BrainWaves: The Neuroscience Graduate Program Newsletter

Resources for First-Year Students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program: What You Need to Know

Author: April Fievoli

Are you a new graduate student at McMaster University campus? Or looking for ways to ease your transition into the next phase of your graduate journey?


Exploring the unknown resources that McMaster has to offer can elevate your experiences not only on campus, but also in your thesis work as well.


Below, we have outlined some resources that I discovered upon beginning my graduate studies in Fall 2021.

McMaster Campus Libraries: McMaster has a variety of libraries and sometimes we just want to find an oasis to zone in on our work. A hidden gem for graduate students is the graduate student study room in Mills Library. All you need is your student card/number and ask the administrators at the front desk to provide you with an access card for the study room. This room is specifically for graduate students only, and from personal experience, it is a very quiet and cozy place to work on campus.

Writing Centre: In the early stages of your graduate studies, it is important to get a handle on your scientific literature and writing skills, especially when writing your initial literature reviews or preparing for your first committee meeting. Luckily, the Writing Centre at McMaster provides support and strategies to help students improve their scholarly writing skills.

Data Analysis Support Hub (DASH) and LibCal: When beginning a new project, developing an analysis plan for your data is essential. Fortunately, McMaster’s Data Analysis Support Hub and LibCal provide numerous resources and workshops to help you out. You can schedule appointments with a staff member for a research consultation to answer more specific project-related questions you may have.

Student Associations: As you have most likely been exposed to already, the Neuroscience Graduate Program has a few student associations that are always eager to take on new students. The Students of the MiNDs Association (SOMA) is our program’s student association that helps unite our student population through various social events and opportunities. We also have our journal club/colloquium committee if you are interested in helping to select the papers we cover in journal club and in assisting in choosing future speakers to attend our colloquia. Lastly, BrainWaves is ALWAYS looking for new, bright “MiNDS” with unique perspectives to contribute to our future articles. If you are interested, please feel free to reach out – we would be happy to have you on our team.

Exploring the Surrounding Hamilton Communities: Hamilton has several hidden gems that allow you to feel more accustomed to this new city or to further explore it in new ways as a graduate student. We encourage you to seek opportunities nearby that may interest you – such as going to the quaint cafes in Westdale village, hiking Cootes Paradise trails, or going to The Phoenix on campus with your new colleagues, NEUROSCI 700 friends, and lab members (and get that nice graduate student discount!).

Whether you are new to McMaster’s campus, or you are beginning your graduate studies in a new program, it is important to establish a sense of community and knowledge of the resources provided to you through McMaster to improve your graduate experience. Best of luck as you pursue the next steps of your academic journey!