Graduate Students

Thank you for considering the Baby Learning Lab and UBC for your Graduate studies! Please feel free to contact Dr. Emberson at emberson@psych.ubc.ca for more information.

Prospective graduate students are also encouraged to consult the UBC Psychology webpage on how to apply, entry requirements, and opportunities for funding.

Please take a look at our Researcher lab agreement, which gives you more insight into what working in the lab looks like.


Here are a few frequently asked questions that might help you determine if the Baby Learning Lab is a good fit for you!

Are you taking new students this year?

  • Yes! I will be looking at the graduate applications this year and am interested in accepting a student into the Baby Learning Lab either at the MA or Ph.D. level.

Do you care about GRE scores?

  • There is a lot of evidence that GRE scores are highly biased and specifically disadvantage students from under-represented minorities. For this reason, I do not look at GRE scores or any standardized test scores. Instead, I focus on your statement of purpose, your letters of recommendation, your past experiences (research, work, personal) and our interactions in interviews. So, instead of sending GRE scores to UBC, I encourage you to:
    • 1)  focus on emphasizing your relevant experiences. Because research in the lab is both with infants, in the neurosciences, and with at-risk populations, I look for strong analytic/statistical skills, experience with young participants and/or experiences with at-risk populations. Emphasize any and all experiences that will speak to these skills. Though, I routinely accept students without these backgrounds and the lab provides lots of training for our new graduate students. 🙂
    • 2) your statement of interest. Your statement tells me about your knowledge about our research and your research interests or questions. I read these thoroughly and look for students who have knowledge of our research as well as specific research questions that you are passionate about tackling in your PhD.

Should I contact you directly before I apply?

  • Yes. I encourage you to contact me. You can feel free to send your materials and ask questions. I do not do interviews or have meetings with students before they apply but I may give you some thoughts on your application or Statement of Purpose if you have a good draft ready for me to look at. Overall, emailing faculty before you apply is a good way to make a personal connection and help send some focus on your application and get specific information.

What kind of experience (educational or professional) should I have before applying?

  • There are many different routes to acceptances in the lab. There are departmental requirements including grade requirements, and I encourage you to contact the Psychology department for information on that. However, graduate student acceptances are principally decided by individual faculty members. I do look for specific skills because you need to have a solid foundation upon which to be successful in this program and this lab, I mostly look for prospective students who are passionate about this area of research and who will thrive in our lab and our program.

Should I apply for external funding?

  • You don’t have to but it is a great opportunity and will certainly help your application even if you do not receive the funding. If you are Canadian, you may be able to apply for tricouncil funding. If you have other citizenship, you may be eligible for funding to come to UBC. If you have a specific opportunity in mind to apply for, feel free to write to me with information about that opportunity.