Joining the lab as a PhD Student
The lab will be recruiting graduate students for the 2023-2024 application cycle
For details on the admissions process and requirements, please visit the UVA Psychology Department Website.
Common questions from prospective graduate students
What is the role of graduate students in the LTM lab?
Graduate students in the lab lead independent projects. To that end, graduate students (a) generate specific research questions based on the current literature, (b) develop experimental paradigms to test these questions, (c) collect and analyze experimental data, and (d) present/publish their findings. Graduate students are expected to complete their pre-dissertation (Masters’ Thesis) by the end of their second year, complete their comprehensive exam (in the form of an NRSA grant proposal) by the end of their third year, and defend their dissertation by the end of their fifth year. Each student should aim to have (published or in progress) three first author manuscripts by completion of their degree. Graduate students mentor undergraduate research assistants and lab managers.
What is Dr. Long’s mentoring style?
Dr. Long aims to tailor mentoring to each individual trainee. Graduate students have weekly one-on-one meetings with Dr. Long (required for junior graduate students, optional for senior graduate students) and Dr. Long is generally available to meet or communicate with graduate students throughout most days across the week either in person or virtually (over Slack or Zoom). At the start of the academic year, together with Dr. Long, each graduate student completes a progress report form to set goals and expectations for the upcoming year. At the end of the academic year, each graduate student receives a formal letter from Dr. Long commenting on past progress, current challenges, and future expectations. Dr. Long provides explicit and detailed feedback on each phase (development, analysis, dissemination) of each project.
What kind of skills should an applicant have and how are applications evaluated?
Applicants should have a background in cognitive neuroscience, psychology, or a related field (broadly construed – e.g. computer science, statistics) and ideally will have had research experience. Research experience can take many different forms; it is not required that applicants have prior experience with the methods used by the lab (EEG and fMRI data collection and analysis methods, Python). Dr. Long uses the following rubric, developed by the UVA Psychology Department, to evaluate applications.
What advice would you give to prospective students?
Identify and seek out mentors (professors, post-docs, graduate students) who can guide you through the application process. Those who have applied to graduate school know the ins and outs of the process and will be invaluable resources as you prepare your materials. Look at past examples of graduate applications and work to “show” rather than “tell.” Most individuals who have worked in a lab will have gained some experience with things like literature reviews, statistical analysis, etc. Instead of listing each skill that you have, describe the research that you have been part of — what questions were you (and your collaborators, if applicable) asking? What hypotheses did you test? What was the design of the experiment(s) that you used to test your hypothesis? What results did you find? Have you presented and/or published this work? By describing your research in this way, you will effectively “show” what conceptual and technical skills you have learned.