Thank you for your interest in my laboratory and my research. Unfortunately, I am not taking on any new graduate students at this time as I have just taken on 6 new people in September 2020. I probably won’t be taking on new students in 2021 or 2022 either mostly because I simply don’t have enough time to properly supervise additional trainees. If you are enquiring about a summer internship, unfortunately I do not have any such openings at the present time.
NOTE: DUE TO THE VERY HIGH VOLUME OF ENQUIRIES I SIMPLY CANNOT REPLY TO EMAIL REQUESTS FOR SUMMER INTERNSHIPS OR GRADUATE POSITIONS. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO APPLY BY SENDING A CV AS AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT. NOR IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO ASSESS YOUR POTENTIAL TO CARRY OUT GRADUATE STUDIES AT MCGILL WITHOUT A FULL APPLICATION.
However, please do not despair – I offer some suggestions below.
Other options at McGill
If you are interested in the neurosciences, then I suggest that you look at the MNI neuroscience program for more information. If imaging is more of an interest, then you could look at the Brain Imaging Centre or the department of Medical Physics] and if you are interested in other domains of biomedical research, I suggest that you look at the web page for the Biological & Biomedical Engineering Department of McGill University], specifically at the staff and research pages. The BME department also offers a certificate in Translational Biomedical Engineering. If your interests are in medical imaging, computer vision, robotics, control, artificial intelligence, or machine learning you might consider applying as well to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and to the Department of Computer Science to maximize your chances. Several colleagues in these departments are carrying out research in related areas. You might also want to visit the web pages of the Centre for Intelligent Machines, and the McGill Centre for Bioinformatics. Perhaps one of my colleagues might be able to accommodate you.
How to get on a prof’s radar
In many departments, an applicant has to solicit the interest of a supervisor. This can be done by speaking directly to the professor at a conference for example if you are lucky enough to go to conferences. For everyone else, email will be the best way to get in touch. However, recall that profs are busy and get more than 100 emails/day so they simply can’t answer everything. You need a short email that states:
- you are looking for a position
- what you would like to learn being in the profs lab (and not another lab)
- how do you see yourself contributing to the profs lab
- mention your past experience
- explain why you think you’ll be a good fit
Do not use a form letter. I hate being addressed with another prof’s name almost as much as receiving some general ‘I’ve read your papers and I am interested in your work.‘ Your letter has to be customized to the specific prof (and project).
Most profs will read the first 5-7 lines of an email (ie, what fits in the mail viewer window without scrolling). You can attach a CV and/or paper to your email, but don’t expect a prof to look at it unless you’ve convinced them in your email that you are potentially a key future member of their lab.
The goal is to start a conversation. Once a prof is interested, you can then apply to the program.
What happens to your application once you’ve applied…
When you apply for either a doctoral or masters level position please follow the necessary steps to submit a full application which meets the requirements of specific graduate program. In all cases, applications are vetted by committee and the graduate program director. All programs listed above are highly ranked and very competitive. Some receive over 2000 applications at the masters level – it is simply impossible for a prof to go through them all to find an interesting student. This is why you need to get on a profs radar – once you’ve applied, you can inform the prof to look for your application.
Selection of a candidate is based on comparisons against many other applicants. Faculty members such as myself will look at your full package and will require you to have an outstanding academic record, well defined research interests as indicated in your statement of purpose, a demonstration of very solid research potential and strong reference letters. If your application meets these requirements it will be viewed by professors whose research interests are closest to yours. Publications in international conferences and/or journals will be viewed as an asset.
More good suggestions can be found at:
- Postdocs’ advice on pursuing a research career in academia: A qualitative analysis of free-text survey responses by Suwaiba Afonja, Damonie G. Salmon, Shadelia I. Quailey, W. Marcus Lambert. Published in PlosOne https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0250662