MacInsiders Logo

Similar Threads
Article Article Starter Category Comments Last Post
Contacting Profs for Research Project Pay919 Academics 11 11-16-2010 10:23 PM
Thesis Critic Cliu91 Academics 0 11-13-2010 10:39 AM
Thesis nerual Academics 2 08-07-2010 12:07 AM
Senior Thesis vs. Senior Project Fawkes Academics 6 05-29-2010 07:58 PM
Finding a thesis supervisor Lois Academics 3 05-28-2010 10:04 PM

Finding A Thesis or Research Project Supervisor

Disclaimer: This article is directed towards Science students – especially Biology or Life Sciences.

Once you start third year, if you’re in a specialization that requires a thesis project or decide to do a thesis it is important to think of what areas you’re interested in researching. McMaster has a huge variety of professors who conduct research in many fields. McMaster also has many hospital sites (McMaster University Medical Centre, Henderson Hospital, Hamilton General, Chedoke Hospital, etc) with primary investigators in a range of fields.

The Search:
Once you’ve narrowed down your field of interest, you should look-up potential supervisors for your project. The biology department typically has a list of eligible supervisors posted on their webpage around January (http://www.biology.mcmaster. ca/). For Biology 4C09 Students, if your supervisor isn’t from the biology department, then you’ll also need a co-supervisor who is part of the department. Just a note, if a professor is on sabbatical leave, they may not be willing to take on new students.

Make sure that you read up on your supervisor’s research. Spending a year on a project and researching in a field that doesn’t interest you at all will be awful. Be sure that their research interests align with yours. If they use fruit flies in most of their studies and you’re deathly afraid of bugs, you might want to search for a different supervisor.

Contacting a professor:
The easiest way is e-mail them. When you contact them, be sure to have a copy of your marks. A screen cap of your degree audit (available on MUGSI) is sufficient. Also, you should include a copy of your resume. You might want to include a bit on why you like their research just to show that you’re interested. Professors like talking about their research. If your supervisor likes your resume and marks, then they’ll request an interview. Typically people contact professors from late January up to late March/April. However, if you’re going for a competitive supervisor, then it’s important to contact them earlier.

The Interview:
It’s a good idea to bring an extra copy of your marks and resume, just in case the supervisor has lost yours. Be professional. The usual things: dress well, ensure that you’re slightly knowledgeable about their research, and show up on time. Ask questions about their research and their expectations of you. Some supervisors want their thesis students to work in their lab over the summer.

Try to tour the lab and meet the graduate students to see how well you “mesh” with them. This is a good time for gauging whether you’d enjoy the environment. You’ll likely be in the lab around 20-25 hours per week (minimum, for a wet lab), so make sure that you’ll be comfortable working there for 8 months. Some professors are more interactive with their students whereas others see their students once or twice every month. If you need interaction, try not to pick a supervisor who delegates all of the interaction to their graduate students.
For more information, the Biology Society usually holds a thesis session for undergraduate biology students. It’s a good idea to attend for new updates and to mingle with potential supervisors afterwards.

Good luck!

L'Étoile, sanju, ~*Sara*~ all say thanks to jhan523 for this post.

Pay919 likes this.
Published by
jhan523's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,484

Article Tools

Deleted Post
Old 11-14-2010 at 11:19 AM   #2
MacInsiders Staff
Posts: 1,404

Thanked: 170 Times
Liked: 453 Times
Here's the list of Thesis supervisors from the Biology website:

http://www.biology.mcmaster. ca/ m

http://www.biology.mcmaster. ca/eli...ervisors. htm
Masters Biochemistry
Honours Biology and Psychology

jhan523 says thanks to Tailsnake for this post.
Old 11-14-2010 at 04:45 PM   #3
Posts: 330

Thanked: 16 Times
Liked: 110 Times
when is a thesis required? what is a thesis required for? what sort of grades do you need?
Old 11-14-2010 at 05:12 PM   #4
MacInsiders Staff
Posts: 12,484

Thanked: 1,629 Times
Liked: 604 Times
Originally Posted by Scuderia View Post
when is a thesis required? what is a thesis required for? what sort of grades do you need?
Some programs require a thesis for graduation (It's a 9unit course for my program). It's usually done in 4th year or higher. For my program you need a CA of 8.5.
Jeremy Han
McMaster Alumni - Honours Molecular Biology and Genetics
Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University Third Year - Doctor of Optometry

Old 11-14-2010 at 06:51 PM   #5
MacInsiders Staff
Posts: 7,303

Thanked: 819 Times
Liked: 622 Times
I would also recommend taking Science 2C00, the noncredit course. It covers topics like resume writing and critiquing, writing cover letters, interview skills and whatnot! Also, when you buy the course ware, it's incredibly helpful for future reference in terms of a resume checklist and the like.
Mary Keyes CA 2013-2014
Hons. Biology and Pharmacology V
Old 11-15-2010 at 11:48 PM   #6
Posts: 84

Thanked: 14 Times
Liked: 11 Times
Although it says you need a certain CA to do a thesis...some supervisors don't care about this and will waive the requirement, so long as you get them to agree to take you on as a thesis student.
Old 01-22-2011 at 10:27 PM   #7
Posts: 46

Thanked: 0 Times
Liked: Liked 2 Times

I was wondering if your contacting the professor u are interested in for the first it ok to just send an email saying you have viewed their work and are interested in it and request for a meeting or appointment to talk to them personally about it? Then attach your resume and transcript to the email? or is it necessary to read their papers and mention some of them when emailing because you really don't know if they are even taking on students for the upcoming year so I'm not sure how productive that is.

And if anyone could give pointers on what to take to the interview and what sort of questions they ask, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks =)
Old 01-23-2011 at 12:05 AM   #8
Account Disabled by User
Posts: 2,392

Thanked: 347 Times
Liked: 345 Times
If your transcript doesn't help you, don't include it. It's a good idea to at least include your CA, but if you have some bad grades on your transcript that you'd rather the prof not see, don't include it. If the prof wants to see your transcript, they'll ask.

Article Tools Search this Article
Search this Article:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new articles
You may not post comments
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

McMaster University News and Information, Student-run Community, with topics ranging from Student Life, Advice, News, Events, and General Help.
Notice: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the student(s) who authored the content. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by McMaster University or the MSU (McMaster Students Union). Being a student-run community, all articles and discussion posts on MacInsiders are unofficial and it is therefore always recommended that you visit the official McMaster website for the most accurate up-to-date information.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved. No content can be re-used or re-published without permission. MacInsiders is a service of Fullerton Media Inc. | Created by Chad
Originally Powered by vBulletin®, Copyright © 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba vBulletin. All rights reserved. | Privacy | Terms