Choosing a supervisor is a very, may be the most, important step in your research journey. Your supervisor may open you doors of knowledge, experience, networks, and a whole life experience!
Choosing a supervisor is a very, may be the most, important step in your research journey. Your supervisor may open you doors of knowledge, experience, networks, and a whole life experience. However, choosing a supervisor may not be that easy. The following points may help you with your choice.
Your initial choice
- Start by choosing a topic that interests you. Once you choose your topic of interest, start looking for supervisors that are working on the same topic. Browse the latest publications in your field of interest and consider their authors for supervision. You can also browse the biographies of academics in the websites of the potential universities to find your match.
- Take a course, if possible, taught by the potential supervisor, so you can explore him more.
- Realize what type of student you are. If you expect continuous contact and support from your supervisor, approach a junior supervisor as he will have more time for you. However, If you are independent, you may approach a senior supervisor, who has less time, but more experience.
Contacting the potential supervisor
Send an email to the potential supervisor keeping in mind:
- Referring to the academic by his correct title. For example don’t write “Prof” if he is not a professor.
- Displaying your academic background and interest that matches his.
- Showing familiarity with and interest in his academic work.
- Keeping your email direct, short and clear.
- Attaching your academic CV.
- Attaching a research proposal or a research outline
- Asking for a visit or a Skype interview.
- In case of not responding, wait two weeks and then send a reminder.
Your final decision
The following tips may help you take your final decision:
- Is there chemistry between the supervisor and you?
- Does he have available time for you? Picking a supervisor that has too many students will be hard for you.
- How does his supervision look like? Ask his students that he is already supervising.
- Is there sufficient research grant available for your project?
- Does the supervisor expect being at the university during the entire period of your program?