NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award

This page contains information for Summer 2019, for NSERC USRAs with professors from the Faculty of Science.

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. Note that this program is offered at McGill as well as other universities across Canada.


Value and tenure

When: The Faculty of Science offers NSERC USRAs in the Summer term (May through August).

Duration: 16 consecutive weeks on a full-time basis.

Value (INCREASED!): Minimum $7000 in the Faculty of Science, consisting of $4500 from NSERC + minimum of $2500 from the supervisor
(This is an increase from minimum $5625 in 2017, and minimum $6500 in 2018.)

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).

FRQNT Supplements

FRQNT Supplements: The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) offers a $2000 supplement to NSERC USRA holders enrolled at an eligible university in Quebec. Students apply directly to the FRQNT (not McGill) and receive the supplements from them.

Note: For NSERC USRAs held in Summer 2019,  you will not be able to apply from the FRQNT supplement until you receive a letter (by email) for NSERC; this usually happens in July. When last checked, the FRQNT application deadline for Summer 2019 has not yet been posted; but for comparison, last year's deadline was August 31.

Also note: For NSERC USRAs held in Winter 2019, the application deadline is April 30, 2019, at 4pm. More information.

Student eligibility

You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. To apply, you must be registered, at the time you apply, in a bachelor's degree program. To hold an award, you must have been registered in a Bachelor’s degree in at least one of the 2 terms immediately previous to the award. 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.

Students from other universities may also apply.

You cannot concurrently hold a SURA, Arts ARIA, McGill International Experience Award (formerly Schull Yang Award), or similar award. Exceptions to the above must be requested in advance.

Supervisor eligibility

The single most important thing is that your proposed supervisor must be a professor who holds an eligible active NSERC research grant. However, there are other requirements; please refer to our Eligible supervisors webpage for more details.

Where and with whom to apply

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. If you start at the webpages for Science departments, you can browse each unit's site to find professors' research websites. For Physics projects/professors, see also this page. See also details below regarding forms.

Apply through your proposed supervisor's school or department, not necessarily your own. You will find the departmental contacts and deadlines further below.

Each Faculty of Science unit has a quota of available awards, and has its own selection process and deadlines.

Forms, including transcripts

The checklist (required), forms, and instructions are available via the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies webpage for NSERC USRA with further links to the NSERC online application forms.

You must submit your form (Form 202, part 1) before your professor can do his or hers (Form 202, part 2).

Regarding transcripts:

  • As part of your form, you must upload a scan of official transcripts of all universities you attended, scanned into one document (PDF).
  • This includes separate official transcripts from each university you may have attended; for example, prior to McGill, on exchange, in the summer, etc.
  • NSERC will accept McGill's new e-Transcript.
  • If you have difficulty combining other transcripts with the e-Transcript, you may want to request paper copies of all official transcripts instead, and then physically scan them all yourself into one PDF.

Departments, contacts, where to submit, and deadlines

You must provide your application (paper or PDF, as instructed) to a McGill department. Simply submitting the electronic forms on the NSERC portal is insufficient, because the staff in McGill departments who select the awardees do not have access to rhe NSERC system.

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

If your proposed supervisor is from... Contact person Deadline
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences graduateinfo.aos [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Manuela Franzo-Whitnell) [WAS: Tuesday, February 26, 2019]
EXTENDED: Thursday, March 7, 2019, 9:00 AM
Biology susan.gabe [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) Thursday, February 28, 2019
Chemistry samuel.sewall [at] mcgill.ca (Dr. Samuel Sewall) Friday, February 22, 2019
(NB: Submit applications to Otto Maass Chemistry Building, Room 322 — not to Dr. Sewall
Computer Science adina.puica [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Adina Puica) Friday, March 1, 2019
Earth and Planetary Sciences kristy.thornton [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Kristy Thornton) Thursday, February 28, 2019
Geography undergrad.geog [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. June Connolly) [WAS: Thursday, February 28, 2019, at noon]
EXTENDED: Preferably by Wednesday, March 6, at noon
(Review of applications is underway, and will continue until all awards are granted.)
Mathematics and Statistics angela.white [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Angela White) Thursday, February 28, 2019
Physics Prof. Walter Reisner TBC
(Before you apply, please read these application instructions specific to Physics)
Psychology julia.marussi [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Julia Marussi) Tuesday, February 26, 2019, at noon
Redpath Museum susan.gabe [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) Thursday, February 28, 2019
(Apply through Biology)
Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences You can find the deadlines for other faculties via the McGill-wide NSERC USRA webpage. Application procedures, deadlines, and minimum award values vary according to the faculty of your proposed supervisor.
Faculty of Arts [including but not limited to the School of Information Studies]
Faculty of Dentistry
Faculty of Education [including but not limited to the Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education]
Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Management
Faculty of Medicine [including but not limited to the Departments of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology, and Physiology]
Faculty of Music

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.

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. NSERC CREATE programs are offered at McGill and at other Canadian institutions. Find out more about the NSERC CREATE program and then search for existing CREATE programs

Environment Canada Atmospheric and Meteorological Undergraduate Supplements - for USRA holders.

Aboriginal Ambassadors in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Supplement Program

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

Other sources of funding

Try our new Finding Funding tool!

Further information