Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in studying with me. I do not have any new positions open (as of September 2020). I will post here when new capacity opens up.

You should check out the list of possible thesis topics on my webpage to see if your and my research interests overlap.

Applying to SFU

  • Interested external students should start with the Simon Fraser University website. Details of admission can be found at the Student Services site. Information about applying for graduate study in the School of Computing Science is posted here.
  • Please understand that students are admitted by a School-level competition and not directly by any faculty member.
  • Funding Sources. One question that students often ask is about the availability of financial support. If you apply and are admitted, you will receive a letter detailing the minimum amount of financial support you can expect. In addition to research assistantships from research grants, there are several other funding sources, such as teaching assistantships, scholarships and internships. I have collected information about some common programs here.

Sending Me Application Materials.

The standard SFU application process is fine, if you put me down as a potential supervisor, I will definitely review your application. If you want to go with a personal communication, here are suggestions for how you can help me evaluate your application.
  • Send me a hardcopy rather than an email. I understand however that from some countries it's difficult or expensive to mail hardcopy.
  • If you do send email, put the words "penguins" in the subject header. That way I know whether you have read my web page or you are just spamming me.
  • Sending me reminder emails gives me a bad impression.
  • Here is some extra information that would help me evaluate your application. The best research, in my opinion, combines a theoretical foundation with empirical evaluation (simulations) and good scientific writing. I understand that you may have gaps in any, or all, of these areas. After all, you are coming to graduate school because you want to learn and improve. Still, how far we can go in our work together depends on where we start. So if you send me material about yourself, please include the following.
    1. The hardest proof you've ever done. Original research is best, but even a course assignment is informative. If you haven't done any hard proofs, just note that. If you have more than one, just pick one. I can always ask for more.
    2. The best English you've written. Preferably scientific English but other kinds of prose are fine. Or even poetry.
    3. The best code you've written. Any common programming language is fine. A brief explanation of what the program is supposed to do (input-output) would be helpful. Please don't spend your valuable time explaining it in detail, I just want to see what you've done already. Perhaps the comments and documentation you wrote when you produced the code will explain it well enough.
    4. How would you rank yourself compared to your peers? And why?
    5. A brief statement about your motivation. Sometimes the motivation is just that you find research fascinating and want to spend time doing it. However, in my experience students often have more specific career goals, for example: I want to get into a Ph.D. program, obtain a faculty position, gain a teaching position, go into industry but not into development etc. This can also go into your Statement of Purpose.