Before You Apply

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

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 MSc applicant will typically have a good idea of the research s/he wishes to pursue and can expect significant guidance from their thesis advisor in final topic selection. In contrast, a PhD applicant is expected to have focused research interests.

Identify 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.  You can also read about recently published research findings on our Research Highlights page.  Some faculty are actively recruiting students for funded projects – many of these opportunities are posted on the department websites.

Write to Potential Advisors

At this point you can make an impression by indicating that you know something about potentials advisors, and indicate why their work interests you. All faculty have email addresses or you may also contact them by 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 availability of research funding and graduate stipends. Potential advisors will get to know you in return and can ask their own questions about your experience and interests. 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. This step will 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 and, in these cases, active correspondence and Skype conversations are highly recommended.