Prospective Graduate Students

 *** I am accepting graduate student applications for the upcoming school year! I only accept applications through Health Psychology, which is a research-oriented MA & PhD program. I do NOT supervise graduate students whose primary interests are in other areas of psychology (e.g., clinical, social) or who are enrolled/intend to enroll in UBC graduate programs in other fields. ***

What I look for in a prospective graduate student

  • An excellent match between an advisor and a student’s research interests is essential for a productive and successful experience in graduate school. I only supervise students who are interested in the associations of positive well-being, stress, and emotions with health and aging. Read my publications and read descriptions of the lab’s projects.
  • Past research experience in health psychology or related areas of research
  • Strong letters of recommendation from past professors and research advisors who can speak about your experience, performance, and abilities
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Potential for and strong interest in developing quantitative skills
  • Ability to work well collaboratively (a great team player) and independently
  • Commitment to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Members of my team regularly work with professors, students, staff, study participants, and other community members from diverse backgrounds. Applicants should be able to speak to how they will contribute to equity, diversity, and inclusion, such as through their activities in the graduate program, in their research interests, or other professional activities. Contributions might include one or more of the following:
    • lived experience as a member of a disadvantaged or underrepresented group (e.g., racial/ethnic minority, LGBTQ, first-generation university student)
    • past activities in programs to promote EDI (I’d love to hear about this! Please describe in your personal statement)
    • commitment to mentoring students from diverse backgrounds
    • future plans for incorporating EDI principles into teaching or community outreach activities
    • interest in promoting EDI in professional service, such as when serving on grad student committees or as part of student leadership in professional organizations
    • conducting research related to health disparities
  • The most competitive applicants also have:
    • Solid scores on all sections of the GRE. Although there is no strict cutoff, scores about the 80th percentile are typically considered competitive. The GRE is required for graduate school applications to UBC Psychology. [Update: GRE scores are NOT required for applications to be submitted in Fall 2020.]
    • External funding from government agencies. This funding can substantially boost the competitiveness of an application. Eligible students are encouraged to apply for Canadian Tri-Council Graduate Scholarships. Click here for information about external fellowship opportunities.

*** Please note that I receive a large volume of applications. I am therefore selective in only moving forward with applicants who show excellence in all of the above criteria. If you are serious about working with me, I encourage you to please include a discussion of your commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in your personal statement.  ***

What to expect as a graduate student in my lab

In addition to completing requirements as part of the Health Psychology graduate program, my graduate students:

  • Engage in regular meetings with me to discuss research interests, academic and professional career goals, and progress towards goals
  • Under my supervision, students work towards developing their own line of theoretically-grounded, hypothesis-driven, programmatic research that fits within the overall goals and activities of the UPLIFT Health Lab.
  • Are involved in all aspects of research, including training undergraduate research assistants, study design, study management, data collection, data analysis, and dissemination of research findings through peer-reviewed publications, research presentations at national and international conferences (e.g., Canadian Association for Gerontology, Gerontological Society of America, and American Psychosomatic Society), and knowledge translation to general audiences
  • Develop specialized expertise and skills at the intersection of health psychology, stress, and aging, by working with biological specimens (e.g., to assess neuroendocrine and inflammatory markers), ambulatory assessment and intensive longitudinal methods (e.g., assessing experiences, health, and health behaviours in daily life), and longitudinal population-based data
  • Receive ongoing training in research ethics and the responsible conduct of research
  • Participate in lab meetings, Health Psychology area workshops, and attend departmental and university seminars and colloquia
  • Work with collaborators from different disciplines within and outside of UBC

Frequently asked questions

  1. Should I apply to work with you if I do not have previous coursework and research experience in health psychology?
    No. At the MA level, the most competitive applicants have completed an independent research project (e.g., Honours thesis or Directed Studies) in a health psychology-related topic and have presented their research at national or international conferences. For the PhD program, I will only consider applicants who have a Master’s degree in health psychology or a closely related area of work, in addition to research excellence as demonstrated by manuscripts in progress or published.
  2. Are you willing to meet with prospective applicants by phone or Zoom before applications are due?
    I receive a large volume of inquiries, and unfortunately I do not have time to meet with all potential applicants. To be fair to all applicants, I do not schedule meetings before applications are due. I typically schedule phone/Zoom/Skype interviews in December or January after I have reviewed all applications. Based on those phone interviews, I might then invite one or more students for the graduate recruitment event at UBC.
  3. Do you supervise or co-supervise students for clinical psychology, other areas of psychology, or other programs?
    No. Although some professors are willing to (co-)supervise students outside of their area, I currently do not do this. The Health Psychology program at UBC is one of only a small number of research-intensive graduate programs that enable students to earn a doctorate degree specifically in health psychology. To ensure that this field continues to grow and thrive, my professional responsibility (and passion!) is focused on training the next generation of scientists in health psychology.
  4. I am interested in the topic of ____. Can you serve as my graduate supervisor?
    You should identify a supervisor who has the appropriate expertise for providing you with high-quality training in your area of research interest. I can supervise students in the topics listed above or in areas of my current research (see the Publications page). However, if you are interested in pursuing  training on a different topic that is not within my area of expertise (e.g., child development, psychopathology, mindfulness, Eastern medicine), then I would not be a suitable graduate supervisor for you.
  5. Should I apply if I am only interested in the MA program but am not sure about pursuing a PhD?
    If you currently have an undergraduate degree, you should only apply if you are committed to pursuing both the MA and PhD. The graduate program is not set up to be a terminal Master’s program.

 

The Department of Psychology has more admission FAQs on their website.

For more information 

If you are interested in applying to the Health Psychology graduate program with me as your potential advisor, please email me at nsin@psych.ubc.ca. Please include a brief description of your research experience and interests and attach your CV in the email. I look forward to hearing from you!