Choosing your next supervisor
Questions to ask:
What concepts/skills do I need for my career?
What concepts/skills does the potential supervisor's lab use? Will these skills be
useful to me?
- Look up the puplications on Pub Med.
- Read the latest papers.
- Look up the citation's. Look up the h index in Scopus or Google Scholar Citations, where h is the # times a paper has been cited at least h times.
Will I like using these concepts and
- Imagine writing a paper similar to one from this lab.
- Is this something you would enjoy?
Is this a good lab in which to learn these concepts and skills?
- Who in the lab will teach them to me?
- Do they real understand these techniques?
- Do they have the time to teach me?
Is the lab productive?
- From the publications, determine if the laboratory productive now
(as opposed to 5 years ago)? Again citation are importnat.
- Are graduate students publishing regularly?
- Are they first author?
- Ask how long did it take for the students to graduate.
- Where are the former students now?
- How many students are there currently?
Is the lab well funded?
- By whom (national foundations count for more than local
- For how long (you don't want to find out that it runs
out of money six months after you arrive)?
Ask the students if the supervisor is:
- responsive and available to students?
- around, comfortable talking to and interacting with
- helpful in writing up the papers, thesis?
- generous in giving credit for ideas?
How will my salary be funded?
How will working in this lab help get me my next job?
- Will I learn saleable skills?
- Will the supervisor's reputation be a asset?
- Early in your career, a small cozy lab
may be the best place for you. Later, working
for someone that has a big name with one of the best labs in the field
may be the best option.
Copyright © 1995
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
University of Western Ontario
London Ontario Canada
Created 28 Sept 1995
November 20, 2011