How to find a supervisor for the Master of Science program | Mount Allison

Find the professor (faculty supervisor) who is the right fit for you — for your research topic and for your personality!

(note that timing is a factor: they may not have an open spot in their lab/research project at the time you want to apply)

Know what program you want to take: Mount Allison offers an MSc in Biology or an MSc in Chemistry

(note: if you want to specialize in biochemistry or environmental studies, be sure to communicate that clearly to the appropriate professors who are doing that research here)

Know the admission requirements for that specific program

Next: read the Guidelines and Tips sections below.


Guidelines to applying for the Master of Science program at Mount Allison

Before you apply, have you:

  • confirmed that there is a faculty researcher at Mount Allison who specializes in the area of Biology or Chemistry that you want to pursue, and have read some of their conference papers/ publications/ website?

  • prepared your cv (curriculum vitae format, not resume format) that concisely highlights your achievements and skills that would be of interest to that supervisor in that area of specialty?

  • sent a specific email inquiry to that faculty researcher and received a reply that indicates they may be able to bring you on as a Master’s student?

If you have answered yes to these questions see the Tips section below, then review the graduate students admissions information.


Tips for contacting a potential supervisor

  • Reach out by email early, giving time to form a relationship before the application deadline arrives
  • To catch the professor’s attention as they skim through their email inbox, use this format for your email subject line: Supervisory Inquiry - your name, program applying to/specialty area, semester of admission
  • Be polite and professional: customize your email to that one professor and use their proper title (e.g. Dr.) and check the spelling of their name (avoid the generic “Dear Professor”), use complete sentences and use spell/grammar check
  • Introduce yourself: include your research area of interest, your main achievements that have prepared you for research at the Master’s level, and attach your cv (be sure to include any conference papers/posters or presentations you have given, journal articles written or contributed to, scholarships won, notable successes with grades and hands-on experience)
  • Mutual research interests and make a connection: let them know if your undergraduate professor has recommended them, describe the aspects of their work (from conference papers, published papers, website information) that you want to assist with, be clear about how you can contribute to their work, and try to indicate your independence (if you are ready to take initiative, develop your own research ideas, be self-directed in your studies)
  • Thank them for their time, ask if they have funding to add you to their project, and ask if they would be comfortable with you referencing them as a prospective supervisor in your application to Graduate Studies, then follow with a professional sign off
  • Follow up, if needed: be patient (give the professor time to reply, particularly during vacation/holiday season or busy academic times) and ask for a response (then, if no response to the second email, it might be best to try elsewhere)

You may want to read more advice about reaching out to potential supervisors, such as ‘Nail the inquiry email'.