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NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA)




Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are intended to stimulate interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage students to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields. They help students to gain research work experience that complements studies in an academic setting; these awards can help provide students with financial support through their host university.



Please Note: If you are interested in a USRA position please contact the Administrators listed below directly.

Application Process

The NSERC-USRA Program is administered internally through each eligible faculty/department at McMaster in conjunction with the Research Office for Administration, Development & Support (ROADS). Interested undergraduate students should apply to the department in which their research supervisor is appointed, which may not be the student’s home department. Please keep in mind that each department sets its own application deadline. Specific questions regarding the internal application process/requirements should be directed to the specific department contact.

For more information about the NSERC-USRA Program, please visit the NSERC website to consult the program guidelines:

Internal Departmental Contact Information and Application Deadlines

DepartmentContact Person
Faculty of Business Greg Rombough 27213 March 31, 2017
Faculty of Engineering February 9, 2017
Chemical Engineering Linda Ellis 24957
Civil Engineering Sarah Sullivan 24315
Computing & Software Engineering Laurie Leblanc 22887
Electrical & Computer Engineering  Kelly Lyth 24347
Engineering Physics Nicole Macdonald 27925
Materials Science & Engineering Hannah Abram 24295
Mechanical Engineering  Lily Sazz-Fayter 24294
Faculty of Health Sciences Ashley Preston 21173
 February 17, 2017
Faculty of Humanities
Christine Kawerau 24328  
Faculty of Science  
Biology Rebecca Woodworth 23049 February 17, 2017
Chemistry & Chemical Biology Linda Spruce
Connie Carrabs
February 17, 2017
School of Geography & Earth Sciences Kara Salvador 24535 February 15, 2017
Kinesiology Doris Burns 24462 February 3, 2017
Mathematics & Statistics Julie Fogarty 24580 February 10, 2017
Physics & Astronomy

Sara Cormier

26098 February 3, 2017
Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour Sally Presutti
Milica Pavlica
March 3, 2017
School of Interdisciplinary Science Sarah Robinson 20841
February 24, 2017


Application Instructions

To apply for these awards, you must complete and submit your application using NSERC’s On-line System; a printed copy of the application must be submitted directly to the department you are applying to. Refer to the instructions for completing Form 202 (video, award and eligibility details below provided by NSERC):


Detailed Instructions for Completing & Submitting Form 202 Part I and II

NSERC Online Application Services

Award Value

  • These awards have a minimum value of $6,384
        • ($4,500 from NSERC + $1,884 minimum top-up from the contributing department) for a full 16-week period.
        • Universities are required to supplement the amount of the award by at least 25 percent of its value using other sources, such as university funds, NSERC grants, or any other research funds.
  • A travel allowance may also be granted if you take up the award at a university other than the one at which you are currently registered. (NSERC USRA Travel Policy)
  • The duration of the award is a required 16 consecutive weeks on a full-time basis.

NSERC will not reimburse the university for any period during which you worked part time. No payment will be approved for any vacation leave you take during tenure of the award.

Program Eligibility



Are you eligible for an award?

To be eligible to apply for an award, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • be registered, at the time you apply, in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible university; and
  • have obtained, over the previous years of study, a cumulative average of at least second class (a grade of "B" or "B-," if applicable) as defined by your university.

In addition...

  • If you already hold a bachelor's degree and are studying toward a second bachelor's degree, you may still apply to this program.
  • You may hold only one USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
  • You may hold a maximum of three USRAs throughout your university career.

To hold an award, you must:

  • have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of your bachelor's degree;
  • have been registered in the term immediately before holding the award in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible university;
  • not have started a program of graduate studies in the natural sciences or engineering; and
  • be engaged on a full-time basis in research and development activities in the natural sciences or engineering during the tenure of the award.

Who is not eligible?

You are not eligible for an Undergraduate Student Research Award if:

  • you are currently enrolled in an undergraduate professional degree program in the health sciences (e.g., MD, DDS, BScN); or
  • you hold higher degrees in the natural sciences or engineering.

McMaster USRA Program

Students that are interested in the McMaster USRA (not associated with the NSERC-USRA program) should contact:

ContactExtensionApplication Deadline
Arts & Science Shelley Anderson 24655 February 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Social Sciences Cristina Foley 23228 February 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

For more information please see the following websites:

Arts & Science:


Social Sciences:

* The Non-NSERC USRA program is not administered through ROADS.