Relevant Degree Programs
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Requirements" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to peek someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
This dissertation is a critical, interdisciplinary assessment of “common sense.” More specifically, “common sense” is located in relation to practices of legal judgment that have the potential to address injustices occasioned by poverty and inequality. Taking methodological guidance from the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, augmented by feminist theory, my goal is to construct a “perspicuous representation” of “common sense” in legal judgment. I engage with the writings of three major thinkers who use the language of “common sense” to communicate their ideas: 18th century Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid, Italian Marxist political thinker and activist Antonio Gramsci, and political theorist Hannah Arendt. I place their writings in conversation with Canadian Supreme Court jurisprudence in which judges invoke the phrase “common sense,” including cases about the admissibility of expert evidence, the justification of breaches of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the definition of judicial impartiality. Special attention is paid to the case of Gosselin v. Quebec, in which the Court prominently relies on “common sense” to uphold the constitutionality of social assistance regulations that placed young adults in dire poverty.The meaning and consequences of “common sense” in legal judgment are more complex than might be anticipated. Unreflective reliance on common sense poses a significant threat to the quality and legitimacy of legal judgment. Common sense is rhetorically powerful and can be self-justifying. Yet, when different aspects of common sense are explored with careful critical attention, its democratic, egalitarian and community-sustaining components are also brought to light. This is very important in cases involving poverty and social marginalization, where the invocation of “common sense” strikes at the heart of many issues raised by the three theorists, including the value of quotidian and non-expert knowledges, the boundaries of reasonable debate, the significance of political history and social relations of inequality, and the way common sense claims both reflect and create communities.This dissertation offers some criteria to guide the use of common sense in practices of legal judgment, and generates new ways of thinking about and using common sense as a part of rigorously reflective and politically accountable legal judgment.