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Do research supervisors always want more students?

  1. Jan 8, 2016 #1
    Do research supervisors always want more student to supervise?

    Say some undergraduate student wants to do a research project for some professor for free with no course credit?

    Will a professor be always happy to take on that student?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2016 #2

    Orodruin

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    No, this will not always be the case. There are several reasons a supervisor might not want to do this:
    • Too busy (even free students require supervision, they may be "free" money wise but not time wise)
    • Student does not have prerequisites (in some fields it may happen that you need a lot of prerequisites before you can make meaningful contributions)
    • Too many students (leaning towards the first category, but a supervisor might already have a lot of students and not want to overextend)
    • No appropriate project
    • Etc
    Edit: also add "not allowed". At my university I would not be allowed to take a student who wants to work for free - there is a minimum you need to pay if it is not part of their program.
     
  4. Jan 8, 2016 #3
    How often do professors use free students? Is it common for international students from underdeveloped countries to work for professors from renowned institutions (in US, Canada, or Europe) by communicating via email?

    Do these students get any benefit out of the project apart from the research experience?
     
  5. Jan 8, 2016 #4

    radium

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    The too many students issue happens quite a lot, especially in theory. The number of students in a group depends on the advisor. In theory for example some people only want 1-2 but some could have 5-6 (and in a few cases even more but it is uncommon). However, even advisors who manage a large number of students will get overwhelmed. It also depends on how much the advisor interacts with students. Advisors who are more hands off often have more students, but you would need to be ok with working independently.
     
  6. Jan 8, 2016 #5

    Orodruin

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    I would say no, it is not common. As a faculty member there is already way too many things which keep you occupied - including supervising and finding relevant problems for the students already admitted to the university. The many requests you get from students in other countries are often badly written and with profiles which are clearly too far away from your actual reasearch area to be of interest.
     
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