Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where is your office?
My office is located on the C level of Gillin Hall, Room 120.
Dr. Howard Li, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Brunswick, PO Box 4400, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3, Canada
Tel: (506)447-3251 Fax: (506)453-3589
2. Where is your lab?
My lab is located in Head Hall.
D45, Head Hall, 15 Dineen Drive, UNB, Fredericton, NB, Canada
3. I sent you an email, why didn't you respond?
Like many faculty, I get a lot of e-mails and requests. I appreciate your time and interest. I try to satisfy your needs as much as I can. However, I only have 24 hours everyday. If I reply all the e-mails and accept all requests, I wouldn't be able to conduct research and teaching that are my main responsibilities. Like yourself, I also need to strike a balance between work and life.
4. Do you have any openings for graduate students?
I receive over 100 applications every year from many countries, including yourself. Most of them are highly qualified. However, because of limited resources, I only recruit a small number of students each year, which are usually the best candidates. I normally recruit students for the fall term. Please do not e-mail me asking whether I have any openings. To be my student, you must satisfy all the university requirements (such as the minimum TOEFL requirement). In addition, you should have a Bachelor's degree (or above) in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, or Mechatronics from a reputable university with a high GPA. Others should not apply.
I prefer students who demonstrate:
- Self motivation. Absolutely dedicated to academic excellence. If you do not want to be the best, please do not apply.
- Background in robotics, autonomous systems, ground vehicles, aerial vehicles, underwater vehicles, Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM), linear/nonlinear control, mechatronics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and other related areas.
- Previous research experience in the above areas (e.g., journal publications, conference presentations), or have won competitive national/international awards.
- Teaching experience and excellence.
- Relative industrial experience. Excellent hands on skills. A good transcript is not enough.
- Hardware skills and programming skills (C++, Matlab/Simulink, assembly).
- Excellent communication skills in English, both written and oral. A good TOEFL score alone is not sufficient.
- Excellent interpersonal skills.
Students with major scholarships such as NSERC are welcome to apply.
5. Can I have a meeting with you and introduce myself?
After initial correspondence, I will arrange an interview with all prospective students. The purpose of the interview is to assess the applicant's academic background as well as communication skills. Technical questions will be asked during the interview. For overseas students, telephone interviews will be arranged.
6. Will I receive financial support?
Currently all my graduate students receive financial support through various sources. Exact amount of funding depends on performance and varies from student to student (in between $20,000 and $50,000 per year, including scholarships, TA and RA). It will be enough for you to get a student visa and to support an average student life. The exact level of financial support will depend on your research experience, academic accomplishment, and the availability of funds. Some students receive sizeable extra research stipend in recognition of their outstanding academic performance. My previous experience is that for good students, there is always more than enough funding available. For incompetent students, we have to work for them so that they are paid. Self-funded students (e.g., foreign government scholarship) are welcome. However, you need to meet requirements listed in Question 4.
7. How do I apply?
You should send me your resume electronically with a detailed list of publications, research/educational experience and sample publications, and suggest a few names of references who can comment on your research accomplishment and communication skills. If I find your background/record fits my current research activities, I will contact you for further details/interviews.
8. Could you arrange for my child to visit your lab and learn about your research?
Thank you for your interest in visiting our research laboratory. Many kids are excited about electrical engineering, robotics, computer engineering and computer science. We have weekly lab meetings. You are more than welcome to bring your child to the lab to see what we are working on.
In addition, school visits can be arranged through the ECE department office.
9. Do you have any openings for undergraduate students?
I recruit undergraduate students through two programs: the NSERC USRA program (deadlines in February) and the UNB workstudy program (deadlines in August). Workstudy openings will normally be advertised through the workstudy website in August. Please do not e-mail me asking whether I have any openings. I will not be able to reply your e-mails.
10. The Youtube videos you showed in class were awesome. Where can I find the videos you showed in class?
11. Could you write a reference letter for me?
I only send reference letters for students I know. If you are in the graduating class, most likely I do know you (unless you never show up in class which means most likely you do not need a reference letter from me). Although I am willing to help you, I have to know more about you before I can send a reference letter on your behalf. Please prepare a paragraph about your research potential, teaching experience, academic records, project performance, achievements, communication skills, team building skills, work ethics, attendance, and community services. Send your description with your resume (and sufficient postage) to me. Please keep in mind that only the top 10% students deserve a strong reference letter. Socializing and chatting will help you to demonstrate your interpersonal skills but will not guarantee a good reference letter for you. In control systems this means, socializing and chatting are decoupled from good reference letters.