Note: Dr. Toplak has already accepted students for Honours thesis supervision for 2023-2024. She will be accepting one Masters Level student for Fall 2024.
Recommended Readings for Prospective Students
I highly recommend the following text as a prerequisite for all of my research trainees:
Stanovich, Keith E. (2012). How to Think Straight About Psychology. HarperCollins, New York, 10th edition.
Any of the recent editions provide an excellent primer on understanding and doing science in psychology. For example, there are elaborate discussions with multiple examples regarding inferring causality from research studies, the importance of converging evidence, the importance of being able to test and falsify theories, and many other critical topics relevant to doing research in psychology.
Prospective Undergraduate Honours and Independent Study Students
Honours Thesis Students
I typically accept two thesis students per year, preferably those enrolled in the Specialized Honours Program in Psychology.
Students contact me nearly one year in advance to enquire about thesis supervision. It has been the case that student volunteers become Honours students in our lab, as they have spent time becoming familiar with the research and often develop their own project.
The model in our lab is to involve thesis students in lab activities in the spring before their thesis and begin working on the thesis project in the summer. The projects in our lab are admittedly intense, but they are designed to prepare students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in psychology. All of the projects are related to the goals and research program of our lab.
A supervised thesis is an intensive project in my lab, where the expectation is to spend 5-10 hours per week on your project (with some variability during the academic year, with more hours likely spent during analysis and writing phases). Students are expected to participate in our regular lab meetings as part of their training during the academic year, and you will also be expected to provide some volunteer assistance to support lab activities. In addition to weekly lab meetings, students will be provided with weekly/biweekly supervision meetings specifically for their project. The philosophy of our group is a collaborative approach.
Our lab follows the guidelines of the thesis coordinator with respect to having a formal proposal and setting target dates for each component of the thesis project. Initially, there are more frequent meetings, with the goal of helping students develop more independence as the project proceeds. Ideally, students will develop a project that will become part of a conference poster or published research study on which their name would appear. Students in my lab usually develop excellent projects that advance knowledge through peer-reviewed posters and publications.
If you are interested in pursuing a thesis project under my supervision, please email me your curriculum vitae, list of courses and grades, a writing sample, and some information on your research interests.
Independent Study Projects
Students have also conducted independent study projects in our lab. Similar to theses, students must contact me well in advance, and students who have prior experience in my lab as volunteers have an advantage in terms of having had opportunities to develop a project.
Prospective Graduate Students
Typically one new graduate student at the Masters level joins our lab per year. Students who have a background in cognitive science or clinical research are often a good fit in our lab. Both research and clinical-training are valued and emphasized in our lab, and their balanced emphasis is reflected in the projects we conduct.
It is best for candidates to contact me a year before they apply. I am happy to connect with prospective students.
Work Study and Research Assistantship Positions
Undergraduate students who have volunteered in our lab and graduate students under my supervision often become the research assistants in our lab. For undergraduate students who are interested in working toward such positions, they should consider contacting me in their second or third year of their program to become a volunteer first, and if research assistantship opportunities arise, they will receive serious consideration. Students should also determine prior whether they are eligible for Work Study by completing a student financial profile. The following link provides more information about the Work Study program.
Students may contact me about volunteer opportunities. Volunteers are invited to lab meetings to become acquainted with the work in our research lab. Our experience is that students who become engaged and interested are likely to become more involved in projects and theses.