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NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award

This page contains information for Summer 2014.

The NSERC logo.The NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) in Universities program is meant to stimulate interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering, and the pursuit of research careers in these fields. Recipients engage in a research and development activity under the supervision of a professor holding an NSERC grant. It is an opportunity to gain research experience in an academic setting, while receiving financial support for summer 2012.

Value and tenure

Duration: 16 consecutive weeks on a full-time basis, in Summer 2014

Value: $4,500 from NSERC + minimum of $1,125 from the supervisor.

Travel allowance: may be granted if you take up the award at a university other than the one at which you are currently registered (see the NSERC website and the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) webpage). Note that this program is offered at universities across Canada.

Student eligibility

You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. You must be registered at the time you apply in a bachelor's degree program. You may hold a maximum of three USRAs throughout your university career. There are other requirements too: please consult the USRA information on NSERC's website. Individual departments may set higher application cutoffs than NSERC's minimum requirements, and this award application process is competitive.

How to apply; forms; student deadlines

The checklist (required), forms, and instructions are available via the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies webpage for NSERC USRA.

To submit a complete application, you need to identify an eligible professor to serve as your proposed supervisor and to submit a project proposal for you. For Physics projects/professors, see also this page. See also the webpages for Science departments (you can browse each unit's site to find professors' research websites).

Each Faculty of Science unit has a quota of available awards, and has its own selection process and deadlines. Apply through the academic unit where you wish to hold your award (i.e., your proposed supervisor's school or department, not necessarily your own unit). Students from other universities may also apply.

Here is NSERC USRA contact information.

Department or SchoolContact personDeadline
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences paula [dot] domingues [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Paula Domingues) Monday, March 10, 2014
Biology susan [dot] gabe [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) Monday, March 3, 2014
Chemistry samuel [dot] sewall [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. Samuel Sewall) Friday, February 21, 2014
(NB: Submit applications to Otto Maass Chemistry Building, Room 322 â€” not to Dr. Sewall
Computer Science ann [dot] jack [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Ann Jack) Monday, March 10, 2014
Earth and Planetary Sciences brandon [dot] bray [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (Mr. Brandon Bray ) Friday, February 28, 2014
Geography undergrad [dot] geog [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. June Connolly) Friday, February 28, 2014
Mathematics and Statistics angela [dot] white [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Angela White) Friday, February 28, 2014
Physics Prof. Ken Ragan Friday, February 21, 2014
(Before you apply, please read these application instructions specific to Physics)
Psychology julia [dot] marussi [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Julia Marussi) Thursday, February 20, 2014, at noon
Redpath Museum: Apply through Biology susan [dot] gabe [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) Monday, March 3, 2014

Other Faculties

Where you apply depends on your supervisor's department, not your own department.

Deadlines and procedures may vary if you are interested in an NSERC USRA with a supervisor from another faculty, i.e., the Faculties of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Arts, Dentistry, Education [includes the Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education], Engineering, Management, Medicine, Music. You can find their websites via the University-wide NSERC USRA webpage.

Special note for the Faculty of Medicine

Related / supplemental programs

Science Undergraduate Research Awards are a similar program for McGill science students, without citizenship restrictions and without restrictions on the supervisor's grant source.

The FRSQ/FRQS Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) program was for students registered in an undergraduate program offering specialization in health sciences, including social sciences, natural sciences and engineering. It was cancelled in summer 2013 due to lack of funding, and it does not appear to be offered for summer 2014. Check the FRQS website for possible developments. (The McEntyre USRA was a similar program, but is no longer open to bachelor's-level students.)

NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Programs train highly qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad, to better prepare them for future careers in industry, government or academia. NSERC CREATE Programs consist of a group of accomplished researchers who work collaboratively to offer a defined research training program to a group of trainees. Find out more about the NSERC CREATE program. Many NSERC CREATE Programs support undergraduate students. At McGill, these include NSERC CREATE Training programs in: Astrobiology, Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience, Bionanomachines, Integrated Sensor Systems, Medical Image Analysis, Neuroengineering, Medical Physics. NSERC CREATE programs are also offered at other Canadian institutions.

The Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates (DREU) is a program for groups underrepresented in graduate studies in computer science and engineering, whom they define as "women, Hispanics, African Americans, and American Indians".

The Environment Canada Atmospheric Science and Technology Supplement - for USRA holders.

NSERC Industrial Undergraduate Student Research Awards: In cooperation with a company, students can apply for an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award to provide salary support to gain industrially relevant experience.

Aboriginal Ambassadors in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Supplement Program

NSERC - CMS Math in Moscow scholarships - Usual deadlines: March 31 for the fall semester, September 30 for the winter semester.

Other opportunities - A listing of other research opportunities, generally outside McGill University.

Further information

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, "NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award" - for students

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, "USRA" - for administrative staff


Office for Undergraduate Research in Science, victor [dot] chisholm [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Victor Chisholm), Undergraduate Research Officer, tel.: 514-398-5964