Frequently Asked Questions
Answer all of your CREATE Climate-Smart Soils questions here
Applicants and Prospective Students
Q: How is CREATE Climate-Smart Soils different from other graduate programs?
A: CREATE-CSS is a value-added graduate program. In addition to your typical thesis project, you will have a variety of opportunities for networking with other students and collaborators, professional development and career guidance, and industry experience.
Q: Who is eligible for the CREATE Climate-Smart Soils program?
A: CREATE-CSS accepts graduate students at Master’s and PhD levels, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate research students. Prospective students and researchers must be interested in working on a project related to climate-smart soils with a CREATE-CSS investigator at their respective institution* to be eligible to participate in the CREATE-CSS program. CREATE-CSS is not just for soil scientists, either – social scientists are welcome too!
*Participating institutions: University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba, University of Guelph, University of Toronto, McGill University, and Dalhousie University
Q: Do I need to be accepted to a graduate program before I can apply to CREATE Climate-Smart Soils?
A: Acceptance to the CREATE-CSS program is dependent on acceptance to a graduate program at a participating university with approval to complete a research project (thesis) with a CREATE-CSS investigator. You may apply to CREATE-CSS before receiving your university acceptance, but you will not be admitted until your program and academic advisor are confirmed.
Q: Can I apply for CREATE Climate-Smart Soils if I have already started my graduate program?
A: This depends on how many semesters you have already completed in your graduate program. Ideally, applicants will join CREATE-CSS at the beginning or within the first year of their program to ensure they will have adequate time to complete the required program components. If you have been studying for more than three semesters (one year), please contact the CREATE-CSS Program Coordinator to discuss your individual case.
Q: Can I join CREATE Climate-Smart Soils in any semester?
A: Yes! A new year of CREATE-CSS begins with the Fall semester, kicking off with the core course in late August/early September (2020 timing TBD). Most students begin their program at this time, but students can join CREATE-CSS at any time and still participate in the core course in the Fall.
Q: How do I apply for CREATE Climate-Smart Soils?
A: To apply for CREATE-CSS, please visit our ‘Apply’ page, download and complete the application form, and submit the form with a CV and transcript (unofficial is fine) in one (1) PDF document to Jordan, the CREATE-CSS Program Coordinator.
New and Current Students
Q: I have so many questions! Who do I ask?
A: All questions about CREATE-CSS can be directed to Jordan, the CREATE-CSS Program Coordinator via email. She will be able to answer most questions that you have or will direct you to the correct person for the job. There will also be plenty of opportunities to have your questions answered in person at the CREATE-CSS core course.
Q: What happens if I do not complete all of the required CREATE Climate-Smart Soils program components?
A: You will still receive your degree, pending fulfilment of requirements at your university, but you will not receive the official certificate of completion of the NSERC CREATE Climate-Smart Soils program. This certificate acknowledges that you successfully completed a series of components that prepare you for industry and it looks great on a resume.
Q: How do I get my photo and biography on the CREATE Climate-Smart Soils website?
A: Email a short bio to the CREATE-CSS Program Coordinator along with a photo of yourself and she will add it to the Scholars page.
Q: Do I have to have a profile on the CREATE Climate-Smart Soils website?
A: Sharing a bio and/or photo on the CREATE-CSS website is not mandatory, but it is a good way for collaborators (and potential employers) to get to know you, your background, and research interests.
Q: How do I get credit for the CREATE Climate-Smart Soils core course if I am not a University of Guelph student?
A: If you are participating in the CREATE-CSS core course but do not attend the University of Guelph, you need to complete a Canadian University Graduate Transfer Agreement (CUGTA) form. Contact the CREATE-CSS Program Coordinator for details about where to send the form at your institution and the University of Guelph.
Q: Are there additional fees associated with the CREATE Climate-Smart Soils core course if I do not attend the University of Guelph?
A: You do not need to pay anything to the University of Guelph. Fees associated with the CREATE-CSS core course will be covered by your tuition at your home university.
Q: Do I have to take other courses in addition to the CREATE Climate-Smart Soils core course?
A: The CREATE-CSS program is separate from the graduate program in which you are enrolled at your university. Whether or not you need to take additional courses depends on university and program, so be sure to check the requirements of your department.
Q: Who pays for my travel expenses?
A: CREATE-CSS is able to fund travel and accommodation for students to attend the core course at the University of Guelph and the annual meeting, and cover costs of travel and accommodation associated with internships. You can submit a visitor expense claim form with receipts and boarding passes to the Program Coordinator, who will submit them for reimbursement.
Q: What is an IDP?
A: An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a tool designed to help you set and achieve your learning and career goals. It includes exercises in skills assessment and goal setting, as well as space for you to document your discussions with your mentor. Completion of an IDP is mandatory to fulfill CREATE-CSS requirements.
Q: How do I find a mentor?
A: Take a look at the CREATE-CSS collaborators to find an organization that interests you or suits your career and learning goals. CREATE-CSS has contacts at each organization and the Program Coordinator can put you in touch with someone. If you are not sure which organization is right for you, tell the Program Coordinator which field or industry you are interested in (e.g. government, NGO) and ask for mentor suggestions.
Q: How do I find an internship?
A: Take another look at the CREATE-CSS collaborators to find an organization that interests you or suits your career and learning goals. The CREATE-CSS Program Coordinator will put you in touch with someone at the organization who can host an internship. If you are not sure which organization is right for you, tell the Program Coordinator which field or industry you are interested in (e.g. government, NGO) and ask for suggestions. There may be some additional opportunities across Canada or internationally, and the Program Coordinator will inform you of these.
Q: Can I do my internship with my mentor?
A: Yes! If your mentor holds a position or works at an organization that you would like to learn more about and they are able to host a student intern, your mentorship and internship can be with the same person or organization.
Q: How long is my internship supposed to be?
A: We suggest that internships will be up to 4 months in length, the length of your internship is flexible depending on the organization you are working with, the nature of your internship experience, and the nature of your own research project. Your internship experience, including its length, will be discussed with and approved by the CREATE-CSS Student Support Committee.
Q: What is the annual meeting?
A: The annual meeting will be an opportunity for you to be in the same place with as many collaborators and CREATE-CSS students as possible. We are still working out the details of this event.
Q: How can my organization get involved with CREATE Climate-Smart Soils?
A: If your organization is interested in collaborating with CREATE-CSS, please email Jordan, the CREATE-CSS Program Coordinator.
Q: What role(s) can collaborators play in CREATE Climate-Smart Soils?
A: Collaborators can participate in CREATE-CSS by presenting modules during the core course, mentoring a student, providing an internship, and/or attending the annual meeting to network with students. Collaborators can also serve on the committees that support the development of the CREATE-CSS program. We appreciate any and all contributions!
Q: What are the commitments of a mentor?
A: Mentors will meet with a student for a minimum of one hour per year to discuss their career goals and professional development either in person or by way of technology depending on your locations. You are more than welcome to meet for longer or more frequently if it suits you and your student to do so, but one annual meeting is the minimum requirement.
Q: What do we need to offer for an internship?
A: There is flexibility in what your organization can offer for an internship. The nature of the internship position will depend on the needs of the student and your organization, and the experience that students are looking to have. The length of the internship may vary depending on the task or project, or the availability of the student outside of their regular courses and research project. Additional requirements may include space to work in your office, access to information or data, etc., again depending on the nature of the internship.
Q: Does my organization need to provide financial support for student internships?
A: No, your organization does not have to provide financial support. The CREATE-CSS program will provide funding necessary to support the student through their internship.
Q: Does my organization need to provide financial support for student internships?
A: No, your organization does not have to provide financial support. The CREATE-CSS program will provide funding necessary to support the student through their internship