Tips for Finding a Research Advisor

If you are applying to a thesis-based MSc or PhD graduate program in the School of Computer Science (SoCS), you will need to find a graduate faculty research advisor as securing an advisor to supervise your thesis research is required for admission.

Before contacting members of our graduate faculty, we strongly recommend visiting current available opportunities and reviewing the following tips (below) to optimize the success of your communications:

  1. Be informed: Ensure you review the research areas of our graduate faculty before contacting them. Take some time to review their information, publications and the specifics of each faculty member's research.
  2. Use concise, targeted communication: Graduate faculty advisors receive numerous emails from prospective graduate students on a daily basis. Therefore, as most faculty members have very limited time, you must communicate your information as clearly and concisely as possible. Use short paragraphs, keep the length of your email to a minimum, use a descriptive email title and be professional.
  3. Stand out from the crowd: Highlight specific and clear reasons why you would be a good candidate for working with the chosen faculty member. Include information that will set you apart from other candidates such as notable achievements/scholarships, publications, similar research interests and/or related experience.
  4. Communicate early: Start contacting faculty members at least 9-12 months in advance of the application deadlines. Finding an advisor can sometimes take months to establish.
  5. Be patient: Our graduate faculty members are very busy, especially during the start and end of the semester. Therefore, it may take some faculty members days or even weeks to respond to your email. Follow up only after if it has been a few weeks with no response.
  6. Reach out to multiple faculty: We recommend reaching out to multiple faculty members (not just one or two), as connecting with a larger number of potential faculty members may increase your chances of recruitment.