Dr. Craig F. Purchase

Evolutionary Ecology of Fishes

Research Program















         I will be on sabbatical from Sept/19 Ė Aug/20 and am not thus not planning to accept new graduate students until at least fall 2020 (and likely not until 2021). If you are a potential PhD student with a strong background relevant to my core interests, please contact me to see if I may make an exception (I will not be away for the whole sabbatical period).



I welcome highly motivated students to join my research group. Field, laboratory and pure data-mining projects are all possible. Students can work on a wide variety of subjects related to fish biology or possibly highly appropriate questions in evolutionary ecology in other taxa. I will consider supervising any talented individual, but students with scholarships or a high likelihood of attaining a scholarship are particularly encouraged to contact me. I can assist in the application process for some awards. Specific opportunities may appear in the news section of my homepage. See the research section for what I am focused on.



Graduate students


What to expect

Graduate school is very different than undergraduate studies. A major shift occurs when you go from learning about previously existing knowledge to creating knowledge. It is the beginning of a career in science and can be an enlightening event for many people. You must have a passion for what you are doing. Graduate school is not a good place for those who pursue it because they have nothing better to do. You do not need to have the highest grades to succeed as a grad student (although it doesnít hurt), but you do need interest, creativity, and determination.


I put tremendous amounts of time, effort and resources into supervising students. It is the most important part of my job. I expect students to work hard, and be both highly motivated and independent. You will be an active participant of a research group, which includes individuals from both within and outside my lab. I donít expect people to work as slaves; good social skills and the ability to lead a balanced life are important traits. Follow this link for more specific guidelines about joining my team.


Programs available

Both M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in Biology are administered by my home department. Opportunities also exist for graduate students under my supervision to pursue M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Biology (through the Department of Ocean Sciences), M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Fisheries Science (through the School of Fisheries), M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology (CABE) via an interdisciplinary program, or a M.Sc. (thesis) and M.Env.Sci. (course based) in Environmental Science.


The research can be identical for either of these programs, but the course requirements differ, and different academic units administer them. All potential students must meet the admission guidelines set by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS).



Graduate students receive guaranteed funding, which can come from the student (scholarships), supervisor (grants), university (fellowships) and other sources. Results of my various funding applications become available at different times of the year. However, students holding scholarships may be able to join the research group at any time.


Of note, there is a big financial advantage to studying at Memorial University. Major scholarships such as NSERC awards have the same value anywhere in Canada. Memorial has the lowest tuition in the whole country, so there is more money in your pocket. Additionally the cost of living in St. Johnís is cheap compared to other major Canadian cities. Finally, all major scholarship holders get top-ups for their scholarships.



Undergraduate students

The Biology Department at Memorial University has a fantastic honours program (information). I encourage any interested and motivated students to contact me directly.


Other potential opportunities for undergraduates include the Memorial Undergraduate Career Experience Program (MUCEP), Student Work and Service Program (SWASP), Science Undergraduate Research Award (SURA) and NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA - January deadline).