Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in the Culture, Health, and Personality Lab. The following FAQ is designed for individuals interested in joining our group as a graduate student.

1. Do you take graduate students in clinical psychology or experimental psychology?

We are willing to take graduate students in either stream. Students with a sole interest in pursuing a career in research should strongly consider entry into the experimental programme, where much more time is available to pursue supervised independent and collaborative research projects. Those students with research interests in psychopathology may still wish to consider the experimental programme. On the other hand, students with an interest in the scientist-practitioner approach to psychology, in which research and clinical work are integrated, should consider the clinical programme. Finally, students who are solely interested in the clinical and applied aspects of psychology (e.g., individuals with the goal of being a therapist only) should consider other training programmes with a predominantly clinical focus.

Students interested in the clinical programme should be aware that acceptance is more difficult given the limited number of training slots available each year.

Students interested in the experimental programme should be aware that our department does not formally differentiate specific areas of experimental psychology. That said, experimental students working with our group would generally be expected to take courses in social, personality, developmental, and/or abnormal psychology, depending on interest and availability. Courses in cognitive psychology and behavioural neuroscience are also available.

2. How can I increase the chances of getting accepted?

The best way to increase the likelihood of being accepted to work with our group is to have a strong interest in, and commitment to, psychological research at the interface of culture, health, and personality. Beyond that basic requirement, pursuit of scholarships and fellowships creates a considerable advantage, particularly if this pursuit is successful. It’s a good idea to look at the websites for SSHRC, CIHR, NSERC, and their provincial counterparts for information about funding opportunities. Another consideration is previous relevant experience, especially including the writing of psychology papers, statistical training, volunteer research work, undergraduate research projects, and so on. Finally, course preparation at the undergraduate level should include statistics, research methods, psychopathology, personality, and social psychology.

3. In what areas of your research are you currently looking for students?

Research conducted at the Culture, Health, and Personality Lab takes place in a number of overlapping domains, and we are interested in dedicated graduate students with an interest in any of these domains. In particular, we are looking for students with an interest either in (a) the cultural shaping of depression and anxiety or (b) dimensional systems of personality and psychopathology.

Students interested in the former topic should be prepared to engage in detailed theoretical reading across several disciplines. A proper understanding of culture’s influence on health and psychopathology is not possible without consideration of underlying philosophical, political, and historical issues. This area of research can place unusually high demands on one’s ability to synthesize information from disparate sources, design creative studies, and write clearly. Note as well that researchers in this area should either be interested in getting involved with research focusing on Chinese and Chinese-Canadian individuals, or should come with previous linguistic and/or cultural experience with a different ethnocultural group.

Students interested in the latter topic should be prepared to learn advanced multivariate statistical techniques for the analysis of complex personality structures. This area of research can place unusually high demands on one’s ability to generate incisive theory-based hypotheses and to use statistical methods to grapple with these questions using complicated datasets.

Regardless of the area chosen, the most successful graduate students here are self-motivated, creative, willing to work collaboratively, able to write clearly, and comfortable with learning and using statistical methods. Interest in comprehensive theories, focus on specific details, and concern for social implications are all important to the successful researcher in this area.

4. What sort of research do you expect to be working on in the near future?

There is a lot of different research going on in the Culture, Health, and Personality Lab. Browse around this site to get the idea of the kind of work that goes on here. Of particular interest at the present time is research on acculturation and acculturative processes, and research on the key features of the depressive personality.

5. Are you willing to consider students who do not come straight from an undergraduate programme in psychology?

We are always willing to consider talented students who have taken various educational paths, provided that such students meet the general admission criteria of the Psychology Department at Concordia University. These regulations should be consulted before contacting us with further questions, and should certainly be checked before an application is made. We recommend that a comment in the application be made speaking to how a non-traditional educational background would help to inform research in this area.

6. Are you willing to accept students directly into the Ph.D. programme?

We are willing to consider students for the Ph.D. programme provided that a relevant masters degree is held. A relevant masters degree almost always means a degree in psychology. Note that acceptance into the Ph.D. programme is feasible only for experimental students, given the special training requirements for clinical students at the masters level.

7. Are you willing to accept students with undergraduate degrees from Concordia University?

We do not take Concordia students if we have worked together at the undergraduate level, and only consider Concordia undergraduates at all in exceptional circumstances. It is our hope that Concordia undergraduates who work in our group will take their experience onward to other programmes, thus allowing for continued academic and personal growth.