Funded Research Opportunity: Zoonotic Parasites in Northwest Canada

So it’s back to the grind again. Those few days off over the holidays were nice, but now you’re back in the clinic or on the road. Sure, it’s fun to see the old clients that you love to hate and their chronically itchy pets you hate to love, but you often find yourself wondering if maybe veterinary medicine holds something else for you.

Lucky for you, I’ve got just the thing!

Wildlife Disease News Digest

I came across this opportunity through a link on Twitter to the Wildlife Disease News Digest Professional Announcements page. This website is a great resource for everyone interested in wildlife diseases and medicine. They have featured some really interesting interviews and also keep up a helpful resource page.

The announcement itself was fairly unassuming. In fact, the text-only list in tiny font would make many an internet publisher cringe! But as your faithful source of career inspiration I am happy to suffer this slight indignation for you.

Graduate Work in Parasites,Wildlife, & Public Health

I followed the link to this announcement page, where I learned a little bit more about the opportunity. You can also download a Word document here that tells us even more.

As you will read, veterinarian and microbiologist Dr. Emily Jenkins is seeking graduate student applications to assist with her research on the ecology and public health significance of zoonoses in wildlife, domestic animals, and people in remote regions of northwestern Canada. Dr. Jenkins has a joint appointment on the faculty of the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Public Health. She is quite an accomplished uncommon veterinarian and is looking into some pretty cool and important research questions. You can read a short feature article about her work here.

What’s in it for you, besides the MSc or PhD to add at the end of your name? Dr. Jenkins describes it this way:

Successful applicants will gain experience in fieldwork in northern Canada, veterinary techniques, and laboratory and data analysis. Applicants will also gain skills in scientific communication and knowledge translation through presentations at international conferences as well as to community stakeholders.

These are all very useful skills that would translate easily into many types of veterinary public health jobs with government, academia, and even industry.

What About the Money?

Okay, I know this is the big question for most of us. Sure, there are interesting opportunities out there, but how can I really pursue a career change when I’ve got bills to pay?

I e-mailed Dr. Jenkins to find out more details on this funding question. The good thing is that this experience is open to pretty much anyone with at least a bachelor’s degree. I specifically asked about foreign veterinary graduates, and Dr. Jenkins let me know that she would welcome applications from foreign vets. Along with a bachelor’s degree, applicants simply need to meet the admission requirements for the University of Saskatchewan.

North American veterinarians who have passed their boards and are interested in a PhD get the best deal, with guaranteed funding of at least $30,000 a year plus travel expenses. That may not sound like a lot, but given the cost of living in Saskatoon you should be able to manage just fine.

For foreign veterinarians or others who have not yet passed the NAVLE, your stipend would be at least $21,000, and you would have the option of converting to the higher level of funding if you pursue immigrant status in Canada and/or pass the veterinary board exams.

One Opportunity Among Many

I’ve featured this graduate program because of the clear announcement and call for applications. Yes, it sounds really interesting and would make for a fun few years and stepping stone into an uncommon veterinary career.

The more important thing I hope you’ll take from this, however, is that this is just one opportunity among so many others. If you begin digging into the websites of veterinary school research groups, you will find that there are professors looking for graduate students in just about any topic you can imagine.

The vast majority of PhD programs in North America come with their own funding. What does that mean? It means that once you are accepted you simply show up and start getting paid for learning, doing adventurous field work, and making a place for yourself in the scientific community.

You won’t become a millionaire on a grad student stipend, but you won’t go hungry either. You’ll probably be able to place your other student loans on hold while you are a student, and you will be putting yourself in a great position to participate in future government loan repayment programs.

Consider these things as you ponder your future as a veterinarian. We’re so lucky to have an incredible variety of options to us as we think about using our skills and educations to take care of animals and contribute to society.

What questions do you have about this particular opportunity or more generally pursuing a graduate degree? I love responding to your comments and questions!

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10 Responses to “Funded Research Opportunity: Zoonotic Parasites in Northwest Canada”

  1. Sara December 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Unfortunately I’m still a student.. but maybe next year!

    • Elliott December 27, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      That’s okay, something to file away for when your time comes. These types of opportunities will always be available!

  2. Jenna January 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    Very, very cool. Would love to go right now. Appreciate you sharing disease opportunities!

    • Elliott January 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      I’ll do my best to keep them coming! This one sounded especially cool, combing the field and lab research with the community education side of things.

  3. Dr Rizwan January 8, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    grt work i will be apply very soon

    • Elliott January 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Dr. Rizwan! Good luck applying for this opportunity. I’ll be sharing about some more funded PhD programs soon.

  4. Kimberley Prior May 8, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    I will be graduating with a masters degree in Medical Parasitology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in September and am extremely interested in research opportunities in parasitology, particularly the zoonoses (links with my BSc Zoology degree). I would be greatful if you could give me any advice about how to get going!

    • Elliott May 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

      Sounds like you have done some really interesting studies, Kimberley! I’ll try to keep linking to good opportunities here on my site and through my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but your best bet might be searching through these websites:

      Based on your interests, I don’t think you should have any trouble finding a funded PhD program involving zoonotic parasites. Good luck!

      • Adetayo Oluwafemi Adedayo June 25, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

        Good day sir.
        I am a 36 years old Veterinarian with a master’s degree in Field Epidemiology (completed but yet to convocate) trained at the Nigerian premier University of Ibadan. My passion for the control of zoonotic diseases, which are major threat to human health in Nigeria, made me applied for the MPH program. I also have a master’s degree in virology (completed since July, 2011) from same university. I have eight years work experience in veterinary private practice covering all domestic animals, though my interest is in research and training, but the challeges in Nigeria is a limiting factor to achieve one’s dream.
        I read through the career opportunities, skills and knowlegde that your institution offers and the international regard and recognition that you institute has in postgraduate researches, with her world class prefessional researchers. It will be a dream come through for me to study for the PhD program in your institution.
        I will be willing to send my academic credentials on request and will also like to know my eligibility to join your research team.
        Thank you.

  5. Susan July 20, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    Elliott, you’ve created a fantastic resource here – thanks for all of your great articles and links! I’m a Canadian citizen, with a fiance in CA, a BSc from U Calgary (but not an AB resident so ineligible to apply to the U Calgary vet program), a double Masters in evolutionary biology (focused on disease ecology) from France/Netherlands, now finally – at 35 – realizing that all I really want to do is go back to become a practicing vet. I’m looking at DVM-PhD programs around the world right now (given the ridiculous cost in the US, and the reluctance of moving a southern Californian to Canada for 7 years) and am very encouraged by the opportunities you post.

    Some prospective vet students might want to know that UK positions *can* be gotten for non-EU/UK students, although it’s hard (if you’re from Canada some are eligible through Commonwealth scholarships if the school will accept self-funded PhDs). A US friend of mine landed a 4 yr PhD at U Edinburgh despite it being advertised as EU/UK only… they’re strict but sometimes the right doors can open if you can make a good case.

    Thanks for your great material; I’m looking forward to digging up more info for Canadian and non-US citizens. Keep up the great work!

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