Female student working in a lab

Undergraduate Research Trainees

Undergraduate students from other Canadian and international universities (and exceptionally, local CEGEP or high-school students) who conduct research at McGill University are recorded as undergraduate research trainees.

Undergraduate research trainees experience life at McGill, gain scientific training from cutting-edge researchers, and network with potential supervisors, faculty, students, and staff. Being an undergraduate research trainee at McGill can be a stepping stone on the path to a research career – particularly for students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies at McGill.

Undergraduate research trainees

  • work under the supervision of a McGill academic staff member
  • may not register for courses at McGill
  • may be paid or unpaid depending on the departmental agreement
  • are not assessed McGill tuition and are not required to submit legal documentation for fee assessment or for the creation of a Quebec permanent code
  • do not obtain official McGill transcripts
  • are not eligible for free access to the McGill athletics facilities or other student services. Note: McGill students pay a fee which funds these services; undergraduate research trainees do not pay this fee.

Graduate research trainees

Please refer to the Graduate Research Trainee website for application and registration procedures.

Preparing to become an undergraduate research trainee

  • Research online to find out which faculty members at McGill conduct research in your area of interest. One way to do this is to start at our webpage of Faculties and Schools (https://www.mcgill.ca/faculties/). Navigate to the faculties that interest you (and then, in most cases, to the websites of departments, schools, or other academic units) where you will find listings of the professors in that area.
  • Contact faculty members you would be interested in working with. When you do this, demonstrate your interest in their research, your skills or background, and what you could add to the research group or project. Be prepared to share a curriculum vitae (résumé) and an (unofficial) transcript. Note: faculty email addresses are usually in the format of firstname.lastname [at] mcgill.ca.
  • If a faculty member agrees to supervise your research for a particular period of time, he or she will send you a letter of invitation. Your supervisor, or a member of the departmental staff, will guide you through the registration process, including the completion of the Undergraduate research trainee registration form

For information on research trainee processes and procedures, contact the research trainee administrator for your faculty of interest. Note that they are not responsible for matching trainees with faculty supervisors.

saoadvisor.macdonald [at] mcgill.ca (Faculty of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences)
assistant-adstudents [at] mcgill.ca (Faculty of Arts)
ugrt-info.engineering [at] mcgill.ca (Faculty of Engineering)
Faculty of Science - please contact the administrative office for the department of interest
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences - please contact the administrative office for the department of interest
patrick.oneill [at] mcgill.ca (Schulich School of Music)

Submitting a registration form and the application process

Undergraduate research trainee applications (which can be found on our Forms page) and supporting documentation must be submitted to the department/unit responsible for hosting the traineeship.

The department/unit hosting the traineeship is responsible for receipt of the undergraduate research trainee application, collecting required signatures, and submitting the complete application to the faculty designate in the relevant faculty office. The faculty designate is responsible for reviewing the documentation, validating the departmental signatures, and submitting the application to the Management of Academic Records Unit, Enrolment Services, electronically studentrecords [at] mcgill.ca (Enrolment Services Student Records )or via internal mail, for handling.

Once the research trainee status is recorded by Enrolment Services, the faculty designate will issue the trainee a confirmation email. A trainee is entitled to a McGill ID card, granted access to library services, electronic data resources, and McGill buildings and labs relevant to the affiliated department/unit.

Undergraduate research trainees should not submit their application and supporting documents directly to Management of Academic Records, Enrolment Services.

➪  Financial support

If you are interested in financial support, discuss it with your McGill supervisor before accepting an invitation to be an undergraduate research trainee.  If financial support will be provided, your letter of invitation should provide the amount of financial support you will receive.

➪  Off-campus housing

Research Trainees who would prefer to live off campus, or whose stay is not limited to the summer months, may consult the McGill Off-Campus Housing Office for information on accommodation in Montreal.  The Off-Campus Housing office provides information on renting in Montreal, legal information about renting, roommate tips, and apartment listings. Research Trainees are encouraged to consult the tips for exchange students (and other short-term residents).

➪  Accommodation - McGill University Residences

Research Trainees who are at McGill during the summer months (May 15 – August 21) may choose to live in one of the McGill University Residences, conveniently located a few minutes’ walk from downtown.

Important information for non-Canadian trainees

➪  Health insurance

Research Trainees are not eligible to participate in McGill’s student health insurance plans, including the International Student Health Insurance Plan. However, research trainees who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents are required to acquire health insurance for the entire duration of their stay in Canada. Trainees must do this prior to arrival in Canada.

Research Trainees who are citizens of countries that have a social security agreement with Québec (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Sweden) may be covered by Québec public Health Insurance - RAMQ (Régie d'Assurance Maladie du Québec) if they the meet the requirements. An attestation must be obtained from the appropriate organization in the participant’s home country before leaving (for the French holding a work permit, it is the form SE-401-Q104), and each participant must visit RAMQ upon arrival.

➪  Immigration status

Undergraduate research trainees who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada are not eligible to apply for a study permit. They must apply for a Canadian work permit, regardless of the length of the research placement at McGill University.

A regular work permit requires: a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRDSC), and, a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for work, from Ministère de l'Immigration et des communautés culturelles (MICC), Québec Immigration Ministry.

Research trainees are not eligible for a LMO and can only obtain a work permit that is exempted from both the LMO and CAQ.  Situations that can exempt you from LMO and CAQ include:

  • Eligibility through the program "International Experience Canada" (mention C-21 when applying for your work permit). See the Government of Canada website to view the program conditions and whether your country participates in this program.
  • Being the recipient of a research scholarship (mention C-44 when applying for your work permit) granted for the quality of your academic work (either by your home institution, by the McGill professor inviting you, or by an external institution).  This must be stated in your letter of invitation.

Exchange students coming to McGill, who plan to organize a research traineeship before or after their exchange, should secure an invitation from a supervisor at McGill and apply for the required permit before leaving your home country. You may not be eligible to apply for a work permit from Canada.


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