NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) allow undergraduate students to spend the summer working on a project with one of our research groups. The award is given for 16 consecutive weeks (4 months), and students usually start work at the beginning of May. Students gain valuable experience in a research setting, and interact with professors, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and other undergraduate students in the department. Eligibility criteria and other information about these awards is available on the NSERC website.

Before submitting your formal USRA application (see below), we ask that you arrange for a project by either (1) checking out the list of possible USRA summer projects (pdf, 290 kb), contacting the faculty member(s) with whom you might like to work and asking if he/she would be willing to have you as a summer student, or (2) checking out the research in the department and who is working in those areas. If people with whom you are especially interested in working do not have any projects posted, please contact them directly (email is usually best) to find out if they do have possible summer research projects.

There are two types ofUndergraduate Student Research Awards: NSERC and Departmental USRA's. NSERC awards are restricted to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada. Departmental Awards are available to all students regardless if their Country of Residence. The application procedure is the same for both awards except that for those who are not eligible for NSERC awards do not need to submit their application electronically to NSERC (but still required to fill the application online). Instead, they should print the application and send it to the department as outlined below.

Detailed instructions about completing the USRA application Form 202 are available on the NSERC website. PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW THOSE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

Departmental Application Procedures

1. For Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents: Submit your application online to NSERC by filling out and submitting NSERC Form 202 Part I on the NSERC website. You must also upload copies of your official transcripts which include your fall term 2016 grades. You may access the online application here. Please note that NSERC will not accept paper copies of the form - your official application to NSERC must be completed and submitted electronically. For International Students: Fill out the same form as above but do not submit to NSERC. Instead, proceed to step 2.

2. Submit the following material by mail to the address below by Friday, January 20, 2017. (Alternatively, you may submit the material electronically in PDF format, to the email below.)

  • a copy of Form 202 Part I. Arrange for your proposed supervisor to submit a copy of Part II of your Form 202. (To submit electronically, please follow the protocol: “lastname_firstname_ 202 part I.pdf” and "lastname_firstname_202 part II.pdf" to name these PDF files.)
  • official transcripts which include your fall term 2016 grades. (To submit electronically, please follow the protocol: “lastname_firstname_ transcript.pdf” to name your PDF file.)
  • a personal statement indicating your research interests, your academic and career plans, and what you hope to gain and contribute by participating in this program. (To submit electronically, please follow the protocol: “lastname_firstname_ statement.pdf” to name your PDF file.)
  • one letter of reference from a professor familiar with your academic and/or research work. (If the professor wishes to submit this electronically, please ask him/her follow the protocol: “studentlastname_studentfirstname_reference.pdf” to name the PDF file.)

Please include your NSERC reference number (if applicable) with your application materials submitted to the department.

Applications should be sent to:

By mail:

Undergraduate Advisor

Department of Physics
CCIS 4-185
University of Alberta
Edmonton AB T6G 2E1

By email: