The Visualization for Information Analysis lab (vialab) is a research group at Ontario Tech University, lead by Dr. Christopher Collins. The lab’s research focuses on information visualization, with special attention on text and document analysis. Other research themes include human-computer interaction more generally, interactive surface and tabletop display interaction and applications research, and computer supported learning. The lab maintains a range of collaborations with other academic researchers both at Ontario Tech and beyond, as well as industrial collaborations.

PhD and MSc positions: Process for Applying for Graduate Studies

M.Sc. graduate placements are full for Fall 2021, Winter 2022. If you are interested in Ph.D. studies and have a excellent record in Master’s studies in a related area, or if you have a doctoral scholarship, please follow the instructions below.

When writing to professors about graduate studies, quality matters over quantity. Emailing 100 professors a form letter will likely result in 0 responses. Emailing 10 professors specific notes of interest will always be more successful. Believe me – you don’t want to work for the professor who is accepting students based on form letters anyway.

I receive many requests to join the lab and generally admit several students annually, at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels. To make sure you stand out, please:

The form asks for a description of why you want to study with me – what is it about the research at the vialab that interests you? What relevant skills and experience do you bring? If you are only interested in AI/Machine Learning then vialab is not the right place for you. Check out my research first – I am interested in interaction design and visualization, which sometimes uses machine learning. I am not primarily an ML researcher.

Vague answers or emails which could be sent to any professor are ignored and I generally will not reply. Please show me that you have graduate level reading and writing skills by reading about my research interests and composing well-organized, grammatical responses that demonstrate your abilities, as well as your specific interest in the field.

If you’re a scholarship student (or expect to receive an NSERC or equivalent), please contact me directly to arrange a time to visit our lab in person or virtually. Top-up funding is avialable for scholarship recipients.

Undergraduate Student Positions

Open positions are available year round for students who are interested in conducting research with me. Please attach your resume and unoffical transcript in pdf or plain text format with your email.

Positive Space

Ontario Tech University and vialab aim to be a positive, safe, and welcoming space for LGBTQ2S+ people, including in day-to-day working and educational environments, as well as in the research we conduct and the methods we use.

Embracing Diversity

Dr. Collins recognizes the strength that diversity in all forms brings to the research endeavor and pledges to work to address the systemic imbalances in computer science, in particular with relation to women, Indigenous, and racialized people.  He strives to make vialab a research environment in which all can achieve excellence. Dr. Collins invites applications from all qualified candidates, and especially encourages applications from women, racialized people, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Mailing Address

Dr. Christopher Collins
Ontario Tech, Faculty of Science
2000 Simcoe Street N
Oshawa, ON L1G 0C5

Email (preferred)



(905) 721-8668 x6581 [office]

(905) 721-8668 x2929 [lab]

Visiting Us

For GPS purposes, the address of the visitors parking is 48 Founders Drive, Oshawa.

Daily visitor parking is in the Founders 3 parking lot. Dr. Collins’ office is UA 4024 and the lab is room UA 4150 in the Science Building.  Please pull a parking ticket from the machine to raise the gate.  Keep this ticket. If you are visiting the lab for a meeting, Dr. Collins will provide an ‘exit pass’ to cover your parking fees when leaving.  To exit, insert your timed ticket followed by the exit pass.

Land Acknowledgement

Ontario Tech University acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. We are thankful to be welcomed on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered under the Williams Treaties and the traditional territory of the Mississauga, a branch of the great Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to a number of Indigenous nations and people.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we remember the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by as we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.


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