Undergraduate Student Research Awards (2023)

CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA (new!); NSERC USRA (updated for 2023)

The information below pertains to Summer 2023. Here are the major changes for Summer 2023: the supervisor contribution and total value are revised; guidelines for remote projects (backup plans) are more flexible; there are new CIHR USRAs and SSHRC USRAs for Black students. For more details, including remote and in-person projects, please read on.

What is the USRA program?

The Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) program is meant to nurture your interest and potential for a research career, and to encourage you to undertake graduate studies. It is an opportunity to gain research experience in an academic setting, while receiving financial support. Recipients engage in a research and development activity, under the supervision of a McGill Faculty of Science professor.

The Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) program is funded jointly by Canada’s three national research granting agencies: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are, at the present time, exclusively for students who self-identify as Black.

NSERC continues to encourage all eligible candidates to apply for NSERC USRA, especially women, Indigenous students, and students who self-identify as Black.

The Faculty of Science invites applications from all eligible candidates, and especially those who are members of underrepresented groups, including Women, Persons with Disabilities, Indigenous People, Racialized people/Visible Minorities, and LGBTT2SQ* People (sexual orientation and/or gender identity minorities).

This page is for USRAs with Professors from the Faculty of Science. If your proposed supervisor is from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, or another McGill Faculty, please start here instead. If you are interested in a USRA with a professor at another Canadian university, start at that university's website instead.

What are the key differences between the NSERC USRA, CIHR USRA, and SSHRC USRA programs? Which program is right for me?

The CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA work largely the same as the NSERC USRA; here are the main differences between these programs. This is not complete, so please read the rest of this Faculty of Science webpage, as well as NSERC's own USRA webpage which addresses all three USRA programs.

Field of student's research project: Natural sciences, engineering. Medicine, health. Social sciences, humanities.
(Official guidelines relating to fields.)
Students: Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or protected persons. At present, the CIHR USRA and SSSHR USRA are exclusively for students who self-identify as Black, who are also Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or protected persons.
(Black students may apply to any one of the three USRA programs. Non-Black students may only apply to NSERC USRA at this time.)
Supervisors (Professors): NSERC grantholders*
from the Faculty of Science**
CIHR grantholders*
from the Faculty of Science**
SSHRC grantholders*
from the Faculty of Science**
Eligible for FRQNT Supplement: Expected*** Not expected***
Applications: To Department of supervisor
(in February)
To Faculty of Science
(in March)
Selection: By Department of supervisor
(expected in March)
By McGill University
(expected in April)
Lead agency: NSERC: students and professors use the NSERC USRA application forms, and can refer to NSERC's USRA webpage, even for CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA.

* "Grantholder" in this context means a Professor who holds, has held, or is applying for an eligible research grant; more information is below on this page.
** If your supervisor is from another Faculty (or University), contact that Faculty (or University) for details.
*** The FRQNT Supplement for the NSERC USRA program is expected but not guaranteed.

How to apply for a USRA

  1. Students and Professors: Review student & supervisor eligibility, deadlines, contact persons, and other details on this webpage as well as on the NSERC website.

    Why should you apply?

    Each summer, dozens of students receive funding for a full-time research project through this program. Students develop new skills, learn a lot about how science works, get a better sense of whether they want to pursue research at the graduate level, meet new friends and mentors... and receive financial support. Many undergraduates say that their summer research award allowed them to understand their courses better, changed their academic and professional direction, or was the best part of their undergraduate degree.

    Value and duration

    • When: The Faculty of Science offers USRAs in the Summer term (May through August). We do not generally offer USRAs in other terms.
    • Duration: 15 consecutive weeks on a full-time basis. (16 weeks: optional, if agreed upon with the supervisor.)
    • Value in 2023:
      Duration: 15 weeks (default) 16 weeks (optional)
      NSERC USRA: $6000 $6000
      Professor contribution (minimum): $2350 (15 weeks) $3000 (16 weeks)
      Total value (minimum): $8350 $9000
    • Supplements (not guaranteed)

    Student eligibility

    • You must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a protected person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), as of the deadline date for applications at the institution.
      • Note: CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are, at the present time, exclusively for students who self-identify as Black. (In other words: Black students may apply to any one of the three USRA programs. Non-Black students may only apply to NSERC USRA at this time.)
    • 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.
    • Students from other universities may also apply.
    • First year students are eligible to apply (provided they meet all other requirements). At the time you apply (typically February), you must provide transcripts that show your fall grades and winter registration. To hold the award, first year students must provide transcripts (in early May) that show successful completion of one year of university study (minimum 24 credits).
    • You may apply to one of the following: NSERC USRA, CIHR USRA, or SSHRC USRA.
    • You cannot concurrently hold more than one of the following: NSERC USRA, CIHR USRA, SSHRC USRA, SURA, Arts ARIA, Schull Yang International Experience Award, McGill International Experience Award, McGill Biomedical Research Accelerator award, FRQS or FRQSC Undergraduate Introduction to Research Award, or similar award.
    • Individual departments may set higher requirements than the minimum requirements, and this award application process is competitive.
    • There are other requirements too: please consult the USRA information on NSERC's website.

    Selection criteria

    NSERC has stipulated that institutions should select USRA recipients based on the following three criteria (which the Faculty of Science expects for SURA as well):

    • Academic excellence;
    • Research potential;
    • Expected quality of the training and mentorship to be received.

    Unsure if your application will be competitive?

    Applying for the award does not guarantee that you will receive it. The only guarantee is that if you do not apply for an award, you will not receive it. However, even if your application seems unsuccessful, many good things can still happen!

    • First, read the eligibility information on this page, for both you (student) and your supervisor. Consult your supervisor's department if you have questions about eligibility; refer to "Departmental contacts, deadlines, how to submit" further below.
    • A department may be able to give you information such as the number of applicants and awards last year, or the average or minimum CGPA; however applicant pools and the number of awards vary from year to year. A comparable dossier may be uncompetitive one year, but successful the next. If you are clearly ineligible, that is one thing; but if you are unsure how competitive you might be, consider applying.
    • If your award application is unsuccessful, sometimes supervisors can provide other sources of funding, or find other ways to involve you in research, for the summer itself.
    • An unsuccessful summer award application may open other doors later: a research course for credit next fall, or a successful award application next summer, for example.
    • Please also consult "Other sources of funding" below.

    Are you thinking of taking 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 15 weeks.

    Students may take one course during the USRA period, but permission cannot be presumed. 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. (The Faculty of Science expects the same for SURA.) Additional flexibility may apply in exceptional cases, such as required courses that are only offered in the summer. Ask your supervisor's department to contact the Faculty of Science for more details.

    Other sources of funding

    If you are not eligible for a USRA, or if you apply but do not receive the award, here are a few suggestions. Application deadlines vary.

  2. Students: Find a supervisor. Your supervisor must be willing to provide the minimum financial contribution described in "Value and Duration" above.

    Where and with whom to apply

    • To submit a complete application, you need to identify an eligible professor (see below) 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. Here is some advice.
    • For Physics projects/professors, also consult this page.
    • For NSERC USRA: Apply through your proposed supervisor's school or department, not necessarily your own. Each Faculty of Science unit has a quota of available awards, and has its own selection process and deadlines.
    • For SSHRC USRA and CIHR USRA: Apply through the Faculty of Science. The Faculty of Science will receive applications. After, a University committee (all Faculties) will rank dossiers and select the recipients.
    • You will find the departmental/faculty contacts and deadlines further below.

    Supervisor eligibility

    • In the Faculty of Science, the proposed supervisor must be a professor who has held, currently holds, or has applied for an eligible NSERC grant (for NSERC USRA), SSHRC grant (for SSHRC USRA), or CIHR grant (for CIHR USRA).
    • The supervisor may be the principal investigator or the co-investigator of the grant.
    • In general: NSERC expects the research supervisor to be physically present for the majority of the period of the award. It is acceptable for the research supervisor to delegate supervision for short periods to other faculty members, experienced technicians, postdoctoral fellows or doctoral students. Remote work is acceptable with supervision expected on a frequent basis.

    My proposed supervisor is an Assistant Professor /Associate Professor / Full Professor / Jointly Appointed professor / Associate Member / Adjunct Professor. Does it matter? What do these terms mean?

    Please note that the following is specific to USRAs in Faculty of Science departments. Professor eligibility for SURAs is different.

    Title Explanation or definition Relevance for your NSERC USRA application
    Assistant Professor Professors typically start their academic career as Assistant Professor. It does not matter whether your proposed supervisor is an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or (Full) Professor, as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements. What does matter: Ask your professor the department(s) in which he or she is appointed. At least one of the professor's departments should be listed below. For NSERC USRA check that her or his name is on the departmental list (for CIHR & SSHRC USRA, please read on).
    Associate Professor Associate Professor is a promotion from Assistant Professor.
    Professor (or Full Professor) (Full) Professor is a promotion from Associate Professor.
    Joint appointments Some McGill professors (whether assistant, associate or full) hold an academic appointment of substantial weight in more than one academic unit. As above, check that at least one of the professor's departments is on the list under "Departments, contacts and deadlines" and check if her or his name is on the list. Especially for Associate Members, ask the contact for that department if they expect you to apply through the supervisor's other department.
    Associate Member status Some McGill professors hold an affiliation with a secondary unit, where a joint appointment is not appropriate.
    Adjunct Professor The individual is primarily employed outside McGill - for example, by government, in industry, as a professional, or at another university or institution - but participates in the academic activities of the McGill unit where he or she is appointed as Adjunct Professor. Typically not eligible to apply through McGill, since NSERC requires you to apply for a USRA through the supervisor's primary institution. (Example: your supervisor holds her or his main appointment at Université de Montréal, but has an additional appointment at McGill as an adjunct professor. In this case, apply for an NSERC USRA through the Université de Montréal, not through McGill.) If you are uncertain, ask the departmental contact, who can check with the Faculty of Science.

    What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?

    • Please ask if she/he currently holds an NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR research grant, previously held an NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR grant, or is currently applying for an NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR grant. (Most but not all Faculty of Science professors do hold one of these grants.) Please share this information with your supervisor's department's contact person (refer to the "Departments, contacts, where to submit, and deadlines" section below) so they can contact the Faculty of Science to verify the supervisor's eligibility.
    • Your proposed supervisor might still be eligible. There are several possible reasons he or she might not show up here, which include the following:
      • SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.
      • This list does not include professors from outside the McGill Faculty of Science. (In this case, apply through the other Faculty according to their deadlines.)
      • Some professors have appointments in multiple departments (or faculties), but are only listed in one department below.
      • Professors who are currently applying for an NSERC grant, or held a grant in the past, but do not currently hold a grant, might not appear here.
      • The list below is preliminary, not final. It represents a slice in time, and may not have the most recent information.

    Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    Note: Prof. Parisa Ariya (whose grant is listed under Chemistry) is also eligible.

    1. Prof. Carolina Dufour
    2. Prof. Frederic Fabry
    3. Prof. John Gyakum
    4. Prof. Yi Huang
    5. Prof. Daniel Kirshbaum
    6. Prof. Thomas Preston
    7. Prof. Djordje Romanic
    8. Prof. David Straub
    9. Prof. Ivy Tan
    10. Prof. Bruno Tremblay
    11. Prof. Andreas Zuend

    Biology supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    See also the Redpath Museum below. Several researchers are jointly appointed in Biology and the Redpath Museum, but are only listed in one place.

    1. Prof. Ehab Abouheif
    2. Prof. Graham Bell
    3. Prof. Gary Brouhard
    4. Prof. Thomas E Bureau
    5. Prof. Lauren Chapman
    6. Prof. Melania Cristescu
    7. Prof. Joseph Dent
    8. Prof. Gregor Fussmann
    9. Prof. Abigail Gerhold
    10. Prof. Andrew Gonzalez
    11. Prof. Irene Gregory-Eaves
    12. Prof. Frederic Guichard
    13. Prof. Mélanie Guigueno
    14. Prof. Anna Hargreaves
    15. Prof. Paul Harrison
    16. Prof. Arnold Hayer
    17. Prof. Michael Hendricks
    18. Prof. Lars L. Iversen
    19. Prof. Paul Lasko
    20. Prof. Brian Leung
    21. Prof. Nam Sung Moon
    22. Prof. Laura Nilson
    23. Prof. Tomoko Oyama
    24. Prof. Laura Pollock
    25. Prof. Catherine Potvin
    26. Prof. Neil Price
    27. Prof. Simon Reader
    28. Prof. Rodrigo Reyes Lamothe
    29. Prof. Richard Roy
    30. Prof. Jon Sakata
    31. Prof. Frieder Schöck
    32. Prof. Daniel J Schoen
    33. Prof. Fiona Soper
    34. Prof. Jennifer Sunday
    35. Prof. Jacalyn Vogel
    36. Prof. Alanna Watt
    37. Prof. Stephanie Weber
    38. Prof. Sarah Woolley
    39. Prof. Monique Zetka
    40. Prof. Huanquan Zheng

    Chemistry supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    Note: Prof. Thomas Preston (whose grant is listed under Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences) is also eligible.

    1. Prof. Mark P Andrews
    2. Prof. Parisa A Ariya
    3. Prof. Bruce A Arndtsen
    4. Prof. Karine Auclair
    5. Prof. Christopher Barrett
    6. Prof. Amy Blum
    7. Prof. Scott Bohle
    8. Prof. Gonzalo Cosa
    9. Prof. Masad J Damha
    10. Prof. James L Gleason
    11. Prof. Matthew Harrington
    12. Prof. Ashok K Kakkar
    13. Prof. Pat Kambhampati
    14. Prof. Rustam Khaliullin
    15. Prof. Marc-Andre Légaré
    16. Prof. C.J. Li
    17. Prof. Nathan Luedtke
    18. Prof. Jean-Philip Lumb
    19. Prof. Janine Mauzeroll
    20. Prof. Eric McCalla
    21. Prof. Maureen McKeague
    22. Prof. Tony Mittermaier
    23. Prof. Nicolas Moitessier
    24. Prof. Audrey Moores
    25. Prof. Dima Perepichka
    26. Prof. Linda Reven
    27. Prof. Lena Simine
    28. Prof. Brad Siwick
    29. Prof. Hanadi Sleiman
    30. Prof. Christopher Thibodeaux
    31. Prof. Youla S Tsantrizos
    32. Prof. Theo van de Ven
    33. Prof. Paul Wiseman

    Computer Science supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    Note: Prof. Adrian Vetta (whose grant is listed under Mathematics & Statistics) is also eligible.

    1. Prof. Oana Balmau
    2. Prof. Mathieu Blanchette
    3. Prof. Xiao-Wen Chang
    4. Prof. Jackie Cheung
    5. Prof. Claude Crepeau
    6. Prof. Luc Devroye
    7. Prof. Christophe Dubach
    8. Prof. Gregory L Dudek
    9. Prof. Jin Guo
    10. Prof. Hamed Hatami
    11. Prof. Bettina Kemme
    12. Prof. Jörg Kienzle
    13. Prof. Paul Kry
    14. Prof. Michael Langer
    15. Prof. Yue Li
    16. Prof. Hsiu-Chin Lin
    17. Prof. Xue Liu
    18. Prof. Muthucumaru Maheswaran
    19. Prof. David Meger
    20. Prof. Prakash Panangaden
    21. Prof. Brigitte Pientka
    22. Prof. Joelle Pineau
    23. Prof. Doina Precup
    24. Prof. Reihaneh Rabbany
    25. Prof. Siamak Ravanbakhsh
    26. Prof. Siva Reddy
    27. Prof. Blake Richards
    28. Prof. Robert Robere
    29. Prof. Martin Robillard
    30. Prof. David Rolnick
    31. Prof. Derek Ruths
    32. Prof. Kaleem Siddiqi
    33. Prof. Clark Verbrugge
    34. Prof. Jérôme Waldispuhl

    Earth and Planetary Sciences supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    Note: Prof. Nicolas Cowan (whose grant is listed under Physics) is also eligible.

    1. Prof. Genevieve Ali
    2. Prof. Don Baker
    3. Prof. Kim Berlo
    4. Prof. Peter Douglas
    5. Prof. Eric Galbraith
    6. Prof. Natalya Gomez
    7. Prof. Galen Halverson
    8. Prof. James Kirkpatrick
    9. Prof. Yajing Liu
    10. Prof. Nagissa Mahmoudi
    11. Prof. Jeffrey McKenzie
    12. Prof. Christie Rowe
    13. Prof. John Stix
    14. Prof. Vincent Johan van Hinsberg
    15. Prof. A.E. Williams-Jones

    Geography supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    Note: Prof. Genevieve Ali (whose grant is listed under Earth & Planetary Sciences) is also eligible.

    1. Prof. Mette Bendixen
    2. Prof. Gail L Chmura
    3. Prof. Margaret Kalacska
    4. Prof. Bernhard Lehner
    5. Prof. Graham MacDonald
    6. Prof. Kevin Manaugh
    7. Prof. Grant McKenzie
    8. Prof. Brian Robinson
    9. Prof. Nigel Roulet
    10. Prof. Raja Sengupta
    11. Prof. Christian von Sperber

    Mathematics and Statistics supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    1. Prof. Louigi Addario-Berry
    2. Prof. Patrick Allen
    3. Prof. Masoud Asgharian
    4. Prof. Linan Chen
    5. Prof. Rustum Choksi
    6. Prof. Henri Darmon
    7. Prof. Christian Genest
    8. Prof. Eyal Goren
    9. Prof. Pengfei Guan
    10. Prof. Tim Hoheisel
    11. Prof. Tony Humphries
    12. Prof. Jacques Hurtubise
    13. Prof. Dmitry Jakobson
    14. Prof. Vojkan Jaksic
    15. Prof. Niky Kamran
    16. Prof. Abbas Khalili
    17. Prof. Eric Kolaczyk
    18. Prof. Jean-Philippe Lessard
    19. Prof. Jessica Lin
    20. Prof. Jean-Christophe Nave
    21. Prof. Johanna Neslehova
    22. Prof. Sergey Norin
    23. Prof. Adam Oberman
    24. Prof. Courtney Paquette
    25. Prof. Elliot Paquette
    26. Prof. Mikael Pichot
    27. Prof. Piotr Przytycki
    28. Prof. Brent Pym
    29. Prof. Marcin Sabok
    30. Prof. Russell Steele
    31. Prof. David Stephens
    32. Prof. John Toth
    33. Prof. Anush Tserunyan
    34. Prof. Gantumur Tsogterel
    35. Prof. Jerome Vetois
    36. Prof. Adrian Vetta
    37. Prof. Daniel Wise
    38. Prof. Archer Yi Yang

    Physics supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    McGill Physics runs a different process to match students and professors. Please read this page before applying.

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    Note: Prof. Bradley Siwick and Prof. Paul Wiseman are also eligible, but their grants are listed under Chemistry.

    1. Prof. Kartiek Agarwal
    2. Prof. Robert Brandenberger
    3. Prof. Thomas Brunner
    4. Prof. Simon Caron-Huot
    5. Prof. Cynthia Chiang
    6. Prof. Lilian Childress
    7. Prof. Jim Cline
    8. Prof. Bill Coish
    9. Prof. David Cooke
    10. Prof. Francois Corriveau
    11. Prof. Nicolas Cowan
    12. Prof. Andrew Cumming
    13. Prof. Keshav Dasgupta
    14. Prof. Matt Dobbs
    15. Prof. Charles Gale
    16. Prof. Guillaume Gervais
    17. Prof. Peter Grütter
    18. Prof. Hong Guo
    19. Prof. Daryl Haggard
    20. Prof. David Hanna
    21. Prof. Michael Hilke
    22. Prof. Sangyong Jeon
    23. Prof. Victoria Kaspi
    24. Prof. Eve Lee
    25. Prof. Adrian Liu
    26. Prof. Shaun Lovejoy
    27. Prof. Alexander Maloney
    28. Prof. Tami Pereg-Barnea
    29. Prof. Nikolas Provatas
    30. Prof. Kenneth Ragan
    31. Prof. Walter Reisner
    32. Prof. Dominic Ryan
    33. Prof. Jack Sankey (Childress)
    34. Prof. Katelin Schutz
    35. Prof. Jonathan Sievers
    36. Prof. Brigitte Vachon
    37. Prof. Andreas Warburton
    38. Prof. Tracy Webb

    Psychology supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    1. Prof. Rosemary Bagot
    2. Prof. Jennifer Bartz
    3. Prof. Jonathan Britt
    4. Prof. Carl Falk
    5. Prof. Oliver Hardt
    6. Prof. Heungsun Hwang
    7. Prof. Brendan Johns
    8. Prof. Milica Miocevic
    9. Prof. Jeffrey Mogil
    10. Prof. Karim Nader
    11. Prof. Kris Onishi
    12. Prof. David J Ostry
    13. Prof. Ross Otto
    14. Prof. Caroline Palmer
    15. Prof. Michael Petrides
    16. Prof. Jelena Ristic
    17. Prof. Mathieu Roy
    18. Prof. Signy Sheldon
    19. Prof. Debra Titone
    20. Prof. Anna Weinberg

    Redpath Museum supervisors (NSERC USRA)

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above. SSHRC grants and CIHR grants are not listed here.

    See also the Department of Biology above. Several researchers are jointly appointed in Biology and the Redpath Museum, but are only listed in one place.

    1. Prof. Rowan Barrett
    2. Prof. David M Green
    3. Prof. Andrew Hendry
    4. Prof. Hans Larsson
    5. Prof. Virginie Millien
    6. Prof. Anthony Ricciardi

    All Faculty of Science departments' supervisors (for the SSHRC and CIHR USRA programs)

    Unfortunately a list of SSHRC and CIHR grantholders in the Faculty of Science is not available at this time.

    If you are interested in doing a research project with:

    • a professor from the Faculty of Science (see refer of departments above),
    • whose research lies in the field of medicine, or health, or social sciences, or humanities,
    • and who is not listed in the list of NSERC supervisors (grantholders) above,

    ...please ask that professor if she or he currently holds, has held, or is applying for research grant funding from CIHR or SSHRC. (Most but not all Faculty of Science professors do hold research grants from either NSERC, SSHRC, or CIHR.)

    We encourage you to then victor.chisholm [at] mgill.ca (contact the Faculty of Science (Victor Chisholm)) to declare your intent to apply for the CIHR USRA or SSHRC USRA so we can help you confirm your and your supervisor's eligibility to apply.

    Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Physiology

    These departments are part of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science. Please refer to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science's webpage for NSERC USRA.

    Other academic units

    Please refer to the McGill-wide NSERC USRA webpage.

  3. Students: Complete your application forms. These require official transcripts from all universities you've attended. Give a copy of your NSERC application form to your supervisor so she or he has your NSERC reference number.

    Questions about eligibility, forms, etc.?

    Clarify these questions before you apply or as soon as an issue arises. Generally this means to consult the supervisor's department (for NSERC USRA), or the Faculty of Science (for CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA). You will find contacts further below. Departmental staff will consult the Faculty of Science if or when needed.

    Forms for students, including transcripts and checklists

    Before you start, please consult NSERC’s Application Instructions. These cover NSERC USRA, SSHRC USRA, and CIHR USRA.

    1. University-level transcripts: Order official copies.
      • You must upload one document (PDF) containing official transcripts of all universities you attended.
        • This includes separate official transcripts from each university you may have attended; for example, prior to McGill, on exchange, in the summer, etc.
        • Do not include CEGEP transcripts.
        • If you have difficulty combining multiple transcripts, you may want to request paper copies of all official transcripts (instead of e-transcripts), and then physically scan them all yourself into one PDF.
        • NSERC prefers black and white scans.
      • NSERC will accept McGill's e-Transcript, even if the transcript legend does not appear, and even though it is in colour.
      • NSERC may require that updated or official, original documents be provided after the completed application has been submitted to NSERC. If you order official copies on paper, hold onto them.
    2. NSERC Form 202, part 1: This is the main form you must complete.
      • Complete Form 202, part 1 using NSERC's online system.
      • Take care to select the appropriate agency (CIHR, SSHRC, or NSERC). If you choose the wrong agency, your supervisor may not be able to submit an application for you.
      • You must upload a scan of your transcripts. See also above.
      • You must submit your complete form (Form 202, part 1) before your professor can do his or her part. Your professor will need your (last) name and your NSERC reference number.
    3. Checklist - Consult, complete, and provide to your department as part of your application.

    Your application is not yet complete. Your supervisor must complete NSERC Form 202, part 2 (with your project proposal) and you must submit PDFs of your documents to your supervisor's department (details below).

    How to name your files / electronic application documents

    Name each PDF according to the following format:
    ...where YYY-MMM-DD is the date you prepared this document, italic text (mixed case) represents variables, and roman text (all-capitals) represents constants.

    For supervisors from: Sample file name: Description:
    Atmos. & Ocean. Sci., Geography, Math & Stats, Psych.:
    If possible, please combine all application documents for each student into one PDF.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Complete-ProfMacdonald-2021-Feb-05.pdf Complete USRA application (if supervisor's department requests one PDF containing all documents) for student Jane Doe with Professor Macdonald, prepared on February 5
    All other eligible departments that are not listed above:
    You may submit each application document as a separate PDF.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Form1-2021-Feb-05.pdf Only NSERC USRA Form 202 Part 1, for student Jane Doe, prepared on February 5. Note that this should include the transcripts which you have uploaded to NSERC.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Checklist-2021-Feb-05.pdf The required checklist, for student Jane Doe, prepared on February 5.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Form2-ProfMacdonald-2021-Feb-06.pdf Only NSERC USRA Form 202 Part 2, for student Jane Doe, supervisor Professor Macdonald, prepared on February 6
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Form1-2021-Feb-12.pdf Updated version of Form 1 (including transcripts as uploaded to NSERC), dated February 12. Avoid submitting multiple versions of a document; but if necessary, for example if a grade changes, the date in the filename will help your department track which is the most recent version.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Statement-2021-Feb-05.pdf A supporting statement is not a normal requirement in most departments; however, if student Jane Doe chooses to provide one, or if her department requests a statement from all applicants, this would be the naming format to use. Change "statement" in the filename if this is for some other kind of document, such as your CV.

  4. Students and professors, about ‘in-person’ projects and remotely supervised projects: We encourage proposals for ‘in-person’ projects. We expect in-person project proposals to include a remote backup; 2-3 sentences will often suffice, especially since a remote phase is unlikely to last the whole summer. Hybrid projects and wholly-remote projects are still permitted. Students and supervisors should discuss expectations and constraints before applying and before accepting awards.

    Further considerations for in-person and remote projects

    The Faculty of Science invites supervisors to consider safety, feasibility, adaptability, equity, and quality of training when planning projects.

    Projects with an in-person component may best support the scientific development of students who are in, or able to come to, Montreal, provided the projects seem feasible and permissible at the time of application, and become or remain so.

    Remote projects may be the best or only option for students who are not in or cannot come to Montreal, or if COVID restrictions tighten.

    For 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.

    Wording suggestions for supervisors to write project proposals

    “If circumstances require a remote project, we plan to…” PLUS brief explanation (2-3 sentences?)

    “The preceding project can be pursued and supervised wholly remotely. However, if circumstances permit, we plan to…” PLUS Description of in-person activities

    “This project can be pursued and supervised wholly remotely.”

  5. Professors: Complete the supervisor's application form (NSERC Form 202, Part 2) following the advice below. Give a copy to your student. Inform your department if you choose a 16-week award instead of a 15-week award.
    VERY IMPORTANT: Read the information immediately below (for professors) and immediately above (for both professors and students).

    Information for supervisors (professors) when completing NSERC Form 202 Part 2 (also for CIHR and SSSHR USRA)

    It is the responsibility of researchers and their departments to ensure that application forms include all information required by both NSERC and the Faculty of Science. Please read the following tips and "gotchas".

    Use NSERC Form 202, Part 2, even if you are applying for a CIHR USRA or SSHRC USRA.

    If you can't find your department on the NSERC pick-list, ask the student which tri-agency she/he indicated when completing her/firm form. (One of the first steps for a student is to choose one agency: CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC. The student's choice of agency will limit the departments available to you.)

    • The project description now involves three separate fields:
      1. Outline of proposed research project: (i) This is the longest of the three fields, so it may be the best place to describe Plan A / Plan B for in-person and/or remote projects; above, you can find the Faculty of Science's expectations. (ii) Describe the student's research project, not necessarily your larger research program.
      2. Outline of the student's role: Consider starting with "The student will..."
      3. Expected quality of the training to be received: You may wish to describe the outcomes, goals, or benefits the student may attain. Please also confirm that supervision will be (primarily) by you, the named supervisor, not (solely/predominantly) by a postdoc, lab tech, other senior lab member, etc.
    • The start date on the form should: reflect your real plans; be May 1 or later; allow the student to finish a 15-week (or 16-week) project before Fall classes start, on August 30 this year! There is no dedicated field on the form for either the duration or the end-date, but please see the section below about value and duration.
    • $5000 question: The research subject code is a required field and is also a key part in identifying eligible candidates for the Canadian Forest Sector Workforce Diversity undergraduate supplements (worth an additional $5000).
    • Submitting the form takes two steps; without these we cannot send dossiers to NSERC:
      1. Click on the Portfolio page and select Verify to ensure that all the required information has been entered. Once the verification is completed, the status of the application will be changed to "Completed," which really means "Not yet submitted" because...
      2. You must then select Submit to LO ("liaison officer"). This will lock both your form and the student's form against further updates.
    • Post-submission revisions? After you "Submit to LO", if either you or your student need to update any information, and you find that the form is protected, contact your departmental contact (or Victor Chisholm) to unlock the form.
    • Give the student a PDF of Form 202 Part 2, so she or he can provide a complete application to your department office. If your department asks for it directly from you, the Faculty of Science still expects that you and the student have discussed project expectations.

    Where to find the NSERC form and support

    About value and duration: default 15 weeks (minimum top-up $2350); optional 16 weeks (minimum top-up $3000).

    When your department prepares offer letters to NSERC USRA students, they will indicate the offer is for a 15-week award, unless you tell them you wish to offer a 16-week award (e.g., by email to the departmental USRA coordinator). This duration affects the minimum amount you must contribute.

    Recommended start and end dates

    Note that Fall classes start on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, therefore we suggest:
    Start End (Default 15 weeks) End (If 16 weeks)

    Mon., May 1, 2023

    Fri., August 11, 2023

    Fri., August 18, 2023

    Mon., May 8, 2023

    Fri., August 18, 2023

    Fri., August 25, 2023

    Mon., May 15, 2023

    Fri., August 25, 2023

    N/A (Would overlap with start of term)

  6. Students: Submit your complete application before the deadline. Students apply through the department of the proposed supervisor. Deadlines vary by department. (Not sure what to submit, or how your PDFs must be named? Refer to #3 above.)

    Departmental contacts and deadlines

    You must provide your application (PDF) 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 the NSERC system.

    The "contact person" listed in each department is both for questions, and to whom you should submit your completed application, unless noted otherwise.

    Supervisor's department: Contact person: Deadline:
    For all Faculty of Science departments listed below
    (For CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA only)
    victor.chisholm [at] mcgill.ca (Mr. Victor Chisholm) Friday, March 24, 2023, 12:00 noon, for CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA only.
    (For NSERC USRA, deadlines are significantly earlier!)
    Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Ms. Aneta Klima via admin.aos [at] mcgill.ca (admin.aos@m...) Extended: Friday, February 24, 2023, 12:00 noon.
    [Was: Monday, February 20, 2023]
    (NB: 2 contacts!)
    BOTH susan.gabe [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) AND nancy.nelson [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Nancy Nelson) Friday, February 17, 2023
    Chemistry Dr. Samuel Sewall via advisor.chemistry [at] mcgill.ca (advisor.chemistry@m...)
    Optional: include your C.V. and/or personal statement.
    Friday, February 17, 2023
    Computer Science teresa.pian [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Teresa Pian)
    Optional, if your transcript does not reflect all your research experience: include your CV (1 page max.) and/or Statement of research experience, research interests, relevant experience (150 words max.).
    Tuesday, February 21, 2023
    Earth and Planetary Sciences kristy.thornton [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Kristy Thornton) Thursday, February 23, 2023
    Geography Ms. June Connolly via undergrad.geog [at] mcgill.ca (undergrad.geog@m...) Thursday, February 23, 2023
    Mathematics and Statistics angela.white [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Angela White) Friday February 17, 2023, 4:30 pm
    Physics Prof. Walter Reisner
    Note: Consult these application instructions specific to Physics.
    Thursday, February 23, 2023
    Psychology Ms. Julia Marussi via undergrad.psych [at] mcgill.ca (undergrad.psych@m...) Friday, February 17, 2023, 12:00 noon
    Redpath Museum
    (NB: 2 contacts!)
    BOTH susan.gabe [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) AND nancy.nelson [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Nancy Nelson) Friday, February 17, 2023
    (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 other details 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 and Health Sciences [including but not limited to the Departments of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology, and Physiology]
    Faculty of Music

  7. Watch your (McGill) email for results. Most NSERC USRA offers will be made to students by mid-March; however some may come later. CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA offers are expected in April.
  8. If you are offered an award: Keep your offer letter, read it carefully, and follow the procedures it describes to accept your award.
  9. The first instalment of your award payment should normally come by late May.

    More about award payments: what to expect, and things you must do

    If you are offered an award, departmental staff will ask supervisors (professors) to confirm the source of funds for the professor's share of your award. Watch for email messages or requests: they may contact you to sign a form or provide further information.

    Your award payment will be processed in part by your supervisor's department (for the supervisor's portion, minimum $2350), and in part by the Faculty of Science (for the NSERC portion, $6000). The two offices may process these at different times. Therefore, it is normal in April if you do not see your award in MINERVA, or in early May to only see one of the two parts of your award. Your first pay should normally come by mid or late May, by direct deposit to your bank account; if not, ask the contact person in your supervisor's department.

    You will be able to see your award payments in MINERVA > Financial Aid & Awards > My Financial Aid and Awards. Please note that there can be a delay of 2-3 business days between the date you see on MINERVA and when it gets to your bank account.

  10. In May, start your research project.
  11. Watch for an email from NSERC (or CIHR or SSHRC) in mid-summer (usually late June or early July). This letter will confirm your award. Keep this letter!
  12. FRQNT supplements for NSERC USRA, $1500 TBC: Your email letter from NSERC will indicate if you are eligible to apply for this supplement. If so, follow their application instructions and deadlines.

    FRQNT Supplements for NSERC USRA

    The FRQNT Supplements for NSERC USRA are now confirmed for Summer 2023.

    FRQNT Supplements: The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) may offer a $1500 supplement to NSERC USRA holders enrolled at an eligible university in Quebec. Students registered at a university outside Quebec (summer "visitors" whose home university is outside Quebec) are not expected to be eligible for the FRQNT supplement. The Faculty of Science does not guarantee student eligibility for this or an equivalent supplement.

    Students must apply for the FRQNT supplement — this is a separate step from your NSERC USRA application.

    Before applying for the FRQNT supplement:

    • You will not be able to apply for the FRQNT supplement until you receive a letter (by email) from NSERC, and only if the NSERC letter invites you to apply for the FRQNT supplement: the FRQNT application requires a reference number from the NSERC letter.
    • The NSERC letter usually comes in July. This letter from NSERC in mid-summer is different from the letter from your department in late winter / early spring.

    Application tips:

    • Webpage: The FRQNT's French webpage may have more information than their English webpage.
    • Application form and language: It opens in French by default. If you prefer to apply in English, you may use the “English/Français” language toggle near the top right of the form before you log in. If this year's English-language application form is the same as prior years, it may still require a few parts in French, such as your project title. If your French is not strong, your supervisor or lab group may be able to help.
    • Deadline date and time: As in prior years, the deadline to apply is August 31 at 16:00 EDT. Plan for your application to be fully completed and submitted well before that time, not still in progress.


    • We expect that the results will be communicated by the FRQNT (directly to students) in the 4 weeks that follow their deadline.
    • Students will receive these supplements directly from the FRQNT, likely in September or October.
  13. Questions? Clarification of eligibility? Special circumstances? Who is my USRA LO / Liaison Officer?

    For more information

    • For the FRQNT Supplements to NSERC USRA, please refer to their webpage, and please contact them directly. If you have contacted the FRQNT and still need help, please contact Victor Chisholm in the Faculty of Science.
    • For NSERC USRA: Please consult the department where you wish to apply, which means your proposed supervisor's department. Depending on the question, they may have to consult the Faculty of Science, and in some cases McGill will have to consult with NSERC. For contacts, please refer to "Departmental contacts and deadlines" above.
    • For CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA: Please contact victor.chisholm [at] mcgill.ca (Victor Chisholm) in the Faculty of Science. (For NSERC USRA, start with the supervisor's department.)
    • Please reach out before you apply, or as soon as the issue arises.
    • On the NSERC website, you may find phrases like "refer to the USRA LO [Liaison Officer] at the institution where you would like to hold the award" for more information. At McGill, for the Faculty of Science, this also means to contact the appropriate individual from the "Departments..." section.
    • Please note that if you or your supervisor are not eligible for an NSERC USRA, you may still be eligible for a Science Undergraduate Research Award (SURA), or one of the other programs listed near the top of this page, under #1, "Other sources of funding."
Back to top