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I will be enrolling in a Master's program for Biomedical Informatics next fall.

I already know the faculty member that I would like to be mentored by (working as a student intern with one of his graduate students). However, I was told that I will most likely be assigned another mentor upon starting the program.

Would it be best to work under a new faculty member while under MS program and attempt to transition into PhD later and talk with the professor that I would like as my mentor? Or would it be best to talk to the professor before starting the MS program about possibly having him as my mentor in the first place?

Thank you.

P.S. Also, what is the best way of approaching a professor about receiving support as in funding?

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    Question 1: give the target professor a try earlier rather than later; if s/he declines at this time, try to leave the door open for trying again later. Question 2: just ask. Professors are used to getting this question and it is perfectly fine to ask. – aparente001 Feb 20 '17 at 18:21
  • @aparente001 Okay thanks. I knew that the professors get the question of funding often, but I wanted to know if the approach would be any different for international students. – HereWeGo17 Feb 20 '17 at 21:11
  • I see. Well, I suppose there might be a bit of a complication because of possible visa issues, but if a professor wants to fund you, the university will try to help you with visa stuff. Note that in the U.S. typically one applies for a teaching assistantship (the most common type of grad student funding) at the same time as submitting the application for admission. In general I would say it never hurts to ask! – aparente001 Feb 21 '17 at 3:25
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However, I was told that I will most likely be assigned another mentor upon starting the program.

Does this mean, you haven't yet corresponded with the professor you have in mind? If this is the case, why not write to him directly and express your interest in joining his group? You can also try to meet with him once you join the program. I would think that mentor assignments are not set in stone.

What is the best way of approaching a professor about receiving support as in funding?

Are you asking about seeking financial support from the professor you have in mind? If yes, write to him first to see if you can join his research group. If there is interest, the professor might let you know whether he could provide some support or not.

If you have more flexibility about to who you want to work with and/or the research area you want to be in, you can also write to the departmental graduate program coordinator and let him/her know your research interests and see if he/she can circulate your interests among the faculty working in those areas.

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