Central Michigan University wordmark
Dr. Bradley J. Swanson: Prospecitve Graduate Students
Dr. Swanson's Homepage

Courses Taught

Current Research

Previous Research

ATCG Laboratory
Wildlife Forensics
Contract Lab

by hair

Prospective Grad Students



Collecting DNA samples

Return to Biology Department

I encourage my students to work on their own projects, i.e., their projects are not simply a small subset of my own work but stand-alone research projects. Typically, these projects fit within the broader scope of my research interests, but the point of graduate school is to help train you to do science. This means I will help you develop a project but the success or failure of the project ultimately rests with you, I will not hold your hand and lead you through you research step-by-step. I expect you to read papers on your own, attend all lab meetings, and explore how the analysis programs we use function. This is not always an easy process, in fact it can be quite tiring, frustrating, and difficult, but after all, the point of graduate school is to become an independent scientist!

I expect all of my students to seek internal AND external funding of their projects, to present their work at a national or international conference, and to publish their results. Science is only a hobby until it is published! I also expect my graduate students to generate enough data from their thesis for two papers, or have a side project. The undergraduate students in my lab typically generate enough data for a single publication and I expect more from my graduate students.

Some people who work with me are very strong in natural history, others in quantitative methods, GIS, or genetics. Obviously it's great if you are strong in every possible area -- but your best preparation is curiosity, and strong motivation.

If you think you may be interested, or want more information, the best thing to do is to contact me, take a look at my web site to see current and feasible research, and finally plan a visit.

If you're interested in applying to our program, I will need to know something about your GRE scores, your grades, and what your preparation is (courses, research experience, etc.) so that I can tell you whether your application is likely to be successful. Our department and the Graduate College list their minimum requirements on their web sites; most of my students surpass these requirements by quite a bit.

I recognize that your grades may well not reflect your capabilities (i.e. my undergraduate grades)! However, if you feel that is the case, I need information that supports such a statement, for example, solid achievements in research, at a relevant job, or in other academic programs can outweigh poor undergraduate grades. But you will need something of the kind to support an application; statements that I know I can do better if given the chance don't pass muster.

Two papers you should read if you are considering going to graduate school:
Stephen Sterns
Raymond Huey

Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859  -  (989) 774-4000
Search / Directories / Contact Us / AA/EO / Privacy Policies / Web Policy / Copyright