NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Each year the University of Waterloo is awarded a specific number of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Awards. These fellowships enable undergraduate students to spend a term (Summer, Fall, or Winter) doing research in world-class laboratories supervised by experts in their field. Undergraduate students from other Canadian universities are especially invited to apply.

Deadline Fall 2017:

July 31, 2017

Deadline Winter 2018:

November 16, 2017

The competition for Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 applications is dependent on whether additional awards are made available by NSERC. If students are interested in being considered for this competition, they will need to complete the NSERC application process by the above deadline dates for the terms they are interested in applying for and have the potential supervisor notify Marguerite Greavette.

If students are nominated for the award, they will be placed on the Science Faculty reserve list for the Fall or Winter term.  There is no guarantee they will be awarded the USRA.  Notifications for the awards are made potentially at the end of the term preceding the NSERC USRA term or into the first few weeks of that term.  As such, potential Supervisors should confirm with the student whether they will guarantee, a position whether the student receives the award or not.  If they cannot guarantee a position, the student should continue to look for work and if they find another position, they need to inform both the potential Supervisor and the Chemistry admin person to remove their name from the reserve list.

Application procedure:

  • First, the student must login or register as a new user on the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) website and attach an unofficial transcript. External applicants will be required to provide a sealed official transcript from their academic institution to the department by the deadline date. Once the student has completed and verified their Form 202 Part 1, they will be issued a reference number. The student must provide this reference number to their University of Waterloo supervisor.
  • The Waterloo supervisor will then go to the NSERC USRA website, and login or register as a new user. At this time, he/she will be prompted to enter the reference number which the student has provided for them. Once the supervisor has verified and submitted Form 202 Part 2, the application will appear to the Liaison Office Assistant (LO Assistant) in the on line portal.
  • Information about the NSERC USRA program can be found on the University of Waterloo Office of Research website.


The University of Waterloo requires students to have a minimum cumulative average of 72%. Students in 1B can hold the award as long as they had an 72% or higher average in their 1A term and at the time of holding their award they will have completed at least 2 terms of full time study. As well, they must meet all other eligibility requirements. A program guide and overview showing NSERC eligibility criteria of this award are available at the NSERC website.

Once a student establishes that he/she is eligible they should then browse for a chemistry professor whose research matches their interests. The student and the professor will put together a research project which will be included in the professor’s portion of the application. The student’s salary will amount to $1,715 – $1,815/month depending on the student’s seniority. These awards are distributed to the applicants in decreasing order of merit.


  • Students applying for a USRA must be registered full-time in their program at the time they apply in a bachelor’s degree program to be eligible to apply. Students can hold the award in the term immediately after their 4B term.
  • International students are not eligible.
  • Students may hold only one award per fiscal year and can hold only three awards throughout their undergraduate career.
  • It is the responsibility of the NSERC USRA (co-op) recipient to inform the co-operative education center in a timely manner about their intention to hold a USRA rather than seeking employment through co-op.