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Finding a graduate supervisor

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The importance of a supervisor

Choosing a supervisor is one of the most important decisions you'll make in graduate school. They'll be your mentor and adviser, and you'll work together closely throughout your program. You'll also work with them to form your supervisory committee based on your research interests and other faculty members' areas of expertise.

Researching potential supervisors

You should select a supervisor with a strong record of research and publication in your area of interest. When looking into potential supervisors for your program, become familiar with the type of research they do and their working style.

  • Browse the researcher database and research areas.
  • Read journals or conference papers, and sit in on any presentations.
  • Look on their web site and read their CV. Their publications should give you a sense of the type of research you'd be doing.
  • Talk to their students to get a sense of how you'd fit together.

Finding the perfect fit

After coming up with a list of professors you'd like to work with, meet with each of them to discuss your research interests, and see if they would be interested and available. Be sure to ask them about their availability during your graduate program, and whether they're planning any extended absences during that time.

When considering potential supervisors you should talk to several professors before asking one to become your supervisor. It could be the most important decision of your career, so you should put as much time into researching and choosing a supervisor as you would into a major purchase. Be sure you understand what your prospective supervisor would expect of you as graduate student.

Your department's graduate adviser will be familiar with faculty members' expertise, teaching and research schedules. They'll know how many graduates each person is currently supervising, and can often help you create an initial short list of likely candidates.

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