Before You Apply

In order that you receive the greatest benefit from your time spent in graduate school, it is essential that you research the graduate program and the graduate faculty you may eventually apply to.

  • Do your homework
    The process should begin with a critical examination of your motives, interests, and goals in attending graduate school. Productive graduate students are motivated by a keen sense of curiosity and sincere desire to learn. An outstanding M. Sc. candidate will have a good idea of the research s/he wishes to pursue, but typically, an applicant to an M. Sc. program can be expected to be less focused and can expect more guidance from a thesis advisor in final topic selection, than a Ph. D. applicant whose experience should, by that time, have focused their research interests.

  • Select Potential Advisors
    Please refer to the list of faculty in each program to decide which faculty have research interests aligned with yours. You should take the time to find and read some recent papers by potential advisors and/or their graduate students.

  • Write to Potential Advisors
    At this point you can make an impression by indicating that you know something about potentials advisors, and indicate why what you’ve read about their work interests you. All faculty have email addresses, or you may also contact them by regular mail or telephone. Potential advisors will want to know about your grades, and whether or not you have applied for or hold a scholarship.

  • Interview Potential Advisors
    After reviewing replies, and narrowing the field, you should arrange to meet with faculty to discuss prospects for pursuing graduate work. At this time, you can ask about the potential advisor’s philosophies about graduate education, the potential for, and stability of, research funding and personal stipends. Potential advisors, at this time, become more familiar with you, and can ask their own questions about you. You should also arrange to speak with the potential advisors' current, (or former), graduate students and ask them their views about the advisor, the program, and the university. It cannot be emphasized enough that this step can be critical to your ability to have a rewarding and happy career as a graduate student. Obviously, there will be some circumstances where applicants from long distances will be unable to visit, in these cases, active correspondence is highly recommended.