Research Opportunities

 
Are you interested in what research in mathematics or statistics entails? Eager to tackle unsolved problems under the guidance of a professor, by yourself, or as a member of a team? We offer a variety of settings in which you can do just that.

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

The NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (NSERC USRA) provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty member in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and gain valuable experience working in an academic environment. Students work on a wide variety of projects, ranging from pure to applied mathematics to statistics and mathematical finance.

An NSERC USRA provides students with a stipend for a 16-week period, typically during the summer months (May-August).

Terms of the Awards and Eligibility Requirements

The terms of the awards and eligibility requirements are available on the NSERC website. In particular, to be eligible a student must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • be registered in a bachelor’s degree program at an eligible institution;
  • have obtained, over the previous years of study, a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7;
  • have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of study (or two academic terms) of your bachelor’s degree.

Moreover, students may hold only one USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31), and a maximum of three USRAs throughout their undergraduate career.

The NSERC USRA awards have a value of $6,000, and a duration of 16 weeks on a full-time basis. The awards will be supplemented with an additional amount of at least $2,500 from the supervisor, for a total of at least $8,500.

Application Process

The NSERC USRAs are competitive. Applications are ranked at the departmental level. Department rankings are based on a combination of the following criteria:

  • Overall GPA and subject-specific GPA;
  • Research proposal;
  • Strength of academic program.

To apply for a NSERC USRA, students should first find a supervisor willing to supervise a research project. Students are encouraged to speak directly with professors whose research area is of interest. A list of potential research projects contributed by some faculty members interested in supervising undergraduate research is available here (access restricted to ualberta).

The next step is to complete an application electronically using NSERC’s online application portal. Students first complete Part I of Form 202.  They then forward their application reference number to their supervisor, who completes Part II of Form 202. 

Students also need to upload an official transcript. No letter of reference is required.

The complete USRA application package must be submitted by email to Tara Evans (tara.evans@ualberta.ca), no later than Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

If you have any questions about the awards, please contact Vincent Bouchard (mssacu@ualberta.ca), while if you have inquiries about the application process, please contact Tara Evans (tara.evans@ualberta.ca).

MSS Undergraduate Student Research Awards

The Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences also offers Undergraduate Student Research Awards (MSS USRAs). The value of the awards is also the same, namely $6,000 plus a contribution of at least $2,500 from the supervisor. The terms of the awards and selection criteria are the same as for the NSERC USRAs. However, the eligibility requirements are relaxed:

  • students who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents may apply;
  • students who have already received three NSERC USRAs through their academic career may apply.

Application Process

The MSS USRAs are competitive. To apply for an MSS USRA, students should first find a supervisor, as for the NSERC USRAs. The next step is to complete the MSS USRA application form (for students) electronically, which includes providing your transcript and curriculum vitae. They then forward their transcript and curriculum vitae to their supervisor, who completes the MSS USRA application form (for supervisors). No letter of reference is required.

The student and supervisor application forms must be submitted electronically no later than Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

If a student applies for an NSERC USRA, the application is also automatically considered for an MSS USRA. The student does not need to apply to both NSERC USRA and MSS USRA separately.

If you have any questions about the awards, please contact Vincent Bouchard (mssacu@ualberta.ca), while if you have inquiries about the application process, please contact Tara Evans (tara.evans@ualberta.ca).

Undergraduate Research Initiative

The University of Alberta's Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) supports the involvement of undergraduate students in research activities. It maintains an Undergraduate Research Portal that helps connect undergraduate students with research opportunities across campus, and it provides funding to students through the Undergraduate Researcher Stipend.

The URI also hosts workshops on how to get involved in undergraduate research, helps organize conferences to showcase undergraduate research, and much more.

MATH 499, MA PH 499 and STAT 499

These Research Project courses provide students in one of our Specialization or Honors programs an opportunity to pursue research under the direction of a faculty member in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. Students are expected to spend, on average, 6 hours per week on independent research in consultation with their research supervisor. The additional weekly seminar allows students to hone their technical communication skills. Course requirements include the presentation of a public oral presentation and a written final report.

To find a potential supervisor, students are encouraged to speak directly with professors whose research area is of interest. A list of potential research projects contributed by some faculty members interested in supervising undergraduate research is also available here (access restricted to ualberta).

Students interested in taking this course should contact the course coordinator (see Bear Tracks) two months in advance of the beginning of term to ensure that a suitable project supervisor can be found. 

Additional Opportunities

Professors are able to employ undergraduate students in research assistant positions on occasion. Students are encouraged to speak directly with professors about potential research opportunities.