Geography Summer Research Awards for BIPOC Undergradute Students

Geography Summer Research Awards (GSRAs) for BIPOC* undergraduate students

*Black, Indigenous, Persons of Colour

In association with the Faculty of Science, the Department of Geography is offering 2 Geography Summer Research Awards (GSRAs) for BIPOC* BSc and BASc Undergraduate students who are majoring in Geography or Sustainability, Science and Society (SSS) and who are interested in carrying out a full time summer research project with a faculty member in the Geography department. Both domestic and international McGill students may apply, and on the supervisor side, the award is not restricted to professors who hold research grants from NSERC or CIHR. Students at all levels are encouraged to apply. Many undergraduates say that their summer research experience allowed them to understand their courses better, changed their academic and professional direction, or was the best part of their undergraduate degree.

GSRAs are full-time, 16-week-long, paid ($7000) internships that will place students in a lab (virtually for 2021) or in the field (if travel conditions permit) to conduct hands-on research (see special considerations for Covid-19 below). No research experience is necessary; however, students should make contact with a Geography faculty member who agrees to supervise the student. Applicants will be evaluated based predominantly on an essay, and a faculty member’s commitment. For details on the application process, see the section "How to Apply" below

Value and duration:

When: Geography BIPOC GSRAs have to be held during the Summer term (May through August).

Duration: 16 weeks of full-time research

Value in 2021: $7,000


Students: Students who self-identify as BIPOC* and are completing a BSc or BASc with major in Geography or Sustainability, Science and Society (SSS) are eligible to apply. Students should have a GPA of at least 3.0, and need to have identified a faculty member who will agree to supervise their summer project.

How to Apply:

  1. Browse the Geography web site to find a professor whose research interests match your own, and then contact them to explain your interest and ask if they would be willing to supervise your summer project.

  2. Once you have found a supervisor, download and fill out the PDF application form (Appendix A: Student Form) available on the website. The application that includes a 3-part written essay on your topic of research. Part 1 will consist of a brief introduction to you, your experiences and why you are interested in pursuing Summer Research (limit 200 words). Part 2 is a section outlining you research interests and how they aligns with that of the proposed supervisor (limit 200 words). Part 3 is a brief explanation of the level of commitment you can make to conducting research this summer (limit 100 words). Note that emphasis will be placed on the quality of this essay and in exceptional circumstances, a GPA lower than 3.0 will be considered. An unofficial transcript has to be provided along with the complete application.

  3. Remind your proposed supervisor to complete their PDF form (Appendix B: Faculty Form) that can be downloaded from the website below, where they will provide detailed justification (up to 500 words) on how your proposed research fits into their own long term research plans, your role in the project, their role in the project and how they plan to support you in your research project.

  4. Both faculty and students must email their respective filled PDF forms and unofficial transcript before April 21 April 30, 2021 to raja.sengupta [at]

Form for Student: Appendix A

Form for Faculty: Appendix B

Special Considerations for Covid-19 restrictions (Summer 2021):

Geography and the Faculty of Science invites supervisors to consider safety, feasibility, adaptability, equity, and quality of training when planning projects for Summer 2021, whether these projects are fully remotely supervised or involve ‘in-person’ components.

We expect that many ‘in-person’ activities will be possible. We also expect all parties to prepare for a remotely supervised scenario.

Supervisors must disclose any ‘in-person’ expectations to students at the time of application. This includes in-person meetings. Students and supervisors should discuss expectations and constraints before applying and before accepting awards.

For wholly remotely-supervised projects, students and supervisors must be respectful of time zone differences, but students can be required to participate virtually/electronically in meetings or activities at specified times.”

Summer Courses:

For all projects: Whether the project is remote or ‘in-person’, students are expected to pursue their projects on a full-time basis, for 16 weeks. For summer 2021 there may be restrictions due to covid planning and the application has to contain a plan B if the in-person research is not allowed.

Students are allowed to take a maximum of one course (4 credits) during the internship period, but permission cannot be assumed. This requires a written plan that estimates lost time and a strategy to make it up; and approval from the Supervisor, Department/School, and Faculty. Additional flexibility may apply in exceptional cases, such as required courses that are only offered in the summer.

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