I'm currently writing a statement of purpose for graduate school application. I would like to know the best way to present the list of books that I have independently studied.

I wrote the following paragraph:

I taught myself mathematics by studying some textbooks in depth. I would like to mention a few: 1) Hatcher's, May's, and Spanier's Algebraic topology" 2) Griffiths', and Fulton's books on Algebraic geometry

Every item in that list corresponds to the books that I have studied in a certain subject.

I would like to know if this is a good way to present it.


  • Is that three books or five? Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 14:13
  • Five books. I wrote an apostrophe after each author's name to indicate that they are not co-authors of the same book. The numbering is related to the subject Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 14:16
  • But they all appear to have the same subject, algebraic topology. Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 14:20
  • Oops. I meant to write algebraic geometry in item number 2. Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 14:22
  • I'd use just the names: ... in depth, in particular the books on algebraic topology by Hatcher, May and Spanier and those on algebraic geometry by Griffiths and Fulton. Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


Be brief and concise. You don't have to say "in depth," since that's assumed. The best wording is actually what you used in the question, then a bullet list with author names and book titles. If titles are self-explanatory, then no need to append field (don't capitalize).

My independent study has included:

  • Hatcher, [Book title] (algebraic topology)
  • May, [Book title] (algebraic topology)
  • Spanier, [Book title] (algebraic topology)
  • Griffith, [Book title] (algebraic geometry)
  • Fulton, [Book title} (algebraic geometry)

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