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How do you approach profs for lab rotations?


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How do you approach professors for lab rotations? I am planning on sending emails.

1) Do I just mention that I will be attending in the fall and would like to do a rotation in their lab?

2) These lab rotations are shorter than usual (5 weeks). Do I propose possible projects that I would be interested in doing?

3) It's possible that some of the labs that I am interested in do not want to take anybody new in their lab this year. I have a list of 11 potential labs. Do I email them all at once or do I email my top choices first so that I do not get positive responses that I may have to turn down?

Thanks for your insight!

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1. Email your top few choices first.

2. Tell them that you are starting in the fall and you are quite interested in doing a rotation in their lab (before emailing them, pull down some of their recent articles to be pseudo-up to date on what they do). Also make sure to ask them in the email if they are willing to take on a graduate student. If they answer no, waste no more time with these folks.

3. They propose projects, you just do them.

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Does your department not set up the rotations for you? I'll be starting a Life Science program in the fall and it's required that we do 2 rotations per semester. We tell them who which labs we want to rotate through and they set it up if the labs are able. On the other hand I don't think it would hurt your case to e-mail each professor that you want to work with directly. This way you can start a conversation with them about possible research opportunities in their lab before you even get there. When it comes time for you to rotate your name should already be in their minds because you've 1 - demonstrated an interest in their work and 2 - spoken with them consistently over a few months. I hope this helps!

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