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Research project in progress included in CV and/or SOP? (Also some feedback on email potential advisors)


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I am applying to a few PhD prorams, and I do not have any formal research experience. However, as a part of my capstone for my MS I have to do a final research project. I have contacted the prof for that course and he said he would be willing to help me get the paper published. However, this project is not due until March so I will have already applied to the programs. Should I mention it in the CV and/or the SOP as apart of current research?



FYI: I noticed a hot topic is wether or not to contact future advisors. I emailed a potential advisor yesterday and he replied today with some great feedback, and enthusiasm. I think it helps to get your name out there. I just followed these guidelines:


Here's the email if you're interested: (What I wrote followed by his reply)

Dear Dr. Frederick Morgeson,

I am a graduate student in organizational communication and leadership at Northeastern University, and am interested in obtaining a PhD in Management at MSU. I am especially interested in one of your fields of research, leadership. I have taken many undergraduate and graduate level courses in leadership and have developed a strong interest in the field.

I saw on your webpage, both personal and institutional, that you have a continual interest in leadership, thus I took the opportunity to read a couple of your papers. I especially enjoyed the article “Leadership in Teams: A Functional Approach to Understanding Leadership Structures and Processes”. Having taking so many different leadership classes I appreciated the conclusive framework you built. I am curious about the relationship between the mission, goals, and feedback of the leader and how it relates to the success or failure of a team/organization. Do you feel there are any research opportunities here? What are you currently researching, if you don't mind me asking?

I plan to apply to the PhD program for fall of 2012, and I was wondering if you plan to take on any new students in the coming academic year?

Thank you for your time, and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday!


Rob Brooks


Hi Rob:

Thanks for your kind words!

The connection between mission, goals, and feedback is a strong one…and one that has been indirectly supported in a variety of research….but I think direct evidence could be stronger.

My two primary areas these days revolve around team leadership and work design. At MSU, students are not assigned to faculty. Instead, students and faculty with common interests work together, as project opportunities arise. I typically work with a variety of students, so I am always open to new collaborations.

Good luck with your applications and have a great holiday!



Frederick P. Morgeson, Ph.D.

Editor, Personnel Psychology

Editor, Annual Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Professor and Valade Research Scholar

The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management

Michigan State University

N475 North Business Complex

East Lansing, MI 48824-1122

(517) 432-3520



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