Research and Supervisors

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Finding a Supervisor 

Students in a research-based master’s or doctoral program will work with a faculty supervisor throughout their degree. Your relationship with your supervisor is a key part of your experience and success. Investing time and effort into your search and connecting with potential supervisors prior to applying will allow you a strong start.

Below are some resources to help you learn more about finding the right supervisor for your graduate program. The videos below offer recommendations for researching, contacting and selecting a supervisor. We also asked some of our professors and current graduate students to provide advice on contacting faculty members - scroll down to see what they had to say.

When do I need a supervisor? 

  • Course-based programs (MEng/MMSc/MBET) do not require a supervisor.
  • No supervisor is required at the application stage for research-based programs (MASc or PhD). A supervisor is needed before receiving an offer of admission.
  • For the MArch program, the research subject's selected by the student, and a Supervisor will be selected after completing at least one term of study.

When should I contact a supervisor? 

You can contact a supervisor before or after applying for your research-based program (MASc or PhD). All professors will have access to your application.  

  • If you get a response before your application that could help in your admission process since you are already in contact with the supervisor. Your official application will be revised by the admission team. 

  • If you don’t receive an answer from any supervisor before applying, first revise your approach and follow the advice below. If everything is ok, no worries! Go ahead with the application and optionally indicate the supervisors you would like to work with. All professors will have access to your application. 

  • If you get a response after your application, it is great because you have a student ID and the professor already has access to your official application documents revised by the admissions team. 

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Advice for contacting a prospective supervisor

Do your research

Option 1: Search by Department

When looking for a supervisor, check the research areas by department or school. Once you identify an area of interest, click to find a list of supervisors. Then, click on the name of a supervisor to view their profile and contact information. Check the last paragraph of their profile page to find out if they are accepting graduate students.

Option 2: Search by research area

Waterloo Engineering researchers are driving innovative discoveries that are advancing knowledge and improving lives globally. Access Waterloo Engineering’s faculty database to search for a specific supervisor or research area of expertise.

Centres and Institutes

Centres and institutes are established in areas where Waterloo has extraordinary research strengths and anticipates extraordinary results. Many researchers in Engineering are organized into clusters that promote the key thrust areas for research promoted by the University and Faculty.

Labs and Facilities

As a Waterloo Engineering graduate student, you'll study topics and conduct research that matters in industry and beyond, learning from the experts exploring the latest innovations.