forestry Sector is only 2-3%. Right thenceforth, I felt pity for my poor country and its ravaged forest resources. I was, from the very beginning of my academic career, incredibly inclined to develop quantitative decision support tools in the aid of forest and natural resource management. Thus my vision is building and testing mathematical models that can quantify and visualize the resource trade-offs and production possibilities between conflicting management objectives. I have developed, within myself, a love for and a keen inclination to the study of Forest Management Decisions through the application of Mathematical Modeling which in turn will enable me to get a better model for a sustainable and productive Forest Management System. 

I am interested in finding the answers to some questions like:

(a)   How is to develop quantitative decision support tools and to fit the best tool to aid forest and natural resource management?

(b)   How can quantities tools be used in allocating the Forest Land for different forest productive systems?

(c)   How is to develop quantitative tools to realize even the un-priced forest service in their monetary worth?

(d)   How to apply the theory of Operation Research in optimizing the multiple-criteria of Forest resources?

The capability I have: my qualification

Academic: Basically, I am a graduate of Forest Science – I have completed a 4-year B.Sc. (Honors) and a 1­year Master Degrees in Forest Science. In both the Degrees I secured 1st Class with 2nd position in combined merit list. During our period, there had been no grading system in publishing results. In Class System, 1st Class was the highest possible level that a student can achieve. Besides, the medium of instruction of both the degrees was completely English. At Undergraduate level I had taken and successfully completed 192 credit hours. I have studied a sufficient number of courses related to my research problem. Some of the studied courses at Undergraduate level (B.Sc. Honors in Forestry) are Forest Menstruation and Inventory, Non-timber Forest Products, Forest Harvesting & Transportation Engineering, Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry & Calculus, Statistics, Research Methodology, Principles of Economics, Forest Resource Economics and Marketing, Forest Management, Silviculture, Forest Utilizations etc. and at Graduate level (MS), I took courses like Forest Resource Economics and Project Analysis, Production Planning and Optimization in Harvesting (the syllabus contains operation research, LP modeling, Goal programming, Transportation modeling etc.), Ecology and Management of Mangrove Forests, Forest Resource Management and Planning.

Professional: I worked as a Lecturer at Department of Forestry, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh. Later on, I joined as a Lecturer at the Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh of which I was a graduate student. Later, I was promoted to the post of an Assistant Professor of the same institute in a year. At the moment, I have a total of 09 published papers, 01 peer reviewed accepted paper and 04 submitted papers related to Forest Resource Management, Forest Resource Economics, Non-timber Forest Products, Forest Harvesting and Forest Initialization, Mathematical Model in Optimization.

Dissertation at undergrad level: Utilization of byproducts produced in the saw mills and furniture marts  a critical analysis. 

Dissertation at graduate level: Physical workload and Ergonomical Environment for Forestry Workers. 

Where I should exercise my knowledge: scopes of application

Now, a simple question may arise: alongside my keen inclination to Operation research in Forest Management, what would be the fields of the findings of the proposed study to be implemented in Bangladesh? This question may have several answers.

1. Bangladesh is a tropical one and is very rich in plant diversity. It has about 5500 plant species and hundreds of wildlife. But the total forest cover in the country is unthinkably low- only 16% including the privately owned village groves. But these forests are not properly managed; as a result, proper forest landuse is not ensured. If I can develop Mathematical tool and can make a better choice among them to manage the forests precisely, the productivity will considerably increase. It will also be possible on my part to show that forestry sector’s contribution to the GDP is not less significant and Forest husbandry ensures a good deal of economic returns. At this, the countrymen will be motivated to create and care for forest resources. So an indirect thrust will be created to bring about a Green Revolution.

2. I am a university teacher and am assigned to teach courses like Principles of Economics, Forest Resource Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Forest Resource Economics and Project Analysis, Forest Management etc. In the class, my students often want to know: What is the application of Mathematics, so difficult a subject, to Forestry and how might the un-priced forest resources be priced? Actually, I have no rigid answer, as I know a little about it. I dream to answer them. Students should know the processes or quantitative ways to manage and evaluate forest resources of all sorts-both tangible and intangible. As university teachers, I believe, we should satisfy our students. I hope, one day I will be able to do so.

3. If the management and evaluation mechanism of Forest resources be developed, it will help in reformulating forest policy of Bangladesh. There, I will be able to give valuable comments and suggestions.

Why a foreign Degree: study at Washington University

Forestry education in Bangladesh is at its pioneer stage. The oldest institution teaching Forestry in Bangladesh is Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong of which I am an Assistant Professor. The other institutions are younger and have less facility (in terms of faculty members and research opportunities) than we do. At this moment, there is no scope for me to have advanced study in my preferred filed in Bangladesh. So, I have the only option to study abroad. Besides, the universities of the USA are always in my dream and if it is Washington University, I will be more than happy as I know about its world class standards.


I do possess a great interest in the application of Operation Research and Optimization in Forest Management. Hence I have been conducting research in this area for a couple of years. I hope, the College of Forest Resources will consider my case based on my keen interest and experience in the field of interest, the need for faculty members having advanced education in Forest Management for an under developed country like Bangladesh.


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