Info for Prospective Students

Thank you for considering to share the joy of research with me...! I am always looking for undergraduate and graduate students to work with me in the areas of human-robot interaction and ethics of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

When it comes to decisions about going to grad school (hiring grad students), it's important that you and I are a good match. Once you start, we will be working together very closely for at least 2 yrs (for MEng) and 4 years (for PhD). Here are some tips to help both of us in the process:

Things I look for in a student

  • Interpersonal skills: I highly value interpersonal skills in my students. Only those who are friendly, happy, helpful, with strong teamwork skills are encouraged to apply.
  • Intellectual curiosity: I value curiosity and the courage to ask interesting questions. Questions that start with "what if we did...?" can lead to an interesting exercise of building something novel. Questions that start with "Is it really the case that..." can lead to critical thinking that sparks a new study.
  • Interdisciplinarity & Inclusivity: My research program is highly interdisciplinary, and my research group aims to provide an inclusive research environment for everyone. It has room for people with various backgrounds, such as policy, ethics, psychology etc., and of course technical backgrounds (electrical, computer science, data science, mechatronics, mechanical). I also encourage indigenous students, LGBTQ+ students, and students of other minority groups to apply.
  • Technical skills: Training in robotics, controls, signal processing, human factors, psychology, machine learning are very valuable. Even if you do not have a formal training in technical disciplines, I value evidence of proactive and hands-on attitude towards them. Completion of online and other forms of self-training in technical areas are all good signs.

High grades are useful, because you need a certain GPA to get into McGill's competitive graduate program. But it's not the first nor the only thing I look for.

Email me to show your interest

It's hard for any professor to get a good sense of your real interests when someone sends a CV and writes "I have a X% GPA. I read your paper on X and am interested in working with you".

Therefore, in your email to express your interest in applying to work with me, please do the following.

  • Subject line should read: "(Domestic/International) Prospective Student for (PhD/MEng) -- (your planned start date)"
  • In the body of the email:
    • Read a paper I wrote (see my CV) or a research post from Open Roboethics Institute (I'm involved in all of the studies) that seem to pique your interest. Let me know which paper/post you read and ask one or more questions that came to your mind when you read it. This is to gauge what kind of things you are naturally curious about. Feel free to let me know what you liked/disliked about the paper;
    • Highlight any research experience you have (if any);
    • Highlight any scholarships you've been awarded or applied for (e.g., NSERC, MITACS or other national scholarships) -- you may be eligible for top-ups;
    • A copy of your CV;
    • A copy of a report, article, or paper you wrote (if any). This can be for a school assignment, or a blog post etc. that will help me gauge your writing skills in English.
    • For students with an advanced degree (e.g., Master's), feel free to mention who your Master's thesis advisor is.

The application process

Once you've let me know of your interest via email, please apply through McGill's application process outlined on the Department website. There will be a section where you can select me as your preferred choice of supervisor.

Once you've applied and the application deadline has passed, the Department sends me a list of candidates who show interest in working with me and those who qualify for grad school at McGill. If you've already emailed me with the contents above, that's when I look up your name in my inbox and review all the contents you sent me.

Timing

Note that the application deadline is different for International and Canadian students. This is so that we can get you set up with visa to enter Canada etc.

In general, availability of research grants become more certain around early May, which determines how many open I have for students for the Fall semester (September start). If you don't hear from me before May, that may be why. Positions starting in January or May work a little differently depending on available resources.

I get too many emails from prospective students to be reviewing & responding them all prior to receiving the list -- sorry! However, I do review what you send me carefully once the application deadline has passed.

If you have specific deadlines before which you need to hear from me (e.g., support for a scholarship you are applying), you need to let me know in the subject line of your email. Otherwise, you'll be waiting in agony until for no reason...!