Spring Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) Program: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a URA?
The Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) program occurs each Spring term in an academic year and is a paid, term-long introduction to academic research.Students are matched with a faculty member, who is active in research, and spend the term working on a research project or problem while being mentored by the faculty member.At the end of the program, students will also participate in a weekly seminar, specifically for the program, to learn about research being conducted by faculty members and other students. This is an opportunity for a student to be recognized for his or her own work.
What is the time commitment?
The URA program is a full-time (35 hours/week), 16-week position.
The positions begin on the first day of lectures of the Spring term, and continue until the end of term.
Do I receive a course credit for the URA?
No, there is no course credit granted for the URA position.
Do I need to have previous research experience?
No previous research experience is necessary.
What are the requirements?
To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria:
- Registered in an undergraduate Math degree program at UW or another university/institution.
- Eligible to work in Canada – applicants must have either:
- Canadian citizenship
- Permanent residency
- Student visa
- Cumulative GPA of at least 80%
- Most recently completed at least 2B term
I am in a co-op program, can I still apply?
Yes. Since the URA program is a full-time position, you may use it as a co-op position. If you plan to do so, please include that information in your application cover letter.
I am not a University of Waterloo (UW) student, can I still apply?
Yes, the Department of C&O encourages undergraduate students enrolled in other universities/institutions to apply to the program.
I am on an academic term in the Spring, can I still apply?
No. Unfortunately, the URA position is a full-time position. So taking courses during participation in the program is not permitted, except under special circumstances. Please contact C&O Undergraduate Coordinator – Megan Martin- directly.
I am an international student, can I still apply?
Yes. International students, with a student visa, are encouraged to apply for the program.
I plan to graduate in June, can I still apply?
Fourth-year students who have been accepted into or applied to a graduate or post-graduate professional program starting in September are eligible to apply. Undergraduate awards are available to all students. Minimum student stipend is $10,000.
Can I take courses during my URA?
In special circumstances, your supervisor may allow you to take one course during your participation in a URA for the term. However, this must be discussed and decided upon prior to enrolment in the course and the program.
What is the student stipend or compensation?
All URA students are guaranteed to receive a salary of $10,000 for the term ($2,500/month). There are also a number of awards and scholarships.
To find more information about available awards and scholarships, please see below for Additional Research Awards and Funding.
Applying to the Program
How do I apply?
- Applications are recommended to be submitted in the previous year’s Fall term (September to December).
- Applications include:
- The specific aims/objectives, resume, cover letter with two references, a CV/resume, a copy of an unofficial transcript as well as email contact information of two references.
- Combine all documents into a single PDF
Applications are to be submitted electronically using an online form, which will be available when applications are being accepted.
When do I apply?
Generally, applications for our Spring program will be accepted beginning in early-mid November, with a deadline in early December.
What is an example of a reference?
A reference can be anyone who is familiar with your study and/or work ethic: a professor, a past/current employer, coach or club director, and so on. You will only need to provide the name and contact information for your references. A letter is not required.
Locating & Securing a Supervisor
How do I find a supervisor?
After reviewing your application, the department will make every attempt to match you with a faculty member.
- If there is a faculty member who you are interested in working with, we encourage you to contact them directly.
Do you have any tips or suggestions about locating a supervisor?
- Speak with TAs and upper year students who have gained research experience or have participated in the program in the past.
- Ensure your resume, CV, transcript and web application form are carefully prepared and up-to-date.
- Identify the area of research you are most interested in and focus on a faculty member in that area.
- When contacting a supervisor, ask about their research or current projects, publications and a link to their website.
Do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions. Our office is always here to help!
Additional Research Awards and Funding
Am I eligible to receive an NSERC USRA?
NSERC USRA awards are limited, and will be assigned by the department. If you are nominated for an award, you will receive instructions for applying.
Please note, USRA awards are available only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. Students may receive a maximum of three USRAs throughout their undergraduate careers.
Am I eligible to receive the President's Research Award?
Students who received the President’s Scholarship of Distinction upon enrolment at UW are eligible to receive additional funding in the form of the President’s Research Award. Students may receive a maximum of two of these awards throughout their undergraduate careers.
For further information: https://uwaterloo.ca/find-out-more/financing/scholarships/presidents-scholarships