What does it take to become one of DML's newest...
*Undergraduate students and volunteers
Lab associates (LAs) explore the field of music cognition through laboratory studies. LAs are the new wave of researchers at DML and continue to offer vital assistance to help keep projects running in exchange for experience, education, and insight on standards within the musical domain of psychological study. Each individual either selects their own project through direct discussion with a graduate/thesis student or receives an assignment to balance out the needs of the lab.
Students may apply to be an LA for course credit through a multitude of McMaster departments. Those who enroll in the lab for credit are often considered research practicum students, but still fall under our classification of an associate. The following list showcases just some of the many course codes that may be used for this purpose:
- BIO 3IR3
- ENGSOCTY xX03
- HTHSCI 3BM3/3H03
- LIFESCI xRP3
- LINGUIST xRP3
- MUSIC xX03
- MUSICCOG xQQ3
- NURSING 4NR3
- PNB xQQ3/xQ03
*Any inclusion of “x” within a course code refers to courses available at multiple levels of study, commonly limited to 3rd and 4th level versions but occasionally expanded to the 2nd level.
Students sometimes wish to volunteer for the lab without the strings that a course credit provides—we welcome them all the same! If you’d like to gain experience and add tools to your experimental toolbox, we invite you to reach out and let us know whether the fit is right. Of course, we can’t take everyone—especially if we want to make sure the LAs receive a standard of education and oversight—but we’ll surely do our best to accommodate as many passionate and driven researchers in lab activities as we can reasonably take on.
Thesis students delve into their own topic of interest to expand our knowledge of music and the mind. They dive deep into literature to review, experiment, and bring attention to novel findings within their field, all the while honing their skills as a psychological researcher. These individuals may choose to branch off of a current graduate student’s work or a topic of their choice, granted it fits within the general focus of the lab (otherwise we couldn’t really guide you with the same expertise).
Students who investigate a thesis project with DML as a formal Undergraduate Honours Thesis must do so through an approved course code. The following list contains a series of course codes compatible with the lab’s research:
- ARTSCI 4A06/4C06
- COMPENG 4OI4/40J4
- COMPSCI 4ZP6
- ISCI xA12 IP
- ELECENG 4OI4/40J4
- LIFESCI 4A03/4B09/4C12/4D15
- MUSICCOG 4D06
- PNB 4D06/4D09
RAs propose a research idea to discover through partnership with the lab either through altruistic volunteerism or supported by any number of research grants. Research assistants (RAs) play a diverse set of roles within the lab, thought they primarily reside between the gaps of thesis and graduate students. Unlike thesis students, these individuals operate on a slightly more fluid timeline for completion (depending on the grant in question), but with less direct guidance. RAs seek to test their research skills in the domain of music cognition, often with an exclusive interest in project development, execution, and, frequently, publication. Topics may be selected as part of a continuation/expansion on the work of a graduate student or as a separate topic that fits within the scope of DML’s research.
Grant applicants must first communicate with Dr. Woolhouse before they attempt to write up any formal application. While brainstorming your own ideas beforehand is greatly encouraged, applications should be drafted and finally sent as an approved idea agreed upon by both yourself and the supervisor. Please contact Dr. Woolhouse only once you have read, acknowledged, and accepted all of the nuances of the grants you wish to apply for (e.g. timelines, poster sessions, funding amounts, co-supervision, etc.). Ensure that your personal timeline and capabilities match with those required by the granting agency.
Once funding has been secured, a paid RA must work to execute an agreed upon timeline for completion, often receiving funding in fortnightly (14-day) increments until the granting period ends.
Under special circumstances, particularly benevolent students choose to undertake a project as an RA on a volunteer basis. These individuals are held to the same standard as paid RAs, only they are free from the timelines set out by granting agencies. While this provides an added bonus in the form of exploration time, the motivation drop from being unpaid, tied with the necessity for alternative sources of income, makes this option less appealing to general students.
However, students who are offered this path—whether because they didn’t get the grant they applied for or they never applied to begin with—still receive near-identical support from the lab and have much to gain from the experience. That said, musicians will relate to this choice because it offers a wealth of experience and exposure without any tangible payment.
Graduate students hold the lab together: they teach, they support, they listen, and, perhaps most importantly, they sell their souls to the ouroboric pursuit of scientific research. These individuals truly bring character to the lab and leave a lasting impression on what makes the lab tick. Graduate students guide the direction of the lab, eligibility of grants, and various other nuances of the research game. DML provides an open space for the study of music cognition and its sub-fields—from therapeutic to theoretical. Graduate students in the lab may choose to dove-tail previous research or diverge into a broad breadth of topics within music cognition.
Interested applicants should first contact Dr. Woolhouse to ensure an ideal supervisory fit, since you’ll be working together for the duration of your degree. The official application, however, must go through the McMaster University Mosaic portal.
For academic requirements, guidelines, and generally useful information, please refer to the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour’s Graduate Handbook.
Students already enrolled in the Master’s program generally move into the PhD program without the need for a separate application.
Students coming in from another university who already hold a Masters degree in a highly related field (e.g. psychology) should first contact Dr. Woolhouse to ensure an ideal supervisory fit, since you’ll be working together for the duration of your degree, and must apply directly through the MCMASTER UNIVERSITY MOSAIC PORTAL.
For academic requirements, guidelines, and generally useful information, please refer to the DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, NEUROSCIENCE & BEHAVIOUR’S GRADUATE HANDBOOK.
Potential post-doctoral fellows should apply directly to Dr. Woolhouse. Together, you may work to target specific grant applications and potential projects of interest.