I am always looking for students with research and career interests that match my own and I am happy to receive inquiries about graduate opportunities in my lab.  However, I get many inquiries each year and have few graduate opportunities.  This is true of all graduate faculty members at most universities.  Please recognize how competitive the graduate school application process is and take the time to prepare an organized and complete package when you contact me (or anyone for that matter) about graduate school.

I’ve provided this information to help you prepare an informative packet that will allow me to evaluate your academic and work history.  My suggestions below are independent of formally applying to graduate school at OSU; it is not necessary for students to formally apply when first contacting me.  I believe it makes sense to fill out an official application only after I know that a position is available (i.e., I have funding) and we have talked.

If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in my lab, please send me:

  1. A cover letter that outlines your research interests, personal background, and career goals. If you are inquiring about a PhD program or post-doc opportunity, please include specifics about your Masters or PhD research, including PDFs of any publications.
  2. Your GRE scores (report verbal, quantitative, and written scores separately).
  3. A complete resume or curriculum vitae.
  4. A copy of all relevant transcripts.
  5. A sample of your writing.  This could be a publication, term paper or project report; something you feel represents your writing ability.

If possible, please combine items 2-5 into a single PDF file; official copies of transcripts and GRE scores are not needed for a first inquiry (your GRE scores could simply be reported on your resume).  If you have not yet finished your undergraduate degree, send me your most recent transcripts.  I keep all inquiries for at least one year, so combining everything into a single file makes archiving and retrieving the information easier for me. From your perspective, once you have combined your information into a single PDF file it makes contacting other prospective graduate advisors simpler.

If your application is competitive and if I have funds to support a student, I will extend an invitation to have you visit me at OSU.  This will allow us to meet, allow you to meet my current students, and visit with other faculty in the department.  A visit to campus is not required, but I definitely recommend it.  You don’t want to commit yourself to 2-4 years in my lab without some feeling that we can get along; just because I can write a scientific manuscript doesn’t mean I’m a good guy!  An invitation to visit is not an offer of a position.

Because the number of graduate opportunities I have is so few, each position is very valuable to me.  Consequently, I put a lot of effort into my students and expect a lot of effort in return.  In most cases, I have already written a proposal outlining the major theme for any MS work and the general topic for a PhD, so I’m intellectually invested and have contract reporting requirements.  That being said, I have multiple committee, teaching, and research commitments, so I desire students who can accept guidance but who are self-motivated and interested in actively developing and completing their own research.  I feel that submitting manuscripts from your thesis or dissertation work is part of doing a complete job.  It is my goal to help mentor students through the intellectual process of completing an advanced degree and prepare them to be successful in their desired careers.  I hope each student evolves to the point where I learn from them and we can continue to interact as colleagues long after they graduate from our program.

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