I am always looking for graduate students to join my team. Ideally, you should contact me (or any other prospective graduate supervisor) to express your interest in working with me about a year before you would start your graduate program to allow sufficient time for us to apply for scholarships together. However, supervision can sometimes be arranged on a shorter timescale. I am affiliated with the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto – prospective graduate students can find out more about admission requirements and the admission process, including application deadlines, by visiting the RSI website.
If you contact me expressing interest in doing your MSc/PhD research with my team, you should send three documents:
1. Your CV/resumé
What is it? This is a document outlining your educational background, work and volunteer experiences, and any other skills or experience that are relevant to a future career in research. Make sure to include details of any experience working in a research lab (e.g., as a volunteer or co-op student) and name the Principal Investigator you worked with. If you have any publications or academic presentations (e.g., as conferences) put these on your CV!
Why do I want to see it? This gives me a good idea of who you are and what kinds of skills and experiences you have had. If you have prior research experience, knowing who you worked with helps me to understand the kind of research you were involved with.
2. Your transcripts
What are these? These are academic transcripts from all degree programs in which you have been enrolled. They do not have to be ‘official’ transcripts; you can print out or screenshot the transcripts from the University website. If your University uses a funky grading system and/or if you completed University outside of Canada, please be sure to include the part of the transcript that provides some interpretation of your grades (e.g., what % does a ‘B’ correspond to?).
Why do I want to see them? RSI has minimum grade requirements for admission to the MSc/PhD program; if you do not meet these minimum requirements you will not be admitted to graduate school. Before we chat too much about the potential for doing your graduate research with my team I would like to know that your grades meet the minimum required by RSI. I would also like to know what courses you have taken so that I can get an idea of your base knowledge.
3. A statement of research interest
What is this? This is an approximately one-page summary of a problem you would like to solve in your research, or a research question that you would like to answer. You should include a rationale for why this is an important and/or interesting problem/research question, and some details of the approaches (methods) you would take to address the problem/research question. Prospective MSc students likely do not have a very clear idea of potential research question, so the statement of research interest for these students will probably be vague. Perhaps you know the kinds of problems you would like to work on but not how you would go about addressing them; this is OK. However, prospective PhD students should have a much clearer idea of the kind of research they would like to conduct and how they would approach their research. You might also want to view the 'Current Projects' section of this website to see what our team is currently working on, and which projects are currently recruiting trainees.
Why do I want to see it? I want to know what you are interested in so that I know if our research interests align. You are hoping to attend graduate school to learn; I don’t expect you to know everything before you’ve started, and it’s possible that you would identify a research question that has already been answered. However, this document gives me an idea of how you think and if you can formulate a logical research question. If you do your graduate research with my team, we will refine your research question together.
You should e-mail these documents to me. In the body of your e-mail, please write a ‘cover letter’ that summarizes the information in the documents. You should also identify potential funding sources for your stipend (i.e., scholarships that you can apply to). Some students can be funded from my existing grants, but it is expected that all graduate students apply for all scholarships available to them.