You do not need to have secured a supervisor at the time of application. Most students apply to the program and start reaching out to potential supervisors in parallel. However, only students who have eventually secured a supervisor can be admitted to the program. There are two ways to secure a supervisor:
- Provided your application file has made its way through the screening and evaluation process, it will get shortlisted and forwarded to all faculty members in the program. Faculty members looking for new students peruse the shortlist, looking for students whose research interests or skills might imply a good match for their labs. A supervisor would then contact you and schedule an interview if you are also interested in the supervisor’s lab and research.
- You can proactively contact potential supervisors in the program in parallel to working on your application. We highly recommend this approach. Many students, who apply to our program, already have an arrangement with a faculty member in our program. We still do the same rigorous review of their application files, but these students will be accepted into the program once their application file has passed the admissions committee stage. This means that some supervisors are already “off the market” by the time the shortlist comes out. In order to be competitive, we recommend contacting faculty early.
Securing a supervisor: tips from current students. To help you navigate the process of securing a supervisor, current students in our program have put together a document explaining the process and to support you with concrete examples: http://med-neuroscience-2021.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2022/10/Application-Tips-from-Current-Neuroscience-Students.pdf
Additionally, a contact email template provided by our current students can help you phrase your first email to a prospective supervisor, see here: http://med-neuroscience-2021.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2022/10/Email-Templates.pdf