Here are some important tips to help you prepare great application for university applications that will grab the attention admission committee and potential prospective supervisors.

These tips are from the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and are based on the survey questions from the researchers that what kinds of qualities they look for in new graduate students.

  • What research area are you passionate about?

Communicate this to a potential supervisor(s)/admission committee by showing them that you are familiar with their/their participating faculty research work. Start by reading their profile and their graduate students profiles. Look up one or two papers they have published in an area that interests you.

  • Tell a potential supervisor why you want to study in their lab.

Be specific – why do you want to study in their lab instead of another researcher who works in a similar area?  If you are interested in more than one research area or more than one researcher, tailor specific reasons for each one in your research interests letter.

  • Ask your referees if they can write good, specific reference letters for you.

If you were just one student in a class of 200 and the professor does not know you well, they will not be able to write a good letter for you. Give your referees all the information you can. Give them a copy of your latest transcripts so they can see your grades. Give them a copy of your up-to-date CV. Ask them if they would like to have a short list of your most notable achievements in your degree program. Help your referees remember who you are and what you have accomplished.

Application Do’s  

  • A complete application meeting the minimum entrance requirements, with all documents received by the deadline.

This shows that you are interested and can plan ahead.

  • A research interests letter containing specific information and examples tailored to the researchers you are interested in.

This shows that you know something about the kind of research our professors are doing and that you took care in preparing your application.

  • Reference letters containing specific examples of why you would be a successful graduate student in the area you are interested in.


Application Don’ts

  • Applications with late-arriving supporting documents.


  • A general research interests letter without a specific research focus.

Trying to make your research interests fit as many researchers as possible only sounds unfocused.


  • Asking a potential supervisor if you can do research on a project not in their area of expertise.

Read their profile so you know what their research projects are.


  • Reference letters without specific information examples as to why you would be an excellent graduate student.


  •  Trying to make your research interests fit as many researchers as possible only sounds unfocused.


Inspiration: UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Any Questions?