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Confused with my prospective advisor

  1. May 12, 2014 #1
    Dear all,

    Please I need your help and suggestions

    I contacted a professor for a PhD program in electrical engineering. First, he asked me to send him some documents (CV, transcripts,...etc). Then, he told me to apply for the university. Unfortunately, my application has been rejected after long time of waiting! I contacted him and I told him that my application has been rejected! He gave me some justifications like the scholarships given by the university needs high GPA (my MS GPA is 3.7/4)!

    Later, he told me that we should to apply for Mitacs and NSERC to get fellowships and I must have published papers to apply for that fellowships. I asked him to wait until I got acceptance for my submitted papers. I got acceptance from one conference. In addition, I submitted two papers to ISI journals and another conference paper, but not yet accepted.

    After seven months from the first contact and after more than 30 emails between me and him, I told him to apply for Mitacs or NSERC, we have to write a proposal, so if you already had a project, please let's apply by the proposal of this project. He told me I have a project in place and he sent me the proposal of this project. What is made me confused is in his last email he send me "Yes I have project in place, I am only asking you to see your interest and required documents. Let me know". I sent him a reply that the project is very interesting and I am very happy to work on it, but I didn't get any response from him (today is the six day).

    My questions are:
    What do you think he means by "to see your interests and required documents after long contact with him?
    Is my reply is so enough?
    Does that mean he doesn't like me?

    I appreciate your help and suggestion in advance.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2014 #2


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    Your post is confusing to follow.

    If you were rejected from the program, then it would seem that there isn't much point in applying for an external scholarship. Or are you re-appyling for next year?

    From what I remember about the NSERC scholarship application process, it's largely a student initiative. The professor can help you define a project, but I don't think its his job to put together the application for you. If he's sent you a project proposal, he's likely expecting you to take that and put together an application. If you get the external scholarship, then you've got a more-or-less guaranteed acceptance into the program (presumably for next year). Unfortunately, the way these things often work is that the NSERC PGS D is very competative and if you weren't admitted to the program this year, your chances of being awarded the scholarship are slim (unless something has chanced of course). So it's surprising that this professor has suggested it - although, maybe there's something I'm not understanding.
  4. May 13, 2014 #3
    Thanks Choppy,

    I just got a reply right now from this professor and he offered me TA+RA with $20000 per year! He ask me to write research plan ASAP.

    - What is the duties of TA in Canadian universities?
    - Is that amount of money enough to study in Canada (tuition and fees about $18000 in that univ.)?
    - I will send him a message that I accept this offer and I will try to write research plan based on the proposal that you gave me. Actually, I feel nervous because I just know the main objectives of that project and I don't know the methodology that will work on! It is difficult for me to write the research plan in short time without his help. Could you please give me the typical structure of research plan?

  5. May 13, 2014 #4


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    You didn't answer choppy's question. Is the TA+RA for next year since you were rejected this year? Did the university turn around and accept you after initially rejecting you since this prof found funding for you?

    Also, usually these TA+RA appointments include tuition waivers (at least in the states). Not sure about Canada.

    TA duties depend on what the university needs you to do. Sometimes you will administer an undergrad lab course or grade papers or lead recitation sessions (or any combination of those three).
  6. May 13, 2014 #5


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    Also, applying for fellowships usually isn't the professor's job. It is your job. You have to define and outline a project of some sort. This prof might be able to steer you in the right direction and give you ideas but it is ultimately your responsibility. Have you read any of this professor's publications in the area you want to do research in?
  7. May 13, 2014 #6


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    Something's not right here. Maybe it's a communication or language issue. In Canada, an individual professor cannot grant you admission to a program. He can offer you a research assistanceship to supplement your income or replace your teaching assistanceship once you've been admitted (first by the faculty of graduate studies, then by the department), or he can offer you a position as a research assistant, but individual professors don't contact students with offers of admission - at least not in any of the schools I've been involved with.

    In any case, I hope this is just a misinterpretation on my part and therefore congratulations.

    In most cases you start out by supervising and marking undergraduate physics labs, usually first year. As people in the department learn your skills, you can progress to marking assignments, or leading tutorial sessions (basically answering questions about homework assignments).

    In Canada tuition isn't generally waived. The stipend/TA/RA is supposed to cover it though. If you're looking at $18 000 for tuition and fees (I'm assuming that's the international student cost, it's not generally that high for Canadian citizens) then you have $2000 left over to take care of yourself. Rent will depend greatly on the city, but it's going to be more than $167 per month - probably a lot more. And you have to eat.

    I thought he sent you a proposal already. In any case, this is something that you're supposed to do yourself. It's part of the exercise of learning about the project and how to become a researcher.
  8. May 13, 2014 #7
    Thank you Physics_UG and Choppy,

    I would like to clarify that I am an international student and I am applying to Canadian univ.

    The answer yes, he told me that he sent a request to the graduate studies to process it.

    Regarding the stipend TA, he told me it is not enough to cover your cost living and tuition fees and you have to support yourself particularly the first year. After that, your income will be improved depending on your GPA and publishing papers.

    I found that for one year I need at least $38000 per year including cost living, tuition fees,...etc. The problem I am facing that I don't have sufficient money ($18000). I am also worried that may I can't do well in my course work or publications in next years! Is there any way to improve my income after arriving to Canada?

    I actually appreciate your help.
  9. May 13, 2014 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    You're not communicating with us, and it sounds like you are not communicating with the professor either.

    You need to get the correspondence with this professor professionally translated. It will cost money, but it will be less expensive than a misunderstanding.
  10. May 14, 2014 #9
    Thank you.
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