If you are planning to do a research master's or a doctorate, you will need a research supervisor to provide you with scientific and technical support throughout your degree, all the way to the final evaluation of your research project.

1. At what point in the admissions process do I need to find my research supervisor?

To know when during the admissions process you need to find a research supervisor, visit the description page of your intended program of study or speak directly with the faculty or department. If the faculty or department does not require you to have found a research supervisor by the time you submit your application, you may choose one during your first session (of a master's with dissertation) or during your first two sessions (of a doctorate).

Tip: It is always a good idea to identify a professor who shares your interests as soon as you begin your admissions process. The earlier you choose, the sooner you will be able to rely on the supervisor's support and make important decisions about your education.

2. What do I have to do to find a research supervisor?

You need to identify a professor who is interested in subjects that you are passionate about or in theoretical and philosophical hypotheses that are compatible with yours. Here are three approaches:

  • Explore the faculty or department website to learn about the research interests and areas of expertise of the researchers there. The links can be found on the program description pages.
  • Visit the professors’ site on the research site, where you can search by criteria and read the profiles of UdeM professors.
  • Visit Papyrus, Université de Montréal's digital institutional repository, which provides free access to UdeM dissertations and theses from recent years, as well as publications, preprints and other intellectual works produced by our researchers and students.

Tip: Once you have found a professor who meets your expectations, read his or her publications and learn about the research chairs, centres or units he or she is affiliated to.

3. How do I prepare before contacting one or more professors?

It is strongly recommended to prepare an application file including, if possible:

  • A curriculum vitae listing your research experience, publications, professional experience and any relevant information (one or two pages maximum).
  • An outline of your research project.
  • A letter of interest or of intent.
  • One or two letters of recommendation from professors who have played significant roles in your university career.

Tip: These documents are not always required, but they can make a big difference when the research supervisor is making a decision. They demonstrate your seriousness and your skills.

4. How should I contact a professor?

Unless you already know the professor, you should send an email to present your research project and discuss the possibility of supervision. Begin by referring to what you find interesting about the professor's career, then explain your research project and objectives. You may attach all of your application file documents. This step is crucial.

  • Personalize your message.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Identify the program and level of study to which you are seeking admission.
  • Highlight your academic results and publications.
  • State the reasons for your interest in graduate studies and your career objectives.
  • If you have funding (a scholarship), indicate the type, amount and duration.
  • State why you have chosen this professor as a potential supervisor and how your research interests are compatible. Refer to publications by the professor.
  • Show yourself to advantage and try to interest the professor in your application, much as you would if you were applying for a job.
  • Suggest the possibility of continuing the discussion by telephone or video conference or possibly by meeting in person.

Tip: You may write to more than one professor, but it might hurt your chances if you write to all of the professors in the same department. Concentrate on the professors with whom you have an affinity. If your research interests encompass several disciplines, do not hesitate to contact professors in related departments.

5. What should I do after I contact the professor?

Give the professor time to become familiar with your application. Remember that professors are very much in demand and receive a lot of requests. It is therefore very important to pay particular attention to how you communicate with your potential supervisor. You may have to wait some time before you receive an email in response.

Tip: At this stage, you are strongly recommended to fill out the application form.

To find out more about graduate supervision, consult the Guide de l'étudiant (Student guide) published by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.