Graduate Students

Our lab will NOT be accepting applications for graduate students in the 2023/2024 cycle. Please note, our lab will not be taking clinical psychology students. This is a common point of confusion, so we wanted to clarify the issue here. If you are interested in clinical psychology, please apply to the clinical psychology faculty.
If you are considering applying to the Psychosocial Flourishing & Health Lab in a future year as a graduate student, please read through this page carefully and reach out to the lab if you have any additional questions! Please note that if you are applying for our lab, submitting a GRE score is completely optional.

What kind of graduate student is considered a “good fit” to our lab?

  • A passion and enthusiasm for the role at hand. Those who will be happiest in our lab are people who view their entry into graduate school as a calling rather than a job or career (if you want further insight into how we think about this topic, please watch ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’)
  • Excited to learn about and produce research that advances our team’s collective vision and impact
  • A genuine and deep-rooted desire to help others
  • The simultaneous ability to see the ‘big picture’ and also execute exceptional attention to detail 
  • A strong sense of self-direction and independence, and an ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced and collegial research environment
  • A willingness to learn and grow continuously in all areas of personal and career development (continuous improvement). Mentorship and fostering continuous growth is a large factor of our advising style
  • A strong quantitative background or a strong desire to grow in this area
  • Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)
  • Research interests that align with our areas of study. Please read through our’s publications and read about our lab’s research aims to determine whether you would be a good fit!

What is it like to be a graduate student in the Psychosocial Flourishing and Health Lab?

  • As a graduate student under my supervision, you will engage in weekly advising meetings with me to discuss current and future projects. Our meetings will also focus on developing and discussing various paths you can take to reach personal and career goals.
  • As a graduate student, you will mentor and oversee a team of undergraduate students and volunteer research assistants. This will allow you to develop leadership, mentorship, and teaching skills within the research field.
  • You will conceptualize, design, and lead research projects that are in line with your developing research interests as well as our lab’s overarching research aims.
  • You will present and disseminate your research via: 1) national and international conferences, 2) peer-reviewed publications, and 3) industry-invited talks.
  • When you become a more advanced graduate student, and depending on your interest, you will be given opportunities to work closely with non-profits (e.g., United Way World Headquarters), policymakers (e.g. United Nations, OECD) and industry partners (e.g. AARP, IDEO, UnitedHealth Group) on several large-scale, translational projects.
  • A core tenant in our lab is this is captured by this formula: Maximum Positive Impact on Society (defined as our Lab’s Mission which is on the homepage) = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus on the Right Topic) x (Strategy of Work). Thus, in addition to traditional coursework, you will be asked to read a new book approximately every ~2 weeks that will help hone your research ability and ability to make a maximum positive impact on society. You will be asked to discuss these books with everyone in our lab throughout your time in graduate school. These books will help provide you with mental models about a range of topics in many different fields. A small sampling of books in our library include: 1) So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love (by: Cal Newport), 2) Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference (by: William MacAskill), 3) Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (by: Peter Brown), 4) The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (by: Atul Gawande), 5) Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (by: Greg McKeown).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need publications to be considered?
    The most competitive applicants apply with publications (either in-press or published). However, as publications are not feasible for some undergraduate students, it is not required to be considered or accepted. Extensive research experience in the form of conference presentations, poster presentations, and long-term lab involvement can boost an applicant’s competitiveness.
  • Do I need to be an Honours degree to be considered?
    Although many students accepted into the graduate program are Honours students, many are not as well. The Department requires students to have an equivalent level of experience which can be fulfilled by completing a Directed Studies project or an independent research study during your undergraduate studies.
  • Is it okay if I don’t have any funding secured at the time of my application?
    Many students may not have secured funding by the time they apply. However, applicants who have applied for and are waiting for confirmation of external funding by the time of application are considered much more competitive by the department. If you are Canadian, please apply for Tri-Council funding (SSHRC would be best).
  • Do you conduct pre-interviews or meet with prospective applicants before formal invitations have been sent out?
    I do meet with applicants before applications are due, but I only meet with people who have sent me a thoughtful email. If you would like to meet with me before interviews to learn about our lab please send me a brief: 1) statement of interest, 2) your CV, 3) transcript, 4) how your work/intersects with that of our labs’, and 5) some sentences that describe how you promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. I will not reply to generic emails, as they are a pet peeve of mine. A litmus test that I use to assess your interest in our lab is: 1) have you read our website in detail?, 2) if you did, then you will have read these sentences and know to email me a customized email. I will email back every person that has invested effort into getting to know our lab (e.g., reading our website). However, I will not respond to generic emails.
  • Can you serve as my graduate supervisor if I want to train in another Area of psychology (clinical, behavioral neuroscience, social & personality, cognitive science, developmental, quantitative)?
    I primarily advise Health Psychology students. I am also quite open to co-advising students with Professors in other Areas. However, I am not willing to advise students who want to primarily train in another Area (e.g., I will not be a primary supervisor for a student who wants to train in Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology, etc).
  • What is this ranking system at UBC’s Psychology Department?
    As you consider labs that you want to apply to at UBC, please remember that the rankings you put down are quite important. So please put careful thought into how you rank the faculty that you want to work with as you fill out our UBC application.
  • Do you take students from outside of Canada? 
    Yes, there are many graduate students in our Department who are from outside of Canada and every student who enters my lab will be fully-funded throughout your graduate career whether you are Canadian or not. As long as you are a high-quality scientist and a high-quality person, we are happy to accept you into our lab no matter what country you are coming from.

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